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this AR the Adventure Racing thread


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Time for a dedicated thread on this sport.


World champs kicks off in 6 hours.

In costa rica, in fact they're already on the bus that takes them to the Panama border for the start.

We have the Merrell Adventure Addicts flying our flag. It's a monster of a course, 800km long and the top teams are going to take 6 days(non stop).



Hano Smit, Susan Carter-Brown, Craig Carter Brown, Graham Tweet Bird


check all the links to follow from here


(courtesy of Lisa)






For racers and fans alike, the most exciting thing to happen before the actual start is the official race briefing. This is when the course is revealed in all its daunting glory. This is also usually when the navigators can get their eager little hands on the race maps. Alas, this was not to be. Here is a bullet list with what we now know about the race course and how it will progress through Costa Rica.

  • Initially teams have 1 overview map of the entire course. That's it, that's all. They will only receive the maps at the start of the race. Actually, they will only receive the maps up to TA4 (mid camp?), at which point they will be given the maps up to TA8, and only then will they get the final set that will see them to the finish. There will be much plotting and planning on the fly out on the course, a skill some teams have and others...well not so much.

  • The start itself will be quite a spectacle, as the racers sprint 1 km to get to their bike boxes and maps. Yup, I said "bike boxes". They will have to assemble all their bikes as well as plot their route to TA4 before they can head out. To level the playing field, teams with extra large bike boxes will have to remove the wheels and pedals from their bikes, just like everyone else.

  • The maps are the standard 1:50,000 topos that all racers are accustomed to, so no repeat of the 100,000 scale and 40 metre contours that teams had to contend with in Brazil. The teams have been assured that the maps are waterproof, so they won't have to do that themselves.

  • Section 1 is a 95km mountain bike ride from the start down to the Pacific coast at the Golfo Dulce.

  • Section 2 is a 65km flatwater kayak along the coast, North-West to the Osa peninsula.

  • Section 3 is a trek across the Osa peninsula, 27km during which they will have to carry all their paddling gear with them. This section finishes with teams picking up their kayaks and portaging them 10km to the northern coast of the Osa peninsula. All the kayaks are numbered so teams will be keeping the same ones throughout the race.

  • Section 4 is a combined kayak & trek (65km) through the biggest mangrove swamp in Central America. This will be a score orienteering section, with the checkpoints taken in any order. Tides will likely play a large role in routes and speed, and all teams have been given local tide tables. This will also be their first exposure to crocodiles.

  • Section 5 is a 101 km bike ride to mid camp, with a brief stop to experience the longest (2km) and fastest (145kph) zipline in the world: the Tirolesa Superman Osa. If there is a bottleneck here, time will be neutralized as this is more to showcase the attraction rather than a race.

  • Mid Camp is a 4 hour mandatory stop at the end of the bike ride. Teams will be checked over by medics, write a short race blog (which will be posted to the live coverage site), recharge batteries, and get some off-the-clock sleep. It is likely here that they will get the maps to take them all the way to TA8, so not much sleep for the navigators here.

  • Section 6 is a huge 92km remote mountain trek, and will be the key stage of the race. Teams start off with an ascent of Chirripo, the highest peak in Costa Rica involving over 4000m of ascent. The expected fastest time for this stage is 35 hours and teams will have to take everything they will need on their backs, true expedition style. There is nowhere to resupply along the route. They will also face 3 roped river crossings, so must carry their climbing harnesses with them.

  • Section 7 is a relatively short bike ride of 40km, but it does involve climbing over 1600metres.

  • Section 8 is a trekking and guided rafting stage of 33km and will be another decisive point in the race. The start of the rafting is the one an only cut-off in the race, at 1400 on Day 9. Any teams failing to get through will be moved ahead to complete the final two stages.

  • Teams will receive the final set of maps at TA8. This transition is also the only Dark Zone. Any teams arriving after 1400 will have to wait until 0430 next morning for daylight to continue. Furthermore, the Dark Zone will extend into the ensuing 89km paddling section, and teams who make it onto the water have to stop at 1730 and camp for the night until the Dark Zone lifted. The Dark Zone will be strictly enforced using the race trackers and teams were warned the penalty for being on the water late would be disqualification. (They were also told not to sleep beside the river,as it is full of crocodiles. Sweet dreams.)

  • Section 9 is the long 89km down-river paddle mentioned above.

  • Section 10 is a short, flat trek of 18km to get racers to their bikes for the longest stage of the race.

  • Section 11 is the longest of the race at 156km. It takes teams up to the border with Nicaragua before turning South to reach the final leg of the race.

  • Section 12 is 23 km of canopy and guided rafting to the finish line. With perfect weather the lead teams are expected to take on the order of 6 days to complete this Tour de Costa Rica.

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Great, glad to see you've started a thread.


Was looking forward to your email commentary on the AR Group.

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Great, glad to see you've started a thread.


Was looking forward to your email commentary on the AR Group.

Loooong overdue. Am hoping the spanglish reporters can get some good info out for us, looks like this race has got gov backing from the top so should be great to follow.


maybe even drum up some interest for the next installment of EA...transkei in may 2014.

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I’m not sure where they went awry, but team Merrell are a bit back in the field at the end of leg 1. They’re just over two hourse behind the leaders, but loads of teams around – 21st position.

It rained a tropical amount overnight. The 90km mtb (1800m descent, 800 ascent) took 10hours. I think that gives an indication of the roads and mud if nothing else.


a rpeort on what's up next. they're paddling blow up rubber ducks. which is incredibly ***.




A look ahead at the 2nd leg of the race:


Discipline :: Sea Kayak (65 km)

Ascent :: 0 m

Descent :: 10 m

​Starting in the Coto River, teams will make their way from the Coto River down to the ocean. To obtain the next CP, they will need to find a narrow path through a mangrove channel. At low tide teams will have the added difficulty of having to portage their boats to get to this CP. Once cleared they will paddle across one of the deepest gulfs in the world, Golfo Dulce, and if they are lucky see the Humpback whales and dolphins the gulf is a sanctuary for.

Several coastal hamlets reside along this enchanting gulf, namely Puerto Jiménez, Golfito, Zancudo and Pavones, as well as the Piedras Blancas National Park. This is one stop on the itinerary that won’t soon be forgotten.


From the web:


Easily one of the wettest and most humid sections in the country, Golfo Dulce and the southwest can receive more than 200 inches (500 cm) of rainfall per year. This assures the surrounding area will be thriving with wild and plant life, perfect for aspiring adventurers.


Surrounded by Corcovado National Park to the southwest, and Costa Rica’s mainland to the northeast, Golfo Dulce serves up a large platter of entertainment for all who visit. Sport fishers will be happy to know that deep sea fishing here, which is second to none, is available from Golfito and Puerto Jiménez. To the southeast of the gulf is where you will find two great surfing locales. The palm shaded beaches of Zancudo and Pavones supply great surfing for anybody looking to hit the waves.


Golfito, the region’s unofficial capital, is situated along a small inlet of Golfo Dulce. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, Golfito provides an ideal location to escape from your hectic schedule and experience all this area has to offer. Lodges, cabinas and deluxe accommodations are available to supplement any relaxing vacation to the region. A short trip across the gulf from Golfito will land you in Puerto Jiménez, gateway to Corcovado National Park. Here you’ll find plenty of places to stay, as well as restaurants and shops. One single highway (245) links these destinations by land, snaking its way around the calming Golfo Dulce from the Inter-Americana, until arriving in Carate along the southern coast of the peninsula.


Sprouting along the edges of the Golfo Dulce are mangroves and estuaries full of wildlife. Hop in a boat or kayak to explore these ecosystems crawling with crocodiles, river otters, waterfowl, monkeys and much more. Fed by the Coto Colorado River, the Coto River Swamps are an excellent choice for discovering these uncanny wetlands and the secrets that lay within.

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good n


ews. merrell adventure addicts have blitzed the first big paddle on stage 2. they started it in 21st place and finished in 11th. they have done similar good stuff on stage 3, and now sit in joint 3rd place.


taken me a while to work out how to navigate the tracking system (click on the orange running man and you can then select a team's tracks to see their breadcrumb history) - merrell were actually leading on stage 1, but then got a bit lost in the jungle chasing a checkpoint, probably cost them 3-4 hours.



With the lead teams approaching Stage #3 let's see what's waiting for them. There aren't any remote Cps between TA2 and TA3 so teams will likely have different route choices in this section.



Discipline :: Trek (27 km)

Ascent :: 960 m

Descent :: 985 m

The first trek of the race will present to teams the pristine rain forests and rugged natural beauty of the Osa Peninsula, one of the most beautiful areas in Costa Rica. Teams trek West across the entire peninsula and finish this leg on the North side, near Drake Bay. This bay was named after Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century, and believed to be the location of one of the British pirate's fabled hidden treasures.


The National Geographic magazine described the Osa Peninsula as "the most biologically intense place on earth". It is one of the last places in Costa Rica to be settled and has only had road access within the last 10 years.




Edited by Shebeen
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A Dark Zone is when the teams are not allowed to race and have to sit around doing nothing. Typically on a paddling leg that has rapids.

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dark zone is essentially a time period where activity must be stopped.

95% of the time it is on a paddle section, for safety reasons. As you can imagine, white water rafting at night is just silly.


The dark zone is normally a gate, get through the gate before the cut-off and you can proceed. ie. put your boat in the river at 3pm, then you should have enough time to finish it in daylight.


there's been some confusion about how the darkzone works here. it's going to come on the 4th/5th night so teams will be well spread out by then. there was talk that it was also enforced due to dangerous nocturnal snakes! it seems like teams will be able to put in at any time, but can't paddle during the night - this will be enforced by the tracker system.

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wow the time gap between top and bottom is huge

The top okes really are amazing machines.


Happy to say that our very own merrel adventure addicts are in this category!

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It looks like Thule are "paddling" away with it at the moment with Haglofs in 2nd


Seagate haven't moved in 4 hours, or their tracker has died and Merrel lying in 4th.

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ok LOADs has happened since i last posted here. Merrell are sitting in 8th place - but within an our of the four teams ahead of them. it's a race for 4th as the top three teams managed to sneak ahead into the dark zone and got a jump ahead of the chasers(there was a large gap already).


anyway, rather watch this video, you should recognise the accents



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