Publié le 10 November 2018
During adventure races, teams progress in orientation, autonomy, and without GPS, from mandatory point to another. Three different types of points appear on their maps : those marked K refers to Kite; those marked CP (Check point) were two volunteers welcome the teams and check their times; and finally those marked TA (Transition Area) where the racers switch activity.
Publié le 10 November 2018
The organization requires the teams to take a total of 12 hours of mandatory sleeping hours over the whole race, in increments of 30 minutes minimum to 4 hours maximum. These rest times are checked at CPs and ATs. Sleep-management is therefore strategic, especially for the front teams. Today’s update at 11:00 am on the teams’ sleeping-hours.
Publié le 10 November 2018
Today, it’s water day for the teams of the world championship. While the back teams were still climbing the Piton des Neiges, the front teams enter into the packraft earlier this morning for a 45km path, 710 meters of elevation gain and 1,370 meters of elevation loss. The teams will paddle down the three East Rivers and even go against the tide on the Rivière des Roches. In this packraft section, they will be forced to switch between water and trek progression and will offer them some astonishing abseils such as the waterfall of the Bassin des Aigrettes.
As far as the night navigation regulations are concerned, the rules are consistent with what had been announced during the pre-race briefing: the Mât river section will be closed from 7 pm till 5.15am as a portion of the Marsouins river from 5 pm till 2 am. The middle and back teams will mainly be the ones concerned by those regulations.
There was a nice atmosphere this morning as the front teams arrived at the AT (transition area) between trek and packraft (TA1) and started to paddle down the river. “At exactly 5:15 am, they all rushed out, says Gilles Lelièvre, one of the white water’s official and renowned kayaker. After encountering bottlenecks at the rapids, things got back to normal.
Now we are heading to the river of Marsouins where rapids call for particular vigilance. Front teams are looking good. The following up program teased them, especially the Dudu ravine.
The organization put ropes on that very spot to allow access to the river. This leg will for sure be remembered.
Photo by Raid in France during the reconnaissance
Publié le 9 November 2018
Last night was all about strategy. Considering the fact that there was a dark zone from 7pm on the packraft leg of Mât’s river, the top teams are trying the impossible challenge of going down the river which has it sources in the Piton des neiges and runs through the Northen part of the island. Teams have improved greatly that night. Some of them took a few hours rest at the swimming pool of Cilaos (CP4) while others preferred to sleep at the gîte of Caverne Dufour. The Russian team Red Fox Adventure (62), the Swedes from Haglöfs Silva (6) and Swedish Armed Forces Adventure (5), and the current world champions Avaya (1) had the opportunity to take up such challenge. Upon their arrival at the refuge, they have been able to establish themselves once all the tourists have gone.
It remains to be seen if the racers will manage “from down the Piton des neiges to AT1, the track of Bras des Lianes ahead is not without difficulties. Teams are getting tired, their feet are hurting and the team are now reaching their cruising speed and now fit with the time prognostic.”, said Pascal Bahuaud, race director. Nathan Fa’avae from New Zealand bumped his knee on a rock, his team partner Chris Forne has now two bags: his and Nathan’s with all climbing equipment they will need in les Aigrettes.
Regarding mid and end-race are gaining ground in the race. Teams who arrived at the swimming pool of Cilaos (CP4) took some time to sleep, according to what the organization had projected. Others remain in the scheduled time.
- Team FMR (7): 2h penalty at CP4 for defective material (strobe light).
- Withdrawn of Team (19), Transdev, team captain Jorge Llano because of severe muscle pain. They now continue out ranking.
Publié le 8 November 2018
This Adventure Racing World Championship in Reunion offers an engaged 435km-racing track to the 236 racers including the most beautiful places of the island. The first teams will finish the race in 4.5 to 5 days to take up the challenge and 7 to 8 days for the last ones. This is a physical as well as a mental challenge considering how tough the progression is.
For a few hours at the beggining of the race in the hilltop village of Hell Bourg, the racers were welcomed by the waking up of the Piton des neiges, silently coming out of its usual fog. At the starting line, they all admired this emblematic peak with the cirques of Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos. Those three summits were at the heart of this first section, which inaugurated a 106-km trek and 7.200 m elevation gain. Today, the racers gained ground between Hell Bourg and Cilaos in a tropical and dense vegetation through which they could see from time to time a breathtaking 360° view. They also undertook three different abseils in the Bras Marron canyon and went through one called Fleur Jaune, which is one of the most famously known in the island for its aesthetic and verticality. At this game, the French team 400 Team Naturex (3) took the advantage. They started the race with rigour and saved time every step of the way to supersede other teams at the checkpoint (CP4), located in the swimming pool area of the village. They were closely followed by : the Swedish team Haglöfs Silva (6), the French team DSN 74 (Hoka), the New Zealand team and former world champion Avaya (1) as well the Swedish Armed Hoka (17). Unfortunately, the Peaklife Sports team (39) already withdrawn from the race. One of their female racer is suffering from influenza virus. At the end of the day, all the teams had crossed the CP2 in Aurère in the cirque Mafate. They now have a long progression night ahead of them!
Publié le 8 November 2018
This morning at 6am, the Spanish team Columbia Vidaraid (2) was the first one to take the start of the Adventure Racing World Championship in Reunion. They are the winner of the kours la rou race which took place in Hell Bourg village during the prolog. Right behind them were the Danish team Racing Denmark Adventures (51) and the French team Bim Bim Team (35). At 6.45am, all of the 59 teams had received their maps and road books and were ready to embark on this long 425-km journey. The island will by the theater of this world championship for a 5 to 8 non-stop race.
Publié le 7 November 2018
Exploration and Magic – The Race Director’s View
I took the opportunity to talk to Race Director Pascal Bahuaud this morning in the race office, while all around us the Raid in France staff we’re busy about their tasks in a buzzing race office. The day before a race it is rare to be able to speak to an RD at all, but he’s the most experienced RD of expedition races in the world and his team had everything in hand. This is the 10th anniversary Raid in France and his second World Championships, and he has a big team of experienced and loyal volunteers from mainland France.
I asked about these first and he told me, “We have brought 85 volunteers with us from France, including some experienced mountain guides and safety staff, and there are another 35 people on the island working with us.” It’s a formidable support team, much bigger than any other race, and in total there will be 19 manned checkpoints, with 2 volunteers at each. One I spoke to said his post on the later part of the course would be open for 4 and a half days.
I asked too about the shipping container the race sent here. “We sent it over 2 months ago so had to plan ahead and inside were 24 new kayaks as we didn’t have enough already. We will leave these on the island for the local sports clubs to use”, he said.
All in all it’s a formidable operation and the course planning has been just as challenging. “I spent a year and a half working on the course,” he said. “You can only move very slowly as it is so difficult, so it took a long time. We will use some new canyons never visited before and I think they will be a surprise to the teams. I really don’t think they are prepared for how slow they have to move here. It will be a shock to them.
“The course idea came early, but then we had to make a lot of changes for the National Park. It was difficult to agree with them and to make all the late changes but it is part of the job. Not my favourite part. We are in France here but we are an ‘outside’ organisation from the ‘Metropole’ and not Creole so it was not always easy to win trust and build working relationships.
“The big race here is the Diagonale Des Fous (Grand Raid) and it was hard to explain we are not a trail race, and what adventure racing is all about. Also, that we were not in competition with the race. We always want to go to new places so we have to teach people about adventure racing every time. I think now the island is realising we are a big international event and excited to have us here.”
I asked what he thought would surprise the teams about the island. “I think the diversity. On the East side it is so lush and wet, and this side it is very dry like a desert. And of course the volcano is quite amazing.”
He added, “For me the objective to show off my beautiful country and allow people to explore it. The race is a way to do that and I think the teams and volunteers will all be amazed by Reunion. . All the hard work and planning has been done to allow them to come here and see just how magic this place is.”
Text: Rob Howard
© Jean-Jacques Raynal
Publié le 7 November 2018
The Adventure racing World Championship’s Prologue was pretty unexpected this year. A Kours La roue relay in the streets of Hell- Bourg, city of Salazie. Each time came with a Reunionese child as fifth relay runner. During the 2 km course, they discovered a typical Reunionese game and learned how to handle a car tire with two wooden sticks.
“The Prologue was a very nice way to share some good time with the kids. We also had the chance to meet some citizens and exchange with them.” Mickaël Serrano, Los Bamberos.
“It was a really good idea to involve the population of Hell-Bourg to the Prologue. We had a lot of fun with the kids, we were a good team.” Thiago Bonini, Uruguay Natural.
Publié le 5 November 2018
For the second day, the welcoming Village of the Adventure Racing World Championship has welcomed many teams. Under the Reunionese sun, 27 teams came along at the stands to complete their mandatory checks. Tomorrow, the last two teams will finish and close this pre-race ritual before 4pm. Then the runners’ briefing will take place, a long-awaited moment during which important information about the race will be unveiled. The day will end with the opening ceremony of this world championship.
Publié le 5 November 2018
Frenchwoman Béatrice Lambert and American Adrian Crane are the two referees of the Adventure Racing World Championship 2018. A few days before the kick-off, they tell us about their missions and roles during the race.
Who are the referees of this 2018 World Championship ?
Béatrice Lambert : For several years, I have been part of the organizing team of Raid in France which is the French leg of the Adventure Racing World Series. I am especially involved in the team management and it’s been a few editions that I am a referee during the race. As a former Raid Gauloises and Eco-challenge’s racer, this role of referee allows me to rediscover the world of adventure race but this time on the organizational side. Today I am living an intense experience with an extraordinary team.
Adrian Crane : I’m also very familiar with the adventure races world, I’ve completed many ones around the world and I am today organizing some. Outdoor sports and challenges are a great part of my life. For example, I climbed the highest peaks of every U.S. state in 101 days.
Why did you accept to be referee during the race ?
B.A. : I used to run adventure races, so I am truly committed to the respect of the rules by all racers in order to guarantee fairness. This is an essential condition for the race to be fair and for the teams to be valued for their performance.
A.C. : This is the first time that I’m referee for a championship held in France. I said yes without hesitation because a world championship is always an incredible moment to live. Our role is very important : the race will be beautiful if the rules are followed.
What will be your missions during the race ?
A.C. : On such a high level of competition, the respect of the rules is crucial and ensures that the winning team is truly the best team. That’s why we will make sure that the race rules are carefully followed and in case of uncertainties or claims, we’ll be the ones to decide.
B.L. : We will meet the teams at different race spots… and we will not be jokers! We will carry out mandatory equipment checks, make sure that the teams behave well between each other and are respectful of the environment. We will remain in touch at all time with the race directors in order to manage any unexpected events (especially weather) and race requirements.
Is the Reunion Island magical to you ?
A.C. : For me it’s a complete discovery. A few months ago, I wasn’t even sure where to locate exactly the island on a map! From what I’ve heard and seen for now, the landscapes and territories will be surprising.
B.L. : I already know Reunion Island and from my experience I can tell that the race will be magnificent. The landscapes are perfect for adventure races. The runners will be amazed for sure …