Namaqua West Coast presented its own set of challenges as teams prepared themselves for the daunting 198km cycle ahead. Already, these athletes have endured over 36 hours of non-stop racing and the navigational element of this year’s 560km race continues to challenge teams as they tackle leg 4.
Course director; Stephan Muller presented teams with a route choice like no other this year, adding a new element of navigational ‘risk’ to 2018’s Expedition Africa with the option of collecting CP 22a or CP 22b. Each check point bears its own set of challenges: option A, will take teams along a shorter path, however will be required to carry their bikes the entire way, whilst option B, features a safer, yet longer route, venturing teams for a further 20km in order to obtain the checkpoint.
Leading the pack of 52 teams; team Blizzard (RUS) closely followed by Agde Raid Aventure (FR) navigated incredibly well, overtaking South African teams; Jabberwock and Sani/Best 4 Sports during the gruelling cycle leg. Currently the top 10 seeded teams of Expedition Africa 2018, opted to collect CP 22 A, selecting the shorter, more intense route of the two. According to sources, team Sani/Best 4 Sports regretted this route choice and wished they had chosen the less strenuous path.
South African teams; Plett AR and Black Diamond are amongst the brave who have risked the epic and exhausting 2km bike hike for a shorter cycle. Whilst teams Secretos De Ullum (SPN), Bucket of Hope (RSA), Grit Nyamezela (RSA), Rustproof (RSA) and Park Rangers (RSA) are amongst the group of teams that have opted to collect CP 22B.
The risk in it all is a simple calculation of a lengthily, conservative activity versus a short, high intensity activity. Knowledge of team mates strengths and weaknesses will come into play, as navigators make their risky route choice of the day.
Lack of sleep is beginning to take its toll on athletes as they push themselves to reach the halfway mark of the 198km cycle. An hour or two of well deserved sleep and a warm meal are keeping teams motivated as they push their bodies a little further.
Historically, day two’s strategic sleep deprivation is usually when navigational mistakes are made, and in turn when the leaderboard changes the most. Don’t miss out on the excitement by tracking each team via the Expedition Africa’s live tracking platform: www.expafrica.live