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RAID World Championships of Adventure Racing

RAIDThis week-long hard-core event began on Sunday and is preparing to wrap up any day now, with a trio of teams grinding it out at the finish. The winding course works its way through Quebec, with multiple sections of hiking, kayaking, biking, rope work and canoeing. The American Nike/Powerblast team was in front at last check, with two French teams close behind. Read on for the latest race report from the RAID folks:

Nike Powerblast head up a tight troika of teams on a breakaway after another dark zone. The 16:00 closure yesterday evening of the magnificent 300 metre abseil down a sheer granite cliff overlooking the Saguenay Fjord, spreads the teams even thinner around the course.

At the end of the impressive rope-works section NIKE/POWERBLAST (USA) set out ahead of closest rivals LES ARCS-QUECHUA (FRA) onto the following 58km MTB section that would take them through the night to Ha! Ha! Bay.

When they arrived at the end of this section, at 23h45 last night, the leaders slept on the banks of the bay while behind them the French team were getting lost. The team’s navigator, Rudy GOUY, usually so dependable, took the team for a 90-minute detour around Lake Goth making a possibly crucial error of judgment. The third team in this leading trio, WILSA SPORT/HELLY HANSEN (FRA), after resting at the end of the rope-works, flew onto the MTB course covering the 58km in a little over 4 hours; almost one hour faster than Nike Powerblast.

At 06:00 this morning, after a 6-hour rest, Nike were first onto the sea-kayaks, followed 44 minutes later by WILSA SPORT/HELLY HANSEN (FRA), who came straight off the bikes and into the boats. LES ARCS-QUECHUA (FRA) opted to rest 5 hours leaving a couple of hours later. Taking advantage of the ebb tide, they all enjoyed a calming, current-aided paddle across the River Saguenay.

NIKE/POWERBLAST continuing its inexorable advance towards the finishing line, completing the 17km sea kayaking section in 1h40, 10 minutes faster than LES ARCS-QUECHUA (FRA) and WILSA SPORT/HELLY HANSEN (FRA). The latter team chose to rest before hitting the next 48km MTB section

The teams coming later will have to deal with the harsh sun and a rising tide will make it harder to progress against the current. All will be doing their utmost to get out on the water before 17:00; the time of the cut-off after which nobody will be able to start the section.

French team AIGLE SYBELLES ESF were obliged to drop out of the race at CP 26, the start of section K (trail 53km). One of the team was suffering from an injured ankle and was unable to continue. That brings the number of teams still in the race to 18.