(Photos courtesy of www.ARWC2009.com)
Stuart and Anna on the final 50km kayak leg
In transition - final kayak to second to last mountain bike leg (Wayne on right)
Reviewing the maps for the second to last mountain bike leg - plotting a course through the next 45km
Just a brief update on the progress of the team that I am aware of at the moment ...
They finished the latest "40km" trek just before midnight local time (1pm here in NZ) after managing to collect 3 check points (CPs). Roy (Brent's dad and support crew member) told me that they were going to have an hour or so sleep before leaving on the next bike ride (75km) which is the penultimate leg of the race with only a 24km trek to follow.
It took them quite a long time to get through this trek - they arrived about 4 hours after Nike and the other two race leaders Helly Hansen Prunesco and Lundhags (according to Twitter comments). Published race results currently showing on the ARWC website seem a little "off" at the moment. Significantly Roy mentioned a race print out they have seen showing Helly Hansen ahead of Nike by 1 CP at the end of this trek! These two teams are joined by Lundhags as genuine contenders for the title in the final few stages.
Orionhealth.com were in 5th place on that print out but their 3 CPs from the trek were yet to be added so they may move up a little from there. (ARWC website shows Helly Hansen and Lundhags also credited with 3 CPs for the leg ... Nike showed as having 0 trek CPs but that definitely does not sound correct.)
The other comment Roy made was that Orionhealth.com will be a bit short for time on this last bike ride so will probably not be able to collect as many CPs as the teams that have already left ... this will move them back down the leaderboard so a final result outside of the top 5 looks likely.
There is another ropes section in this bike ride (not sure how far in) but unless it is really close to the transition they are unlikely to make it there in time to do this (the ropes course is only open until 2am which is in less than an hours time). Ropes work does also tend to be pretty slow going so they may be better to skip this section and use the time to try to collect more CPs through the remainder of the 75km bike course.
Roy and Karyn haven't heard anything about the team being penalised for their separation on the first trek of the final stage but I notice on the current leaderboard that the two CPs they collected on that leg are showing up as "invalid" so it seems likely that this is might be the penalty that has been imposed (although they obviously haven't told the team this if that's the case). I also noticed on the leaderboard that Lundhags have not been allocated any CPs for that trek ... my guess is that this (2 CPs) is the penalty they incurred for missing the midnight cut off. This would explain why they are still in the running for the top three (or even the victory) as losing 2 CPs in this race definitely does not count you out of contention as anything can and has happened!