Expedition Oregon - Americas Toughest Race

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The Race Director's Update For Day 2 at America's Toughest Race

Press Release / 15.05.2021Live TrackingSee All Event Posts Follow Event
Teams have tough choices to make on America's Toughest Race
Teams have tough choices to make on America's Toughest Race / © America's Toughest Race

Last night saw a lot of struggle for the middle and back of the pack teams. With many of them slowing essentially to a crawl as they worked up into the Ochoco mountains proper.

From CP4 teams faced a steep hike a bike and then eventually a big descent on rough single track through the forest. Which brought them to regaining all of the elevation they had just come up and down to get back to the ridge line that eventually led to Spanish Peak. Many of the teams that had intended to finish the entire pro course found themselves faced with a decision of whether they could maintain a reasonable pace and meet future cut-offs and opted to skip the peak and instead ride down and slowly make their way into the TA.

As of now we are about 54 hours into the race and there are still three teams that have not reached TA2. All the teams in the middle or back of the pack had slower transitions, some of them lasting up to three or four hours. The front teams made much shorter work of the difficulties, just gritting their teeth and continuing each climb or snow obscured trail with a bit more tenacity and speed.

Most notable was Checkpoint Zero and team Recharge/Bend Racing who both took a very smart course from CP 8 at the summit to CP9 far down in the valley. They chose to not stay on the trail, but to either ride the road and bike-walk down the ridge, or some variation, until they reached the lower trail and continued on to cp10. The navigator of Team Recharge nailed it and moved up four or five places in an incredibly short span and has put them solidly into the race for the top three.

Checkpoint Zero encountered a few more problems on their parallel route, but still made up significant time, and it is now a pretty clear battle for ranking within the top five between those teams. Still holding second place is Journey/Bend Racing who may not know how strong the three teams behind them are. But they themselves are clearly losing touch with the race leaders La Jolla IVF/Vidaraid.

The world #2 team has slept the least of any team (about an hour in TA3), but that shouldn't worry anyone, as they are notorious for being able to survive on less sleep than almost any other team in the world.  And they now have over a 6-hour buffer so if needed they could get a nice long nap.

Chasing teams all slept for 3 to 4 hours before they began the pack raft through the canyon. Making matters more difficult those that went at night or early in the morning had extremely low water levels because of the heat that has melted much of the snow that feeds the canyon over the past week. And we have reports of many of them trekking and dragging their boats through much of it.

Many teams have successfully negotiated the knife edge ridge to get CP 18 and that continues to be a highlight of this leg and we can't wait to see footage of that.

Looking forward, any team that can persevere and find their way eventually to TA3 will have many choices about how to proceed.  They could continue on the course, opting to go for more of the pro points and the orienteering course at TA4/5, they could skip many of the pro points on the bike and bike directly to TA4/5, or they could bike directly to TA6.

All of these options would save them significant time as from TA3 the race shifts dramatically.

Essentially stages 1 through 3 are America's Toughest Race, and the stages that remain are essentially a more standard adventure Race. Not to say that they are not tough, but teams could increase their pace as the topography becomes more gentle and the navigation difficulty will subtly increase to offset this.

It will be an interesting night as La Jolla IVF/Vidaraid will be the only team to do the 'O' course during daylight, which should give them an even bigger lead as the other chase teams will be doing it at night.

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