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The leaders are now 72 hours deep into the 700km Adventure Racing World Championships at the XPD Tasmania as they reach Granville Harbour transition with four teams vying for the official lead on time.
Yesterday at the start of day three, team Silva continued to lead on time while Seagate worked to reduce the deficit caused by a 4 hour penalty on day one for forgetting to take their SPOT which doubles as a race tracker and safety device.
Seagate had reduced the loss to just on 2 hours going into night two (Thursday) the big mountain bike, but come dawn of day three and more drama as Seagate rolled into Strahan with Chris Forne's bike sporting a broken derailleur and Silva closing in just 23 minutes behind on course (therefore 3:37 ahead). Silva were not without their problems having to repair a broken derailleur somehow caused in the bike box while being transported and fixed with a toothbrush (correction) and tape. The teams then stopped in Straham for their compulsory six hour rest, for the leaders the first sleep in nearly 50 hours of racing.
Some consolation for Seagate came when the all Kiwi team were first to traverse Tasmania East to West, continuing to lead the race since the start, and spent the afternoon racing down Ocean Beach searching for two key check points along the beach. By the first beach check point Seagate stretched the on course gap to 40 minutes ahead.
Seagate captain Nathan Fa'avae claimed to enjoy a few hours barefoot racing along Ocean beach to dry out the sodden feet, however he expressed concern about the 50 minutes it took to bush bash and find the CP at the end of the beach, looking regularly over his shoulders expecting Silva to be right on their tails.
On dusk aloft Cumberland Hill, Seagate's Chris Forne lived up to his sniffer dog reputation quickly finding the check point in a hidden open mine and no sooner found the tunnel through to the deep opening and CP. As Seagate clipped their cards high on the hill, Silva were taking their first steps up the mountain, with all lead teams missing the panoramic views across the Tasman sea and lakes nestled in the ranges. Seagate had stretched their lead to 70 minutes. Ahead was some very tricky terrain and night navigation as they finished off the trek leg.
Finally the first team on the course, Seagate walked into TA at Granville Harbour early Saturday morning under the cover of dark. Seagate decided on some much needed sleep. They have pushed through all night running most of the time to try and make the river before the dark zone. However, this leg still took them 17hrs and was a lot longer than expected.
Team Captain Nathan Fa'avae said he was very happy with their overall team effort but believes the time for the next leg will be also longer than predicted so they have changed strategy to sleep now and then have a easy ride through to the dark zone for more sleep tonight.
After 4 hours in transition and some good food and sleep, Seagate started Stage 11 the ‘savage river' Mountain bike stage.
There were 7 minutes of crossed paths as Silva arrived in transition and Seagate were about to leave. They talked about their extended hike out there, the challenging navigation and what sleep each other had had. Silva slept out on course but also decided to bank more sleep in the body at this transition. After a one hour sleep and with two members of the Silva team experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea they made a decision to continue to rest and stabilise. To go on would jeopardise their limited food supplies and make things interesting complying with the rules of carrying all their human waste out in a bag!
Thule have since come in looking strong and opted to keep going without any sleep overtaking Silva while they rested. Thule made one big navigation error and Mimi's lucky map story - On Dusk they made a choice to quickly swim the Henty River without going upstream as recommended. The strong current pulled them quickly towards the waves - luckily the first wave pushed them back in although they lost their map - the next dose of good luck cam when the next wave pushed in their map and they quickly dived for it!
Silva must be feeling a little better as they have just left transition on their mountain bikes.
Adidas also just arriving with solid navigation getting them through, 10 minute power nap and supporting a struggling team mate.
Granville Harbour - CP 36/transition
Seagate 5.27 in 9.14 out
Silva 9.07 in 13.50 out
Thule 11.34 in 12.44 out
Adidas 14.08 in