Adventure racing (also called expedition racing) is a combination of two or more endurance disciplines, including orienteering (if an orienteering map is used) and/or navigation (when non-orienteering maps are used), cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours. There is typically no dark period during races, irrespective of length; competitors must choose if or when to rest.
Source: Wikipedia

WCAD Grabouw Valley 2 June 2012
Entries to the WCAD Series 3: Grabouw Adventure Race Taking place on 2 June in Grabouw are open. The races consist of a long course: 95km (55 mtb, 15 trekking, 12 paddle, 5 orienteering) and a short course: 50km (30 mtb, 10 trekking, 8 paddle). ...enter here
Team Merrell dominate at Expedition Africa
Team Merrell successfully defended their Expedition Africa adventure racing title, with an impressive win, finishing nearly 11hrs ahead of the nearest rivals, Team Red Ants. After 65 hours of racing - and just 3 hours sleep - Team Merrell crossed the finish line at the race headquarters in Port Alfred at 11.40pm on Wednesday the 9th May.

The second edition of Expedition Africa, now part of the World Adventure Racing Series, was set in the picturesque Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Race organiser, Stephan Muller said, the beauty of the surroundings is in its rawness and provides some really challenging terrain that would certainly test the 13 teams who started. The range of stages included: a few arduous treks along empty beaches and through dense river valleyÕs; some long undulating mountain biking sections; estuarine and river kayaking; and a big abseil off an 80-meter high railroad bridge.

The race began at first light on Monday the 7th at the toposcope in Bathurst, the highest viewpoint affording the competitors a convenient 360 degree view of the 500km race route ahead. Team Merrell, under the experienced navigation of captain Graham 'Tweet' Bird showed their class as South Africa's premier adventure racing team by assuming an early lead with some shrewd navigation. A decision to take a hidden hiking path saw them rapidly gain 20 minutes on Team Red Ants by the first transition and it was to be the last time Team Merrell came close to any of the competition throughout the 500km race. The lead continued to stretch with each leg of the race, especially the kayak sections where Team Merrell dominated on the water. These sections also provided some special memories, with team member Donovan 'Tiny' Sims, who was racing in his local province, commenting there were a few once in a lifetime experiences getting up and close with elephants browsing at the river's edge as they powered past. The Team worked hard to widen the gap in the first half of the race, as Team Merrell's late replacement, Craig 'lightie' Carter-Brown explained, we wanted to get out of sight of our competitors and thus out of mind.

12 hours into the race and Team Merrell had already completed four of the thirteen legs. A rapid midnight transition at the BushmanÕs river mouth, saw the team get onto their bikes for the first time. Team MerrellÕs female powerhouse, Tatum Hobbit Prins remarked that the bike legs 'went really well' allowing a consistent pace and for Team Merrell to further extend their lead. By the midway 5hr compulsory stop, reached at 10.23am on Tuesday the team had 250km under their belt and a convincing 6hr lead. With rested legs and full stomachs the Team set off at dusk on the longest mountain bike leg of the race, which took them 128km from the inland game reserves, across the historical Ciskei region of South Africa and back down to the coast. Riding under full moon conditions the Team arrived at Hamburg in just over 9hrs for the final kayak, having cemented their lead to almost 8hrs. Team Merrell set off at sunrise on Wednesday for the penultimate leg, a grueling 60km trek consisting of long beach sections and technical navigation through dense thicket vegetation. More, the 'sunshine coast' was living up to it's name as temperatures soared on the trek in the unforgiving thorny valleys. After 12 hours on their feet Team Merrell clocked into the final transition, blistered but focused with the finish in sight. An undulating final 47km mountain bike under a full moon saw them complete the last stage in under three hours to a hero's welcome for the superb victory. Team Merrell's captain 'Tweet' humbly reminisced at the finish line that the 'true heroes' were the back marker teams who like Team Merrell were pushing themselves to their limits but with many more hours and days on the course.

Team Merrell's victory at Expedition Africa secures them a place at the Adventure Racing World Championships later this year in France, where they have the chance to try improve on last year's 7th placing.

The team's sponsorship deal with MERRELL, an internationally acknowledged leader in the footwear and outdoor apparel industry, has enabled them to focus their energy on racing rather than trying to balance a budget. The MERRELL tag line Let's Get Outside makes for the perfect partnership with Adventure Addicts, as each member of the team lives their life in the great outdoors.

Other sponsors include PVM Nutritional Science, Giant Bicycles, Island Tribe Sunscreen, Squirt Bicycle Lube, Glider Eyewear and Black Diamond head torches.

For an slide show of the Merrell Adventure Addicts in action at the Expedition Africa:
Team MERRELL suffer major wipeout

photo credit: Nikki Smit
With just under three weeks until the start of Expedition Africa, the MERRELL Adventure Addict's preparations suffered a major setback over the past weekend. The second edition of Expedition Africa, which now forms part of the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS), will see teams lining up for a non-stop 500km adventure through the wilderness area surrounding Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.

Expedition Africa is a multi-discipline event where teams of four person mixed teams, navigating with map, compass and landmarks from control point to control point in a number of disciplines which can include: mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, swimming, rope work and orienteering. Teams will travel non-stop through the 500km course, deciding if and when to rest, with the first team to complete all the race legs and visiting all the checkpoints being declared the winner.

The MERRELL Adventure Addicts have been one of the top Adventure Racing units in South Africa over the past few years competing in numerous Adventure Racing World Series Races around the year, including finishing 7th at the 2011 Adventure Racing World Championships. Much of the Addicts success has come from the team's vast experience of competing together as a tight unit over the past five years in a sport that demands teamwork and most importantly team dynamics. Our team dynamic has stemmed from our detailed understanding of one another's abilities, strengths and weaknesses, says the lady of the team, Tatum Prins. We are all just such good mates and enjoy spending time with one another racing, training and parking easy. Joining Tatum Prins in the Addicts four person team: is captain and navigator Graham Bird; the wise old stalwart Hanno Smit and backup navigator and workhorse Donovan Sims.

The MERRELL Adventure Addicts traveled to Ecuador in February for the 400km Huairinchi ARWS race, but unfortunately failed to finish due to illness. This was the foursome's first withdrawal as a team from an Adventure Race and left the team disappointed but highly motivated for the remaining plans for the year. After winning the 2011 Expedition Africa, the defense of this title is one of the MERRELL Adventure Addicts major goals.

Over the past weekend the MERRELL Adventure Addicts gathered for a training camp to sharpen the skills for upcoming Expedition. As part of the preparations, the team competed in the MERRELL Tsitsikamma MTB race on Saturday, where unfortunately Hanno Smit came off his bike on one of the descents, breaking his collarbone in the process. This has ruled him out of action for the foreseeable future and paves the way for the team reserve, Craig Carter-Brown to step in to the team. It is just devastating to lose Hanno in this way, says Donovan Sims. He is the wise old man of the team and his experience and influence on the team will be sorely missed.

Craig Carter-Brown, a cattle farmer from Ixopo, brings true grit, dedication, commitment and motivation to the team. Both Donovan and myself have raced with Craig in the past and he is someone whom will race his heart out for the team, says Graham Bird. He is easy to get on with and will fit perfectly into the team. He is in top form, having recently won the Garmin Wartrail. Guess this makes me the old man of the team now. Now one of us will have to step up to be the Wise man!

Their sponsorship deal with MERRELL, an internationally acknowledged leader in the footwear and outdoor apparel industry, has enabled the team to focus their energy on racing rather than procuring sponsorship. With MERRELL's tag line Let's Get Outside, the partnership with the Adventure Addicts is a match made in heaven with the team focusing their lives on the outdoors. Other team sponsors include PVM Nutritional Science, Giant Bicycles, Island Tribe Sunscreen, Squirt Bicycle Lube, Glider Eyewear and Black Diamond head torches.
Nunavik International Adventure Challenge 24-29 March 2012
This is the presentation video of S-A team

Participating in an adventure race is a way to live a personal experience while exploring the most beautiful areas in regards to the environment on the path to self-discovery. Adventure races always take place in the most beautiful regions of the world, at the heart of majestic wilderness areas exactly like what Nunavik has to offer.

During the International Nunavik Adventure Challenge, international adventure racing teams will take part in the ultimate winter adventure challenge. It will be a once in a lifetime experience for these athletes and a great tribute to the Inuit people and their ancestors who lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years.

Over the centuries, Inuit have ingeniously adapted to the severe Arctic. In fact, more than simply surviving, Inuit have learned to live resourcefully with the extreme and beautiful Nunavik environment. To compete, modern adventurers will have to learn from the Inuit. How many of them will cross the finish line of this extraordinary Nunavik Adventure Challenge in the amazing Land of silence?

Kinetic AR Roodeplaat 2012

Kinetic AR 2012

Kinetic AR 2011

BSG Energade No1 Roodeplaat


Senseless Winter Adventure Race 2011

Merrel to go test their mettle in volcano country

The MERRELL Adventure Addicts, arguably one of South Africa's top adventure racing units, are back after taking time off after their seventh place finish at the Adventure Racing World Championships held in Tasmania in early November 2011.

With the unprecedented growth in Mountain biking, trail running and adventure racing in South Africa over the past few years, people from all walks of life are getting off the couch and out into the great outdoors. Being OUTSIDE and enjoying all that South Africa has to offer is one of the fundamental principals of the Adventure Addicts and with this principal in mind has seen the addicts develop into one of the top multisport and adventure racing teams in the country.

As a brand Merrell understands this 100% and after joining forces with the team at the end of 2010, the Merrell Adventure Addicts enjoyed a successful 2011, winning the 500km Expedition Africa and finishing a creditable 7th out of 79 teams at the Adventure Racing World Championships. Though we were disappointed not to have achieved our top five finish at the ARWC, it was a fantastic year for the addicts, says Graham Bird, captain of the Merrell Adventure Addicts. Winning the 500km Expedition Africa event, completing the Freedom Challenge are just some of the highlights.

With the continuing support and shared vision of Merrell, the Merrell Adventure Addicts have again planned a massive year that will see them continuing to be driven by the LET'S GET OUTSIDE philosophies of Merrell.

February will see the Merrell Adventure Addicts head to the small South American country of Ecuador for the HUAIRASINCHI 2012. This 350km Adventure Race forms part of the Adventure Racing World Series and will see the team visit the famous avenue of volcano's as part of their acclimatization for the conditions. After reviewing the international AR calendar for 2012, this race grabbed our attention, mentioned Graham Bird. Traditionally we normally travel to an international race in the second half of each year and structure our racing calendar around that.

Upon returning from Ecuador the Merrell Adventure Addicts will then turn their attention defending their title at the 500km Expedition Africa event in May. Now in itÕs second year, the event will be staged in the Eastern Cape region surrounding Port Alfred and after the success of the 2011 addition has now been recognized with Adventure Racing World Series status. This is a tremendous achievement for the organisers, Stephan and Heidi Muller from, and is wonderful news for Adventure Racing in South Africa, says Tatum Prins, the addict's female member and motivational anchor.

The second half of the year will see the team turning its focus to the local racing scene. The Windhoek Lager Fish River Canyon Ultra which is staged along the iconic Fish River Canyon in Namibia in July; the 250km Quantum Energy Leap Adventure Race in the Western Cape, August; the Wildrun along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape in September; Merrell Eden Duo on the garden route in October and rounding out the year with the Skyrun in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg in November.

This year will also see the Merrell Adventure Addicts sharing their experiences with the Outdoor sports community when they host a Merrell Adventure Weekend in early March in the beautiful town of Swellendam. The weekend, which is aimed at like-minded people, will see the addicts staging a few races and conducting a number of talks, allowing people to tap into the experiences of the Merrell Adventure Addicts.

As with previous years, the Merrell Adventure Addicts will be led by captain and navigator Graham Bird, and for him it will all be about focusing the team at the right moment. Along with Tatum Prins, stalwart Hanno Smit will continue to bring his quiet determination and wise experience to the mix, with workhorse and powerhouse Donovan Sims adding all the strength needed to pull the team through the tough situations.

Their sponsorship deal with Merrell, an internationally acknowledged leader in the footwear and outdoor apparel industry, has enabled the team to focus their energy on racing rather than procuring sponsorship. After nearly three decades in the adventure business, we truly believe our performance products are inspired by active people like the Adventure Addicts, says Jaco Steenkamp, spokesperson for Merrell (South Africa). We encourage everyone to get outside, from beginner to seasoned pro, and we'll make sure we provide the shoes and apparel to keep you going. Further, faster, and comfortably!
Adventure Racing World Championships, XPD Tasmania, Australia - 31 Oct to 11 Nov 2011

(Graham Tweet Bird, Tatum Hobbit Prins, Hanno Smelly Smit and Donovan Tiny Sims) Various photos from Andreas Strand, and SleepMonsters

Graham Tweet Bird's report:

I am always amazed when looking out of airplane windows when I fly across the country and the world. You get to see the best and worst of what the world has to offer. You see the massive areas of urbanization, industrialization and commercialization that have sprung up to support the worldÕs huge population. From the different housing structures, suburb layouts, green areas, rubbish, you see the massive differences between the have and the have not's. We are all part of it, no matter how we all try to stay away from it or limit our part in it. We are sucked in. All necessary to support the world, as we know it.

You also get to see the vast areas of open land and wilderness below you. Green lush areas, dry arid areas, flat areas, mountainous areas, water areas. Majority of it explored, but some of it still wild and unexplored. It is these sights and the ability to GET OUTSIDE and explore this wilderness, becoming part of it, that keeps me going. It's raw. It's simple. Just me verse the wild outdoors. It is these experiences that allow me to recharge after being part of the world, as we know it.

In May 2010 we attended the Australian XPD staged in Cairns. The 780km Expedition Adventure Race was one of the most brutal and hardest adventure races I have ever done. It took us six and a half days to complete. It broke me; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It made me stronger. It recharged me. It re-ignited my passion for the outdoors. The sense of achievement was overwhelming. This is why I do this fantastic sport.

After our experiences at XPD 2010, our team set a top 5 finish at XPD Tasmania, the Adventure Racing World Champs for 2011. We hoped for a race that was as extreme as the 2010 addition and we longed to be pushed to our limits. As a team we have been racing together for many years. We enjoy racing together. We have fun racing together. We have the same goals, objectives and get the same things out of the sport. We wanted to be part of the race for the win. We knew we could race the top teams and set about working on our weaknesses throughout the year.

Arriving in Tasmania, we were all quietly confident and knew our preparations had gone well. The atmosphere, hype and anticipation in the small town of Burnie was infectious. After a few days of gear and food preparations, we finally received the course information a day before the start. We spent a frantic 6 hours doing the final preparations before handing in all our race boxes to the officials whom would be moving them around the course.

The course was broken down into 15 legs, 37 maps, 120km paddling, 180km trekking, 430km mountain biking. From the outset it looked a very fair, but tough course. The big expedition style legs were in the second half of the race with the shorter faster legs in the first half. We as a team felt this suited us. Traditionally we are stronger in the later part of races. We knew we needed to have a good first half and be in touch with the top teams at mid camp in order to use our strength.

We raced well in the first half, arriving at Mid Camp in 9th position on the afternoon of the third day, approximately 4-5 hours off the top 4. Our race speed was good and we had only made one error that had cost us a few hours on the second morning when we searched for a CP in the wrong area. We were content with our position, knowing that the race effectively started once we left Mid Camp. Upon leaving mid camp, we had three big legs (65km trek, 150km mtb, 87km paddle) to complete before the final few shorter legs to the finish. We made up good time on the 65km trek, completing it in 5th place. It was then onto the mtb. We spent hours in the dunes looking for a track, doing something like 20km in 5 hours. The fourth night of the race was probably our lowest point. I battled with sleep monsters like never before. We stopped to sleep 4 times, with none of them really helping, the highlight being when I came off the bike on a tar downhill after falling asleep. Nothing like waking up with a jolt. When you are having a bad leg, your mind just goes negative and we saw the race slipping away from us. To our surprise we finished the leg in 6th place only a few hours behind 4th. It appeared that everyone had had a bad leg. The fifth night was spent on the banks of the Arthur River with the 11-hour dark zone, sharing a campsite with four other teams, getting 8 hours sleep!

After a successful paddle leg, we were in tied 5th place, only 40min behind the 4th placed team and the 7th team being 20mins behind us. We realized the final three legs were going to be fast. We thought we had had a good 70km mtb, but lost two hours to the 4th and 5th place teams. Seems our route choice was not as good as thereÕs. We did however manage to open the gap on the 7th place team. A 25km beach and coasteering trek followed. The race staff told us the leaders had done this leg in 4 hours. We were on the home stretch, or so we thought. With the tiredness and the urgency to chase the 4th and 5th and stay ahead of 7th, I completely failed to see a path marked on the map. We ended up trekking along the rocky shoreline while the other teams took the path. We lost hours to the teams around us, with one team passing us and our fellow SA team catching up to us.

We crossed the finish line after 6 days and 2 hours in 7th position. The 4th and 5th teams, separated by 1 second, were about 2 hours in front of us, the 6th team 10 mins ahead of us and with the 8th placed team only 15mins behind us. A close race in the end.

As always, crossing the finishing line of an expedition race is special and indescribable to someone whom has never done it and this was no different. Physically, you pus h yourself to the extreme going through days with minimal sleep and food. Mentally, you go to deep dark places as you drag yourself through the many bad patches. Emotionally, you have to deal with all the ups and downs that go with all the physical and mental exertions. Spiritually, dealing with all the questions that you ask yourself about life throughout the course of the race.

The race lived up to all that I had hoped it would. It was a great course that was well worthy of the status of World Championships. A tough race that pushed us to our limits. Having now spent sometime reflecting about our race, I am content with our position and understand it is a great result, something to be proud of. I do however have a feeling of disappointment not having achieved our goal of a top 5 finish. We raced hard and showed we had the speed and ability to mixed it up with the top teams in the world. I don't think we could have moved quicker and I feel the error on the second morning, the terrible fourth night and missing the path on the last trekking leg, cost us dearly. But this is adventure racing and you need to get through the good and the bad. To my teammates, Tatum, Hanno and Don, again another special journey and it was a great honour to have raced alongside you guys! This is why I do this fantastic sport. A huge thanks go to Craig and Louise from Geocentric Outdoors for a brilliantly organized race.

Tatum Hobbit Prins report:

This year the ARWC was going to be our race, the race we had built up to, the race we had focused on, the race we had sacrificed a lot for. The time had come. It held huge importance to all of us, it was going to be a defining race for us and we were excited and nervous of what lay ahead. There were 80 teams taking part, a huge field in ARWC and it was said the top 15 teams were all going for and possibly all could claim a podium finish. We were part of this top 15 but our aim and goal was a top 5. We knew we could do it and we wanted it.

After sorting kit, packing, repacking, shopping and a few days of anticipation in Burnie we were off. From the start the race was exciting and fast paced. There were just so many teams wanting what we wanted and no matter what we did we could not seem to pull away from anyone. Quite early in the race the top 3 teams got away but from 4th place to 10th place it was a constant ding dong battle. No sooner had you passed one team you were been passed by another. This continued the whole race. At times it felt like if you stopped to pee you would be passed and that is crazy in a race of this length for the top teams to be just minutes apart.

The course itself was amazing, well thought out and wonderfully diverse. We really experienced Tasmania and its true beauty. From the rugged mountains, untouched rivers, pristine beaches, lush forests, incredible caves, beautiful kloofing sections, we could not have raced in a more beautiful country. I would even go as far as to say the the dirt was clean. That is how it felt. It felt like no one had been there before or seen what we had seen. One particularly scenic moment that really stands out for me was the most perfectly placed checkpoint in a mine on Mount Cumberland. It felt like we had a 360% view of Tasmania. Truly breathtaking. Just a pity we couldnÕt stop to enjoy it.

I have so many highlights of the race, or maybe I should rather say moments that stand out for me. Some not because of the beauty but because of other challenges, like the cold, navigational errors, sleepmonsters - just a few of the challenges that occur in AR.

If I close my eyes I can see and feel one of my coldest moments - the four of us stripping down for freezing cold river crossings in the middle of the night. The swims literally took our breath away it was so cold. However it was also one of the more funny moments as it was here we caught up with a few teams and there seemed to be naked racers everywhere with boobs and butts for all too see! The most frustrating and emotional leg for me was probably the 8km muddy mountain biking section on the 150km bike leg. I was so frustrated, tired, sore and definitely left my sense of humour in that section. We pushed our bikes through mud for 8km! No one seeÕs the light side of that after a couple days racing. Another highlight or rather a strange experience was our little camping excursion on the Arthur River. Because of the dark zone we were forced to camp alongside the river with 3 other teams. It was a weird feeling. One I had not experienced before. There we were racing our guts out for 4 days to suddenly come to a grinding halt, sit around a campfire (thanks Smelly) and enjoy each other's war stories. It was as if we were suddenly granted a holiday in the middle of a grueling race. With that goes the truly wonderful experience (NOT) of sharing a 2 man tent with 3 overgrown men who happen to smell particularly bad. As you can imagine the sleep was not exactly the best one I have had. However the rest of the 65km paddle was truly spectacular. I can also picture our very own Tweet falling asleep on his bike, then the realization when we stopped that he wasn't with us. The panic that we felt as we realized he had crashed his bike while falling asleep... Then last but not least I see the four of us coasteering in the true style. Making our way over endless rocky outcrops. We could not have been moving any slower and unbeknown to us there was a path that took you to the ame place but 4 hours quicker. The joys of adventure racing but unfortunately this cost us a position. Even though I can smile about it now it was a hard pill to chew at the time.

So even though we didn't accomplish what we set out for we can honestly say we did our best. Yes, I am very disappointed. I won't deny it and it is always hard to deal with disappointment. When you give your utmost for so long and everything hinges on this one race, the race I had chosen as the pinnacle of my racing. In the same breath we left nothing out on the course and even though we did not get our top 5 we raced hard and you know what... now we have even more reason to go back for more...

Again thank you to my boys - Tweet, Smelly, Tiny. Some of you may see this as claiming the boys as mine... well quite frankly I do! In those 6 days when we are out there racing, in the elements, sleep deprived, frustrated, happy and sad, they are the ones by my side. They are the ones lifting me up when the going gets tough, they are the ones checking I have eaten enough, making sure I am warm, encouraging me when I am tired. Without these boys I would not be racing, doing the one thing I hold dearest and closest to my heart. Without them I would not be following my dream. A dream that I have been chasing for 8 years. Without them I would not hold the light that fuels my passion. It is these boys who make up such an important part of my life. You will often hear me say I love my boys dearly... well I do, with all my heart.

Thank you to our ever-faithful supportive sponsors. Again they are the reason we are OUTSIDE doing what we do best, letting us live the life we cannot live without.

Then lastly a very special thank you to my husband Lofty. He has stood by my side for 8 years, supported and loved me as I have made racing as a priority in my life. He has supported and allowed me to follow my dream, he has never asked anything of me, never voiced his frustration as I have missed out on social engagements, have been away for so many weekends or weeks at a time. It takes a very special man to let his wife love 3 other men and support it. Thank you Lofts for being you!!

Until the next time...Over and out. Hobs

Hanno Smelly Smit's report:

XPD 2011 was also the World AR champs and the location was the beautiful and untouched North Western part of Tasmania. The latitude is around 40 degrees south and that means that the wind consistently blows hard, fuelled by the many cold fronts that pass by and regularly pours rain over this first land obstacle after Cape Horn. The temperatures are low compared to what we were used to and would typically not exceed the mid teens in centigrade. The terrain is mainly forested wilderness where the gigantic Eucalypts tower majestically over the pristine rainforests with many rivers and streams allowing for the regular rains to drain.

As we competed in XPD 2010 in tropical Northern Queensland and experienced the harsh terrain, vegetation and weather conditions, we were well aware of the potential adversity which lay ahead of us for this year's race. The field of competitors was the strongest ever for a World Champs and of the 80 teams, about 10 teams were realistically standing a chance of winning the race.

After a very professionally organized race briefing, the race start was a very comfortable 9am start at race HQ. An ocean paddle leg kicked off the 6-day odyssey for us. Immediately we had problems on this paddle leg in that the blow up boat would not track properly in the side wind conditions and allowed many teams to overtake us en route to the next hiking TA. This set the tone for the rest of the race; we consistently had little setbacks or problems, but fought back every time without these getting the better of us. The race route structure was basically the same as XPD 2010. The first half of the race dissected Tasmania from the town of Burnie to the harbour town of Strahan, halfway down the West Coast. This is where mid camp was situated and spend a compulsory 6 hour stopover. The legs were relatively short and undaunting and the going easy. The race from here onwards would take on a different form in three epic expeditionary legs through the Arkine region and then another 3 short legs essentially completing the course from the Arkine to the Northern coast and finally into what was the starting for us 6 days prior, the coastal town of Burnie.

The first of the big three legs was a trekking leg. This hike started off with a long beach drag, including 2 big river crossings, which we negotiated in the chilly nighttime. Next curved ball was a dense bundu bashing mission towards an orienteering type CP. The trek then became a jungle walk up into the mining mountains and from there onwards we were left with route choice aplenty. The terrain was dense veld and it made for energy sapping traversing. This hike eventually descended down to the coast again for the start of the next epic bike leg.

The push bikes were immediately steered onto the soft beach and intermittent beach tracks. Soon we were carrying our bikes up big sand dunes and hiking along long stretches of unrideable terrain. It was already epic and we were 5km into this 150km leg! With darkness setting in we covered mainly forestry roads and secondary roads. As daylight appeared we were moving into rough forest areas again and were dealing with hour-long sections of mud riding and pushing. The final push towards the transition just before sunset was an inspired effort as we were chasing the 19h30 dark zone on the river and needed to use the available 90 minutes to our best advantage.

The 3rd epic paddling leg was 75 odd km long, but the going was easy and fast and it came to the rescue of many of the lesser paddlers! We spent our compulsory dark zone (19:30 until 6:30) on the river bank inside our tent, snoring a melody in pain. The paddling came to an end in the late afternoon and from here we mounted our pushies again for a 70km fast leg towards our last coasteering leg and then onto the pushies again for a brisk pedal into Burnie.

For me this race had all the essentials of a great race: the competition was fierce, the terrain was beautiful, wild and demanding, the route was challenging, but enjoyable and the conditions were testing with the race being consistently wet and cold. We finished a slightly disappointing 7th, but I felt content with an honest effort and knowing that a slightly different bounce of the dice it could have been very different.

I salute my teammates for an unforgettable 2011!

Donovan Tiny Sims report:

It was the 26th October and we were finally off, on our way to the land down under for the Tasmanian ARWC 2011. This was the race that our whole years preparation had been all about. After 2 days in Sydney, we finally arrived in Burnie, Tasmania. This was where it was all happening from, race head quarters.

After 2 days of packing and other admin we were finally ready to get started. We started off with a 17km paddle, which saw Smelly and I leading the race, all be it for really short while. Half way into the paddle Hobbit and I had to make a quick change over, which saw Tweet and I and Smelly and Hobbit finishing the paddle together.

After a quick chilly transition we where onto the first of our hiking legs, not long into this leg one of each team had to shoot clay pigeons, missing them would result in a time penalty, luckily this was not the case for us. This leg went well for us and had us at the first of our bike legs.

This was a quick ride at first with it all tar road, we then got to the caving section where we were given an hour to collect CP's inside a spectacular cave. We managed that in enough time to allow us to eat and rest up before getting back onto our bike for a MONSTER climb heading toward our next hiking leg.

This was definitely one of my favourite sections of the race, it's all a bit fuzzy, but I think this was where we thought we would try a Ōshort cutĶ. That took us through a kloof or two too many. None the less, this hike was breath taking as we made our way to the top of the abseil, which made been cancelled due to it being way too wet. A quick downhill scramble had us in one of the coldest, wet kloofing sections I've done in long time. We then criss-crossed the river a few times making our way to start of the next paddling leg, where we caught up with Cyanosis, whom had passed us when we searched in the wrong place for a CP.

Another quick transition (no slow ones with Hobbit around) and all 4 of us were of in one blow up boat, which was pretty cool as long as you were not at the back of the boat. Tweet had the back spot and he was absolutely frozen at the next transition, where we received a second boat. At the end of this paddle we had to portage our boats (NO DRAGGING) to the next river put in which finally got us to the end of the paddle.

Back onto the bikes and we sped into the half way stop and compulsory 6-hour stop.

From here on in, the race took on a real expedition type style. The next 3 legs were epic slogs. First was a hike that took us around 19 hrs. Then a bike leg that lasted 23 hrs. with major sleep monster hassles along the way and then we were onto the much anticipated loooong paddle. Of these 3 legs I really enjoyed the paddle. We had a dark zone in it, which had Smelly making a camp fire and for a while we almost forgot we were racing until the next morning and the race face was on again.

We were back onto the shorter legs of the race again with a 70 km bike, a 20 km coasteering leg and then a 35 km bike to the end. We missed a path on the map and turned the coasteering into a bit of a monster but we got through it albeit losing a place to a Swedish team.

We had a 7th place finish at the end of it all. We were all hoping for top 5 which I really do believe was well within our reach.

We had a great race and I know I say this every time but hats off to my teammates. Tweet for all the organising before the race and for the determination shown during the race even when the sleep monster was getting the better of you. To Smelly for once again just being the pillar of strength the team relies on so often. To the Hobbit for always driving the team even when you are tired and for the huge leadership role you so quietly carry out. It is that role and your raw passion for the sport that puts you a step above the rest of the girls in the sport.

A big thank you must go out to our GREAT sponsors for allowing us to be able to take part in this great sport...THANK YOU !!

And last but NOT least to our families and loved ones back home, who show patience and support when most would get grumpy send us packing, a huge thank you to all of you for allowing us to follow our dreams.

The Merrell Adventure Addicts wish to thank the following team sponsors who support our adventurous lifestyles:

Merrell - For supporting our active lifestyles and allowing us to GET OUTSIDE
PVM - For providing us with nutritional products to keep us going.
Black Diamond - For Icon and Cosmo head torches that lit our way brilliantly
Giant Bicycles - For providing the team with exceptional Anthem MTB's
Island Tribe - For protecting us from the harsh African sun.
Squirt - For keeping our Bikes lubed and operating smoothly!
Glider - For Polarized eyewear

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