|By Press Release|
Team Merrell Adventure Addicts pedalled home to complete a 730km route at the Adventure Racing World Championships in Burnie, Tasmania’s gateway city to the West Coast wilderness region. Out of a starting line-up of nearly a hundred teams, the SA foursome raced hard to claim a phenomenal 7th position.
Four hundred racers; 23 nationalities; 730km of harsh terrain; and the unforgiving Tasmanian weather … these were just a few of the obstacles standing in the way of MERRELL Adventure Addicts as they lined up a week ago at the AR World Champs event in Burnie, Tasmania. The event’s no-holds-barred Race Director, Craig Bycroft, promised them ‘an experience like no other’, and after nearly seven days of non-stop racing, the four AR campaigners can certainly attest to that.
As seasoned adventure racers, they had a pretty good idea what would await them at the annual ARWC, the undeniable gathering place for the world’s AR Top Dogs. Ahead of them lay at least six days of multi-disciplinary racing following a true, expedition-style course through genuine wilderness conditions. Four-person teams (generally male and female) navigate a course using map, compass and landmarks via a series of control point (or CPs).
Teams typically rest only when they can no longer function effectively, transitioning between a range of human-powered disciplines such as mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, swimming, technical rope work and orienteering. Team work is also of the utmost importance, and this is exactly where the true strength of the MERRELL Adventure Addicts lies.
They have been racing together, both locally and internationally, for well on four years now, and have as such built an innate understanding of each other’s individual strengths and weaknesses, thus shaping a formidable racing unit. Captain and navigator Graham Bird is ably supported stalwarts Hanno Smit and Donovan Sims, with the dimunitive Tatum Prins bringing her special brand of girl power to the mix.
ARWC2011 would be no ordinary race, though, with everything from Dark Zones and navigational challenge or natural obstacle lying in wait along the gruelling course Down Under. Lining up at the start just after dawn on 2nd November brought the harshness of the challenge awaiting them home to the team: “I am not at all shy to admit that I was scared by what awaited us”, said Bird, “but what I did know was that every one of my team mates would do their utmost or die out there”.