GODzone Adventure - Chapter 4

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Making the Right Calls

Rob Howard / 03.03.2015See All Event Posts Follow Event
/ © Rob Howard

All expedition races have an element of attrition, and the weather plays a key part in that, so it’s no surprise that on day 4 of Godzone 2015 there are now 15 full course teams, 23 short course teams, 6 unranked teams and 8 retired altogether.

The race has been hit by a week of unseasonably bad summer weather and the competitors have paid the price.  It’s a credit to the organisation that so far they have managed to run the course as planned. Stages which are open for some and closed or amended for others don’t make for a good race  and they’ve stuck to their aim of keeping it simple and pushing teams out of their comfort zone while holding true to their course. 

I suspect that with the rising rivers, night time swim, inaccessible stages and the choppy conditions last night on Lake Wakatipu many other race organisers would have stopped and restarted teams or cut stages, and the end result would have been an unsatisfactory race.  Instead the race trusted their staff on the course and trusted the ability of the teams to look after themselves and make their own decisions.

Two teams who did make a decision that felt right for them last night were teams ‘You Can Cry But Keep Moving’ and ‘More Pros than Cons’. They were the last teams to make the 2am cut-off at TA6 and despite narrowly getting in on time they opted to continue on the short course, rather than make the difficult crossing of the Garvie Mountains and do the testing orienteering stage.  They felt that would be too much for them and made a sensible call. 

Others have done the same thing at different times during the race, deciding to stop or not to stop as safety dictated or camping out to let river levels fall.  Wherever possible the race has supported them to keep them moving along as much of the course as they can, and the very fact the two teams made that choice at TA6 indicates it’s a well judged cut-off.

It’s always hard for teams to accept being short coursed, and was especially so for Haast Eagles who made such an amazing effort to get there in time and yet again found the weather against them. The headwind and swell on Lake Wakatipu meant their efforts were in vain.

They joined the short coursed and unranked teams who have to take a 6 hour stand down time at TA6, before continuing. (That is why you will see teams grouped there on the tracking map.)  The short course takes them along the ‘Around the Mountain Cycle Track’ to Garston and after a short hop on the state highway joins the Nevis Road up to Duffers Saddle to collect CP26 and continues on the full course from there.

All of the teams have until Saturday to complete the course, so there is still plenty of time left for them all to make it back to the finish line at Wanaka on either the long or short course routes.

You can follow the race live at http://godzoneadventure.com


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