Stu has been busy sorting out his race kit and food ready to fly out to Spain later this week - with gear for four days of continuous racing, 5 different disciplines and covering every conceivable weather eventuality...all to fit into the airlines checked baggage requirements (we hope!). To squeeze into the bags is also some fantastic new team kit from Berghaus - including toasty puffer jackets for transitions, super-warm hats and waterproof jackets/trousers to keep the team nice and dry out on the course.
We haven't had too much information on the race area/terrain yet, but the temperatures seem to fluctuate between a balmy 18-22 degrees during the day to a cool 3-4 degrees overnight. The competition looks hotter than the weather, with 67 tems confirmed starters - including most of the top adventure racing teams in the world: the British current champs Addidas Terrex (with NZ racers Sonya Clark and Warren Bates), and Orion's old-time rivals US/NZ team Blackwater (formerly Nike) including Kiwi's Chris forne and Nathan Fa'avae. Yet another top Kiwi racing is Aaron Prince with the Swedish Silva-Gerba. Other top teams to watch out for include the Explore Sweden team captained by race director Micheal Lindnord, the experienced Spanish team Buff Thermacool, Quechua (France) and Martin Flinta's team Thule (usually including Kiwi's Richard and Elina Usher in their line-up, but with replacements for this race).
As always, it hasn't been completely smooth sailing getting to the race - the teams planned arrival in Madrid on Wednesday coincides with a 24 hour 'General Transport' stike accross Spain - Stu has had to reschedule his flight from the UK till Thursday, while Brent, Fleur and Nathan are hoping their flight on Wednesday will go ahead...sometimes getting to the startline is almost as much of a challenge as the event itself!
The race briefing is on Saturday afternoon, with race start 8am Sunday morning from the town centre of Avila. Loyal Orion supporters Fi McBryde and Roy Edwards will be out on the course keeping the news coming in on Orion, and the (numerous) other Kiwi teams racing. Keep an eye on this blog, follow our progress on the Official Race Website or check out our team Facebook Page.