Firstly sorry for the delay in reporting – as you have probably seen our team Orion had a wee accident yesterday and we have been busy sorting everything out! Nathan Peterson had a spill on the bike and managed to knock himself out, we think it was just to get himself a free helicopter ride (although the joke is on him as he can't remember it!). The South African teams Cyanosis and Merrell stopped and helped Orion get Nathan out safely, and after being kept in hospital for observation overnight and undergoing x-rays and MRI scans Nathan is back to his normal self today, although disappointed to be out of the race of course. Fleur and Stu continued on the course once we heard that Nathan has had the all-clear, while Brent is taking a more relaxed approach and will join the others on some of the legs (but we suspect neither of the two remaining inline skating sections, which have 600m and 800m climb respectively!). We are hoping that as long as Nathan keeps feeling good, the whole team can do the final kayak stage together to complete the race. Stu and Fleur completed the long overnight trek last night in good time, and we are waiting for them at the 2nd kayak/trek stage.
The other Kiwi teams in the race are all doing very well. The Spanish team Buff holds first place by around three hours at the moment, but the chasing Kiwi's are hard on their heels! Aaron Prince in Silva-Gerber is in second place, and were looking focused coming off the kayak/run section at around 4pm today. Team Blackwater (Nathan Fa'avae and Chris Forne) and Team Chiru/Outdry (Ian Edmonds and Jacob Roberts) came in an hour behind Silva and were all looking in high spirits with plenty of banter. They have travelled together for most of the race, with Ian Edmonds commenting that “all adventure racing should be in teams of eight!!”. Asking Nathan Fa'avae what his favourite part of the course was so far he said he 'couldn't get enough of the walking', which was explained by Chris Forne admitting he added a bit extra to the long trek leg when he forgot that two (not one) checkpoints had been removed – Blackwater realised this halfway out to the cancelled CP... Apart from Nathan Fa'avae suffering from the beginnings of a cold the team is good – in fact Chris was so focussed on getting through transition he didnt even register that his good friend Brent Edwards was cheering him on instead of racing!
Kiwi teams still in the race:
Sonya Clark and Warren Bates in team adidas Terrex were also looking good after their 4 hour mandatory stop at TA12, they are sitting in about 9th place we think (it is a bit hard to tell the full course from the short course teams). They are neck and neck with Swedish team Thule, so there should be some good battles ahead.
After the kayak/trek stage teams head off o a 40km mountain bike ride, then a killer trek/skate stage, then a 27km trek. A further short bike ride, inline skate and trek stage lies ahead, before the final 72km bike stage, and the penultimate kayak to the final city orienteering 'sprint' and the finishline at Salamanca. The final trek stage has a dark zone part way through the stage on a 65km river section. All teams will be stopped by this dark zone as they are expected to start the paddle at 7pm (the dark zone is 8:30pm till 7:30am). So the teams should all get a good nights rest before the downriver paddle to Salamanca, with the first team expected to finish around 4pm local time.