The lead teams in the Adventure Racing World Championship are racing the fine line between exhaustion and sleep deprivation, with just four hours separating the top four teams on course, although team Seagate's penalty is making the racing closer on adjusted time.
The racing is so intense that after 39 hours of racing none of the top teams have stopped to sleep. After 196kms of kayaking, mountain biking and trekking the leaders have reached the small hydro lake side town of Tullah with only 2 hours separating the top four on adjusted time.
While Seagate lead on course, they carry a four hour penalty, so on adjusted time Swedish team Silva with Kiwi Aaron Prince now lead by a healthy 2:20 margin. In second is Seagate and Swedish team Thule who are now just minutes apart, followed by Australians BlackHeart a further 30 minutes back..
First off onto the 105km overnight mountain bike team Seagate will have an advantage hitting the trail with over two hours of sunlight to enable them to navigate at full speed.
Next off from Tullah was new race leaders Silva nursing a broken carbon rear derailleur, mended with a plastic spoon and tape, the big question on everyone's mind was how long would it hold out until they would have to jury rig the bike to a single speed rear.
Team Thule were next in leapfrogging Blackheart who they were in a massive tussle with at Lake Mackintosh. While Blackheart dropped down into the river after the long portage over a small saddle, Thule chose to attach wheels to their kayaks and run their kayaks a few kilometres short of the 20kms paddle to Tullah, making the town 24 minutes quicker.
There is a real battle playing out amongst the top four with all keen to transition to their mountain bikes and make for Strahan without even sitting down to rest their feet, banking on a big sleep at the compulsory 6 hour rest in the West Coast town.
Once the leaders rise from their well earned sleep in Strahan, they head north east in a big arch trekking, kayaking and mountain biking their way back to Burnie in search of victory at the 2011 Adventure Racing World Championships.
Defending World Champions Buff from Spain , have just arrived in Tullah, nearly 5 hours behind race leaders Silva.