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Discussion: ARWC 2018 - Réunion Island

in: Adventure Racing; General

Apr 24, 2018 3:48 AM # 
Might as well get this started! :) Here's a press release from the organizers. The route will be "very autonomy and adventure-typed".
Apr 24, 2018 5:03 PM # 
bonus points for getting the accent right!
Apr 24, 2018 7:24 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
The approximate outer loop is shorter than some recent ARWC bike legs! (No judgment, just got curious and checked).
Apr 25, 2018 5:38 PM # 
Maybe there will be a paddle to Mauritius...and back.
Apr 25, 2018 8:41 PM # 
I like the way you think!

For those who don't know, Réunion Island is the site of a well-known Ultra Trail World Tour event. The 100 mile race, La Diagonale des Fous, weaves through the mountains from the south coast to the north coast. A typical 100 mile trail race has a time limit of 30-34 hours but this race has a time cut-off around 64 hours, which gives you an idea of the trails. Supposedly, the terrain is "brutal" and organizers don't permit poles in spite of 9,500+ meters of climb and slippery mud.
Apr 26, 2018 12:11 PM # 
Team list so far - no Canadians and only one U.S. team: Bones.
Oct 8, 2018 3:51 AM # 
We're less than a month away now and the list has grown to 65 teams. There are still no Canadian teams but each of the U.S. teams has adopted a Canadian so I will cheer for them both: Bones (featuring Liza Pye with Roy Malone, Charles Triponez and Jim Driscoll) and MRC MainNerve (featuring James Galipeau with Shane Hagerman, Peter Jolles and Rachel Furman). :)

The list includes many of the usual suspects: Avaya (aka Seagate), Columbia, Naturex, Estonians, Swedish Air Force, Sweco, Haglöfs Silva, Merrell, Cyanosis and more. Below the team list are brief written interviews with most of the teams.
Oct 8, 2018 1:12 PM # 
I've heard that Bones is no longer racing. Not 100 percent corroborated, but a pretty good source :)
Oct 8, 2018 8:43 PM # 
Aww, too bad. And I saw on Facebook today that MRC MainNerve is looking for a navigator in case anyone here is interested!
Oct 8, 2018 8:48 PM # 
And it sounds like Rachel isn't racing for MRC MainNerve either but they say they are talking with a few women.
Oct 9, 2018 7:41 PM # 
From Raid in France Facebook:

The world championship 2018 will start in Hell-Bourg (see below) with a festive prologue dedicated to the reunionese culture. Each team will race in relay with a child of the island in a Kours la rou, a traditional local game. Once the race is finished, a traditional meal with music will be shared. This meal will be cooked by 4 local restaurants: Villa Marthe, P'ti Koin Kréol, Jardins d'Héva and Auberge du Passant.
Oct 18, 2018 8:31 PM # 
Sleepmonsters talks about the island and the race.
Oct 27, 2018 3:16 AM # 
The Otago Daily Times did a profile on Avaya, including an interview with Chris Forne. The article reports Joanna will be replaced after breaking her leg skiing.

It also sounds like the race will include caving and a minimum number of hours of required rest/sleep.

Other gems from the article:

Their rule of thumb in the past had been to race through the first night, sleep for three hours on each of the following nights, then race through the final night if the finish line was close.

He believed most teams did not focus enough on the "balancing act" of keeping the team moving at a steady pace while closely watching each other’s mental and physical states.

If one of the team was struggling, it was important to "catch it early" before their performance spiralled downwards.

"It’s really important to stay as consistent with your energy as you can throughout the race. You don’t want to be smashing yourself and then recovering."

When asked whether adventure racing was mainly a physical or mental test, Forne said there was a strong correlation between the two.

"Sometime you think your body’s failing, but actually it’s your mind."
Nov 4, 2018 10:22 PM # 
Nov 4, 2018 10:37 PM # 
So, looked at the list and Main Nerve isn’t on it? Am I missing something?
Nov 5, 2018 1:38 AM # 
Correct, Main Nerve will not be at Worlds this year.
Nov 5, 2018 7:29 PM # 
That's disappointing. I guess they couldn't find four teammates so there will be no North American teams to cheer for. In fact, 27 of 64 teams are from France at this World Champs, reflecting better flight options. Nearby South Africa is in second place with 5 teams.
Nov 5, 2018 8:43 PM # 
Craig Cook of AR Live Coverage has made his picks:
1st - Avaya. - New Zealand.
2nd - Haglofs Silva - Sweden.
3rd - Lozere - France.
4th - Estonia Ace - Estonia.
5th - SAF - Sweden.

He pointed out that Swedish team Downtown Camper is on the tracking list and could challenge for the top 5 or 10.
Nov 6, 2018 1:08 PM # 
My money is on Sanlam Painted Wolf for a top 3 please! It's going to be competitive upfront!
Nov 6, 2018 3:42 PM # 
The course outline has been released.


That's quite a first leg. Not a lot of mtbing as you would suspect on an island that's only 40 km x 65 km. Quite a few cut-offs to pay attention to as well.
Nov 6, 2018 7:10 PM # 
Here's the race profile:
Nov 6, 2018 8:50 PM # 
Sounds like the dot-watchers will have their hands full trying to track this one!
Nov 6, 2018 9:39 PM # 
It appears to be unlike any ARWC we've watched before. Fun! (For the spectators, anyway.)

According to Merrell Facebook: "The first route book and maps for the first three legs will only be issued after the start. Second route book and maps to finish will be offered at TA3."

Also: "Each team has a Sleep Card on which a mandatory 12 hours needs to recorded during the event at a TA or designated CP, made up of blocks from a minimum of 30min to a maximum of 4hours. Teams however, have to check out of TA with no further access to their resupply box – and then sleep. "

Sleeping out on the race course does not count. Merrell says that five of the TAs have no shelter.

For those of us in the northeast (Toronto, New York), the time on Réunion Island is 9 hours later. The race starts Thursday at 6 a.m. local time, i.e. Wed. 9 p.m. for us.

Are any of our South African or U.K. friends watching this AP thread? There will be a lot of action during your daylight hours, which means North Americans will be the "night shift" reporters.
Nov 6, 2018 10:23 PM # 
If anyone hasn't seen the terrain, here is a 5-minute video from the Grand Raid Réunion / Diagonale des Fous, an annual trail ultra race on the island.

Nov 7, 2018 7:11 AM # 
Yeah, I'm here for some dot-watching :) I actually just did the Diagonales des Fous 2 weeks ago, so have a pretty good idea of the terrain and ridiculously steep climbs these guys are in for!

Based on the race profile, it looks like they're summitting the highest peak on the island (Piton des Neiges - 3069m) at about the 80km mark on the first monster trek. Pretty crazy for such a small island to have a 3000m peak on it!

Great to have 6 SA teams taking part - really hoping that Sanlam Painted Wolf can pull something incredible off... such a strong team!
Nov 7, 2018 9:01 AM # 
I'm with you Stijn! What an incredible island it is. I backpacked for 3 weeks there in 2015, so i know those climbs well! My prediction for the first trek is from Hell-Bourg into Cirque Mafate (a big loop there), then into Cirque Cilaos, then up to Piton des Neiges, and then from there in a south-easterly direction towards Plaine des cafres. lets see how it works out!

my predictions for a top 5:
1. Painted Wolf
2. Avaya
3. Estonia Ace
4. Haglofs
5. SAF

(Then Jabberwock, Cyanosis and Red Ants all within the top 12!) :-)

Its going to be epic!
Nov 7, 2018 1:59 PM # 
From a new sleepmonsters article and the RD:

“You can only move very slowly as it is so difficult, so it took a long time. We will use some new canyons never visited before and I think they will be a surprise to the teams. I really don’t think they are prepared for how slow they have to move here. It will be a shock to them."

I think this race will be better run than Pantanal, but it might be even crazier...Very excited, though I DO wish we had some North Americans in the hunt...
Nov 7, 2018 4:38 PM # 
So glad to have some South Africans on the day shift! :)

Agreed, it's disappointing that we don't have any North American teams to watch. I admire Avaya and predict them to win but because they always do, I'll send some extra love to all the South African teams (in honour of our AP friends) + the Estonians, who navigate well and are always close. Are any Attackpointers there?
Nov 7, 2018 4:38 PM # 
The growing list of Sleepmonsters articles is found here. You can click in the upper right corner to sign up for email notifications when new articles are published about ARWC 2018.

Copied from ARWS News:

Live tracking at: will keep you up to date with exactly where teams are during the race. The site also has extensive photos, videos, leaderboard and reports. Become a #dotwatcher !!!!

Live Streaming Tune in on for the start at on 8th November and the winners around the 12th November (disclaimer! it is a remote island in the Indian ocean and internet access could be challenging!) Other live streaming throughout the race so keep checking back.

Facebook coverage through and Lend your support and encourage teams on this epic journey.

Instagram follow us on instagram and Let us know if you love the grit and determination displayed by these world class athletes.

News Stories AR World series news stories are released on and A Great way to catch up on the overall progress of the race.

Hashtags search for interesting news and stories with the following hashtags #arwc2018 #raidinfrance #lareunionismagic and #arworlderies
Nov 7, 2018 11:19 PM # 
Teams will start in order of prologue ranking so the dots will not all start moving up the mountain at the same time. Most of the top contenders will be starting a little behind.
Nov 8, 2018 3:25 AM # 
Are there time corrections due to the staggered start?

Never mind, just read on Sleepmonsters that there are not:

"Teams will start in 30-second intervals based on the prologue result, so the last will be 30 minutes behind the first. The top teams don’t want to lose a second, or be behind other teams on narrow trails or ropes, so they wanted to do well. "
Nov 8, 2018 3:29 AM # 
While he may be racing for a Swedish team (Naturkompaniet Pioneers), Tommy Ivarsson currently lives in Toronto, so he kinda counts as North American. He helped us find a couple of CPs during The Longest Day in September, so I'm all-in for the Pioneers. Go Tommy!
Nov 8, 2018 4:20 AM # 
That's close enough - I'll add them to my cheering list!
Nov 8, 2018 4:25 AM # 
It didn't take long for the usual suspects to get to the sharp end of the race, even though most of them didn't finish near the top of the prologue. Avaya, Columbia, Naturex, Yealands and Haglofs Silva are leading the charge after 2 hours. There are lots of team hot on their heels.
Nov 8, 2018 6:15 AM # 
Yeah, I'm surprised how quickly the usual pecking order prevailed. Looks like there was a technical canyon section very early on with 3 abseils - top teams will have moved much quicker through that type of terrain..
Nov 8, 2018 6:23 AM # 
Hoping this will work - here's a link to my FB post with maps & race book for leg 1:
Nov 8, 2018 6:37 AM # 
Much better versions here now:
Nov 8, 2018 8:28 AM # 
Doesn't look like there's any route choice in the first part of this leg. It's pretty much impossible to leave the paths inside the Cirques due to the steepness of the terrain. There's a long stretch between CP2 & K5, which may bring some route choices - looks like 2 major path options to get to Marla and then over the Col du Taibit.
Nov 8, 2018 9:14 AM # 
And we have the first alternative route choice - leaders Red Fox have opted for the more direct, but hillier route from CP2, via Ilet a Bourse & Grand-Place-les-Haut. Naturex is following the route as suggested on the live tracking..
Nov 8, 2018 10:01 AM # 
Columbia also taking the Red Fox route - I think it's going to be slower... plenty of short, sharp hills along that way.
Nov 8, 2018 10:47 AM # 
As at 14:30 Reunion time, the top-10 standings:

Naturex in the lead, slogging up the 600m climb to Roche Plat

...35 min gap...

A chasing pack of Avaya, Yealands, North Face, Haglofs, SAFAT, Hoka (and Red Fox too once they rejoin)

...5 min gap...

Painted Wolf & Columbia
Nov 8, 2018 11:58 AM # 
checking in from ZAR for the dayshift, if we've got some antipodeans then we'd have blanket cover.

Interesting to see no teams from N.America, especially since last year ARWC was in US. With such a huge local turnout, one would think that a few would then go travel for the next one. (Although i suspect this might be the case every year - how many french teams will go to Sri Lanka in 2019?).
Nov 8, 2018 12:40 PM # 
16:30 update:

1) Naturex

Chasing, in order, 30-45 mins back:

2) Red Fox
4) Haglofs
5) Avaya
6) Hoka
7) North Face

A further 10-15 mins back:

8) Painted Wolf
9) Yealands

A further 15 mins back:

10-12) Columbia, FMR & Berghaus
Nov 8, 2018 12:58 PM # 
I'm looking ahead. at the packrafting stage
Because this has the potential to split the field.

In the racebook, under the legs 1-3
it says that
K14 - it is forbidden to progress along the banks at night.

However, it doesn't say you can't walk along the bank for K8-CP7-K9
(I assume you walk the 2.5km along the beach with rafts still inflated)
then it says you must stay 10m from the riverbed from CP8-K12 (there's an out of bound road marked on the map south of the river)

I'm guessing that you can only paddle these 3 water sections of the leg, and once it is darkzone - 7pm you have to stop.

any thoughts?

edit:i see it says you can navigate along river at night after CP10 - with strobes on packraft. so this must be the only spot you can paddle on after dark
Nov 8, 2018 1:12 PM # 
In the racebook, the whole of section B has a rule stating "Authorised navigation times: from 05:15 to 19:00 (can change, information will be given at T1)".

I'm not sure if that applies to the entire leg, especially the early section? i.e. Will teams be allowed past TA1 after 7pm? If not, it's a restart at 05:15 and then a race to get to just before CP10 (from where night-travel is allowed) by 7pm again..
Nov 8, 2018 1:18 PM # 
Teams would probably want to bank 4 hours of their compulsory 12 hours sleep at TA1 anyway, and I don't see many teams getting there before midnight tomorrow.
Nov 8, 2018 1:27 PM # 
pasted image

SO, speculation time!

Let's look at leg2 - the packraft

This is

A - a short hike, ropes at waterfall, assemble boats

B - 10-12km paddle, first half down river, 2nd half flat/estuary

C - 2,5km beach trek

D - 5km up river estuary paddle

E - 8km hike up valleys (500m gain!)

F- 12km down to finish.

The race book says 14h15 for the quick guys

And there's 5:15 - 19:00, 13:45 of sunlight.

Looking backwards, from the F leg, you can paddle at night from CP10,and you can travel here from point 68, about 2km up river by foot.

So you need to start F at about 5:30pm , the book says you can leave CP9 by 16:45, so i guess that is sort of a way of setting the darkzone limit.

Now working further back, you'd need to start the E hike by about 2:30pm

You'd need to start the D paddle by 1:30pm

The beach trek by 1pm

The B paddle by 9am

The A hike by 8am.

You can start the B paddle at 5:15am, so I guess my times are a bit short, but you can definitely do this leg in one day.

I expect loads of top teams will be at the TA1, logging sleep and then all hitting the K8 ropes at first light.

Yes ropes, so there is tactics in getting a jump on teams here.

The darkzone on night 2 is after 37 hours racetime, which is slated to take the quick guys 38h30.

It almost seems like this first leg is setup to have a virtual restart for the leading teams at TA1, but suggested times are just that.

If you could blitz this first leg in 35 hours, you have 2 hours to get to CP7 where you could still log sleep.

If you go insanely quick, you could get maybe all the way to K10 and then the end of the beach/CP9 and still log sleep. but that would then mean doing this first leg in something like 30-32 hours. This is potentially a big enough carrot for a team to push hard on this leg and then rest up at CP9 for 8 hours..

as always, speculation is the easy bit looks simple on google earth.
Nov 8, 2018 1:37 PM # 
Love your work shebeen! All comes down to how accurate the race org's predicted times are for top teams I guess..
Nov 8, 2018 1:39 PM # 
The big risk will be leaving a TA/CP, aiming to make it to the next one before the dark zone, and then not quite making it. That's 9 hours unlogged sleep for your troubles!
Nov 8, 2018 2:20 PM # 
Team 56 taking an alternative route via La Breche - hadn't even spotted that but it looks pretty good!
Nov 8, 2018 3:00 PM # 
Thanks, Day Shift - that's awesome! I won't get able to get online much today so I'm hoping the Night Shift will keep the commentary going after the South Africans go to bed.
Nov 8, 2018 3:47 PM # 
106km Trek including the summit of Reunion Island’s highest peak the Piton des Neiges (3,071m). This leg may be the most difficult of the entire race and includes long and difficult sections involving off path travel in dense tropical vegetation with many route choices. Shortly after the start leg teams must complete three abseils in the Bras Marron canyon including one mammoth 90m free hanging descent near a waterfall. They then leave the Cirque de Salazie and travel to the Cirque de Mafate where they must negotiate the difficult and technical Fleur juane canyon which includes more rope sections . Continuing on to the Cirque de Cilaos teams must summit the Piton des Neiges and then descend toward the East coast of the island and the end of leg transition. Fastest teams are expected to take over 38 hours on this leg and slower teams up to 62 hours.
Nov 8, 2018 4:13 PM # 
Three of the top teams are racing with women who are new to their teams this year:

Avaya is racing with Fleur Pawsey, as Joanna Williams broke her leg in a skiing accident last month.

Estonia ACE is racing with Reeda Tuula, after Mariann Sulg decided to take a break from the sport (unofficially, I think this decision was made while sitting in a penalty box in a Galician mall during Raid Gallaecia last year).

FMR is racing with Sonia Furtado, who has raced with Naturex in the past. Perhaps regular teammate Lucie Croissant was not that excited by La Reunion, considering she already saw most of the island when she finished top 10 at Diagonale des Fous in 2016.

Anyone know of any other personnel moves that might have an impact on the final standings?
Nov 8, 2018 4:29 PM # 
It is now past 8 p.m. in La Reunion, and sunset was officially 6:30. So teams are traveling in the dark.

My estimate is that the top teams are around 45-55k into the trek, with Naturex beginning the descent into the town of Cilaos before heading up the climb to CP5 and the Piton des Neiges, the highest point on the course (and on La Reunion).

Current top 10:
1) Naturex

Chasing, in order, 2k-5k back back:

2) Red Fox
3) Avaya
4) Haglofs Silva
5) DSN74 Hoka

1k further back
6) Swedish Armed Forces (SAFAT)
7) North Face
8) Sanlam Painted Wolf
9) FMR
10) Columbia

Yealands has dropped back a tiny bit to 11th, with Estonian ACE, Absolu Raid Occitane and Berghaus all charging.

10-12) Columbia, FMR & Berghaus
Nov 8, 2018 5:53 PM # 
@shebeen- plenty of teams from NA wanted to go but airfare alone would have consumed an entire year’s race budget for most teams.
Looks like Merrell grew tired of playing follow the leader on the green line and have turned towards the village of La Nouvelle.
Nov 8, 2018 6:34 PM # 
Was looking at the other flag at the front end as I didn't recognise it among the usual suspects

Not entirely sure how they handle the country rules, but are doing really well so far
Nov 8, 2018 7:45 PM # 
I've been wondering the same thing.

Camila and Gui are two of the strongest racers in Brazil. I too have been wondering how the nationality rules are coming into effect...unless they moved to Hong Kong?

In other news, Twitter confirmed the following:
"Team 39 Peaklife sport decided to withdraw. Wendy Fjellstad has flu symptoms"

Bummer for these guys. Raced around them for a while in ARWC, Wyoming. Super nice and savvy group of racers.

After meeting so many great people in Australia this year while racing XPD, we have been rooting for the Antelopes in particular as they helped us out a fair bit after the race. They too are off to a rough start with Tom feeling rather ill. A video highlighted the team taking his gear, and while he was smiling, he wasn't feeling it. Fingers crossed they bounce back as we had a blast meeting them and were impressed with them as racers and as people.

I'd saying that Rootstock is rooting for them, but we already traumatized a generation of Tasmanian youth with our team name in March...Still...
Nov 8, 2018 8:19 PM # 
Sleepmonsters reporting from Cilaos at CP4 has Naturex opting for 2 hours sleep already. Might as well bank those compulsory hours if they're going to get caught in a dark zone somewhere on leg 2 anyway..
Nov 8, 2018 8:50 PM # 
It is seemingly the nicest place to stop of all the upcoming options.
Nov 8, 2018 9:23 PM # 
From AR Live Coverage just now: "Checking the Leaderboard the top seven teams are only 2 1/2 hours apart. Avaya have blasted straight through CP4 and are just behind Naturex. However... Naturex have banked 1h 15m of Sleep so are effectively 1h 30m ahead." (The team timing chart shows hours of "Rest".)
Nov 9, 2018 2:34 AM # 
Reading that FMR has a 2-hour penalty for a missing strobe light, and that Naturex had to completely unpack their bags before finding theirs...I wonder how many other teams will be caught out by the equipment check.
Nov 9, 2018 3:08 AM # 
Nice that they can serve their 2-hour penalty while sleeping in a bed at a TA! Rob Howard's latest article describes the action at CP4 including some candid observations about team dynamics.
Nov 9, 2018 3:40 AM # 
So at CP 5, without taking sleep into account, the leaderboard is:

1) Red Fox
2) Naturex
3) Haglofs Silva
4) Avaya
5) Swedish Armed Forces
6) DSN74 Hoka
7) Columbia
8) North Face
9) Yealands
10) FMR

Those are the only 10 teams to hit CP 5 so far and the time spread from 1-10 is 3.5 hours.

All the teams now know where they are in relation to the competitions as they are doing an out and back in the daylight up and down the Piton.
Nov 9, 2018 4:06 AM # 
I'm wondering if the "Rest" listed on each team's timing info (if you click on the team) is actually just TA/CP time. Supposedly, teams had to check out of a CP/TA and spend at least 30 minutes in order to count it as rest but I see Red Fox has "rest" listed for each of CPs 1 to 5, with a 20 minute rest at CP1, which isn't supposed to count.
Nov 9, 2018 4:28 AM # 
At 8:15 a.m., Haglöfs Silva leads Avaya by a little over 1 km on the trek from CP6 to K7 and TA1. Naturex and Red Fox are about 1 km behind Avaya in 3rd and 4th. The leaderboard is not showing CP6, the 2nd visit to CP5 after climbing Piton des Neiges, so Red Fox is still shown in the lead but that is no longer the case.

(This doesn't include rest since I can't figure out how to interpret the leaderboard rest time.)
Nov 9, 2018 4:48 AM # 
Top 4 teams have about 40km to finish trek. And they drop about 1500m too so it could be quick. They have 10 hours to dark zone so could start some of leg 2. And that's including 5 hours rest time each.

I think the projected times are maybe a little short
Nov 9, 2018 5:13 AM # 
From AR Live Coverage: "Haglofs Silva has covered 2.5km in a straight line in the first hour downhill. They have another 15km Straight to go so that will be at least another 6 hours. It's currently 8.30am so estimated time into TA1 about 3pm. How far can they get on Section B??!? They need to sleep at a manned CP to bank a further 4 hours sleep. If anyone gets caught in between they will sleep 11 hours and bank nothing."
Nov 9, 2018 6:02 AM # 
@Bash - I think the leaderboard rest times are geofenced. Hence many teams have several hours of "rest" at CP3 as their dot was stationary there while they were moving down the canyon without tracker signal.

So we'll have to take them with a pinch of salt. I think the only legit rest times so far are those indicated at CP4. Not sure if some teams rested at CP5/6? As that should also be accurately tracked by the geofencing.
Nov 9, 2018 7:29 AM # 
@Bash, where is this AR Live coverage you speak of? my nav and dotwatching skills seem to surpass my googleability.

also, check this out. there's a google streetview on almost the whole hike from the start!,55.47981...
Nov 9, 2018 7:32 AM # 
@Shebeen - it's the Facebook page which does all the regular commentary & analysis..
Nov 9, 2018 7:47 AM # 
@bash, the logged sleep time is in the notes below. Here's the top ten teams notes:

Team CP3 CP4 CP5
Red Fox 50min 1h
Naturex 2h 1h
Haglofs Silva 50min
Avaya 50min 1h
Swedish Armed Forces 1h
DSN74 2h30
Columbia 1h
North Face 1h 30min
Yealands 1h
FMR 1h
Nov 9, 2018 8:00 AM # 
Nov 9, 2018 9:43 AM # 
For Haglofs Silva it's probably ~12/15km to go to TA1, and it's 1:30pm local now. I'm guessing you'd need 2/3 hours to get to CP7 from TA1
It involves - a ~1km steep hike down to waterfall (drop of 200m vertical)
Kite at waterfall, then if waterlevels are low, about a 2km walk along small river to main one
Then inflate packrafts and paddle ~3km to checkpoint, with two portages

I guess you'll need at least 2hours to do this, so you'll have to leave TA1 at 5pm at the latest.

Either way we'll know pretty soon what they choose to do. I've got a feeling that they will end up at TA1 overnight and see more and more teams arriving and eating up to their hard earned lead. For the four other leading teams it is just a bit harder
Nov 9, 2018 11:54 AM # 
What are the Wolves (13) up to? Looks like they're heading to Hell-bourg.
Are they:
a) lost? Surely not. It's daylight and only day 2, still fresh minds.
b) pulling a big nav move? Using the D48 major road to get to TA1? Is that allowed?
c) going up the hill for the view?
d) ....pulling out of the race?
Nov 9, 2018 12:10 PM # 
I think it's d) unfortunately. Word on the wireless is that John has been having ITB issues coming into the race.
Nov 9, 2018 1:02 PM # 
I'm sure the racers will have their opinions, but from a spectator point of view this 12 hours of banked sleep is great. Especially the 4hr max.

Hindsight will show us what the best strategy is, but currently i think Haglofs, Avaya and Naturex will go out onto leg2 now. there is no point sitting in a TA during daylight and then waiting for 12/13 hours to go again.

All they have to lose is 4hours of logged sleep at a crowded TA.
They stand to gain a headstart on leg2, and the possibility to take leg2 a bit slower in order to make the CP10 darkzone comfortably.

They have completed the "38:30" hours leg in 34:15, so clearly chose to try and make this window. We will only know later if doing this leg in 42/44 hours will stand a team in better stead.
Nov 9, 2018 2:29 PM # 
Thanks for the info on the Rest time. I’m not a fan of geofencing, especially in this terrain.
Nov 9, 2018 2:45 PM # 

ARWS - Adventure Racing World Championships

Raid in France - Reunion

LEG A - Trek and ropes (106km)

Sanlam Team Painted Wolf (13) have unfortunately withdrawn from the race.

At approximately 12:15pm local time the news was received from the team that they have withdrawn in the best interest of their team member John Collins.

Statement from the Team

“We are absolutely devastated to have to tell you that Team Salam Painted Wolf has had to withdraw from the ARWC due to knee injury to John that just progressively worsened despite all attempts to remedy it. In the end after 8000 meters of up and down, even with the help of a dangerous amount of anti-inflammatories, the attentions of two race doctors on the course, he was still hardly able to progress at all. It is the hardest decision we have ever made and we are crushed. Thank you all so much for your interest. Mark, John, Andre and Robyn”

We wish John a speedy recovery and know that he will be racing again at full strength very soon.
Nov 9, 2018 2:53 PM # 
Looks like no one is pushing on from TA1. It's going to be chaos when the darkzone lifts in the morning. There's an abseil just after the TA, so there could be a big queue for that. Will teams respect the order of arrival at the TA?
Nov 9, 2018 2:58 PM # 
Good question. Looks like the Night Shift is going to be easy today. Teams can leave at 5:15 am.
Nov 9, 2018 3:29 PM # 
‘There is no honor among thieves’.
Nov 9, 2018 3:46 PM # 
Someone referenced Avaya and others perhaps pushing on after TA 1. Guessing they must have determined that making it to CP7 was not in the cards. Hence, it would be wise to bank the 4 hours of sleep at the TA. Looks like Avaya is sleeping a bit into the woods past the TA. Guessing that is legal?

I admit that I really haven't memorized all the sleep rules yet. Not sure what is legal and what is not...

Avaya seems to be exactly where they want to be. I feel like the last couple of years, they have really dominated from the start, but before that, I feel like they generally eased into races. Often trailed behind for 24-48 hours and then really took over. In the next leg or two, I wouldn't be surprised if we see them pulling away.

The sleep strategies and dark zones definitely could prolong the race from fully taking off, however. To some degree, races with all of these early dark zones mask things as teams don't always fully "race" until they are clear off such obstacles. Might be another day or two until we really see where things stand. would love to know what the actual strategies are for the top 5-10 teams.

Chris Forne (I think, might have have been Stuart Lynch) mentioned somewhere last night that they were being cautious: they did not want to "make mistakes or go too fast". How many teams out in the front pack are going too fast?

Something tells me that Avaya isn't out of magic yet. But as always Haglofs looks primed to push them. And Naturex is clearly looking to win "at home". I saw somewhere that at least one of the Russians seemed to be hurting a bit, so I don't know that I'd bet on them holding with the leaders through to the end. SAFAT is always so strong, so who knows there. I don't know that I see any other teams storming back to overtake ALL of these lead teams.

That said, do we know if dark zones neutralize times? That could change things for sure and give some of the teams off the lead a chance to catch up for free with the leaders seemingly parked at TA1 for a long while...?
Nov 9, 2018 3:47 PM # 
Interesting thing about the dark zone is that the teams who have managed to bank the most official sleep by the restart tomorrow will be in the virtual lead. At this stage the top 3 then looks as follows:

1) Hoka, with 6 hours + likely 4 hours at TA1
2) Estonian Ace Adventure with 4 hours + another 4 at TA1
3) Absolu Raid Occitaine 1 with 3h20m + another 4 at TA1.

These teams don't have much sleep left to bank for the rest of the race!
Nov 9, 2018 3:53 PM # 
Nice point, stijn. I didn't hear much about this strategy before the race started, but given the dark zone the front teams appear to all be stuck in, it may have made sense to bank as much sleep as possible at previous CPs in order to clear it out of the way and allow for a continuous push later in the race.

Of course, there is a second dark zone before the next paddle, correct?
Nov 9, 2018 3:59 PM # 
Will have to look at the estimated leg times to see weather that ocean paddle is likely to coincide with a dark zone...
Nov 9, 2018 4:01 PM # 
Hoka have made a genius move. They were in about 5th place on the ground and opted to take another 3h30m of sleep at CP5, which dropped them out of the top-10, but will give them the virtual lead by 2 hours by the time we restart tomorrow morning. If it was an intentional move by them, that's brilliant strategy!
Nov 9, 2018 4:03 PM # 
Nov 9, 2018 4:04 PM # 
I suspect the potential problem with that strategy is that once you get down to the coast, the dark zones are mostly done, and there is still a lot of race left. So teams will need to sleep. If they have mostly cleared their sleep, then they will either be forced to sleep more at the expense of time or they will be forced to race more without sleep.

Not saying it's wrong, but not sure it is will work out in the long run...or make a notable difference.

Before the race, I'd want to know what two teams are doing:
1) avaya
2) Columbia (largely because I believe Nick Gracie is one of the bets tacticians out there)

What has Columbia done?
Nov 9, 2018 4:04 PM # 
Answer: Columbia has one hour banked as of now...interesting!
Nov 9, 2018 4:06 PM # 
@broots- teams need to complete their transition then log their rest. I assume they can go to a quiet place near the TA then check back in once they're are done and then proceed.
Nov 9, 2018 4:14 PM # 
I think most of the top teams would use less than 12 hrs of sleep for the quoted race duration so getting any extra mandatory out of the way like Hoka without adding unnecessary rest as the top 5 have done will pay dividends.
Vidaraid slept 2+ hrs total at ARWC '16 for reference.
Nov 9, 2018 5:05 PM # 
Newly posted rules for dark zones:
1/ From K9 to K10 full darkzone, no paddling no walking
2/ From K14 to CP10 there are 2 rules :
From K14 to point 68 (elevation) full dark zone (no paddling, no walking)
From point 68 to CP10 teams could walk.

Dark zone is from 7PM to 5.15AM local time
Nov 9, 2018 5:26 PM # 
So no dark zone from TA1 to K9? That changes things a lot for me. Teams can then bank 4 hours sleep and then move down to the river at 3am.

Would explain why the front three chose to wait at TA1
Nov 9, 2018 5:28 PM # 
sorry just getting caught up on what's going on. it's my understanding the top pack teams have been knocking out 30 min sleeps...assuming this is correct; I have to wonder, if they are using them in a quick 'time out' fashion; bust into the TA and toss everything on the other side of the 'line' and officially take a 30 min 'nap' essentially taking their time to tend to feet, food, maps, and reassessing things. Then when they are ready, head out. This would take bites out of the mandatory 12 hrs, with the idea that the top teams would historically take 4- 6 hrs of sleep to complete a course.
Just a thought...

Columbia is also peaking my interest: they are typically closer to top, but they got Nick G.....
Nov 9, 2018 7:07 PM # 
14 teams are shown at or near TA 1 now with Columbia arriving most recently.
Nov 9, 2018 7:10 PM # 
If teams are allowed to move from TA1 to K9 in the dark, now is the time we might start to see dots moving for the lead teams, depending on how long it took them to complete their TA and start logging 4 hrs of official sleep time.
Nov 9, 2018 7:15 PM # 
Meanwhile back in the mangroves, there are still 8 teams trekking between CP4 and CP5. Reminder: the ascent of Piton des Neiges is an out-and-back from CP5, which becomes CP6 on the return trip.
Nov 9, 2018 7:25 PM # 
French team Agde Raid Adventure, ranked 11th in the world, is racing unranked now. So are Swedish team Naturkompaniet Pioneers, Colombian team Transdev and French team Los Bomberos 81.

Two teams have retired so far: Peaklife Sport and Sanlam Painted Wolf.
Nov 9, 2018 7:49 PM # 
The new Sleepmonsters article seems to confirm that we won't see teams moving until light, or just before. So, sometime around 815PM, east coast US time, I believe for those on my clock? ~5.5 hours from now? Am I reading this right?
Nov 9, 2018 9:30 PM # 
18 teams in now with 3 - 5 teams that might make it to TA before the dark zone lift. Agde Raid Adventure is now retired at least their tracker is as it took the direct route to the finish line. CP5 appears to be a busy place with 8+ teams in the area. Likely getting some sleep. Some after summiting and other before heading up.
Nov 9, 2018 10:00 PM # 
Agreed Broots, that SM article sounds like the organizers stuck to the dark zone as described in the route book even though they'd said they might announce a change at TA1. Nobody has moved from TA1, which further indicates there was no change.
Nov 9, 2018 10:00 PM # 
Yes, Agde has been moved to "Retired" on the leaderboard now.
Nov 9, 2018 10:36 PM # 
Haglöfs Silva look to be the first to move at 2.15. Clearly want to be the first to the ropes for the waterfall absail.
Nov 9, 2018 11:17 PM # 
Beautiful 2-minute summary of Days 1 and 2 by Elevated Films
Nov 9, 2018 11:24 PM # 
Although the leaderboard hasn't updated for awhile, it appears that all teams have reached CP5, the start of the climb to Piton des Neiges. Team Belgium is currently on the summit at 3,049 m. Well done, given that the high point of Belgium is only 694 m above sea level.
Nov 9, 2018 11:49 PM # 
Thanks for sharing that video, Bash. I wasn't too jealous about missing that hiking stage until watching it!

Meanwhile, the tracking just updated and, at 3:45 a.m., several teams are on the move out of TA1, including SAFAT, Yealands, FMR, and Hoka.
Nov 10, 2018 1:40 AM # 
It looks like the DZ has lifted as the team head down river for CP. Wonder if everyone is playing bumper boats with that many teams (~14) nearly all heading into the river at the same time. At the other end of the race I am not sure if Team Belgium missed the turn or are backtracking to CP4.
Nov 10, 2018 2:52 AM # 
Wow, that was quite a diversion. Guess they haven't had much practice stopping on downhills. ;) Looks like they're back at CP5/6 now.
Nov 10, 2018 2:54 AM # 
Here's a short video clip of teams packrafting down the river.
Nov 10, 2018 2:56 AM # 
Hoka is now sitting in 6th place just 15 minutes behind the leaders at CP7 but I think they are the virtual race leaders with 11.5 hrs of sleep banked?
Nov 10, 2018 3:02 AM # 
An 18 minute hosted video of teams coming down the river and coming ashore with their packrafts. I skipped through it but I did hear a racer confirm they were permitted to leave TA1 before 5:15; they just couldn't go onto the water.
Nov 10, 2018 5:14 AM # 
As a refresher now that the lead teams are in the middle of it, the packraft + ropes stage from TA1 to TA2 was estimated to take 14:15 to 22:50. So teams stopped by last night's dark zone are moving quickly to avoid being stopped again by tonight's dark zone.

Although the time is tight, a couple of things will help. Teams were allowed to leave TA1 before the dark zone lifted at 5:15 a.m. Also, it is permitted to walk along the riverbank after 19:00 starting a few km before CP10 (at a sign post past point 68 on the map). There is no dark zone from CP10 to TA2.

The first dark zone cut-off is a 16:45 departure from CP9. The next dark zone cut-off is 19:00 and the impact depends on where teams are.
Nov 10, 2018 5:29 AM # 
For all the details, refer back to Shebeen's excellent analysis above.
Nov 10, 2018 7:12 AM # 
I think the guy from yealands said there was a whistle signifying the lifting of dark zone at the river. Now that would have made some great content seeing that!
Nov 10, 2018 8:00 AM # 
Based on the leaders' progress, Naturex & Avaya should reach CP9 by 12:45, with 4 hours left before the 16:45 dark zone cut-off there. i.e. Any teams not within 4 hours behind them now will struggle to get there in time. They were at CP8 4 hours ago, which means that Jabberwock (in 17th place) is the last team likely to make it. They need to hustle though!
Nov 10, 2018 10:42 AM # 
Sad news that Jabberwock have just withdrawn due to a suspected broken arm to team member Janneke Laesk :-/ A real pity as they were going very well!
Nov 10, 2018 11:08 AM # 
2 things to ponder
A) after the monster leg 1 Trek and now low water packraft, will they be keen to get in their bikes? From the rd time predictions it looked like really slow going, 44km in 6 hours without much climbing. But on Google earth, and the description of cane fields it would seem to be easier.
The only thing i can think of is mud.
B) where will painted wolf find a pub to watch the France Vs South Africa rugby game tonight? :-)
Nov 10, 2018 11:14 AM # 
The main thing that looks tricky about the bike leg is the nav. The race maps show many many roads and tracks, so plenty of micro route choices and careful navigation will be required. Especially at night...
Nov 10, 2018 2:50 PM # 
The 2nd and final set of maps has been posted. No instructions yet though.
Nov 10, 2018 3:43 PM # 
Avaya and Naturex are the only teams biking on stage 3 right now. Although Avaya has about a 40 min lead, they have only logged 5:50 of sleep vs. 7 hrs for Naturex. So Naturex is the virtual leader for now.
Nov 10, 2018 3:54 PM # 
It looks like 12 other teams passed the “point 68” dark zone by 19:00 unless some team isn’t tracking. (Team Pirineus is tracking near TA2 but they didn’t visit CP9.) SAFAT appears to be the 14th and final team to make the cut.
Nov 10, 2018 4:51 PM # 
With the time approaching 9 p.m. (2100) in La Reunion, dark zones are once again coming into play. TA 1 is going to be party central tonight, and I expect some teams to pile up at CP 9 in order to get some credit for banked sleep.

Are there any other dark zone stops that I'm missing?
Nov 10, 2018 4:55 PM # 
We haven't yet seen part 2 of the road book so we don't know about any dark zones that might exist beyond TA3. Maybe the organizers have commented on it elsewhere?
Nov 10, 2018 4:59 PM # 
I noticed that the Estonians left the river shortly after CP10 and took a road route through town rather than following the river. It looks like most lead teams have stayed in the river but there is nothing in the road book indicating that leaving the river is illegal. It doesn't look like that route was any faster but there might be some other advantage, e.g. warming up a chilly, wet team member.
Nov 10, 2018 5:05 PM # 
Meanwhile back in the mangroves, the Lanterne Rouge team Down Under should arrive at TA1 in 4-5 hrs, around 1-2 a.m. Teams have to leave by 13:30 tomorrow to make the short course cut-off at TA1, and it appears everyone will make it.
Nov 10, 2018 5:15 PM # 
Aw rats. SAFAT is near "point 68" on the map, after which teams are supposed to see a sign post. After that point, teams are permitted to continue on foot along the riverbank to CP10. It looks like they just missed the 19:00 deadline. They've moved away from the river, presumably to sleep and cry. They will be stopped for 10 hours and none of these sleep hours will count.
Nov 10, 2018 5:26 PM # 
Berghaus Switzerland is wandering in the area near K14. They were the last team to make the 16:45 deadline to continue from CP9 and they would have known they would be stopped along the river where they would sleep and get no credit for it. It's not clear whether they reached the rope at K14 before dark but it looks like they probably did. I thought they might be returning to CP9 where their sleep would count but they've turned back toward K14 now.
Nov 10, 2018 5:26 PM # 
Too bad for SAFAT - they were looking a little ragged on the tracker this morning, no doubt as a result of the brutal trekking leg.

So the field of contenders has essentially been whittled down to 13, assuming Pireneus did not get CP 9.
Nov 10, 2018 5:33 PM # 
They didn't. They were at CP8 at 14:45, then suddenly jumped to TA2 at 19:30. Avaya took 9.5 hrs to get from CP8 to TA2, and Pirineus does not have any geofencing times for CP9 or CP10 so even though they're still 6th on the leaderboard, I think it's safe to say they're short coursed or retired or something.

Speaking of retired, I just noticed that Sweco is out.
Nov 10, 2018 5:35 PM # 
I just saw these photos from CP9 and the first part of the trek to K14. I now have a theory about why Berghaus is wandering in the dark!
Nov 10, 2018 5:44 PM # 
Oh no! Sweco are some of the nicest people I've met in AR. Hope they're OK. Marie did some damage to her ankle and knee in the canyoning section of Raid Gallaecia last year...

Also, I don't think it has been mentioned here, but Tri Adventure Antelopes, the winners of XPD Tasmania this year, are also listed as retired.
Nov 10, 2018 5:46 PM # 
:( Also Carton Raid Réunion has become unranked.
Nov 10, 2018 5:48 PM # 
On a happier note, Berghaus made it out to the road and it looks like they're heading back to CP9 where their sleep will count. However, the road book says that navigation is not authorized after 19:00 so I'm not sure whether they were allowed to do that. They weren't progressing forward but they were moving during hours of darkness. Maybe there is a problem.
Nov 10, 2018 5:58 PM # 
A number of teams are moving between K12 and CP9. Although the road book says navigation is not authorized after 19:00, I guess this restriction only applies to riverbed travel. After K12, teams are not required to stay in the riverbed and the "blue line" route follows roads. So I guess there will be a party at CP9 tonight since there was a 16:45 cut-off to depart from there.
Nov 10, 2018 6:10 PM # 
At 22:00, Avaya is about 12 km from TA3. Has anyone seen a road book for the race beyond this point? The maps are linked above. In the overview, this was described as a 27 km Trek (+MTB) with 330 m of climb. Maybe this is the national park where they have to walk their bikes? Part of the route from TA3 to TA4 is on road so maybe they can ride when they're on a road?
Nov 10, 2018 6:15 PM # 
Avaya now has a lead of 1 hour over Naturex, which is getting close to Naturex's 70 minute advantage in logged sleep. Naturex, in turn, is about 90 minutes ahead of Haglöfs Silva in 3rd (albeit with 2:10 less sleep than Naturex).
Nov 10, 2018 6:20 PM # 
Without doing all the math, I suspect Hoka (with 11.5 hrs logged sleep and 4 hrs behind Avaya with 5:50 logged sleep) is the virtual leader right now. They will need to sleep again though.

Also, Columbia Vidaraid is just over 3 hrs behind Avaya with 9 hrs of logged sleep so they are pretty much tied.
Nov 10, 2018 6:20 PM # 
I'm sorry but if moving along a road at night becomes a DZ issue then the rules/course design are crap.
Nov 10, 2018 6:24 PM # 
Agreed. The rules say "Authorized navigation times 05:15 to 19:00". I think it's a translation issue. In French, one of the meanings of "navigation" (in addition to "navigation") is "travelling on the water". So I guess unless it's specifically prohibited to leave the riverbed in a particular section, teams can move during the dark zone on this stage.
Nov 10, 2018 6:28 PM # 
The Estonians are not far behind Columbia and have logged 8 hrs of sleep.

OK, must stop watching dots now! Too much else to do. :)
Nov 10, 2018 7:05 PM # 
SAFAT is at CP10! Maybe they pushed hard to reach the signpost near "point 68" and decided to nap before continuing. (No, I couldn't help looking at the dots one more time.)
Nov 10, 2018 7:10 PM # 
One of the packrafts exploded on water for the Estonians, they were not able to fix it with all the wetness and humidity, so they had just one raft for the leg.
Nov 10, 2018 7:15 PM # 
Nov 10, 2018 8:35 PM # 

They just seem to always know exactly how to manage their race.

Into the TA and presumably knocking out more sleep. Naturex looks to be 1.25-1.5 hours back now. Yes, they have a lead on sleep, but they will probably stop now too to sleep in darkness. Avaya is not only outpacing them now, but they will likely pass them on sleep at this TA. Most of the chasers seem to be 3 hours or more behind. Haglofs might be a bit closer. Whatever "lead" others might have had due to additional sleep credits looks to be gone. Avaya will most likely sleep a big one now, knocking off more sleep and darkness while others trickle in or toward the TA. They may not necessarily leave TA before others, but they will be much more rested if teams elect to push on without sleeping in the TA. I know where I would put my money...

I know I'm waxing on about the same old, same old. But as a big sports fan, I have always admired watching greatness when it is happens, and this is undoubtedly it. I'm just always amazed to watch these guys manage a race. It might look like they are finally slowing down or maybe being outraced, but... then we realize they are in control and maybe have been before the race even began. Naturex still has a chance. I'm not sure anyone else is close enough to hang with them though. Haglofs may be 2-2.5 hours out best case scenario, but they have ,slept less, and Avaya will put 2-4 hours more onto them in sleep now before Haglofs has a chance to even see them. And then most others teams are further back than that.

The opposing strategy:
Hoka has banked ALL 12 hours now...They are 5 hours behind Avaya. I'd bet they are at least 6 hours behind Avaya based on pace. I don't see them racing to the finish without sleeping at least once more which will hurt them mathematically. Still a fair bit to do...Avaya will sleep 4 hours now is my guess, getting them to just shy of 10. They will then leave probably about two hours before Hoke gets in and now only two hours behind Hoks based on sleep. but Avaya will be "fresh," and they will be nearing sunrise so ready to go for a full day more. They will probably open their lead further on most if not all teams. Teams like Hoka that have slept 10-12 hours will then be forced to push on or stop to take more sleep "on the clock" knowing they already burned their sleep. Tough situation from a competitive standpoint for them.

As an NBA (American basketball) fan, we always hear about the great debate: Jordan or Lebron. To me, it's Seagate/Avaya or _____________. Nike? John Howard's team? Any other contenders.

Amazing stuff.
Nov 10, 2018 9:23 PM # 
Well said, Broots. Maybe Nike in their day. But nobody’s “day” in this sport has lasted as long as Avaya/Seagate’s.
Nov 11, 2018 12:12 AM # 
ive been kinda quiet on the race commentary but this pic caught my eye and I LOVE IT. bravo Raid in France!
Nov 11, 2018 12:31 AM # 
Avaya is onto Stage 4.

From the race overview:

This trek of 27km involves a coasteering section through Anse des Cascades along the cliffs and paths which cross the lava flows formed by the eruption of the piton de la Fournaise in 2007. The final section of this leg is along a road and the organisation will drop team mountain bikes at a CP so they can ride this section to the Transition Area. Teams are estimated to complete this leg in 4 - 7 hours.
Nov 11, 2018 3:32 AM # 
The lead teams are virtually on a 70ish km trek now...Technically, two legs, but the majority of them are trekking. Then they start a bike leg, but much of the first portion of it is hike a bike...hence, my rough estimate of 70 km. And it doesn't sound easy; sounds and looks dry and maybe a lot of volcanic rock. From having raced in Iceland and hiked in Hawaii, I wonder if this terrain will be as sharp and nasty as the volcanic terrain I have experienced. I bet we start to see the lead 10-15 teams spreading out even more now.
Nov 11, 2018 4:21 AM # 
Avaya is at TA4 now. They logged 4 hrs of sleep at TA3, as Broots predicted. They have now had 9 hrs 50 mins of sleep. Naturex is 1 hour back and they have only logged 9 hrs of sleep. Hoka is 4 hrs back and have logged their full 12 hrs of sleep. So as expected, Avaya have a solid lead, both on the race course and in the virtual timing.

Anyone see any sign of that road book for Part 2 of the race course yet?

I'm racing tomorrow so please post some news so I can catch up afterward. :)
Nov 11, 2018 5:33 AM # 
One more thing: SAFAT actually *didn’t* make last night’s dark zone but they thought they did. They were turned back at CP10 and told to go back to the place near “point 68” where they were supposed to have spent the night. Surely a penalty served at the CP would have been better than sending them back to a place where it supposedly wasn’t safe to travel in the dark.
Nov 11, 2018 6:59 AM # 
Thanks for all the updates Bash. Enjoy your race!
I'm hoping Shebeen & Stijn would tag in with a breakdown of the 2nd part of the race.
Nov 11, 2018 7:02 AM # 
Naturex has just gone off their map, south of K20. They'll need to head back as they can't cross the main road anywhere else other than by using the path that starts at K20..
Nov 11, 2018 7:31 AM # 
I'm guessing that the normal 7pm-5:15am dark zone applies for the Sea Kayaking leg? Avaya started this trek up past the volcano just before 8:30 this morning and this is what's coming up for them:

Section E Trek: 32km (10h50m)
Section F MTB+Trek+Caving: 51km (8h05m)
Section G Trek+Ropes: 3km (1h15)

This should get them to the start of the sea kayak leg at about 5am tomorrow morning, just in time for the lifting of the dark zone - no surprise here that they've got everything under control!

Teams will want to start that sea kayak leg by 1pm latest (estimated fastest time 5h50m) to finish it before the 7pm dark zone comes into effect tomorrow night. i.e. They need to stay within 7-8 hours of Avaya. If the time estimates are accurate, the top-11 teams as far back as FMR (currently 5h behind Avaya) all have a shot, but it will be tight for some of these teams, especially if they need to take a few hours of sleep tonight.

So we might see a bit of a regrouping of teams in the back half of the top-13 towards the end of the race. Looong way to go still!
Nov 11, 2018 7:44 AM # 
Naturex back on track now... cost them almost an hour.
Nov 11, 2018 7:53 AM # 
Haglofs making the same mistake.. must be a tricky spot!
Nov 11, 2018 8:48 AM # 
The hike up Piton de la Fournaise is going to be brutal. It is a very rocky and dry there. I'm not sure where they'll find water, so teams will probably have to carry their compulsory amount of water from T4. No leg in this race is going to be easy.
Nov 11, 2018 10:21 AM # 
Some unhappy campers & fight with RD:
Nov 11, 2018 10:59 AM # 
LSN made the same error but are still traveling south. It's taken them an hour to get where they are presently and I'm gutted for them as the moment they figure it out, their hearts will sink after clawing their way into such a high placing.
Nov 11, 2018 11:01 AM # 
And now the Estonians have gotten mixed up, too. This turn just must so minor amongst the foliage. Even Avaya made a 200m 'mistake' in finding it!
Nov 11, 2018 12:24 PM # 
If you haven't watched the video on facebook of Armed Forces discussing the issue, it's worth watching. Let's just say they are as adamant as I have seen a team that they were correct and the RD wrong. And the RD, of course, is digging in. Armed Forces refused to hand over their tracker as they wanted to keep the evidence. WOW!!!
Nov 11, 2018 12:39 PM # 
(That was broots, logged in as me, FYI)
Nov 11, 2018 2:15 PM # 
AND....Armed Forces is out:(

-broots ;)
Nov 11, 2018 4:05 PM # 
Seagate/avaya really just a dominant team, not forgetting that they were the fastest team in Tasmania but lost it on a penalty for not having the tracker.

It's a bit boring seeing them so far out front, again. But there's no denying that the three men in this team who have been the constant over these years are masters at this art (I say this because they have just drafted it a female racer at the last minute and it's almost a non issue)
Nov 11, 2018 6:24 PM # 
Yealands is way south...further than even where the Estonians got (but not as far as where Lozere was). Hope they can figure it out soon. Must be tough considering they're off the map. (Speaking of which, does anyone have the link for the second set of maps and guide book?)

I was wondering how Black Hill and Issy clawed their way back into such good's their story and that of the elusive K20, as told by Rob Howard of Sleepmonsters. He is really nailing coverage of the race, I must say.
Nov 11, 2018 7:12 PM # 
maps are all linked from this page (scroll to the bottom).
Can't find a link to the route book though.
Nov 11, 2018 7:28 PM # 
ahh, found it...
Nov 11, 2018 10:19 PM # 
Looks like Naturex has caught Avaya at CP 15, with Avaya having put in 2 hours of to be a big boost for Naturex to have their prey in sight.
Nov 11, 2018 10:38 PM # 
And now Naturex is on the bikes and in first place on the road!
Nov 11, 2018 11:18 PM # 
I'm not sure I'm a fan of how K20 is at the very bottom of the map, and that racers weren't provided any map of what lies to its south (where many of the teams that got lost ended up). Seems a bit unfair...
Nov 11, 2018 11:24 PM # 
Also, it sounds like the control description "In the stream" was vague, and the stream didn't really exist anyway.

P.S. Thanks for all the great news updates! :)
Nov 11, 2018 11:32 PM # 
Naturex is about 90 minutes past CP15, where Avaya appears to have completed their 12-hr sleep requirement (plus some extra) and will probably leave soon. Naturex still needs to log 3 more hrs of sleep. Any bets on how long it will take Avaya to catch up? They are totally in control - so impressive to watch.
Nov 12, 2018 12:16 AM # 
Broots, where did you see the video of SAFAT?

They started the stage 3 bike but returned to TA2. I wondered if they were just mentally defeated but it turned out that Oskar went to hospital and likely has broken ribs. He was injured earlier during the first stage and it wasn't getting any easier to race in rough terrain with that pain.
Nov 12, 2018 1:35 AM # 
Bash, try this link?

Long one, but very interesting. It really heats up when they reach the volunteers.

I'm waiting for Avaya's sleep to update on their team page...
Nov 12, 2018 1:49 AM # 
It seems that Yealands is stuck in a naviagtion vortex at K20. Agree with strongmachine, that being at the bottom of the map, seems a bit tricky to say the least. Hope they can recover a bit.
Nov 12, 2018 1:49 AM # 
And, as for Avaya...

I figure Naturex has to sleep either at the end of this bike or at the start of the paddle. They haven't had a notable sleep in well over 24 hours and they need to knock out a big chunk still. I'd think doing it before paddling would be the way to go. I'm actually surprised they didn't do it overnight though...

Now they have to give up a few hours of daylight. Unless they plan to push on and try to make it through another day (the math based on course projections suggests Avaya will finish at night "tomorrow") and sleep at one of the last CPs/TAs. If that is their plan, I don't see them holding pace with Avaya, something they have come close to doing all things said and done. And I'd be very impressed if they can keep a good pace up for another full 15 hours or so without some sleep soon.

I don't know that Haglofs is close enough to overtake them (and I think they have even more sleep to take still than Naturex?), but if Naturex gets sucked into racing Avaya head to head right now without taking care of that sleep, things could really unravel for them. And it sounds like there might be a bit more tricky nav on the final bike...
Nov 12, 2018 1:52 AM # 
Hmmm. Haglofs has actually banked a bit MORE sleep than Naturex...and it looks like they are 2-2.5 hours behind Naturex right now. So, Naturex and Haglof's timing for sleep strategy may be crucial for holding or overtaking for second.
Nov 12, 2018 2:29 AM # 
Has anyone worked out who is likely to get caught in the DZ for the paddle. Avaya, Haglofs and Naturex look to easily make it through but will the others all bunch up again?
Nov 12, 2018 3:20 AM # 
Is Team Belgium looking for frites and beer again or are they just choosing to walk instead of paddle?
Nov 12, 2018 3:32 AM # 
Looks like they were doing the short course "Cut-B" where teams go from K12 to CP10. That became mandatory Monday 7 a.m. at K12 but they chose to do it earlier than that. They aren't allowed to leave CP10 until noon. I would have expected them to sleep there but it looks like they've gone west. Maybe a better place to eat or sleep for a few hours?
Nov 12, 2018 3:41 AM # 
Avaya has arrived in TA 6, listed as behind Naturex's arrival by 45 minutes. Naturex is working its way down to the water and TA 7, which involves two 50m abseils and "an uneven trek through a gully."

Update: Naturex is listed as having arrived at TA7 after a one-hour trek. That marker should help us measure who will make the DZ.
Nov 12, 2018 3:49 AM # 
Turns out Team Belgium detoured to take a bridge!
Nov 12, 2018 3:49 AM # 
The kayak is expected to take between 6 and 8 hours.

I'm assuming the cutoff to be off the water is 7 p.m. (1900 hrs) as travel is only permitted during daylight hours. Using the fast estimate, that's 1 p.m. (1300) into TA7.

Assuming teams will travel slightly faster during the day than the leaders did at night, I think realistically that only gives a handful of teams a shot to make the DZ cutoff. Black Hill, Estonia, and potentially the French trifecta of Lozere, Hoka, and Absolu 1, if they got a move on.

Did I do that right?
Nov 12, 2018 3:53 AM # 
The light has come and Yealands found the path! Back on track now.

Top 10 on the road (not accounting for sleep totals):
1) Naturex
2) Avaya
3) Haglofs Silva
4) Black Hill Opavanet (nice work by these guys!)
5) Estonia ACE
6 (3 way tie):Lozere, Hoka, and Absolu 1
9) Columbia
10) North Face
Nov 12, 2018 3:55 AM # 
"Navigation [on the water] is authorized from 5:00 to 19:00."
"Departure time on the sea in the morning and closing time in the afternoon will change every day in function of the sea state and weather..."
"From TA7, you cannot leave for CP17 after 15:30."
"From CP17, you cannot leave for TA8 after 16:30."

So there are a few cut-offs to watch!
Nov 12, 2018 3:57 AM # 
I've been thinking that not very many people would have predicted that group of top 10 teams before the race. The top 5 is no surprise, except maybe for Columbia's absence.
Nov 12, 2018 4:11 AM # 
OK, so using Bash's calculations, that gives the French trifecta a little bigger buffer. But I don't think any others besides them will beat the darkzone. That means a very long wait for those arriving after 15:30...
Saint-Pierre is one of the bigger towns on the island so I expect there to be a range of dining options. I wonder if anyone will get a hotel room? I would!
Nov 12, 2018 5:27 AM # 
Avaya passed through TA7 quickly and started to paddle shortly after 8:30 a.m. Naturex and Haglöfs Silva are in the TA, possibly logging some sleep. It's a shame to waste daylight so unless they're really flagging, I wouldn't expect them to log all of their remaining sleep here (2.5 hrs for Haglöfs Silva and 3 hrs for Naturex). Also, there is the risk of sea conditions slowing down their paddle and keeping them from finishing by 19:00.
Nov 12, 2018 5:33 AM # 
Naturex serving out a 2 hour penalty at TA7 for a missing throw bag... I presume this does not count towards their official sleep hours.
Nov 12, 2018 5:34 AM # 
Nov 12, 2018 5:37 AM # 
4th place Black Hill Salomon Opavanet is 5 hrs behind Avaya on their way to CP16. The Estonians haven't tracked in 1.5 hrs and they were just about to arrive at the cave at CP 13/14. I think Black Hill is the only team with a faint hope of finishing the paddle before the dark zone. And it's really faint. Other teams will be able to leave up until 15:30 but they'll need to log sleep at CP17 or go ashore in some other place.
Nov 12, 2018 5:39 AM # 
Btw thanks to Broots for the video link of SAFAT discussing the dark zone situation. As a race organizer, I'm kinda relieved for everyone that SAFAT withdrew due to injury so this disagreement doesn't need to go to referees or a jury.
Nov 12, 2018 5:47 AM # 
From Sleepmonsters: "The Race Director just confirmed with me that Avaya served a 30 minute penalty at CP16 for a lost figure of 8 and that Naturex are currently serving a 2 hour penalty before starting the kayaking. They lost a pfd and safety rope. (They can sleep but it's not taken off the sleep card.)

[On the pack raft stage Yealands picked up a pfd and reported it, but no team could be found with one missing until now.]"
Nov 12, 2018 5:58 AM # 
We're down to a the horse race.
The same three who caned it on the first leg.

I think this shows that they are the strongest three, not that arriving at TA1 was the best strategy. I was expecting that one of the teams that had paced that leg around the TA1 DZ would have been in the mix by now. Avaya hold all the aces now, but anything could still happen. They must double check their mandatory equipment at each ta!

Interestingly if haglofs or naturex had slept at a CP before TA1 they would have a full book by now, hindsight is a brilliant science.
Nov 12, 2018 5:59 AM # 
As of Monday 10 a.m. local time, 12 teams have retired.

7 FMR 83:30:00 TA4 (returned to TA4 after K20 - or not K20?)
64 Pirineus - CNC Sports 61:30:00 TA2
18 Sweco Adventure 62:15:00 TA2
15 Jabberwock 64:30:00 TA2
5 Swedish Armed Forces Adventure 73:55:01 TA2
51 Racing Denmark Adventures 82:45:00 TA2
58 Nantes Aventures 2 97:30:00 TA2
23 Tri Adventure Antelopes 58:45:00 CP8
32 Saferbo - Seti 80:00:00 CP8
13 Sanlam Painted Wolf 25:45:00 CP5
9 Agde Raid Aventure 26:30:00 CP4
39 Peaklife Sport 12:30:00 CP2
Nov 12, 2018 6:00 AM # 
Five teams are racing unranked.

37 My Tower Aquitaine Safety 94:45:00 TA4
19 Transdev 98:30:00 CP10
28 Naturkompaniet Pioneers 82:45:00 CP9
47 Los Bomberos 81 85:30:00 CP9
54 Carton Raid Reunion 89:00:00 CP9
Nov 12, 2018 6:13 AM # 
Using haglofs time from CP 15 =} TA7 as 4:30, you would need to leave CP15 by 11:00 to make the TA7 cut off by 15:30.

You could do this a bit quicker during the day, but hola/absolu occitane have got to much race course to cover as it's 10:15 already.

I expect a big pileup at TA7 for sixth place
Nov 12, 2018 6:20 AM # 

If you zoom out, you can see dots spread over a large area of Réunion Island - cool! The final teams left CP9 this morning. The current Lanterne Rouge is Pleinouest Raid Aventure.

Team Belgium was allowed to leave CP10 before noon after taking the short course from K12. Perhaps the RD realized there is little benefit in holding back a team in that part of the pack.
Nov 12, 2018 6:28 AM # 
Top 3 teams are paddling now so Naturex's penalty is over. Avaya hasn't tracked for 75 minutes. Haglöfs Silva is about 35 minutes ahead of Naturex and has 30 minutes more sleep logged.

The 5th place Estonians started tracking again and are 20 minutes behind Black Hill. Both teams are making good time in the daylight and have a decent chance of finishing the paddle leg before 19:00.
Nov 12, 2018 9:42 AM # 
Intersting scenario now that CP17 is closed... the 15:30 cut-off at TA7 would have been based on teams being able to reach CP17 by 7pm. If they can't go to CP17, would the TA7 cut-off be moved earlier as teams would need to be able to complete the entire leg to TA8 before 7pm?

This would make it very tight for Blackhill & Estonia to be allowed on the water soon..
Nov 12, 2018 10:18 AM # 
I did a quick picture of where teams need to be to stay on full course.

There's a bout 40 teams still on the fullcourse currently teams 40,46 and 50 are just on the limit for staying in touch here, they will need to hustle the second half of the race
Nov 12, 2018 12:33 PM # 
Blackhill and Estonia have been allowed on the water. Can't see how they are going to get to the end of the leg before the DZ hits (2 1/2 hrs from now), so maybe CP17 has reopened?
Nov 12, 2018 12:58 PM # 
Naturex have gone straight through TA8 without sleeping, overtaking Haglofs who look to be taking the rest of their mandated sleep there. As far as I can tell, Naturex still need to take 3h of sleep (and Haglofs 2.5h), so maybe they are making the most of the daylight and will sleep at CP18 after it gets dark to break up the climb a bit?
Nov 12, 2018 2:43 PM # 
Looks like CP17 was reopened again. I was surprised that it was closed. There's a nice break in the backline for surfers but the beach itself is fairly protected by a reef (and obviously the marina).
But the Estonians and Black Hill will have a good night's rest there (one or two decent restaurants 400m from the CP).
So a reset for the 4th & 5th place I guess.
Nov 12, 2018 3:05 PM # 
News from the course is that the Haglofs tracker is not updating properly as they are actually 19 mins ahead of Naturex right now..
Nov 12, 2018 3:15 PM # 
ah, I was just about to write about Naturex and Haglofs...this changes it a bit...

that said: The Power of Sleep

looking at Avaya's pace out of TA vs. Naturex: Avaya is now really pulling away in regards to speed. Add in the 2-3 additional hours they have on the chasers, and I think they will end up winning by 4-5 hours at least. Maybe a couple more...barring injury, notable nav issue, etc.

I was thinking Haglofs was banking their remaining sleep, and I was going to project that they would then power past Naturex. Maybe Naturex's penalty allowed them enough sleep that they felt good, but I have to wonder if sleep earlier on would have allowed them to keep a stronger pace here at the end. Not saying they are moving slowly, but the dots suggest Avaya moved approximately twice as fast out of TA up to Naturex' current position, and I suspect they aren't going to slow down now.
Nov 12, 2018 3:35 PM # 
Avaya has one more big climb, and then it's essentially all down hill to the finish.
Nov 12, 2018 3:36 PM # 
I could have sworn Yealands was a fair distance behing Cyanosis this morning. Now they're a fair distance ahead. How did that happen?
Nov 12, 2018 3:50 PM # 
6th to 10th place will be fun. All these teams will restart at 5am on the kayaks when the dark zone lifts, all having expended all their mandated sleep. By 5am I think there'll be 6 or 7 teams there: Lozere, absolu, DSN74, Columbia, North Face, Yealands for sure, Cyanosis probably, and Red Fox may make it.

At that point it'll be an 18hr sprint race to the finish. Just what the doctor ordered!
Nov 12, 2018 3:51 PM # 
Similarly, the Estonians made an impressive push after getting lost for more than four hours around K20. They steadily picked up the French trifecta and eventually reeled in Black Hill on the water. That moved them from 8th to 4th (not accounting for sleep).
Nov 12, 2018 3:53 PM # 
I would love to see how the Estonians and Czech teams are enjoying their night on the coast. Mention of restaurants. Beds? Can they sleep in a hotel? They can really have a party tonight and then race it in.
Nov 12, 2018 4:00 PM # 
Zooming in Google Maps, it looks like the Estonians are in l'Etang Sale municipal campground, while the Czechs have opted for a more beachfront locale.
Nov 12, 2018 4:12 PM # 
Any fun amenities? Volleyball nets? Cabanas? Sand fleas?

Some of the teams at least really have gotten a fair bit of rest. Imagine this race if they couldn't? I have actually been surprised that there hasn't been MORE carnage...though I do wonder how many teams in the back half or so start to fall out. How long is the course open?
Nov 12, 2018 4:23 PM # 
They have a waterpark! And an organic bakery! And an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant!
Nov 12, 2018 4:24 PM # 
The cutoffs have been very generous, which I appreciate as one who is constantly chasing cutoffs.

I forget what the short course options are but the back-of-the-pack teams still have a good 2-3+ days left if they complete what's left.
Nov 12, 2018 4:31 PM # 
Avaya now about 200-250 meters below the rough apex. CP 19, and then downhill.

Naturex largely done with the majority of the climb. Some "flatter" terrain for a while. Too bad Haglofs tracker isn't updating properly as that will be exciting to watch. Presume they are around Naturex.

That said, how are they going to finish their sleep? In Rob's last SM article, he referenced Haglofs spending an hour of it at a bar...Kind of surprised by that. Why wouldn't you sleep?

Assuming they both have a couple hours left, I think you have to sleep at CP18. Google suggests the CP is at a hostel. Inside, shelter, maybe warm. i'm guessing it's cold up at elevation.

Cp 19 is a parking lot way up high. No indication that there is much/any infrastructure there. Then, the only other location is back down at the final TA before the finish. What good would sleep be then?

I think I would bang it out at CP 18, get some extra pep for the rest of the climb, and continue on.

Thoughts? Difference of opinion?
Nov 12, 2018 4:31 PM # 
Oh, I'd be all over Chinese buffet....
Nov 12, 2018 4:44 PM # 
Naturex appears to be off Avaya's route to CP18....
Nov 12, 2018 4:56 PM # 
They're heading up to the higher road now via a different trail.
Nov 12, 2018 4:59 PM # 
A 13th team has retired. They had been unranked already.
37 My Tower Aquitaine Safety 94:45:00 TA4

There are 3 short course teams.
63 Les Louves Des 2 Alpes 102:15:05 TA4
57 Down Under 103:00:00 TA3
48 Team Belgium 99:45:00 TA2
Nov 12, 2018 5:07 PM # 
Meanwhile back in the mangroves, three teams are at TA2 at the tail end of the full course teams:

50 Pleinouest Raid Aventure
46 Roc Mecojit BDF
40 DSN74 - Yogi Spirit

Interestingly, they've logged much less official sleep than the race leaders, who are better able to reach TAs and CPs before cut-offs and thus plan their sleep accordingly. Pleinouest has had *lots* of rest but they only have 30 minutes of official sleep. I'm sure this time at TA2 will take care of that.

It looks like these teams don't have to worry about another cut-off until Wed. 22:00, when they would have to take the "Cut-C" short course from TA5. Lead teams took 25-35 hrs to travel this stretch from TA2 to TA5 including rest time.
Nov 12, 2018 5:12 PM # 
Avaya just passed the high point at CP19. Start chilling the champagne. They might even get to bed at a reasonable hour!
Nov 12, 2018 5:23 PM # 
I think the champagne has been chilling for quite some time already, Bash. Like since they bought plane tickets to La Reunion.
Nov 12, 2018 5:37 PM # 
Now I just wish we could see what Haglöfs Silva is doing!
Nov 12, 2018 5:39 PM # 
Also, I'm curious about that Chinese buffet.
Nov 12, 2018 5:59 PM # 
ok curious about the "margin of victory" for Avaya/Seagate compared to 2017.

2017 results:
1 - Seagate - 79:13:30
2 - Haglöfs Silva - 83:48:45 - 4:35:15 back from Seagate, or 6% of Seagate's race
3 - AMK - 84:11:13 - 0:22:28 back from Silva, or <1% of Silva's race
4 - SAFAT - 84:59:00 - 0:47:47 back from AMK, or 1% of AMK's race
5 - Naturex - 85:06:05 - 0:07:05 back from SAFAT, or <1% of SAFAT's race

I'm going to estimate a bit and have Avaya win by 5 hours in 115:00:00 race duration. That's if either Naturex or Silva can keep it that close, it is an improvement by the chase pack from last year!
Nov 12, 2018 6:00 PM # 
Haglof's tracker just popped back up at CP18. They are just about even with Naturex.
Nov 12, 2018 6:08 PM # 
Naturex rolled into CP18 24 minutes ahead of Haglofs.

Naturex has 2 hours of sleep to clear.
Haglofs has 1.5 hours.

If transitions are equal, Haglofs would therefore roll out with a 6 minute lead on Naturex for the final sprint home...assuming they are holed up in the hostel.
Nov 12, 2018 6:08 PM # 

And way to go, Silky, for looking on the bright side. :)
Nov 12, 2018 6:15 PM # 
Bash, interesting observation on the sleep of the less experienced teams...The next question is: yes, they can knock out four hours in their current TA, but that's it according to the rules. So, hopefully they learn quickly how to better manage that sleep since they will still need to bank several chunks more at a place where sleeping is legal!
Nov 12, 2018 6:23 PM # 
Agreed! They have until Friday, I guess. It seems unbelievable that it hasn't been possible to do more sleeping in CPs or TAs but I haven't been watching their progress closely enough.
Nov 12, 2018 6:48 PM # 
I love the image of Haglöfs Silva and Naturex sleeping in a super competitive manner right now. It *is* an AR discipline.
Nov 12, 2018 6:52 PM # 
"We saw Avaya at cp19- looking pretty broken. Haglofs and Naturex are both sleeping at cp18" - Kirsten Olivier
Nov 12, 2018 7:09 PM # 
Wow. I've never heard that before...about Avaya.

There was a live video up yesterday of them trekking up around the volcano. They didn't seem as spry or QUITE as upbeat as they always do, but I wouldn't have come close to saying that.

That said, I'm not surprised. They have virtually been on their feet the entire race with some breaks on the bike...but even then, huge climbs and some hike a bike. Much of the packrafting had them out of the boats, the terrain is brutal. The rocks. Videos of other top teams (Haglofs for example) suggest that everyone is feeling pretty beaten up. Not a ton of joy or positive energy coming through from what I have seen since the first couple of days. I'm very curious to hear the post race tales.

There was another video with the Patagonia team, I think. He specifically noted how this race is a bit of a throw back to some of the grueling, "RDs try to destroy people for the sake of it" types of races of the past. Thought it interesting, though I don't know much about the source. This said, it does seem like this race is a monster. I know some people really dream of the "golden days", but rarely do I hear people during the event or right after sounding genuinely excited and happy about such experiences. I'm not suggesting there isn't value to such events, and I really don't know where Reunion falls in, but if Avaya is indeed "pretty broken" that doesn't bode well for the rest of the field.

Still, no doubt this will be a journey for the record books...
Nov 12, 2018 7:16 PM # 
It has looked rough. But still not as rough as the Pantanal...
Nov 12, 2018 7:17 PM # 
Naturex has concluded their stay at CP18. Are they finished with their compulsory sleeps? It doesn't seem like they stayed there long enough to me...but, who knows.
Nov 12, 2018 7:27 PM # 
For sure, they weren't there 2 hours. Max 90 minutes, it looks like - probably less. It's not a TA so they could count their entire time there. I can just imagine them arriving at the door of the hostel yelling, "We're sleeping starting NOW!!" Their last recorded sleep was at CP13/14. I wonder if they've taken a 30 minute sleep somewhere that wasn't recorded.
Nov 12, 2018 7:39 PM # 
Haglöfs Silva has departed CP18 too, and it appears they got their 90-minute "sleep". We don't know their exact timing but the info we do have suggests they did it. They tracked at TA8 and disappeared until they tracked at CP18 at 21:54. The leaderboard is based on geofencing and thus is unreliable, e.g. it shows the Estonians at CP12 in 12th place. But trackers often "disappear" when teams sleep indoors with trackers possibly facing down.
Nov 12, 2018 7:46 PM # 
Just looked at the race maps and realized that even though it's almost all downhill to the finish for Avaya, there are 7 Kites to visit along the way - K27 to K33. There certainly appears to be room for some nav errors by teams, especially at night. So it's not going to be all about speed.
Nov 12, 2018 7:50 PM # 
ARWS video of Naturex entering CP18 looking very strong and headed for sleep just surfaced. The beginning of the video places their arrival at ~21:30, which jives with their tracker first reporting them there at 21:45. They think they had 1.5hrs of remaining compulsory sleep, but this does not align with the information on the tracking site, which shows they need 2hrs. Of course, there could be some unreported time from earlier in the race.

They appear to have arrived before Haglofs.
Nov 12, 2018 7:55 PM # 
Looking closely at the Naturex breadcrumbs indicates that they did indeed stop at CP18 for the 1.5hrs that they think they needed to complete their compulsory sleep. Let's just hope they haven't miscalculated only to find that out at the finish line.
Nov 12, 2018 8:01 PM # 
That would be awful. Their last recorded sleep was CP13/14. They did spend about 2.5 hrs at TA7, where they served a 2-hr penalty. I suppose one possibility is that they were permitted to complete their TA activities during the 2-hr penalty (which isn't good practice but sometimes happens). Then they could have logged 30 minutes sleep there that got missed. Or maybe they slept earlier and it got missed. When it's only 30 minutes, we dot watchers can't figure it out ourselves!
Nov 12, 2018 8:03 PM # 
Do you think they are carrying a log of their compulsory sleeps in their passport that is executed by race officials? I sure hope so.
Nov 12, 2018 8:31 PM # 
It's going to take Avaya ~3.5 hours to finish the "Downhill" section, which has some up hill sections, because well it's ARWC, so all downhill sections need climbs in them.
~30 gap between 2 & 3 as they continue the last steep likely hike a bike section to CP19.
Nov 12, 2018 8:42 PM # 
Avaya last tracked 40 minutes ago, and at that time, they appeared to have 15+ km left to ride with only K32 and K33 left to pick up. It's not exactly "downhill", as Rob points out, but it's rolling terrain rather than mountainous. I would expect them at TA9 soon.
Nov 12, 2018 8:50 PM # 
FWIW, the official sleep times for both Haglöfs Silva and Naturex have been updated to include CP18. Naturex is still missing 30 minutes according to the record. This doesn't mean it's correct but you would think this would have caught the attention of organizers by now so they would fix an error if there was one. I wonder if there will be a controversy at the finish. (Or as Phatty would say, "CONTROVERSY!!!")
Nov 12, 2018 9:06 PM # 
Avaya now in TA9 at 1am according to RiF twitter.
Nov 12, 2018 9:28 PM # 
Here's a video of Avaya near TA9. Only 5 km to go!
Nov 12, 2018 9:30 PM # 
They have to carry pack rafts and use them to cross the water near the marina. It's expected to take 1-1.5 hrs.
Nov 12, 2018 9:36 PM # 
Lol, Avaya got lost coming out of the final transition in the dark. Apparently, the map in this area is a bit fuzzy.
Nov 12, 2018 9:37 PM # 
From AR Live Coverage: "I've had it confirmed by HQ that Naturex still need to take 30 minutes sleep."

And apparently, according to the CP18 video (which I didn't watch), Naturex thinks they're done. Uh oh.
Nov 12, 2018 9:45 PM # 
Naturex and Avaya have both taken a steeper and more direct route to K27 than the switchbacky yellow line on the tracking map.
Nov 12, 2018 9:54 PM # 
I just watched the video of Naturex at CP18. When asked about how much rest they had left, a team member said "1 hr 30 mins, I think". If that were my teammate, I'd ask him to check! They seemed cheerful and surprisingly fresh although one member had a knee injury and couldn't bend his leg much. That must be just awesome on the bike.
Nov 12, 2018 9:57 PM # 
Avaya hasn't tracked in 2 hours so we probably won't see their dot finish. Based on the RD's time prediction, it'll probably be in the next half an hour or so, around 2:30 a.m. local time.
Nov 12, 2018 10:09 PM # 
Naturex is currently 45 minutes ahead of Haglöfs Silva. Both teams assume that both they and their opponent are officially finished with sleep, and they'll be racing accordingly, which is sad because that may change the way each team races.
Nov 12, 2018 10:12 PM # 
Some quotes from teams sleeping at TA7 (from Raid in France Facebook):

Team 21 – Lozère Team2raid - Rudy Gouy
"Last night didn’t go so well. At the end of the trek section, we didn’t have enough food nor water and we started to feel the lack of sleep. We lost too much time compared to the front teams even though we rushed out. Today, our goal is to finish the race no matter what. We’re going to fight for the Top 6."

Team 30 – Absolu Raid Occitanie 1 – Johan Thomas
"In a world championship, you should never underestimate half a kilometer. You have the feeling that you will finish a section quickly but in the end, the last 500 meters are the worst. Tomorrow, we will leave at 5am for the great battle. We’re extremely motivated. We only have 3 sections left, the end is getting close."

Team 17- DSN74 – Hoka – Jocelyn Vogt
"After a non-stop 5 day race and the lack of sleep, you’re starting to have hallucinations. Especially in the river section where some rocks are shaped in human form by Reunionese people. Between the heat, the foot pain and the blisters, it is not always pleasant but we’re doing good. We’re loving Pascal’s holiday club ! We are having a great time on this amazing adventure. Even though some engaged paths gave us a hard time. But those paths are the one used by local people such as « le chemin des marrons », a former slave path. This race is a real immersion into the local culture."
Nov 12, 2018 10:38 PM # 
Avaya just popped up at the beach, minutes from finish line.
Nov 12, 2018 10:44 PM # 
Facebook Live at the finish line. They haven't arrived yet.
Nov 12, 2018 11:01 PM # 
Finished at 3:01 a.m.
Nov 12, 2018 11:05 PM # 
They look and sound great!
Nov 12, 2018 11:13 PM # 
Haglöfs Silva tracker stopped working at the top of the big decent. They were ~30 minutes back at last check and Naturex will need to sleep for 30 minutes still.
Avaya looks slightly tired, but nothing like other teams will appear when they roll in over the next few days.
Nov 13, 2018 12:28 AM # 
Naturex has just wandered a bit off-course at the last bit of the final bike. Given how close things appear for the second podium spot, this does not bode well for them. Even an extra minute could sink it for them depending on where Haglofs is hiding.
Nov 13, 2018 12:43 AM # 
They appear to be at or near K32. There is an out of bounds on what appears to be the most direct route to K33, so maybe they are doing an out and back. Or they are searching for a good spot to watch the sunrise.
Nov 13, 2018 1:04 AM # 
From watching Avaya's finish line interview, they sound quite genuinely pleased with the race. I'd expect nothing less from the winners, and esp. as these winners have a track record of being so professional and respectful. Still, they do seem impressed with the course.

Now, I really hope Haglofs tracker starts working in TA...
Nov 13, 2018 1:12 AM # 
Naturex out and back to k32 took about 45 minutes. Wonder if they crossed paths with Haglofs on their way out.
Nov 13, 2018 1:28 AM # 
Why do trackers always disappear at the absolute worst time? I guess the suspense is fun...?
Nov 13, 2018 1:37 AM # 
It think it's a late race racer-brain issue. RD's around the world need to put their heads together to develop a racer-friendly work around for this I-have-sleepmonsters-and-my-pack-is-a-sh*t-show-and-the-tracker-is-now-buried-somewhere-in-there-and-I-don't-care-anymore situation.
Nov 13, 2018 1:55 AM # 
True! When CPs are staffed, we try to intervene but nothing could be done in this situation.

Well, Naturex has arrived at TA9. Where is Haglöfs Silva?
Nov 13, 2018 1:58 AM # 
Also, will Naturex have to serve their final 30 minutes of sleep at TA9? There are different ways organizers could handle this. They could add 30 minutes to their final time but that goes against the principle involved, i.e. getting 12 hrs of rest on the course. Might there be an additional penalty for failing to follow this rule? Stay tuned...
Nov 13, 2018 2:06 AM # 
Holy cow - Haglofs just popped up at TA9 no more than 15m after Naturex. And Naturex is still there....
Nov 13, 2018 2:07 AM # 
I think they have to serve it at TA. There is the time it takes to check in and out, get gear settled, etc. I'm dubious they will really do anything other than sit there and watch their clocks, but still. It might be a few more minutes than 30 when it's all said and done. And maybe those few minutes make a difference.

Also, as you pointed out Bash, if Haglofs sees them in TA, it changes the complexion of the the last leg. If they don't...well, they should know better, but I've seen plenty of other top teams lolly gag just before the end only to have others sneak ahead. Ahem, AMk crushing a certain team in Costa Rica at the finish line!

So, that is important for Haglofs....Unless Haglofs is ahead...which is possible...
Nov 13, 2018 2:08 AM # 
And now I see Conman's post!!!! Oh wow!
Nov 13, 2018 2:12 AM # 
There has to be some daylight by now....somebody live stream or drop some photos or something!!!!
Nov 13, 2018 2:14 AM # 
Just make sure the TA crew fixes the tracker issue with Haglofs. Maybe tape the trackers to the top of the team captains heads, so as long as they are upright they transmit.
Nov 13, 2018 2:15 AM # 
Looks like they have their resources at the finish line. They posted on FB they would live stream the finish for 2nd and 3rd...But yeah, they need to get some info out there on this one!
Nov 13, 2018 2:17 AM # 
And there goes Naturex...massively curious to know what's happening!
Nov 13, 2018 2:18 AM # 
And Naturex is now tracking out of TA...which smells fishy to me...This might get ugly. If Naturex wins and there is not a clear explanation you'd have TWO very unhappy Swedish teams. I really hope all is straight as it would be a shame to have the podium end in controversy...
Nov 13, 2018 2:18 AM # 
Do you think Naturex is spending its rest time blowing up packrafts?

The final leg of the race is a short 5km trek/ packraft. The pack raft section takes teams down the Ravine St Gilles to the harbour where they exit the water for a final beach run. The finish line is outside the Village Corail and rewards teams with beer, pizza and deck chairs to relax. Teams are estimated to complete this leg in 1 - 3 hours.
Nov 13, 2018 2:41 AM # 
So, Haglofs tracker is back to being useless. ugh.
Nov 13, 2018 2:52 AM # 
My guess: Naturex has argued, maybe successfully, that they cleared their sleep...I don't know what to think of that if that is the story though. Multiple layers to that. It SOUNDS like the RDs themselves have confirmed publicly that they still have 30 minutes to, if they change that ruling, it seems like they are taking the word of Naturex....though 36 hours ago they were pretty insistent that Armed Forces was wrong, even when AF was insisting on keeping their GPS as evidence that they were in fact right...

Maybe they are assessing a 30 minute penalty at the finish, or perhaps pulling them aside somewhere on the beach...For the reasons noted above, I think those are also problematic solutions, though it would be better to pull them aside before the finish shoot than letting them cross in second only to hit them with a time penalty.

If there is some additional explanation and evidence confirming that Naturex did, in fact, serve 30 minutes extra, then all is well, and I really hope that is it....
Nov 13, 2018 2:55 AM # 
I wonder if team lacking sleep and hallucinating will enjoy heading under the bridge near the finish. I've seen enough stuff in rocks without paint on them.,55.229663...
Nov 13, 2018 2:56 AM # 
Live video feed of Haglofs at the finish is going on now. I guess that sinks the whole matter...they surpassed Naturex.
Nov 13, 2018 2:57 AM # 
Huh...and I was just logging on to say Naturex is tracking at the finish...I'm really confused...
Nov 13, 2018 2:58 AM # 
Naturex's tracker is showing 30mins of sleep at TA9, where they even there for 30mins?
Nov 13, 2018 3:01 AM # 
How could Haglöfs Silva track at 6:00 at TA9 and be relaxing with pizza before 7 a.m.? Fast estimated time was 1:40.
Nov 13, 2018 3:03 AM # 
Seems we missed the sprint finish...this video will be watchable from the beginning shortly. I still don't know the placings.
Nov 13, 2018 3:04 AM # 
The Raid in France twitter account is showing Haglofs in 2nd finishing at 6:47am and Naturex in 3rd finishing just 2 minutes back at 6:49am.
Nov 13, 2018 3:04 AM # 
Apparently, Naturex has been involved in 3 sprint finishes at ARWC races.
Nov 13, 2018 3:06 AM # 
Basically...running for whole stage!
Nov 13, 2018 3:07 AM # 
Except for when they were inflating pack rafts and paddling!
Nov 13, 2018 3:12 AM # 
I assume the 30 minutes were added at TA9 for the reason Broots proposed: the team successfully convinced organizers that their sleep total was wrong, and the error was corrected as if it happened at TA9. It doesn't look like Naturex would have had time to wait 30 minutes at TA9.
Nov 13, 2018 3:21 AM # 
Although the trackers haven't caught up, the Estonians and Black Hill are likely both in TA8 now after finishing the sea kayak. It'll be awhile until anyone else crosses the finish line.
Nov 13, 2018 3:24 AM # 
The top 3 teams took 13-16 hours from their TA8 arrival to their finish.
Nov 13, 2018 3:35 AM # 
Wow, drama!
Nov 13, 2018 3:37 AM # 
What a way to end the race. With the remaining sleep for Naturex and Haglofs right to the last part of the race, they really had to play the perfect game to take second place. It's a pity that the Haglofs tracker didn't work though...hopefully some video of that sprint finish will emerge at a later stage.
Nov 13, 2018 3:42 AM # 
Bash - you speak french, eh? Can you watch the ARWS finish line video where Naturex is interviewed a bunch and report back on what happened (assuming they recount it)?
Nov 13, 2018 3:45 AM # 
Leaderboard shows a 1min separation between 2nd and 3rd.
Nov 13, 2018 3:51 AM # 
Here's a video of Haglofs coming in, with Naturex not too far behind.

I like it how the RD pops the champagne with every team coming in. :-D
Nov 13, 2018 3:52 AM # 
Kinetic Events Africa just posted a series of pics on FB of the 2nd & 3rd finish line mayhem.
Nov 13, 2018 3:53 AM # 
vuutoring: That vid link isn't working.
Nov 13, 2018 3:56 AM # 
The link changes when Facebook Live stops.
Nov 13, 2018 3:56 AM # 
Oops, wrong video. That one isn't working for me either.
Nov 13, 2018 4:03 AM # 
I checked the video above and the Naturex racer said they arrived at the final transition and the officials raised the question of the missing 30 minutes of sleep. He got very animated and spoke quickly right after that. I *think* he said their team pointed out the extra 30 minutes on their sleep card and that resolved it. That part of the story didn't go on too long after that so it sounded like a quick resolution. Hopefully someone else who is truly bilingual can watch the video starting at 18:15 to provide a better translation.
Nov 13, 2018 4:09 AM # 
Estonia only have 1 usable pack raft, right? They will enjoy that marina crossing.

I didn't think the sleep log would affect the outcome, bit it did in the end. How was it recorded? The best would have been an actual log on the passport signed in and out, but that is quite a bit too organise. What also gets me is that it all seems rounded off to the nearest ten minutes.

The the teams that charged into TA1 finished comfortably ahead in the end, they spent about 11 hours at that TA, but only logging 4.
Nov 13, 2018 4:17 AM # 
From Merrell Facebook pre-race: "Each team has a Sleep Card on which a mandatory 12 hours needs to be recorded during the event at a TA or designated CP, made up of blocks from a minimum of 30min to a maximum of 4hours. Teams however, have to check out of TA with no further access to their resupply box – and then sleep. "
Nov 13, 2018 4:21 AM # 
Black Hill leads the Estonians by about 10 minutes after the first few kms of the final MTB stage.
Nov 13, 2018 4:22 AM # 
And they've both logged 10 hrs of sleep.
Nov 13, 2018 4:27 AM # 
"The organization has just decided to create a new cut so that the back teams whose progression is getting slower can stay on the race til the very end. Today after 1pm, the teams passing through TA4 (Saint-Philippe) will be taken to TA6 (Saint-Pierre). From there, they will continue the race with the sea kayak and moutain bike section heading to Maïdo."

This means they'll miss legs E and F on the course overview - the trek up the volcano and the mountain biking with caving.
Nov 13, 2018 4:31 AM # 
Just noticed that Black Hill and the Estonians have not yet been credited with any sleep for their overnight stay at CP17 with the Chinese buffet. So we can safely say their sleep card is full.
Nov 13, 2018 4:57 AM # 
New video just posted of almost the entire finish line scene for 2nd / 3rd podium spots:
Nov 13, 2018 4:59 AM # 
SM article about the sprint finish. It doesn't talk about the 30 minutes of sleep so that seems to be a non-issue now. It sounds like Haglöfs Silva passed Naturex about 20 seconds before the finish line. Ouch. Apparently, it's the 2nd time they've lost a sprint finish at ARWC, and they've also had sprint finishes at a previous Raid in France and at Expedition Africa.
Nov 13, 2018 5:07 AM # 
Without any North American teams in the race, I'd planned to cheer for the Estonians (currently just behind 4th), the South Africans (yay, Cyanosis in 13th!) and Naturkompaniet Pioneers (because Tommy apparently lives in Toronto). So now that the podium is settled, it's time to start watching their dots more closely. :)
Nov 13, 2018 5:41 AM # 
Check out 63 - Les Louves des 2 Alpes track up the volcano. These ladies are making sure they're not missing out on the caves. Looks like they completely missed the paddle leg. What a pity, as they seem to be doing the fun stuff on the island.
Nov 13, 2018 5:59 AM # 
Interesting route up! Looks like they didn't want to bother trying to find K20, given that they're short coursed anyway.
Nov 13, 2018 6:00 AM # 
This finishline album captures the emotions brilliantly.
Sorry about the broken link from earlier...I didn't post the live video link. Not sure what went wrong there. That video is not there anymore. Possibly deleted?
Nov 13, 2018 6:01 AM # 
Terrific photos!
Nov 13, 2018 6:09 AM # 
I wrote Relentless (James Galipeau), who was supposed to be racing at ARWC with MainNerve but they weren't able to fill all the spots on their team. He is bilingual and listened several times to that section of the video where the Naturex racer explains what happened at TA9 regarding the 30 minutes of sleep.

Relentless said: "I don't think he gives a clear explanation. This is just a guess at interpreting what he said and I wouldn't put too much confidence in my interpretation."

"From what I can tell, he says that they knew they needed to take another 30 minutes of rest, so they took their time and inflated their packrafts and eventually the other team showed up. When Haglöfs realized that the French were still planning to rest more (I'm assuming in order to finish off their 30 minutes), they left quickly. From what I can tell, it sounds like he's saying that once the French finished their rest time and left, Haglofs was only 100m or so ahead of them. I don't hear any explanation in there, so it sounds like Haglofs came in near the end of Naturex's 30min rest time. I don't know if there's a way to corroborate that with time stamps on the live tracking? Anyway, there's certainly no clear explanation. Hope that helps!"
Nov 13, 2018 8:20 AM # 
Black Hill is smashing that bike course. Really jumped ahead. Their sleep at CP17 for both them and Naturex still has not updated. I was hoping for more of a race between them...but still plenty of action from the bunch following them.
Nov 13, 2018 9:01 AM # 
shebeen created a pretty cool image of how legendary the Avaya men have been in adventure racing over more than a decade's racing:
Nov 13, 2018 1:36 PM # 
With about 2 km of biking to go until the final TA, 4th place Black Hill has a 30 minute lead on “my” Estonians. I wonder if the Estonians are still racing with only one packraft or if they have been able to repair it. After the first leg with packrafting, they said it had been too wet to repair. They don’t have far to paddle this time.
Nov 13, 2018 1:43 PM # 
The Estonians have not been updated on the leaderboard since CP12 and now appear to be in 19th place, as far as their non-dot watching friends and family are concerned. This can’t just be another geofencing issue since they’ve been tracking pretty well; I’m surprised nobody at race HQ has fixed it in the 48+ hours since the problem became obvious.
Nov 13, 2018 1:55 PM # 
6th place Lozere is leading Yealands in the early part of the downhill bike ride. Just starting downhill in 8th is Absolu Raid. Hoka is about to reach the CP19 high point in 9th, and Columbia rounds out the top 10, having just passed CP18.
Nov 13, 2018 2:03 PM # 
In South African news, Cyanosis is biking in 12th, about 2.5 hours into the big final climb. Merrell is biking toward TA6 in 20th - no rush since they will spend a full night at the TA7 dark zone, and it’s still light now.
Nov 13, 2018 3:33 PM # 
Black Hill finished in 4th and Estonia finished just minutes ago. It looks like they were separated by about 30-40 min.
Nov 13, 2018 5:04 PM # 
DSN74 have slipped a bit in their last full day. They had an amazing race (and still are) and were just around top 5 at one point. They lost contact with Lozere, Yealands, and Absolu, and they are in danger of being overtaken by Columbia. North Face also could catch up if they slip in this final stretch here.

Rooting for them to hold onto top 10 as they really had a great run there in the middle of the race. (if North Face and Columbia both run them down, they would fall to 11th)
Nov 13, 2018 5:06 PM # 
Speaking of a great run, Black Hill/Opava really impressed me. Perfect on the nav and very steady through the finish. I'm a bit surprised to see them hold off the Estonians in a head-to-head match-up after the kayak leg. Well-deserved 4th place!
Nov 13, 2018 5:17 PM # 
There's going to be another sprint / fast crawl finish between Yealands and Absolu Raid Occitanie 1. Time to tune back in...
Nov 13, 2018 7:38 PM # 
looked like Run Zourit got a bit lost on the volcano, but they've found gite to chillax at!
Nov 13, 2018 7:49 PM # 
Columbia seems to be closing in on DSN.
Nov 13, 2018 8:25 PM # 
So 43 Vertical Dissidents will be at the tail-end of the race. Unfortunately Thomas Venema had to withdraw at K20 because of a serious foot injury. They've been moving well up to this point and I predict that they'll catch a couple of teams ahead of them. Hopefully they won't fall back on the kayak as a 3-member team.
Nov 13, 2018 10:30 PM # 
It's after 2 a.m. so the Chinese buffet at CP17 in the middle of the sea kayak leg finished long ago. Tonight it was Absolu Raid 2, Bim Bim and Berghaus who got to enjoy a seaside vacation during their race for 15th-17th place.

There's a bigger party at TA7 at the start of the sea kayak - 10 teams there now with Movistar making their way from TA6 after choosing to have their sleep there, perhaps with the idea it would be less crowded.
Nov 13, 2018 10:38 PM # 
The next cut-off is Wed. 22:00 at TA5, just under 20 hrs from now. All teams still racing are past TA4 now and ought to make it. Such generous cut-offs in this race. Heck, even I might be able to finish the full course!
Nov 13, 2018 11:06 PM # 
The Vertical Dissidents started up the mountain but decided to head back to TA4. (They sent a message to tell AR Live Coverage what their dot was doing!)
Nov 13, 2018 11:48 PM # 
Columbia is fighting sleepmonsters in the wee small hours of the night a mere 20 minutes from the last TA...still two kites to locate before they can move on. Seems like a short kip would do them some good and before they sprial themselves down to the center of the volcano.
Nov 13, 2018 11:55 PM # 
Wow, that's out of character. Almost 3 hours looking for K32 but they'd only traveled half the distance they needed to after crossing the highway. Definitely sleepmonsters!
Nov 14, 2018 12:11 AM # 
They appear to be moving in the right direction now....but we'll see. It's still dark out there.
Nov 14, 2018 12:21 AM # 
Oh no! They were almost there and they turned east again.
Nov 14, 2018 12:38 AM # 
That's a route some team have used after bagging the western KP. Maybe they bagged it and are heading for the next kite? We'll soon see!
Nov 14, 2018 12:52 AM # 
Yes! Phew. :)
Nov 14, 2018 12:53 AM # 
Nick Gracie was very kind to me in an AR one time so I always cheer for him, whatever team he's on.
Nov 14, 2018 2:04 AM # 
Columbia was within 300 meters of Hoka before they started going crazy at 1am. I will say it was a bit of a parallel feature at least that got them.
Nov 14, 2018 2:41 AM # 
Hoka has finished in 9th. Columbia is on the final beach hike, about to finish in 10th. North Face Adventure Team is around K32 in 11th place, and top SA team Cyanosis is about 2/3 of the way downhill in 12th, well ahead of Red Fox and Blizzard, who are just starting their downhill journey. After that, the three Chinese buffet eaters are *way* back on the water in 15th-17th place with about 6 km to go to TA8.
Nov 14, 2018 3:03 AM # 
For all those interested, I hereby present the menu at the Chinese restaurant near CP 17:
Nov 14, 2018 3:46 AM # 
Hahaha!! Yum - Pinces de Crabes, Assiette Créole, Cari Canard, Bordeaux - what's not to like?

I hadn't heard of Cari Canard in Chinese cuisine; apparently it is a traditional Réunion Island specialty - curried duck. Here's the recipe if you'd like to feel like you're at ARWC.
Nov 14, 2018 4:00 AM # 
Columbia is in. There's our top 10.
Nov 14, 2018 5:01 AM # 
If I was to recommend a restaurant for CP17 it would be Le Bambou. Fantastic seafood dishes and they do have outdoor seating (very important for smelly adventure racers). :-)

I was surprised with the Chinese influence in food but it is integrated in a lot of Creole dishes.
Nov 14, 2018 6:05 AM # 
Clinton Mac - "I don't know if they scouted any of those routes, carrying your bike 80% of the time."
Nov 14, 2018 7:43 AM # 
Outdoor seating - good thinking. Also, seafood *and* pizza. Brilliant.

North Face Adventure and Cyanosis arrived in 11th and 12th while we were perusing menus.
Nov 14, 2018 8:56 AM # 
On the Raid in France FB page:
"Due to the bad conditions at sea, with waves up to 2 metres, the teams adeorun (26) and tuc tri absolute defeat the muco (38) were not allowed to engage in the portion Kayak. They will be conducted in salty pond (Cp17) to return to the race normally The Nantes Adventure 1 Team (20) is currently at sea, followed by safety boats."
Nov 14, 2018 10:13 AM # 
Ok, so we're back at the Chinese restaurant. Averne (33) and Vertical Dissidents (43) will join them for lunch for some delicasies, as per Bash's recommendation.

It's a pretty nice beach. People party there over weekends and sleep over. We almost did the same 2 months ago but found a nice private garden and slept on the grass.

Google maps guys went for a nice stroll on the beach at CP17...
Nov 14, 2018 11:16 AM # 
A lot of unhappiness among South African dot spotters, as they feel the ocean is more than fine for paddling in this conditions. A few photos of previous events were shared. Have a look at this album of Expedition Africa 2014...Reunion's waves still has some way to go before they're this size:
Nov 14, 2018 1:23 PM # 
Footage of the paddle:
Nov 14, 2018 4:09 PM # 
Nov 14, 2018 4:32 PM # 
Beautiful beach! The waves crashing in the distance in the Google Map photo give a sense of what it would be like on a rough day.
Nov 14, 2018 5:40 PM # 
11 teams on the CP17 beach now - or enjoying one of the fine dining options in the area.
Nov 14, 2018 6:53 PM # 
From Merrell Facebook:

Right. Who’s got FOMO?

The finish line can smell them coming. Merrell is making their way down. They may make it by midnight.

They’ve been on their feet for a week, stopping to pick up accessories like a boat or a bike every now and again and putting that on their back. They’ve been in and around Ecuadorian team Movistar for most of the time, which means Hanno has been baffling everyone with his version of Spanish. The smuggled biltong rations have long since been eaten or traded and they’ve probably all resorted to snorting Tracey’s vegan powder mix. If she didn’t use it all up on her feet. It’s been raining. A lot. But not enough before the race to actually put water in the rivers.

It’s been long and hard - longer for some, harder for others - and overall, it’s been what we expect of an epic adventure race.

All the usual adjectives and expletives have been called up to describe this race – its been brutal and tough and testing and relentless. Each individual has been digging deep and chatting with demons. We have seen the photos of rotten feet and bruised legs and heard racers say how tired they are. Same old.

Why would you be inspired to do it?

It’s not glamourous, it’s not sexy and it don’t make them any money, but I challenge any one of you watching to not want what those racers have got at the end of this event.

That indescribable emotion that you can witness on the face of every adventure racer under a finish arch.

You cannot get it without the previous days’ exertions. It does not come for free. It doesn’t even come from months of hard training and sacrifices.

It comes only when you have given your all out on the course. And then emptied your pockets to find some more all. And then taken out a second mortgage on your all. And then borrowed some all from your teammates to give that also.

If you can arrive at the finish line with no more all, at all, you too can have that feeling.
Nov 14, 2018 7:00 PM # 
From Nick Gracie on Columbia: “It’s probably one of my favourite World Champs courses, you know with Raid in France it’s going to be tough and technical and this was definitely that. You almost felt that on any stage you could die, eaten by sharks, drowned in a canyon, falling off a cliff. It was a course which pushed the limits that’s for sure, which is what adventure racing should be all about."

SM article about the experience of 10th place Columbia and 11th place North Face - not much love for the dark zones and sleep cards.
Nov 14, 2018 7:39 PM # 
SM chats with Russian teams, 13th place Red Fox and 14th place Blizzard, at the finish line. Tough, tough race, apparently.
Nov 14, 2018 7:51 PM # 
SM also chatted with 4th/5th place Black Hill and Estonians awhile ago. This article mentioned a new cut-off: "The race organization has put an extra cut off into the race today, bussing teams at the back of the race from TA4 to TA6. This takes them around the volcano as the race judged they would be too slow to complete that stage and continue to the finish. I’m told some teams are also biking around to TA6, preferring to short cut under their own power."
Nov 14, 2018 10:00 PM # 
16 teams at CP17 now! Unfortunately, the restaurants are closed.
Nov 14, 2018 11:03 PM # 
Six teams climb up to CP18 after 2am. Appears there is a sleep over taking place now as none appear to have moved on. Maybe there is Chinese takeout available since they didn't get the buffet.
Nov 15, 2018 1:55 AM # 
The party's moved over to CP19 now! Nothing like some heavy food in your stomach to make that long downhill go faster.

Eighteen teams have finished now. Movistar is trekking along the beach and Merrell is at the final TA, poised to round out the top 20.

In other South African news, Badly Drawn Hyena is climbing, climbing, climbing - almost halfway between TA8 and CP18.

Down Under, the former Lanterne Rouge, is the latest team to join the list of 15 teams who have retired. They made it to TA5 around 13:00 today, which was a short course cut-off where they would bike directly to TA6. However, they were also poised to miss the final 15:00 cut-off at TA7 by quite a lot. The short course from there would have been a ride forward to CP17. It's possible that the organizers weren't able to transport them and their bikes - or maybe they'd just had enough fun for one race.
Nov 15, 2018 1:56 AM # 
There are currently a whole bunch of Lanternes Rouges - all the full course teams at CP17.
Nov 15, 2018 4:21 AM # 
Merrell just crossed the line in 20th.
Nov 15, 2018 2:23 PM # 
two things from the day 8 video.

a)the swell doesn't look that bad, but this is a 37km paddle on plastics on day 7 of a race!
b)someone forgot to tell the cameraman about that shark issue
Nov 15, 2018 2:47 PM # 
I didn't realize the shark issue was so much worse than other places in the world.
"Reunion is the highest-risk location for a shark attack in the whole world"
Nov 15, 2018 2:53 PM # 
I did know about the Dengue Fever epidemic though. :(
Nov 15, 2018 3:00 PM # 
SM story of difficult conditions at the back of the race.
Nov 16, 2018 1:54 AM # 
So impressed by all the teams straggling in today...I'm a firm believe that it's always tougher at the back :)
Nov 16, 2018 3:20 AM # 
I can confirm that for you. :)
Nov 16, 2018 3:26 AM # 
Just 4 teams are left on the course early Friday morning after 8 days. Olympus Red Ants and Uruguay Natural US are at TA9 ready to start the final short trek. Run Zourit (the final full course team) and Team Belgium are less than half an hour away from TA9. Well done!
Nov 16, 2018 6:25 AM # 
Team Belgium was the last ones to cross the line. Now we have to wait for race reports and five days until PER for more dot watching. If I am going to be lazy for the holidays, I might as well watch other people doing stuff.
Nov 18, 2018 6:41 PM # 
Haglöfs Silva's race report

Favourite translation error: "Fast big open country climbs with massive paramaniac views..."
Nov 19, 2018 9:55 AM # 
They have already forgotten about climbing up the Fournaise volcano and the caving, and then mtb donwhill!
Nov 22, 2018 12:59 AM # 
A news article about the Hong Kong-based team that finished 11th at worlds, a very impressive showing:
Nov 22, 2018 1:41 PM # 
Nathan’s race report for Team Avaya is out. Pour yourself a coffee!
Dec 4, 2018 3:07 AM # 
Article about Fleur Pawsey, the "retired" adventure racer who filled in on Avaya when Joanna Williams broke her leg skiing.
Feb 11, 2019 6:31 PM # 
ARWC 2018: the movie.

This discussion thread is closed.