France and Spain Take the Podium Places
After the early morning finish of the winners there was a considerable wait for the second and third placed teams to cross the line at Koti Resort as the teams are now very spread out.
Agde Raid Aventure crossed the line second with a time of 73 hrs 21m, but were a little nervous that they’d secured second place when they heard the teams behind them had a 3 hour 15 minute time credit. (From the rafting delay.) They had no need to worry however, as the Spanish team Endurance Aromon were over 6 hours behind them.
Agde Raid were met by Naturex on the finish and immediately started reviewing the race as they settled down to some food and drink in the hotel reception. Paul Galode said, “We thought the last trek was really hard, as it was so steep, and the ride was long so we are glad to make it to the finish now. It was a challenging race and we had some small problems with navigation and Nicholas feeling sick on the first ride, but we are pleased with second place.”
In third place were Endurance Aromon who crossed the line at 15.25 and they were much more emotional about their finish than first and second. Their navigator, known as ‘Jota’, told me, “That was hard and the climb to the temple on the last trek was the hardest one I have ever done!”
The team were concerned about not followed some of the race instructions quite correctly on their trek route, and told Stephan Muller about this so it’s a situation he is reviewing, but they are not the only team to take that route and gained no advantage. There has been some variety on the routes taken on this race and teams have reacted differently to the sketchy maps and the large number of trails not on them.
“The first day I was a bit overwhelmed,” Jota told Race Director Heidi Muller, “and as a navigator I felt a bit confused and that I should read the maps better. Then I started to understand them more, and to realise that you followed trails between houses, rather than rely on the map. By the end I was starting to understand navigation in India a little better.”
Speaking about the rafting he said, “There was so much plastic and litter at the sides of the rapids, and also along the roads. It seems the culture here to throw litter but it is sad.” Most of the teams have made similar comments on the litter pollution and found it hard to come to terms with in such a beautiful setting.
Behind these top 3 teams the race is progressing at a steady pace, with Estonian ACE Adventure expected in 4th place, having recovered well from Rain Eensaar falling sick. The team worst affected by sickness is Bend Racing, but after a very long stay at TA6 they are set off again to try to finish the race. (Lars Bukkehave subsequently turned back to TA6.)
Daniel Murphy of After Work Athletes too felt ill and his team were moved forward to TA6 and missed the final raft, after which the two South African athletes in the team, Misty Weyer and Janneke Leask continued with the race.
At the same time the two Indian Navy teams were moved forward to miss the rafting stage, and that followed the Kolkata Police Team flipping their raft and losing it down the river. There were all OK and rescued and also taken to TA6 to recover so they could continue. All of which left the two ITBP teams finishing off the raft and Nth Adventure still determinedly bringing up the rear but they are so far back and moving so slowly they will have to be picked up. The teams from India have given their all on the race and stuck with the task, determined to reach the finish or to get as far as they can.
On the last trek stage today teams have progressed slowly, tired, now needing more sleep and faced with steep ascents and tough navigation. They have taken a variety of routes, some good, some poor.
The Nepali Army team lost several places when taking a high ridge route earlier in the day and Rootstock Racing once again showed how it’s done choosing a route that took from 11th to 6th place after stopping to sleep overnight. They’ve shown how much difference smart thinking and navigation can make to a team’s result.
Estonian ACE Adventure are expected to finish tonight, followed by Issy Aventure Occitanie and then there will be a group of teams finishing tomorrow morning. The remaining teams still have until Friday afternoon to complete the course, so have plenty of time yet.
UPDATE; Estonian ACE Adventure finished in 4th place. Despite two team members being ill they kept up their pace and made it to the finish line.