World Championship route details finally revealed

2009-10-04 23:36

After an exhausting Summer, the organizers managed to prepare the longest ever Adventure Race in Portugal. The complete route, including all checkpoints, will be over 900 km and they are glad to decided to explore Lusitanea and present everybody with such a challenge!

The landscape is beautiful, the terrain is tricky and in some parts physically demanding, in others it’s a complete “nightmare” and your resilience will be tested to the limits. However, they designed the race to allow all the Teams to reach the finish line and enjoy the journey over the Land of Light. For the winners they promise the challenge of the year, with a very demanding course with increasing difficulty towards the end. This difficulties varies along the way from Physical at the beginning to Technical at the end. A strong fight all over the race is predicted by the organizers with TOP places varying depending on the strategy for the Bonus Check Points (CP\'s) collection and for the rest stops.

Like in the previous editions of Estoril Portugal XPD the race was designed to offer the racers the best available territory for Adventure Race in the Lusitanea area and to help everybody to discover many of Portugal natural and cultural heritage, ranging from the Jurassic era to the Paleolithic, Roman, Arabic, Medieval and Modern times. This edition will have CP\'s in Dinosaurs Monuments, in Stone Age Sanctuaries, in Roman Gold Mines, in Moorish Fortresses, in Templar strongholds, in Medieval Bridges, Churches and Castles and in the new Wind Power Generators.

Wild life will surround teams all over the territory; they will paddle with eagles and vultures, biking with wild boars and bulls, hiking with deer and snakes which will make this expedition really natural. The race will pass many Natural Parks and protected areas which implies an “eco friendly” attitude from the racers and organizers to minimize any negative impacts to the ecosystems.

Again the main question all teams should address in this race is Management: How can we manage to do it all? The race is planned to give the “trophy” to the faultless options; thus good judgement, focus and teamwork will be decisive to overcome the challenges of the course. Sleep and rest stops will be crucial to assure good judgement in route choice and strategic decisions. The weather conditions are also a crucial factor which we took in consideration for the route layout. For instance, sunny days will speed teams in some places and almost dehydrate them in others; this implies the need of a careful choice and decision in all occasions, specially in the mountains. Fortunately, teams will find always simple solutions, like small country roads which will speed you up to the next Transition Area (the cut offs with shortcuts are an example of that principle).

The equipment requirements are balanced between safety and comfort and the organisation will not force teams to carry heavy packs unless it will be strictly necessary. Climbing gear and wet suits will be carried just in the sections required and they will be picked and dropped in specific places all along the way. The recommended places to sleep are the Assistance Areas but many comfortable places can be found all along the way, namely in some of the transition zones. For the meals the organizers recommend to explore the flavours of the Portuguese “cuisine” as teams will cross many small villages with typical taverns and pastry shops.

Most important at this time is to prepare for the challenge and after analysing the data presented in the ARWC Portugal 2009 Provisional Technical Data Sheet (Info Bulletin nº4), one can find all the results extracted from the organizers visit trips and testing. The average speed estimated for the whole race is 8,4 km/h, which in their opinion allows any of the top World Teams to complete the full race (CP’s and bonus CP’s), nevertheless the technicalities involved in navigation, particularly at night, will require acute precision and focus, which implies the teams would need to rest several times along the way to minimise the errors. Because time management is so crucial, there will be some compulsory stops to allow some race protocols regarding Sport Ident data collection, Press Flash Interviews, GPS System downloads and battery check and Medical Checks.

From the data available is possible to verify that around 39% of the predicted time the teams will be walking /running, 41% biking, 18% paddling and 1% skating which indicates that attention should be paid to the feet and their condition along the route. Other interesting data extracted from the race statistics are the maximum speeds for Mountain Biking, 11,75 km\\h, for Roller-Blade\\ TRIKKE, 21,7 km\\h, for Trekking 5,5 km\\h and for Paddling 6,3 km\\h. The longest section has 160 km and it’s a MTB section and the shortest is an easy 5,3 km trekking section. Mountain biking has the largest share of the 907 km with more than 57 % (MTB and O-MTB) of the total racing distance.

The maps that will be used this year are from the Portuguese Military Maps (1:25 000) and we will use the scale 1:50 000 for the paddling sections. We will use also Orienteering maps for more precise navigation. Examples of the map legend will be send to the teams along with an extract of similar areas in the three formats we will be using (1:20 000, 1:25 000 and 1:50 000).

The final piece of information released is the race scheme (Info Bulletin nº3) that provides for the full picture of the route and identifies the sequence of the sections and the location of the Transition /Assistance along the five stages of the race.

Please stay tune for more details in the coming days,


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