The third leg of the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race brought the teams out of the water and into the cover of thick forest and swampland. Though the wind caused problems along the biking leg on the first day, powerful gusts from the back pushed the kayaking portion ahead at breakneck speed, with most teams finishing in about four hours. “Racers are traveling on…faster than the best times we predicted,” said Stjepan Pavicic, race organizer.
Upon reaching the forest for the first trekking portion of the race, teams had two choices: push straight through the 11.8 mile (19km) trudge overnight, or take a few hours to recuperate before moving on into the unstable shadows of the peat bog. All but reigning champion team, Britain’s Adidas Terrex, chose the latter.
Bruce Duncan, team captain for Adidas Terrex, was eager to move ahead upon arriving at Checkpoint 2 at the head of the trekking section. “We don’t know what the terrain’s like but we just want to get out of here as quickly as possible to avoid anyone seeing where we’re going!” he said.
Chelsea Gribbon of competitive American team GearJunkie says, “we are just aiming to run our own race. The only aim is to make the cut-off for the next kayak (Checkpoint 8), because that will be the reckoning point.”
For two teams—Xinghu out of Argentina and Brazil, and DAP Antarctica out of Chile—the reckoning point came earlier. Both teams failed to reach the Checkpoint 3 by the 6pm cut-off time, resulting in their withdrawal from the competition.
Between Checkpoint 3 and Checkpoint 8—the next kayaking leg—teams will face 73km of trekking along the edge of the ice field. In order to make the cut-off for the next kayaking leg, teams will have to have reached Checkpoint 8 by 8am this morning, Thursday, Feb. 11.