La Gesta ARWS S. America

  • Paraguay (PRY)
  • Off-Road Running
  • Off-Road Cycling
  • Paddling

BOA Brazil Multisport Survive the Heat to Win at La Gesta

Camila Nicolau (Team BOA Brazil Multisport) / 29.01.2021Live TrackingSee All Event Posts Follow Event
Team BOA Brazil Multisport celebrate their win at La Gesta
Team BOA Brazil Multisport celebrate their win at La Gesta / © @mackaudiovisualpy

La Gesta, organized by Nandupe Aventura, was the first race of the newborn ARWS South America and the fact that it was going to be in Paraguay is what attracted our team to this race.

Paraguay is a very special country for Gui and I. There, we won our first Expedition length race back in 2015, I made my comeback, after pregnancy when Kilian was 8 months old in 2018, plus the wild nature and wonderful people have given us an extraordinary experience.

With all these years of racing behind us we have made many good friends and nowadays we train a big squad of adventure racers and trail runners with our Sports consulting business ‘Oficina Multisport’.

To complete our team, we invited Fernando Perez, who is our business partner in Paraguay, and a very strong athlete from our group. The other guy, Pedro Lavinas, is already a great teammate who we have been competing together with on the National Circuit for a couple of years in Brazil. For Pedro, it was his first international race and together with Gui, Nick Gracie and I, Team BOA Brazil Multisport will be chasing ARWS titles in 2021.

Since the 2020 Patagonia Raid last March, we haven’t had any opportunity to compete in other races. 2020 was a good year for Gui and I to explore and discover more of Brazil’s nature, but we were looking forward to racing again.

La Gesta was 180km long, divided as follows: 18km kayak, 25km trekking, 120km mountain biking and 17km trekking.

The village we started the race from is called Humaita, six hours drive from the capital Assunción.  It was the location of many battles in the past and a strategic place to have forces before any enemies could reach Asunción through the Paraguay River. Historical monuments and even a shipwreck were the check points where we had to take pictures. It was a special tour into this area, the wildlife was beautiful too, we met an alligator, big birds, including Flamingos and Tuiuius, a few snakes, rabbits and the biggest number of mosquitos I have ever seen in my life! It was impossible to stand still for more than 10 seconds!

The race started by running into the boats and moving quickly onto the Paraguay River. This is the border with Argentina so we had to stay closer to the left side. The river flows fast and in less than 2 hours we were out, running and boiling.

Concentration on navigation was a hard task since the terrain didn’t offer many landmarks and we had received 14 maps in A3 format at different scales. Teamwork was crucial to decipher these maps.

By noon, and in 37 degrees Celsius, I started to feel the heat and the team had to drop their pace to help me. At the end of this stage we bought some cold drinks and a bag of ice. Reaching the TA2 we were still in first place, but knew that teams were getting closer to us.

The weather changed and some rain started to fall as we began the bike ride. The 120km ahead was totally flat with sand and now, mud.

In the middle of this biking stage we made a nav mistake which cost us one hour and two positions in the race. The overlap of each map sheet had no pattern, some would join side by side, others overlapped a few centimeters. That made Gui and Pedro confused and neither could see this for a while. At this point Ulala, a local and very experienced team, passed us very confidently, and put a one hour gap on us by the time we got into the last TA.

I recovered quite well by the end of this stage, but was still having a lot of cramps. It was hard to change my shoes, even for that I needed help. Motivation was low and we couldn’t imagine how to change the game.

It was around 00:45 when we slowly left TA3 and started to warm up as the first check points arrived. After 3 CPs we started to see some lights and realized that was Ulala Team. We talked strategies and decided to go hard until the finish line or die fighting!

We caught them and from that point, navigation got really tricky with dry lagoons, bush bashing, mosquitos, darkness … The game was changing!  In dense bush we managed to disappear from their view and Gui was very precise reaching the next points.

At 4:20 am we crossed the finish line in first place, very proud of our resilience.

The race was super well organized, Rodrigo Cubilla made a fantastic job and from the reception to the end we had a great experience. In the name of BOA I would like to say thank you for everyone’s effort to make this race happen, to Rodrigo, Fer Perez our teammate, Luis Bernal our hostess and all the other teams and athletes that participated in the event.

It’s really good to be able to race again after almost one year. As a first time team racing together we had excellent team work, offering, accepting and asking for help, and we learnt a lot for future races.

Looking forward to the next one team!

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