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So, after many years of competing in and preparing others for some of Australia’s iconic Adventure Races, such as Geoquest, Hells Bells, the Keen Adventure Race, the Mark Webber Challenge and XPD Tasmania, we thought wouldn’t it be great for us to uniquely put together some of our ‘Tri Adventure’ athletes to take on the next version of ‘Australia’s Toughest Adventure Race – XPD’ in Townsville. As Kim had raced in and completed two such events with Team Mountain Designs, and Jan seeing the events from the other side taking on volunteer roles for both, we wanted once again to be able to pass on what we have learned to others and help a group on a journey to and through a race such as XPD. A plan was hatched and it was time to implement it. So several weeks before XPD entries opened…..we began having some serious

conversations and planting some seeds in the minds of Gina, Cassie, Alex and Dyson. Soon XPD as “Team Tri Adventure” became a reality. In the lead up to XPD we have had the opportunity to watch the team grow and develop as a team and develop all the necessary skills that they a will take into an expedition race such as XPD. Along the way our Tri Adventure Training Group members and friends have been there too, taking part in some or all of the races and adventures that we conceived to help prepare the team for XPD. The Team had two hit outs together racing as a team in the Rogue 24 and in the Geoquest Half where they finished in a podium position. It’s just really all about having fun, seeing the beauty in the outdoors and having the fitness to enjoy it. Kim and Jan - Tri Adventure



10 days racing August 3 - August 14 2015

Tiger Adventure Shaun Jackson and I (Trevor Mullens) started Tiger Adventure after XPD Flinders Ranges 2013. We raced with Kev Piercy and Team Mawson. We learnt much from Kev and that experience and have been close friends since. Now Kev is part of and one of the biggest supporters of Tiger Adventure. At 51 I was a late starter, but after my first Adventure race in March 2012, I fell in love with the sport. The toughest thing was to get a balanced team to the start. I put together a competitive team for the next Geoquest and had a great race with Cyclezone. This idea was something that I could duplicate, and hence the starting a broader AR team was born and has flourished since. Tiger Adventure is about bringing people together who have the spirit and desire for adventure. To support Adventure Racing by encouraging and helping people to participate. We link up racers who have similar goals, match up skills and experience to try and form balanced teams. In 2014 we entered two Tiger teams into Geoquest, in 2015 eight Tiger teams finished Geoquest and now we have eight teams entered in XPD Tropics. We have 4 racers from New Caledonia, 1 from Kuwait, 1 from Brazil, 2 from WA, 3 from SA, 3 from VIC, 7 from NSW and 12 from QLD including three Townsville locals. This includes 20 racers in their first XPD. Following is the list of Tiger teams racing along with comments and insights about Tiger by some of the team members. This best demonstrates what Tiger is all about along with the number of XPD’s each person will be doing. 7. Mawson Tiger Adventure : Kevin Piercy (Vic, 8), Ricky Thackray (WA, 6), Russell Newnham (Vic, 3), Kris Maguire (Townsville) Kev Piercy : Townsville will be my 8th XPD in Team “Mawson” and there’s always someone new to the team each year. I will continue to compete as “Mawson” and the link with Tiger is the benefit of sharing with a number of new people (and not so new) the support, so they can experience an “XPD”, and not just ‘dream” it. It’s not an easy race. Some bits are fun. There are a lot of bits that aren’t so much fun, and then that’s just all good “experience”. The experience of Tiger Teams range from the World Championship at Costa Rica (the New Caledonians) to “none”. As much as we want to do as well, we want to have the best chance of enjoying ourselves in an XPD. The first year we considered XPD as an extended camping trip with the “boys” – we just didn’t do much camping or sleeping or drinking, but lots of deep cultural thought provoking conversation that provided lots of laughs (to keep the pain away) and despite being capable of solving the world’s problems, I can’t remember any of it. But I can remember the pain of huge blisters on the balls of my feet, from the hot Broken Hill sand, that made bike riding only possible by being clipped out and pushing with my heals! So I’m glad we can share our stories not just between the 4 of us in Mawson, but between everyone with Tiger Adventure Racing. The concept of matching aspirations, ability, strengths, personalities between the group, to give everyone a chance at XPD is a great one. Russ, Ricky, Kris & I can’t wait to start. We’re keen to soak up the experience and race to the finish. Good luck to all teams to race to the finish and may all Tiger teams have most of the luck! Ricky Thackray : I’m racing with Tiger because Kev told me to. Plus I have Tigers on my bike box so it felt natural (even though the tigers were added afterwards). #14. Fully Rad Tiger Adventure : Richard Old (NSW, 4), James Rush (NSW), Elizabeth Woodgate (NSW, 2), Lyle Jacobson (QLD) Richard Old : Fully Rad Adventures is loving its partnership with Tiger Adventure. Tiger has become the force in SE QLD for Adventure Racing. They are a great bunch of guys and gals with the same attitude that we have to get outside and have fun. Team Fully Rad Tiger Adventure is a strong team of racers committed to tackling XPD head on.

We have a great mix of experience, skills and youthful strength. Its going to be a great adventure. #15. Everyday Life Fitness/Tiger Adventure : Craig Keeling (QLD), Paddy Howlett (NSW, 2), Christine Perry (QLD), Luke Miles (QLD) Craig Keeling : Tiger Adventure is all about bringing adventure enthusiasts together and allow them to be teamed up with like minded people. I like the culture of Tiger AR and I’m one of the lucky ones to have been there from the start. Luke Miles : I’m racing in XPD to test myself physically and mentally. Over the years I have tried to push myself to see just how far I can go as an individual. This time I want to be pushed further than I ever have by a team. #23. Tiger AdventureFit : Dave Talbot (SA, 2), Scott Rogers (SA, 2), Shane Crook (QLD), Richard Pember (SA) Dave Talbot : I was quick to embrace the idea of an adventure racing club. As I travel from Adelaide to compete, the club has been very supportive in loaning me gear, and at times, finding me team mates to race with. Primarily though I see Tiger Adventure Racing as a great way for people new to the sport to find others to train and race with, as well as being able to get advice and support from more experienced adventure racers. #29. Macarthur Maniacs Tiger Adventure : Todd Panietz (WA, 3), Jeremy Gibson (NSW), Mitchell Stafford (QLD), Rickie Single (Townsville) Jeremy Gibson : This is my first year on the adventure racing scene. After only a few months in the sport I was introduced to Trevor from Tiger adventure. Trevor assisted me personally by providing great advice, support and inspiration. He also managed to pull together a number of teams for both Geoquest and XPD. Out of these teams he almost perfectly matched peoples, fitness levels, skill sets and expectations. This has been a huge and exciting year for me personally, and Tiger Adventure has been there supporting me through it. Thanks Tiger Adventure! #31. Tiger Adventure Racing : Trevor Mullens (QLD, 2), Shaun Jackson (QLD, 2), Rebecca Wilson (QLD, 2), Douglas Peres (Brazil, living NSW, 2) #39. MAAD Tiger Adventure : Myall Quint (NSW), Dave Jennings (VIC), Ahmad Almajed (Kuwait), Thor Harrison (QLD) Myall Quint : So four guys who have never met, from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Kuwait, join up and head off to do a 700-kilometre adventure race together. No, it’s not the start of a bad joke, it’s the reality for four like-minded people who have been joined up by Tiger Adventure so they can experience XPD. I have wanted to tackle this race for a while now, but it has often been the case that just when I thought I had a team, they would pull out. When the same thing happened this year I gave the guys at Tiger a call and they grouped four of us together in no time. Many Skype calls, messages and emails later, I was finally sure I was going to make it to the start line! As luck would have it, one of our original four guys was struck by some bad luck just last week and has had to drop out. He’s gutted, and we’re disappointed for him but again Tiger were right onto it and we were back to a team of four by the very next day! So, after some false starts, some nervous phone calls, I can finally say I’m heading to Townsville! Can’t wait to get out there. #41. New Caledonia - Tiger Adventure : Martial Devillers, Franck Siret, Emile Balthazard, Gregory Darmizin

L- Platers

Kiss My Sweet Invo-8’s

Are we crazy? Let’s be honest: 350 km of biking, 230 km of hiking and 120 km of kayaking in 9 days! Reflecting on this, I would definitely describe this adventure as crazy! This all started because a dear friend, Andre, mentioned that, if he could choose someone to do an adventure race with, he’d have me on his team. This was some years ago and I had no real idea what adventure racing was, but it had ‘adventure’ in the description, which automatically had me enticed. Fast forward to 2014. I was looking for something fun to do when the XPD post came into my Facebook feed. Without reading the small print, I was excited by the photos and then remembered what my friend Andre had once said. So I emailed others to see if they were interested and up comes the cyberhand of Lisa, avid mountain biker, rock climber and mum to 4-year-old twins. She couldn’t put her hand up fast enough; seems the thought of extreme pain and suffering is the ideal remedy for a mum who wants time out to explore herself (and an excuse to buy gear). Next was Lysanne, my incredibly Zen friend. We were driving out to go rock climbing and I casually mentioned XPD. Without hesitation she said “OMG. Can I be on your team? I have volunteered three times and have always wanted to do one!” Blinded by the glossy photos at the XPD info night, and caught up in the energy of it all, the L-Platers were formed for their first adventure race. Our search for the fourth member of our all-girl team ended with Ula, our amazing, crazy Polish friend who can make any sport look easy and is so positive she doesn’t even know any bad adjectives! She was in and couldn’t wait. She was captured hook, line and sinker by tales of fun and extremeness. So, we registered our team, having never done an adventure race before and with no idea about gear and logistics, not to mention the training! Funny the things you forget to discuss when caught up in all the excitement! But I kept remembering my good friend Andre saying that he thought I would be good at it. Sadly this friend passed away on the very same day as registration. Sometimes, there is no logic to these things and this is one I’ll never understand, but it makes this XPD special as I will dedicate this adventure to him. As the XPD Tropics 2015 draws near, I am absolutely petrified, scared, nervous, questioning my sanity but excited and proud that, as a team of four girls, we have managed to get ourselves organised for this race. It is not just the destination, although getting to the finish line would be incredibly nice and that is out goal. The journey to the start has been a big part of it, helped by many amazing people who, most importantly, believe in us. And we believe in ourselves. No matter what happens in the race, it’s an adventure. And we love adventures!!

#20. L-Platers : Lindsay Raynor, Lisa Marentis, Lysanne de Graaf, Urszula Coffey

Four women from diverse backgrounds but with a shared vision of living life fully and a passion for exploring and immersing in the wild and unspoiled places of our big beautiful planet. All a little cheeky, all a little deep, life is never dull in any of our lives! Country girl Clare, who after a terrible car accident in 2009, found the impetus to turn her adventure dreams into reality and after 2 years of recovery, discovered Ultra Running and a deep love of pushing herself to the limits. Last year she quietly took a few months off and biked and ran 10,000km around Australia solo. Although Clare had never mountain biked or paddled before the start of the year, Jan knew should would be the perfect team mate on a long tough adventure. Emma has been training and racing for 5 years, discovering the joys of adventure racing and it’s related disciplines. At 30 after having battled depression and anxiety for most of her adult life, she ditched the pills and counsellors in favour of the two most powerful antidepressants available: exercise and the great outdoors. Determined and enthusiastic she has now raced extensively both locally and also in China. In 2012 she paddled with her partner Jarad Kohlar, in an epic crossing of Bass Strait by surf ski. Emma, a coach, instructor and adventure journalist, brings power and passion to the mix, a particularly strong paddling ability and a determined yet empathetic team outlook. Deanna needs little introduction to anyone involved in outdoor adventure sports or Obstacle Course Racing in this country. An incredibly strong, talented public speaker and all round athlete, Deanna at age 46 is fitter and stronger than ever before, still racing at an elite level. Since 2011 she became the first non-USA resident to become part of the Pro Team for Spartan Racing beating many men for the position. Deanna, a mother of two, has lived with HIV for more than 20 years and by simply being the glorious and vital human being that she is, has been able to have a profound impact on the way many people see and live with the disease. Deanna’s a superb athlete, but has grace and humility. Always enthusiastic and approachable to anyone out there giving it a go, Deanna has a legion of fans. She and Jan became firm friends, training together and sharing many hilarious and thoughtful exchanges. In 2008 Jan, despite no experience in any of the AR disciplines learnt to paddle, navigate and mountain bike after reading about AR and realising she was wanting something “more” out of life than 10km road runs and lifting weights. Enthusiastic about life, health, wild places and “big hairy audacious goals” Adventure Racing fit the bill beautifully. After Jan completed XPD 2010 with a mixed team, she and Deanna spoke of their dream to pull together a fun, supportive and positive team of women for a future XPD. But fate stepped in and Jan, a trainer and instructor in the Mounted Police, injured her back at work and so the dream was put on hold until now. Jan and Clare are both passionately Vegan and are happily dehydrating masses of delicious fruits and other veg meals that will see the team eat in a way that may well be the envy of other teams boiling their cup a soups and instant noodles! If there’s one thing this team is determined to do, it is to finish the race, healthy, happy and as an example to any woman, anywhere, that women can do anything the boys can...and do it all with great humour, positivity, empathy and compassion. Life matters. And none of us waste that one wild and precious gift we have been given. #40. Kiss My Sweet Inov-8’s : Jan Saunders, Deanna Blegg, Emma Francis, Clare Weatherly

Lindsay Raynor

Jan Saunders

Course CourseOverview Overview

Mountain Designs

Damon Goerke Kathryn Preston Gary Sutherland Dave Schloss Premier Mixed

Champions 642k

138kayaK 346 MTB 58trek

magnetic Or NOT “Missed checkpoints, time restrictions.. unranked ... devastated,! Made good decisions in challenging conditions .... awesome! tired, going to bed” L-Platers That’s Cray Pretty big day, lots of tricky bolder hopping and some difficult navigation. We got in enough time to get a bit of rest. Hope our kayak is repaired for tomorrow. Thor and I had a broken rudder all paddle. Amazing terrain and sunset however! Can’t wait to eat and drink, thirsty work ! New Caledonia - Tiger Adventure Salt les am is 1 er journey finished des vues magnifiques 8 km kayak ,snorkeling, 30 kms trek avec gross Rochers a escala de r et beaucoup de Jardinage dans la pampa now repos impose dodo 3h avant depart kayak a 6h du mat pour 6o kms. Jambes et moral OK. A plus miloute. Bonjour tout let mode . Tout va bien, super course, on se repose pour demain. SA Ambulance Finally in TA. Thanks to brilliant navigation work from Owen we came in first male team. Some tough coastering and leaps of faith required on my behalf. Snorkeling was great and our paddle was a little shaky. As for the sup. Submarine was sinking. In good spirits, quick kip and feed and start paddling at 6. Neverest Finished the second leg and now get a few hours sleep before a very long paddle. The trek was tough. Loads of coastal rock hopping and serious bush bashing. We are all scratched up and a few cuts from the rocks but otherwise spirits are high and we are all feeling strong. Currently sitting in 7th, navigating well and travelling at good speed. Off to sleep for team Neverest. Moonen Packaging XPD Holland Today we are full testoron gestalt by expedite. The first leg was disappointing. By incorrect loading our boats were unstable. This ensured that we bumped a delay of 2 hours. In last we continued on to magnetic island. Fantastic environment pulled us up. Hetnavigeren fell against on australian maps. Have walked on by the delay we unfortunately not all CPS can inflict. As a result we are now an unranked team. Annoying, but makes the journey no less attractive. Atmosphere in the team is very good and we are looking forward to. A second chance for the disgrace of today ;) Bivouac Inov-8 Happy with the first stage. Took this easy today to save ourselves in the heat. Had a bit of trouble in the 2nd snorkeling activity to find the markers but got there in the end. Enjoyed the trek, lots of rock hopping and climbing up and down. Seen a bit of wildlife already and far to many biting ants for our liking. Team’s in good nick and looking forward to some food and a kip.

8.00 Am

“ But true to her character, she was the ultimate diplomat and gave us nothing ”

“ The alarm sounded on Wed morning through nervous and sleepy eyes. The team made a scramble to don the race kit, demolish the resort buffet and finish our preparations to board the bus and head to the start line. The previous two days had been a cluster fight trying decipher the logistics of the race and pack our bikes and gear into the allocated boxes so that we would see the right stuff at the Transition Areas (TA’s) – not something you want to stuff up. Teams assembled on the strand waiting for the kayaks to arrive so they could prepare their boats for the start. A melee of athletes running around like headless chooks trying to find bathrooms, fill up water bladders, grabbing extra bungees to lash packs down ensued but we managed to find two boats with working rudders and get our prep underway. Cue cliché start line photo, a quick message from the race director not to pat the salt water crocs and the gun sounded to start the mayhem. It was funny watching everyone run and sprint off in the boats knowing that we had a darkzone after the trek and all anyone was really playing for was sleep time. The paddle was straightforward and we landed at Magnetic Island inside the top 10. A quick transition on the SE corner of the island into our trekking gear and we set off to find CP2 at the end of a rocky headland. Having done our homework on google maps we saw a nice route around the headland following the rocks. How wrong we were! The rocks were massive. We found ourselves clambering over these boulders, sliding through gaps and moving at a snail’s pace. A change of plans to head up and over the high point wasn’t much better. We eventually found what we were looking for and headed back to the beach. The travelling was slow and with the ocean just there we eventually bit the bullet, jumped in packs and swam our way back to the sand – so much for keeping the feet dry! A walk up the beach to CP3 saw us run into one of the Tri Adventure oracles: Kim

Alex Austin

Tri Adventure

Beckinsale! It was so good to see her so early on in the race and we were looking for a bit of an insight into what the snorkel leg may entail. But true to her character, she was the ultimate diplomat and gave us nothing! We got the snorkel leg out of the way without fuss simply following the trail of submerged water bottles and memorised the attached letters. Cass and Gina - all smiles but tough as nails Tramping Nth a couple of km’s to CP4 saw us greeted by the second Tri Adventure oracle Jan Leverton heading into the next snorkel. We finished without fuss, picked up CP5,6 and 7 and converged on CP8 with a number of other teams including Bivouac and Tiger. The cheeky lads from Tiger informed us that they hadn’t had any luck and were off to explore a cave 30m South, except they departed in a different direction, hmmm. Nonetheless we persisted in the same spot with our search, found the CP and headed off towards CP9. A strong selfie game on top of the fort then head to the SUP. Two klms later with a sore set of arms we hit the beach, dried off and headed up and over creek line towards CP10. Rock hopping down the West face of the creek line we were greeted with a magic sunset, so naturally stopped, had a feel good warm and fuzzy group hug and continued on our merry way! The warm and fuzzies quickly turned to dark and stormies as we donned the lights and spent the next 4-5hrs rock hopping over the northern coastline as we made our way to CP11. Thinking the going might be a little easier up higher we scaled one of the cliffs only to be met with similar terrain, thorny bushes and biting tree ants! Back down to the coast it was to endure the rocks to CP11 before picking up CP 12 without much fuss and arriving at CP13/TA around 1.30am for a quick hit out of Back Country Dehy dinner, a quick chat with volunteer Michele Krome (avid Tri Adventure enthusiast) and a sleep to wait out the darkzone till 6am.

“ That left me in a position of closeness to my team mate that I never want to be again ”

Dave Talbot Tiger AdventureFit

Six months of training, three of those finding excuses not to train in the cold Adelaide winter, and here we finally were, standing on the start line in Townsville, ready to begin XPD 2015. It would be the second time round for Scotty and myself, and joining us for his first ever adventure race was our buddy Richie and my mate and regular racing partner Shane from the Gold Coast. With the start horn getting us underway, it was an armada of kayaks that made its way over to Magnetic Island to begin the first of many trek legs. The scene for the island trek was set right away as we rock hopped and bush bashed our way in and out of the CP2. Some relief from the heat was on offer for the next two CPs as we snorkelled our way around locating underwater

A shortcut into impenetrable jungle

letters. I did receive some grief from my team mates at this point as I`d told them not to bother bringing their fins. An hour of swimming around and Scotty still failed to see a single letter! A quick lunch and it was up and over for some more rock hopping, followed by a nice trail walk up to an old fort which offered spectacular views of the island. CP 7 and 8 brought us to a couple of beautiful secluded beaches before we strolled into CP 9 and the Stand Up Paddle Board leg. A back log of competitors at this point allowed us to enjoy the sunset as we munched away on burgers and cokes for an hour. Darkness started to take effect as we tried to negotiate the best way to move 2 blokes with 2 fully loaded packs on a SUP designed for one. We soon figured

out that the only way to stay semi afloat was to lie down and paddle the 2km with our hands. Unfortunately that left me, the man at the back, in a position of closeness to my team mate that I NEVER want to be again. To add more salt to our wounds, the team starting 15 minutes behind us came flying by on longer race SUPS and put a good half hour or so into us! Finally arriving at TA, we rinsed out our sandy shoes, changed into dry clothing and began what would be a challenging few hours. An up and over brought us to CP 10, the coasteering section to CP 11 tested us as we searched for the best route through the maze of boulders, occasionally having to drop down into the water and negotiate and incoming tide and barnacle encrusted rocks. A potential short cut at a headland had us scrambling/ rock climbing up and over only to be met with an impenetrable wall of jungle. A careful down climb, an hour lost and we returned to what turned out to be a relatively pleasant final hour of rock hopping to CP11. With only one CP to go and water and supplies running low, we were fairly focused on our route choice as we began the clamber up the creek out of the CP. Unfortunately a moment of inattention as I looked down at our bearing had me walk right into the branch of a dead tree, leaving me a bit dazed and with a 3 inch gash on my forehead. Fortunately, the pain from my emerging blisters was more of a distraction as we made our way up and over and began contouring around towards the CP. At this point, a lack of focus and a detour off the bearing left us a little geographically embarrassed, losing us another hour or so and forcing us to make our way to TA to resupply and retake a bearing to the final CP, missing the kayak leg restart by just over an hour.

“ It took us until 2am to push

through the scrub and over the boulders ”

“ I had been thinking for a while that I should try out an expedition-length adventure race, so when I saw that XPD was heading to Townsville it seemed like a good time to do it. I thought that the weather and the scenery in North Queensland would suit me very well, and I was right about that. Soon I had linked up with Adam, Alan and Mark and we started regular training sessions on the slopes of Mt Coottha together with team mentor Liam St Pierre (training for Expedition Alaska) and Todd Vallance (also doing XPD with team Neverest). Alan and Adam had each competed at one XPD and were full of good ideas for preparing the team and getting the right gear. We put together quite a full calendar of training expeditions on weekends, including competing in the QRA rogaines and adventuregaine. Mark and I had done very little paddling, so we tried hard to improve in that area including a very challenging trip up the Brisbane River where we fell out 5 times and Mark dislocated his shoulder trying to get back in!. As the event approached, we finally ticked off all the gear requirements and Alan shipped it up to Townsville for us. Arriving on Sunday before the event, I was excited and more than a bit nervous about how we were likely to go. I fully expected we could encounter a problem in the first couple of days that could cause at least one of us to pull out. I hoped I had done enough training. Monday was logistics and gear check day, this went smoothly and I had most of my food sorted out by the end of the day. My basic formula was one energy snack per hour and one meal every eight hours. This plan turned out to work well. We all made attempts to guess where the course would take us, but apart from guessing correctly that we were going to Maggie Island at the start and then to Paluma we didn’t get much else right.

Paul Guard Pretty Flash

Tuesday arrived, and the course was revealed. I thought the course looked fantastic - a lot of variety, and lots of challenging trek legs which I thought should suit us well. It was clear that the paddling legs would be tough for us, and we would have to focus to ensure that we got through those as efficiently as possible.

the bus to the Strand and tried to find kayaks. Unfortunately all were taken and it wasn’t until about 10 minutes before the start that we finally found boats. This led to some hasty packing. We lined up at the start line, very excited, and soon we were on our way. As soon as we got on the water we quickly found that the double kayak that Mark and I were paddling was very unstable due to the high centre of gravity. Luckily we had trained for this on our Brisbane River paddle! We managed to get to the island without capsizing, though Mark did go for a swim at one point. On the island, we proceeded to the first checkpoint, which was out on the end of the headland between Picnic Bay and Nelly Bay. Not far on the map, but very slow ‘coasteering’ over the giant granite boulders that dominate the Maggie Island coastline. We found the checkpoint no problems, but on the way to Nelly Bay Alan lost his PFD which required some backtracking. It was never clear whether the coastal option was fastest or whether going up and over the headland was the way to go. Both were slow!

I started on the map prep - vetting tracks, marking out routes, measuring distances. It was clear that there were some very interesting route choice options, particularly on the final trek. One area was marked ‘the maze’, which was intriguing. I took a lot of time to study this area in detail. I thought our route would have to be a bit flexible depending on what we found, but I wanted at least one route that would avoid ‘the maze’ entirely. I found one option that followed tracks skirting ‘the maze’ to the west, which I vetted in Google Earth (many of the other marked tracks were apparently non-existent). The other more direct option followed ridgelines through the maze. I felt confident that we could handle that challenge when we came to it. Once the maps were marked up and laminated, we got all the boxes submitted and loaded and then enjoyed one last relaxing evening together before the race start. We listened to the ABC Local Radio interview that we had done with David Curnow a few days earlier. I had trouble getting to sleep; just a bit too wired. On Wednesday morning, after a big breakfast at the Mercure, we took

We completed the two snorkel legs quite efficiently, it was nice to get in the water for a while. There was then some more coasteering around to Alma Bay, again very slow. Then we ditched our flippers and snorkel and took the walking tracks around to The Forts, Florence Bay, Radical Bay and through to Horseshoe Bay. So many beautiful bays on Maggie! We had to wait for stand up paddle

boards at this point, so we had a meal and soft drink at the pub and watched the sun sink below the horizon. Once we got the boards we quickly headed out across the bay, arriving in darkness at the next checkpoint. We put on our headlamps and pushed up the spur into the bush. It took us until 2am to push through the scrub and over the boulders along the northern coastline all the way to West Point. Quite an exhausting first day. We got a couple of hours sleep and were ready to get on the kayaks at 6am.

6.00 Am

DAWN ATTACK “This time, while towing Adam, his boat sunk completely in the space of about a minute. ” Paul Guard - Pretty Flash At 6am Craig Bycroft gave the signal and a flotilla of boats headed off towards the mainland. Pretty quickly it was very clear there was something wrong with Adam’s boat, since we were making very slow progress. The safety boat assisted us in removing his backrest and this improved his speed markedly. In the meantime, though, we had drifted to the north west quite a way and our original bearing was not taking us on an optimal route. We linked up the boats with tow devices and for a while we made decent speed. Then Alan’s boat started sitting very low in the water, and he was having to make a very considerable effort just to stay in the boat. Alan is a very strong paddler, and we knew that something was very wrong if he was having trouble staying upright. Once we finally reached Saunders Beach and the first CP. We emptied out the boats (all of them had taken on quite a bit of water) and plugged up some screw holes in Alan’s boat which we assumed were the culprits. We were a bit behind time with all the boat issues, and we hurried to set off again for the next CP. Unfortunately, we only managed another 20 minutes or so and Alan was having trouble again. This time, while towing Adam, his boat sunk completely in the space of about a minute. We were quite a way offshore and there wasn’t really any way for us to rectify the situation ourselves. So we phoned Craig, requested the safety boat, and waited for quite some time while Alan was shoulder-deep sitting on his purple submarine. Once we had been rescued and taken back to the previous checkpoint, various discussions were had regarding our situation and Craig and Louise eventually decided to set us off from the next TA ten minutes behind Mawson Tiger Adventure. We had arrived at the Maggie Island TA ten minutes behind them, so the paddle leg hadn’t cost us any time or placing. We were happy with that decision, but disappointed that we didn’t get to do the full paddle. Setting off on the trek leg our spirits were higher and we were looking forward to a navigational challenge. We covered the flat roads to the base of the range and then followed the 4WD track marked on the map to what was supposed to be the start of the Foxlees Track. I had been unable to check the tracks in this area during planning due to the dense rainforest cover, and it was soon clear that finding the bottom of the correct track was going to be a bit tricky. There were a number of unmarked intersections on the 4WD track, and eventually we reached a large creek and the track ended. I knew that we continues next page

“ I had managed to destroy our

compass on Magnetic Island and now I have lost our backup”

Paul Guard Pretty Flash

from previous page

needed to find a track heading up the ridge to the west, so we backtracked and started looking for a more minor footpad heading ion the right direction. We noticed that team Goldfish had diverted at a certain point and at the same time found some pink tape, and soon we were progressing up the spur on the marked track. We eventually reached the first of the marked ‘sundials’ and proceeded to navigate our way around the plateau, generally ignoring the contours and the track bends and just trusting that the track would take us to the next ‘sundial’. This strategy worked well, and by dawn we had picked up most of the required CPs. I had chosen a route which minimised the climb but added a little distance. We ran into the New Caledonia Tiger team, Mawson Tiger and the Dutch team a few times. On the track around the dam we also passed by the leading teams on their mountain bikes Peak Adventure followed closely by Mountain Designs. They both looked strong. We trekked across to Paluma and ducked into the cafe for toasted sandwiches and savoury mince. We offended the cafe proprietor with our hastiness, it was made clear to us that they really don’t rush for anyone! Fair enough, they must enjoy their laid back lifestyle in the village. We managed a reasonably smooth transition, though not especially fast, and were soon cruising on our bikes towards Paluma Dam. We encountered the photography team at Birthday Creek Falls, and they took some great pics of us enjoying the rainforest ride. The single track around Paluma Dam was really great fun. Luckily none of us had any mishaps on the fast downhills, and we managed to dodge the trekking teams walking along the track in the other direction. We successfully navigated down the range, and found another section of flowing single track in the vicinity of the next CP. Great fun. Then there was more fast down hill to the

bottom of the range, and some easy gravel road out to the next TA at Hidden Valley. The sun was disappearing by this stage, and we prepared for a long dark trek. I had managed to destroy a compass on Magnetic Island (probably a magnetic clip issue) and now I found that I had lost our backup! Luckily Adam provided a third

baseplate compass and I took my mapboard compass as another backup. The first part of the trek along the road was uneventful and soon we dropped down into the Running River gorge. Adam by this stage was really struggling to stay awake, so we made a team decision to have an early stop (9pm) and have two hours of sleep. We woke somewhat refreshed and then negotiated a reasonably tricky section of gorge, requiring some climbing around cliffs on the eastern side. Eventually we exited the gorge, and I made a decision to leave the river relatively early and climb a ridge to the south and south-east towards the next control. As we climbed the ridge it became clear that all was not as it seemed on this map. What should have been a steady smooth climb (on the map) was actually a series of knolls with steep sections in between. It was clear that the contours on the map were excessively smooth and neglected a lot of the finer features. I worked out that I could infer some of the features, though, by looking at the blue drainage lines, which seemed to be accurate. This strategy would serve me well the whole race.

“All the while hoping a croc wouldn`t choose to make friends with me at this moment ”

Dave Talbot Tiger AdventureFit

At close to 11am we were given the go ahead to begin the ocean kayak. It was great to get moving again and despite the choppy conditions we were all in high spirits and feeling strong. We made a pit stop onto one of the beaches to empty out the boats and were joined by another team who said they`d seen a croc go under there kayaks. Oh yeah, forgot there could be crocs around! On the move again and I realised I must have dropped my compass which had been velcroed to the boat when we`d emptied them. I paddled back to the beach and began running towards where we`d stopped. Unfortunately it was at this point that my bodily functions decided to remind me that I hadn`t taken care of business for the past 24 hours and it was time to do that right now. Shit! With nowhere to go I slipped into the murky estuary waters and pretended I was just cooling myself down, all the while hoping a croc wouldn`t choose to make friends with me at this moment.

Leg 4 Hike 50km (AdventureFit 65km) We grabbed a few hours sleep at TA, did some blister management, and took off on the big hike around 4am. The cool overnight temperatures of North Qld I think took a lot of teams by surprise and we were all well rugged up as we hiked the road up towards what promised to be a steep climb in to the Paluma Range National Park. Finding the spur that would take us there was proving to be quite challenging though as a number of unmarked trails made navigation difficult, fortunately not just for us but for the several teams which had now joined us. Some back tracking eventually brought us to what we thought was the trail. There was a bit of indecision initially as there was pink tape marking the entrance to the trail and we`d remembered Craig Bycroft in his briefing mentioning that the pink tape indicated mtb trails which may not be on the map. We determined at this point that our race director was an untrustworthy character and proceeded onwards, climbing the 2km and 1000m of single track elevation up towards the summit.

A prize for most distance travelled

It`s a funny thing Expedition Adventure Racing, you`re always so psyched to begin a new leg, but after hours and hours of doing the one activity, often with little or no sleep, it takes its toll on your body and your mind. At this point you really have to draw on those hidden reserves which very few people will ever access to get you through to the next TA, whereby you`re super psyched to be done with the leg and itching to start the next one! Just to make things a little more challenging for the team, Scotty’s rudder went with a few kilometres to go which slowed us a little, but we finally made it in not long after dark, thankful to be on dry land again.

Day 2 - Unfortunately at this point we were told we`d have to wait for the safety boat before we could begin the kayak so we loaded our boats, had some food and chatted to other teams who`d also done it tough on the trek.

We were later to hear that Team Kiss My Sweet Inov-8`s, not quite finding the trail but locating the spur, bush bashed up this section. Kudos. Finally hitting the cool rainforest area of the Paluma Range NP, we picked out our route choice and started searching for sundials. This was a beautiful area to cruise around in, made easier by the fact we didn`t have to bush bash at all. Coming across the hut CP we had our first of many run ins with Team It`s all good. We had a great run through the Rogaine and after hitting the last CP, found the trail head marking the way to Paluma and began the long descent down towards TA. As the sun set on the third day of racing, with the boys lead by Richie, we came across four confused Argentinians.

Mmmm. At this point, some teams on bikes started coming past and it was quickly pointed out we were in the outer bounds area 7.5km from TA. Not good. We decided to stick to the road into TA and take any penalty. I was really starting to struggle at this point, I think when you`re close to your limits and all set to finish a leg, then feeling the responsibility of having somehow messed up the navigation, it really drains you. All credit to the team, not once during the race did they ever put it on me for making them put in a bunch of extra kilometres. There was talk at some point about putting forward a proposal to the race organisers that the team with the most mileage on the trackers win a prize!

The town of Paluma finally greeted us late into the evening and we happily, along with several other teams over the next few hours, managed a few hours of broken sleep in a warm town hall. Leg 5 MTB 50km - We were all excited to be finally getting onto our bikes, although the first challenge was fitting into mtb shoes with swollen blistered feet! The cold morning air had us fully rugged up for the start of the leg, however the lads soon warmed up with laughter as due to my beanie eloping from my pack during the first trek, I chose to wear a pair of undies on my head in an attempt to keep it warm! We ticked off the CPs and started moving away from the teams around us. We were puzzled by the fact that despite moving well, we couldn`t catch a glimpse of the Argentinians who had left the second to last bike CP only minutes before us. It became clear why as we approached TA and saw four riders heading back towards us on the wrong side of the road. The boys had overshot a tricky junction and now had 14km of predominantly uphill riding back to the last CP. Not good... for them. We arrived at TA full of high spirits after having a clean run on the bike, the TA area was fantastic, a big shed with plenty of space to sort gear, and like every transition we`d had during the race, the volunteers/ officials were amazingly helpful and full of encouragement, leaving us in high spirits as got ready to set off on our next big trek.

running River “But the hike was like touching the void bushland style ” Tri Adventure Muppets Couple of the more interesting highlights include a wallaby trying to jump through matts bike, a wild cow running into the river. Antarctic Running Club Wow what an amazing week so far, it’s the morning of the 11th just after our midcamp stop. We have seen some truly amazing sights physically had to earn every one of them. 2XU-DASH-ARea51 What we’ve experienced over the past few days is hard to explain and my fingers have turned to sausages so apologies for the typos to come. Spirits are still high and we are pumped with our efforts. SA Ambulance The course has continued to be brutal. The effects were fully felt on the running river trek. More rock hoping, contouring mountain sides and canyoning have left us and many others battered. The cool swims in the canyon pools was pretty harsh for teams doing it in the dark. Pretty Flash Very happy with everything, really. The course is superb, lots of variety and some serious physical and mental challenges including some difficult navigation with less than perfect maps. Really glad that we are working well as a team and all that training has helped us outperform our expectations so far. Thanks to all our friends and family supporting us. Rubicon Leg 4 saw us riding through easy terrain to the beginning of the first navigationally challenging trek - hot and hard! We aced the cp’s in the dark and moved on to the canyon section to catch up with Carey and enjoy a fabulously beautiful canyon experience. Neverest We have been racing strongly but have made a few small navigation errors, as all teams will do in a race like XPD. The highlight so far was the canyon roping and swimming section. L-Platers Right on our mountain bikes and 30km through lush single track we head to the canyon part of the adventure, swimming through freezing rock pools and hiking down granite rock slabs, was a truly impressive part, thankfully we timed our trek to arrive by 9am, perfect swimming conditions, as any earlier you’d be swimming in less than 3 degrees. Not dying of hypothermia, tick! Type2Fun As a team we have mastered the art of spooning under a single sleeping bag and staying toasty warm.

“Woken by what he thought

was a possum, fearing the worst he jumped up to save his food ”

Michael Phillips Muppets

trek INSIGHT We arrived at CP21 (TA6) around 3am and were in good spirits but in need of a few hours’ sleep. We were able to grab a couple of hours at the enforced dark zone on day one but then had done the 60km paddle, 50km Paluma Mountain trek and

just finished a 50km MTB with only a brief nap in the rainforest. We packed up the bikes, sorted gear and loaded up for the impending 30km Running River trek and then bunked in for a couple of hours. Up at 5, quick bite to eat then out and onto the trek.

the high route choice. AB continued to be spot on with the NAV and were soon making our way down a large creek bed towards the check point, here we caught up with team Goldfish. Our paths had already crossed a few times and would continue to do so for many of the legs. We kept pushing on as we were mindful that we had some swimming to do at CP25 and were very keen to get it done during the warmer daylight hours. It was a pretty straight forward run to CP25 and upon arriving, were briefed by the officials on what was required. We donned our compulsory helmets, put gear into dry bags and headed to the roping section that would lead us to the first of

The leg started with a 5km section of gravel road then a short cross country section into Running River to collect CP22. During this section AB recounted that during our two hour sleep he had been woken by what he thought was a possum and fearing the worst jumped up to save his food. Turned out to be Mick making some very interesting snoring sounds.

four swims, the afternoon sun was starting to drop and the water was cool but we made our way slowly through the maze of pools and ropes, with a final swim seeing us at the end. We quickly exited the water and changed into dry gear and had a quick CP22 was located in the river bed and respite by a small fire that the wonderful upon seeing Running River we were blown officials had started to keep everyone away the size and rockwork of the area and warm. This section of the river was visually could only imagine stunning and just how much water we could follow the river bed an awesome part of would flow through the course, again in or go cross country this section when it flood this would be was in flood. We had such an amazing a couple of options place. to get to CP23 either follow the river bed or go cross country. We opted for the Although tired we pushed on – wanting cross country route. Trekking was tough to grab CP26 before darkness set in, AB and unrelenting but with some great nav was on the money again and CP26 was from AB we located it and were pleasantly ticked. The final push to CP27 (TA7) was surprised with our route choice when we all that remained before the next MTB leg caught up to a couple of other teams. The which we completed late evening ending day was very hot and trekking tiring, we what was a tough but enjoyable section found some shade had a bite to eat and and we were glad that we got it during the continued towards CP24, again favouring daylight as the scenery was spectacular.

PADDLE WALK DRAG “The only water deep enough to paddle in, was twisted in and under the overhanging paperbarks which line the entire river. This was to be no easy day. “ GT Sloth Everyday Life Fitness Tiger Adventure Team going really well but SO cold! Nights have been very cosy with sharing of body heat, no mention of names but Paddy wanted to change his name to salami and thought Craig and I should now race as tiptop or helgas. Goldfish Masters We are burnt all over, mouths are destroyed by ulcers and are butt’s are very sore. Despite this we have all been appreciating the insane terrain we’ve covered and the adventure we are on. Time has become nothing but everything at the same time. We’ve reached midcamp mandatory 6 hr rest after the most epic 70k paddle and 50k mtb. Off on the final three legs which 2 of them will be crazy hard and long. Type2Fun At mid camp and all have survived so far to varying degrees. Each leg has been an expedition for us, and whilst trying to be time efficient, we have had to tend to bruised egos, bodies and minds. We’ve had a few unplanned naps overnight as the days have been so big for us. As a team we have mastered the art of spooning under a single sleeping bag and staying toasty warm. Just finished a huge brunch and we’re off for a lay down now for about 3hrs prior to starting the 150+ bike leg later this arvo. Mountain Designs Started well on day 2 bug turned bad with Cave and myself making blues costing the team 6hrs. We are having heaps of laughs and look forward to the next leg. Rusty Ironman & The Yogis The paddle was...defining and unrelenting, horrrrible and astonishing, it dragged on as we dragged the kayaks stretching 70k over 19hrs. Finished at last. MAAD Tiger Adventure Spirits high, we are having a great time and things are really good and we are having a ball. No major ailments and only a couple of near death experiences! TMA Tasmanian Multisport Adventures We made it to mid camp! The cooked meal we received was demolished and it’s nice to be back in civilisation. Wow, what a roller coaster of extremes. Lots of highs and lots of lows but we are still smiling minus a lot of skin and chaffing. There has been sleep monsters, near hypothermia, sleeping by the riverside and it turns out you can fall asleep riding a bike. Hopefully we have made entertaining tracking. The tracker battery is running low and it’s time for a sleep before we head off to finish this massive event. Much love to family and friends.

“On the verge of hypothermia with legs and arms that simply wouldn’t function”

Paddle INSIGHT The Leg Crusher Sometimes it is hard to define what the word hard really means. This is especially so when it is applied to describing an Expedition Adventure Race. And so it was with XPD 2015. Was it hard when our boat sank on the first leg and we had to be rescued? Maybe it got harder when our legs were burning, full of lactic and our skin scrapped off from the endless hours of coarse granite and the biting green tree ants

of the Magnetic Island Coasteer. Maybe the Stand Up Paddle on Leg 2 qualifies as hard when it is pitch black and your board has a hole in it and we sink once again - no actually - that was just plain miserable. Was it the long, cold paddle of Leg 3 - finishing 2 hours into darkness on the verge of hypothermia with legs and arms that simply wouldn’t function after 9 straight hours of paddling? Yeah that was getting into the hard category - no actually, towards the end that was just plain bloody miserable. And what about the never-ending Rainforest Trek of Leg 4? Now, that started to qualify as hard with a 1000m climb to escape the coastline, especially when the “little” finish section took 8 hours of going up and down and up and down. You could say that finding a mountaintop CP in

the dark on the arid Canyon Trek Leg 6 was hard, as it was both physically and mentally challenging and it did sort a few teams out! Maybe they were all cumulative “hards” and in a Karmic way they were preparing us for the truly “hard” to come! It sounded like a good idea and probably was when Craig and the Course Designers decided to put the Burdekin River into the race. Presentiment was in the air at the race briefing - the words “adventure paddle” and “low water” really aren’t what you ever want to hear in the one sentence! So with a measure of trepidation we arrived at Leg 8, the Burdekin TA - it had been a long hot day of trekking and riding and the late afternoon sun was warm! So the thought of getting wet in the river was enticing! Hold that thought and I’ll tell you how it worked out! We were on the water by 5.30pm and managing to paddle a mere 300m before the first portage, this actually turned out to be a longish section of paddling; 70km of river was not looking too enticing now!

The quickest fire in the history of fires was made in a few seconds - super dry wood and grass meant we were standing around a bonfire minutes after getting out of the cold water! What a pleasure it was to actually stop for a whole 5 hours, the first time in almost 5 days! And to add to the luxury - it was party time when the Argentineans joined us for the night. They were very grateful to share our fire and the camaraderie. It was the essence of XPD, two teams sharing a brief respite under the stars. Some things can’t be explained, they can only be experienced. Paddling before first light meant we had at least 12 hours of daylight to get off this accursed river. As dawn broke the night sky, the beauty of the place was clear - abundant wild life, beautiful trees, golden light and the heightened awareness that comes from knowing you are on an isolated outback river and despite the tedious, body destroying slog of boat dragging - it does feel a very special place! And there it is, the Ying and the Yang of it, while you curse the never ending paddle – drag – paddle, there is a realisation that this is what you paid your money for - the experience, the suffering and the reward that can only come from persistence, and ultimately the overcoming, of the adversity in front of you.

So on it went, hour after hour of So did it become hard? Yep, bloody paddle, get out, push, get in, paddle, hard. The sun rose high in the sky and get out, drag, get in, paddle, get out, fall now being cold would have been a over, get soaked, pleasure. It was drag, get out, get very hot and the managing to paddle a mere in, paddle, get out sun was a level of 300m before the first portage and swear! And brightness that is that was just the so quintessentially first 5 hours until we got so bloody the Australian Outback, the sort of cold that the thought of stopping and brightness that sets a permanent squint lighting a fire sounded like the only in your eyes. thing a sane person would now do. Admittedly we weren’t that sane so And slowly the day progressed - do

David Barlow Rubicon

we debated the idea of stopping so early into the night - it was only 11pm. Shivering and teeth chattering ended the debate. Now the next problem was to find a way to get out - the banks were steep and flood cut.

the limbo under branches, paddle, drag, wet yourself down, cool off, stumble, legs stuck in quicksand, drag, get stuck in trees, curse, look for the deep water channel, don’t find it, drag, stumble, get in, paddle 100m, get out, become progressively weak, legs now start to cramp, stumble, get stuck again, drag, paddle, work on being stoic and so it went on until the sun started to set. Counting down the grid squares on the map was a task that seemed interminable and with all things that are testing - they do come to an end! Well,

not a good end. The best was reserved to last - just when the TA was in site, a mere 3 km to go - the river ran out of water! So for the last hour - we took our boats for a walk. If you were there - you know! If you weren’t, then you missed out on a real mission. The Burdekin delivered in XPD spades. Leg 8 - 70 km of river had taken us 25 hours. It wasn’t a good paddle but

you could say it was a good trek leg because it had a lot of water on it. The Leg Crusher Leg seemed an apt name for our little jaunt down the Burdekin and in my mind it did qualify as being titled XPD hard. And what of the last trek, the mighty leg 10 - 50 km through the heat and aridity of the Maze, was that hard? Now that’s entirely another story!

GOLDrush gone “ The brutality of the course is only exceeded by its beauty! ” Tiger AdventureFit SandgropAR Made it to mid camp. Spirits are high but understandably we are all tired and sore. Looking forward to attacking the next three legs. We’ve had many highlights and great laughs including eating everything we can out of zip lock bags. Can’t wait to finish. Everyone is looking forward to seeing family and friends. Keep following us on the tracker. Its All Good We have all had an amazing time and this has been more of an experience than a race, however we have made it this far still ranked! Some of our highlights include, Kevin’s face when the kayak capsized in the sea and Orla’s foot touched his leg, the massive kangaroo that jumped between us on a cliff edge, Kath and her toilet etiquette, river kayaking in the dark,and again the next morning in very shallow waters dragging the boat more than paddling, camping on the river side making our very own mid camp!, Laura & Orla getting a fire going before Kath & Kev could turn around and hiking the bike over the river, trying to boulder hop with the bike in tow in the middle of a 146km bike ride. Tiger Adventure Racing Team looks solid. Tomorrow is another day! Merrell Adventure Addicts So, here we are and I’m looking at the keyboard and seeing the characters flickering left and right, up and down. Last night was not great. We paddled the best part of yesterday and when evening came everything turned skeef (awry). Eventually by about midnight we had hypothermia issues and had to launch a raging riverbank fire to save us from disaster. Now we’ve eaten and off for a nap. Really hoping that fortune will favour us for the last 3 legs. This is where the brain starts to pack up. Adventure Systems Team travelling well, if not a little tired. We have now successfully paddled more in this race than all of our training combined. We have had our fair share of adventures, kick arse blisters, smashed derailleur, someone walked off a bridge at night because they fell asleep. Team Raidlight We are safe we had very cold night. Macarthur Maniacs Tiger Adventure We averaged 20km per hour on the first part on bike, and thought we were in for an early day. Then the Craig/Louise curve balls of rutted road and crossing the Burdekin changed that. We did meet into Fully Rad Tiger team and leap frogged them all afternoon. We timed our run into Ravenswood, with dinner orders starting at 6.00pm along with a beer. Nice little mining shops, dinner at the pub (and the earlier lunch) was very popular today. Plan is go sleep tonight and tackle leg 11 from first light.

“An elusive track is worth gambling your first-born child on ”

Emma Francis Kiss My Sweet Inov-8’s

Personal journey They say all expedition adventure races have a crux – a definitive leg that decides the fortunes of a team. For team Kiss My Sweet Inov-8s, the crux of XPD 2015 is day three – a quad-busting amble from sea level to around 900 metres elevation at the roof of the Paluma Range. Fastest estimated time is 11 hours; longest estimated time (which we are working to) is 20 hours. What could go wrong? Plenty, as it turns out. In fact, what ensues is a comedy of errors so perfect we will gain instant admission into the XPD Interesting Route Choices Hall of Fame. We like to call it The Bungle in the Jungle. Like all tales of woe and misadventure, this one begins with high spirits and the promise of a new day. After snatching four hours’ restorative, albeit cold, sleep in the previous kayak-to-trek TA, we set off before dawn so as to hit the foot of the range – and the now infamous Foxlee’s Track, which is meant to deliver us to the top – just after sunrise. After an impromptu breakfast of red capsicums slightly on the turn, courtesy of a somewhat

bemused farm-hand who’s throwing them to the chooks (so desperate are we for fresh vegies), we get ready to hit some vert. That’s when we make our first rookie error. A pearl of wisdom often drummed into novice navigators is to never trust man-made features on topographical maps. Tracks, fences and buildings come and go, they say; the compass never lies. But it’s not as simple as that. Sometimes a track is a no brainer, even if it’s initially hard to find. And an elusive track is worth gambling your first-born child on if the only alternative is bushwhacking

through virgin North Queensland rainforest, dodging stinging trees, wasp nests, snakes, creeks and thickets of Wait-a-while palm. Our mistake (or one of them) is to cling onto that pearl of wisdom so tightly, we don’t know when to let it go. Hence, after walking around in circles trying to find Foxlee’s for half an hour, we casually relegate it to the stuff of fairytales and surmise that race director, Craig Bycroft, is just pulling off an elaborate hoax for his own jollies.

you in the textbooks: those flagella move; they are like heat-seeking missiles that hone in on bare flesh. Little wonder it takes us 12 hours to cover five kilometres. Not that we realise how slowly we’re moving. We have already entered the adventure-racing equivalent of the Twilight Zone: a kind of parallel universe where time and distance become irrelevant, or at least relative to the task at hand. Questions like, “How far?”, “How long?”, “How much?” and “When?” give way to “Left or right?”, “Over or under?”, “Around or through?” It is decisionmaking at an invertebrate level. Measurements give way to moments and, without even trying, you achieve the holy grail of enlightenment: living in the now. It’s the great gift of adventure racing. The other great gift of adventure racing is being able to simultaneously plumb the depths of despair and scale the heights of joy. As the sun starts to retreat to the west, and we finally reach the summit of what we later confirm is Mt Leach – a heartbreaking 500 metres south of where we want to be –

Bugger Foxlees, we think. We’ll just follow a bearing up the spur the track should be on, and if it exists, we’ll find it... eventually. What a pity, then, that we follow a bearing up the wrong spur. Still, what we lack in map reading skills, we make up for in dogged determination. Like gambling addicts at a poker table, we keep playing our lousy hand, ever hopeful that a track – any track – will materialise at any moment. But all we get is thick bush, indifferent to our plight, which only gains malevolence with altitude. And before long, we find ourselves corralled by one of Mother Nature’s sick jokes (along with mosquitoes and Melbourne weather): the aptly named Wait-a-while palm. If you’ve never encountered Wait-a-while, let me describe it for you, as I know it intimately. A more hostile example of flora you will never meet – it is the ISIS of the plant kingdom. Ostensibly beautiful, like something you might buy at Bunnings to brighten up a dull corner by the Jacuzzi, up close it quickly reveals its sinister agenda. Not only is its trunk covered in the most ghastly spines – the kind that dislodge in an unsuspecting hand innocently seeking something firm to hold onto (yes, I’m talking about you there, by the creek at one in the morning, you arsehole) – but it also sprouts forth multiple flagella covered in the most vicious, razor-sharp barbs that, at best, tear lovely Inov-8 jackets, at worst, tear earlobes in two. And here’s something they don’t tell

we can’t help but feel a little chuffed at our accomplishment, no matter how absurd. We have just done what, quite possibly, no human has ever done before, or will ever do again (if they know what’s good for them): scaled the Paluma Range completely offpiste and sans sharp implement.

With the pressure of performing lifted, we happily settle into the rhythm of tourists – hardcore tourists, but tourists nonetheless. Our goal is to suck every last experience out of this thing and savour every morsel; every sunrise and sunset; every bend in a river and crest in an outback road; every Jabiru, Brolga and Brahman; every toasty campfire, and delicious dehydrated vegan meal courtesy of Jan. While the teams around us suffer through the cold nights, chasing down teams in front, or staving off teams behind, we take our sweet time, prolonging the experience as much as course cut-offs allow. That’s not to say we aren’t working hard – we are still talking 20-hour paddle, bike and trek legs through remote outback Queensland. But it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like… romance. As we move through the course, something I never expected happens. I feel my body getting stronger and younger with each step. My skin and hair feel soft and smooth; my legs feel powerful, taut and supple; even my technicolour mix of cuts, bruises and abrasions is healing before my eyes. All the chronic niggles that plague me in my daily life – sensitive skin, bad neck, tight hip, random bouts of debilitating fatigue – vanish. All this, and I’ve been living on a diet of chocolate, salami and baby food, and sleeping fewer than six hours a night! This wasn’t in the script. I was meant to finish XPD feeling accomplished, but utterly destroyed, with weird skin rashes, blisters, tendonitis and dreadlocks – much like I had GeoQuest. Instead I feel utterly...well...well. And it feels a bit like being in love.

We are pioneers! But our ebullience is short-lived, because when we do finally find the elusive Foxlee’s Track the next morning (after a cold night spooning each other in a two-man tent), we are so far behind the rest of the field, we have to be fast-tracked through the course, missing the rogaine and the next epic trek through Running River gorge. And we are now, like our only rival girls’ team, the indefatigable L-Platers, unranked. The only thing for it is to swallow the disappointment and reprogram our mindset from racers to adventurers; living up to the event tag line, ‘As much an expedition as a race’.

There must be something about perpetual motion, about connecting brain with body so intimately – so primordially – that is almost sensual. So could adventure racing be the elixir of youth? The antidote to existential angst? Judging by some of the weathered faces at the pointy end of the field, not necessarily. But playing outside? Adventure? Connecting your brain to your body on a regular basis, while disconnecting from the relentless white noise of modern life? Absolutely.

Boulder maze “We got so confused, lost and spent hours wandering around, finally a few hours into mid morning we managed to find the cp ” Bivouac Inov-8 That’s Cray We are having a great time at the moment, canyon was a tad fresh last night but enjoyable. Just knocked over the mtb and are now heading out into the maze, could be in there a long time. 2XU-DASH-ARea51 The final trekking leg was everything we expected and more. It took us from 10:30am on Tuesday to Wednesday 4:30pm. There were 5 checkpoints to navigate to and we did the first two on the Wednesday before getting some shuteye from 8pm - 1am. We had an AMAZING hill sprint as we saw the checkpoint as the sun was setting from a ridgeline above. A highlight for all of us during the race. We got pretty dehydrated during today’s nav hunt. Challenging terrain towards the end that reopened cuts. Adventure Systems Had a cracker last night, with some great navigating and steep approaches we were able to jump up some places. Neverest That last trek leg was torture, “the maze”, was simply the most insane terrain to navigate through we had experienced. Our final day was spent with team Mawson. Moving at similar pace after pairing up our two most invalid team members. Having new people to chat with lifted team spirits of both teams and we decided to pair up. Moonen Packaging XPD Holland There we were .... 5 days on the road and the last stage is at the door ....... “THE MAZE “ ! A day earlier , the No. 1 at that time withdrew from the competition because they could not find the last checkpoint. No way for Team Moonen Packaging XPD Holland this was going to happen! The start went right for sailing and we ended up on a path that our direct insleurde the stage! No sooner said than done and we thundered at one times through to the last checkpoint between multiple mountain peaks, located 6 kilometers opstekkeren a dry river full of rocks and boulders, including a few hours sleep. SA Ambulance Then the final challenge of the maze was met with the master of navigation in Owen. Where others faltered, the team hit checkpoints one after the other without abate. Roo in his first A.R. was bullet proof and not a complaint with a range of injuries and illness. Beau and his beard and hipster vegan loving ways kept us amused and of high spirits throughout. Bear Hunt We’ll have to try explain to you why we camped about 500 m from TA last night. Oops!

“ It quickly shot up into the

air and leaped forward at us hissing ”

Becky Law Bivouac Inov-8


Leg 11: 45 km trek through the “maze”: This trek was not our finest moment of the race it’s hard to remember it all in the right order, as it feels like a week-long excursion. We left Mingela and crossed the highway into an area where we were warned that the tracks would not match the map. There was a rule that we could cross the rail way line but were not allowed to stay within 50m of it. We had to bash through some pretty dense spiky bushes to get away from the railway line, but found fairly clear ground on the other side. We came out onto a nice trail which we followed until we hit a set of cattle yards. The road ended and we tried to find a trail down into the valley below to the next CP. This was the maze. There were hundreds of cattle trails going everywhere and in the dark it was impossible to figure out where we were and were supposed to be going.

We spent a number of hours wandering around aimlessly and finally sat down and took a 20min nap. The sun came up and in front of us was a 4wd trail. Without thinking we all thought this was the trail we were looking for and quickly ran down it. Nothing was matching up once at the bottom so we climbed a high point to get a good idea of where we actually were. Ryan and Mark spent some time looking at the mountain ranges and high points all around and came to the realisation we had missed the mark by a long way and needed to traverse a few km cross country to get to the next CP.

As we were on our way we met up with Merrell again. I think our hearts all sunk slightly as they were a number of hours behind us when we first started this leg. We eventually found the CP on a knoll which

was a lot higher than what was marked on the map. By this stage it was hot again and we were running low on water. We needed to keep up with Merrell so picked up the pace into a jog and tried to keep in the shade as we made our way to the Reid River canyon. It was very dry with only a small number of waterholes to refill all our water bottles.

hands and feet. To make matters worse 2 head lights had died and we were relying on 2 to get down from the final CP to TA.

me up and made for a quicker transition than we were thought we were going to have.

From the CP Mark took a bearing and said when we hit the road all we need to do is turn left and it will take us straight to the TA. We walked for hours and hours. Nothing was making sense, the house we could see on the map we had passed and still not hit the road.

Leg 12: 50 km bike ride to the finish: Our last leg! After we rehydrated rode off into the night down a long dirt road. The roads were easy going, and there were some fun undulations to keep things interesting. We were unlucky to get stuck behind a large mob of cattle which we just couldn’t get past so spent about an hour just following them until they got to a gate and dispersed.

We were going up and down massive water reservoirs which we couldn’t find on the map. By this stage we had not had any water for about 6 hours and were so dehydrated we could hardly swallow or eat

Boulder hopping further up the canyon to find the track that would take us further. At the next CP we got a pleasant surprise a crate was left there by the race organisers with a bottle of coke and a can of pringles per team! We stopped and devoured these before moving on.

food. The team was feeling very deflated at this stage and spirits were low. We made the decision to go back to the house and The hike to the next CP was straight find a trough or hose to drink from even if forward but somehow we took a wrong it meant going into the out of bounds area ridge line. We were bashing again through we needed water ASAP. On the way back dry waist high scrub and grass. we jumped over this metal gate into what we thought was a small horse paddock to As we stepped onto find a trough. But a track there was a big long green and even if it meant going into the what we found was the dirt road black snake. The boys out of bounds we needed water we were looking thought it would be for all along and in a good idea to throw the distance was a a rock to the side of small light of the TA. it and see what happened. It quickly shot up into the air and leaped forward at us We slowly made our way there with our hissing. I don’t think we had moved as fast heads hung low as we thought by this in the race as we did then. stage we would have been passed by a number of teams. To our surprise we saw We all got away unharmed and a little only 2 names on the check-in sheet. We bit more worried about the next section couldn’t believe it. This was an instant pick of bush bashing and where we placed our

The Dry Earth Maze

Ryan navigated the way back to Townsville. Once arriving in town we had a series of CPs to collect which meant following the city cycle trail, unfortunately the team was extremely tired at this stage and the navigation turned into a bit of a nightmare and we made a few errors and just took the road back to the finish. We were so happy cross the finish line in 3rd place early in the morning. After a few beers, glasses of champagne and some race banter we were ready to hit

the hay. Haha due to not knowing when we were going to finish we hadn’t booked any accommodation post-race do it was another night spent curled up in a 2 man tent on the lawn at the finish line. We all agreed that we had a great time and that the team dynamics were fantastic and to come away with 3rd was an awesome achievement. It was a bit sad that the fantastic adventure was over and that it was back to reality.

5.00 pm

finish glad or Sad “Finished. The last trek took us 29hrs. We slept 30mins and then another hour because we didn’t really know where we were. What an epic. Good luck for all the other teams. You will need it! “ Mawson Tiger Adventure Tri Adventure We did it! Finito! All over! So happy to be at the finish line in one piece and in good spirits. We were met by the Tri Adventure oracles, Jan and Kim, along with the best support team ever, Steve and Shan. The MD boys even dragged themselves from their beds. Cheers boys and congrats. It’s been an experience we’ll never forget and everything in life will seem easy after this. Gina and Cass, you are two amazing girls to put up with us boys. Thanks for being legends. Dyson, thanks for the laughs, it’s been a pleasure. Its All Good We’re back!!!! 8 days and 4 hours of madness! So many stories to tell!! Thanks to everyone who supported us, met some great people along the way. Highlight of the week was day 1 and the river paddle with the camp fire hehe! Have to say we all struggled with the sea kayak but overall a great experience especially for two first timers. Oh and we found a bar haha!!! New Caledonia - Tiger Adventure Hello everybody ! Finisher tout juste du XPD Le smile Ne nous quitte plus c etait chaud patate ces deux derniers jours avec portion de 140 kms de vtt suivi d un trek interminable et difficile de 50kms ou l on a eu beau coup de difficultes a trouver les balises... On fini morts mais vivants Avec Le partage de cette touche finale Avec une sympatique equipe Australienne . L heure de la binouse a sonne on vous laisse les Amis merci a tous miloute. Goldfish Masters Finished at last. Tandem flat tyre slow leak. Pumped it up with 2km to go. Busy chatting to volunteers and course organisers about the course. Where is our food. Fully Rad Tiger Adventure Fully Rad have finally made it the finish of XPD 2015. What an epic race in every sense of the word. The best way to sum up racing was rocks. There were lots of rocks. Spectacular scenery, timeless landscapes and great people along the way. We have memories that will last forever. Mountain Designs Sitting drinking finishing drink and eating pizza. A stunningly tough expedition. What we have come to expect from Craig and Louise and the geocentric team. Thank you. Now bed.. Kiss My Sweet Inov-8’s Hi Honey We’re Home!! We’ve had the BEST time! Our goal had been to enjoy the hell out of this experience and that’s exactly what happened. We laughed liked drains, worked hard, had some epics and made 10-12 hour campsites with fires and good food because that’s how we wanted to roll! The team worked so well together, so many laughs and so many memories. We have memories that will last forever. We learnt stacks and we all agree, “We will return!”




“ The long arm of the Maze reached out and dragged us back into the abyss ”

RACE INSIGHT With Kim and Leo injured and not able to join Schlossy and myself for this event, we recruited Damon Georke and Kathryn Preston from the now defunct and highly successful Blackheart team. With so much experience in the team, we had a very relaxed and organized planning stage. We started with an 8km paddle to Magnetic Island where we traversed the coast for 30km completing snorkeling tasks along the way. The coasteering and rock scrambling were technical and the bush was thick. We thoroughly enjoyed picking our way through the maze of granite boulders that are strewn across the whole island. Easeing into West Point just after 8pm and

in 2nd place behind world number 6 Team Raidlight from France, Peak Adventure followed by Bivouac Colts. Team Merrell ranked 8th in the world came in 4 hours after us. This could have been strategic as we now could not start until 6am in the morning. Spending the night sleeping under a spectacular starry cloudless sky on a comfortable bed of sand we woke up feeling eager to see what the course had in store for us. The wind was coming up as we headed off onto the ocean under a dimly lit sky. A clear sunrise chased us across to the mainland for CP14 as we punched into 2nd behind Peak and headed north. A freshening wind behind us we chased runners all the way to CP15 and the finish leading Peak Adventure into the TA. We began the trek up to Paluma with Peak Adventure. With smoke from a fire

billowing out of one of the valleys that was one of the route options for this leg, race officials instructed us to only use the other route. Under the threat of fires in this area we couldn’t locate the track up the hill so navigated up the spur were it was meant to be. Scrambling through the under growth for half the climb the trail appeared and we powered to the top and started the maze of trails uniquely marked by sundials. This was a lush rainforest area with sweet mountain water to quench our thirst and a full tree canopy blocking out a starry sky. Kathryn was nauseous and was vomiting. To our surprise this did not slow her down. She switched her energy source to coke and kept tramping toward the next CP. Rolling into the MTB TA 10 minutes behind Peak Adventure ready to finally ride our bikes after 2 days and a night. Kathryn’s husband and son were at this TA and were also sick so we now had to manage a contagious illness. Temps were in the single digits so we rugged up and headed off with our Ay-Up lights blazing into the misty night.

Race briefing warned us this paddle would involve dragging the boats as the water levels were low. The paddle was a real highlight for me. I enjoyed the ducking and weaving around low hanging trees

and the abundance of animal and bird life kept the interest to see what was around the next corner. The last 4 hours was very shallow and cold so the finish of this leg was a relief. We huddled around the fire at this TA trying to warm the body for the final push to midcamp and some much needed hot food and sleep.

Onto the 145km MTB at 8.20am feeling optimistic about our chances of catching a fast moving Peak Adventure, we had done our home work on this leg and felt we All was going well until we got a little had the best route planned. We met 4 Qld turned around trying to locate CP20 on a outback characters at the hut CP. They gave single track as the trails weren’t marked us 4 icy cold cans of on the map as they Coke to drink while appeared on the the evil Bycroft had relented we shared a yarn or ground. We went back two. We headed out to the lake and then and left us all some Coke carrying our bikes located the CP after across the river and 3hrs. At the next TA for then rode through the Canyon Trek we discovered Peak had to hit the trail near a bush runway and then forgotten their helmets and would incur up to the road to Ravenswood. Here we did a penalty giving us the upper hand for the a bike rogaine of historical sites around time being. town. This was a nice break and a chance to take in the town. An ice cream then off After locating CP 21 in the gorge without towards the Maze TA. trouble and we decided to go up and out of the gorge on a straight bearing With the map called the Maze and rather than down the gorge and out a darkness approaching we headed off with creek line. CP22 proved troubling as the caution. Finding the first CP we headed contours in this area were not correctly into the Maze carefully but had no luck, marked. We lost another 3 hours and over shooting the location by 2km . Things daylight locating this CP. Now we were

were starting to get a bit funky with a nudie run, some attempted dacking and some tow rope whipping all in an attempt to stay awake. Out came the No-Doze and bang we were flying, locating a creek line which led us directly to the Maze CP, then powered toward the canyon and hopefully some water. Our No- Doze induced clarity soon faded and the long arm of the Maze reached out and dragged us back into the abyss. Drifting east everything looked wrong, so back to sleep for 45 minutes and dawn. Back on track now we had no further issues getting the Canyon CP and some nice water. Barreling up the canyon from boulder to boulder we only had one short stop to patch up a deep little cut on my knee. Up the spur to the next CP we came across a box of heaven, the evil Bycroft had relented and left us all some Coke and Pringles. We had 13 hours of food for this leg and we had been out for 20 hours so this little bonanza was well received. This leg was now a classic Bycroft soul destroyer, a leg of XPD which should be expected and eagerly anticipated. Rounding the dam indicating our spur line and after 5 days of following the same 4 sets of footprints we finally had virgin trail, we couldn’t believe it, not a foot print anywhere. We had a little bet, with 3 for Peak having already finished and 1 for we were now leading. I was the only one to have the faith. First to sign into the final TA and our smiles and relief couldn’t have been bigger. We rested a little here as the heat and lack of food was taking its toll. We rolled out

Gary Sutherland Mountain Designs

navigating more conservatively and nailed CP 23 and headed to Kim’s swimming challenge CP in a beautiful lagoon section of the canyon. We didn’t get to experience the beauty as it was dark and we were consumed by dread of a cold water swim. Moving toward CP25 in a creek junction the area caused us problems so with dawn 2.5 hours away we slept. The CP was only 100 metres away. Refreshed we hurried to the MTB TA to discover Bivouac, Raidlight and Merrell had passed us. We paced-lined on the bike passing all three teams to begin the Burdekin river paddle in 2nd and with 8 hours of daylight ahead.

relaxed with what at times a seemingly unlikely victory in the bag. The finish line greeted us and we were soon on the lounges eating pizza, drinking champagne and regaling our journey to anyone who would listen. Big thanks to all our long suffering families that keep all our affairs in order and support us while we chase little orange and white flags through some of the most remote locations the puppet master, Bycroft, can find.

“ Leaving us tired and for want of a better phrase ‘pissed off’.”

Richard Old Fully Rad Tiger Adventure

teamwork This was not we had planned. XPD Day One had not started the way we had mapped it out and within less than 24hrs we were not where we wanted to be nor felt we were capable of, but clearly we were where we deserved to be. Our route choice from the SUP leg towards 5 Beach Bay and the next CP looked good on paper but when put into play was a bad decision in turn made worse by the fact that once we were heading in this direction there was no bail out point. Once we committed we had to see it through. Choosing to take an old road and not the creek line cost us nearly 6 hours but worse drained reserves leaving us tired and for want of a better phrase ‘pissed off’. As the first night wore on we found CP’s but the rock hopping, clambering, rationing of food and mind games slowed us down. Ahead was an epic ocean paddle with strict cut offs. It is this, which is driving us and messing with our heads. “Get on the water’ ‘ Keep moving forward’ ‘It’s not over yet’ It’s personally challenging to be having these kinds of internal monologues so early in the race. These conversations are normally reserved for Day 4 onwards. It’s hard to be having this kind of self-talk while racing with a team who are having similar conversations. We are all hurting. We all know the timeline. We all want to find the next CP and get to the TA.

who has become a dot-watching maniac and is concerned that what we are so far from everyone else. It’s my kids who while not fully understanding what Dad does logon when they get home from school and wonder where I am and what I am doing. It’s my AR mates who know racing

and have sat up all night talking to the screen and each other analyzing route options, questioning decisions. In my head this is my team. Just like racing, in life you need a team. Your team members have interchangeable roles as the expedition (life) continues – as you keep pushing to that next CP also you have a role in their expedition. This is the secret to success – people – life isn’t a solo sport. It’s from my team that I draw power and drive to push on.

This is what makes expedition adventure racing the challenge it is. The terrain can be hard, the navigation can be taxing, the strategy can be relentless but amongst Mid morning we arrive stone motherless last to the all this you need to work as a team. You need to work as West Point TA. We stumble in smashed and accepting our a team regardless of the pain, discomfort, frustration, fate that we have missed the cut off for the paddle. In my hunger, and multitude of emotions you are feeling. To head I am sorting through our options for an adjusted overcome challenges you need to work together, discuss race. Dehydrated and hungry we are greeted by the options, plan an attack, and find the best path. It is this crew packing down and the last paddlers heading off team element that makes the sport great. It is this, which the beach. ‘So what are our options’ I ask. Race Director makes it so appealing (to me). It is also the part that most Craig Bycroft replies ‘ 15min – get on the water – you are likely makes the sport unappealing to many. If you aren’t right to continue – its not over yet – 15min – no more’ a team player, if you race on ego Within a nano second we have flicked a or it’s all about you – then this switch back into race mode. Fuel, pack, Just like racing, in life you isn’t the sport for you. You could prepare boats, and get on the water. be an incredible athlete, super fit, Amazingly within time we have left need a team a nav guru but if you can’t work Magnetic Island and started paddling with team mates then you aren’t towards the mainland. Just like that going to enjoy adventure racing. the race continues. When you think it is all over – its not. Team Fully Rad pushed on. When I race my team is not just the 3 incredible athletes I am trampling through the bush with. My team is my family 8 days later after epic treks, long paddles, testing at home watching the dot on the screen. It’s my wife who mountain biking, wrong turns, right turns and plenty knows me better than I know myself. Who checks in on of adventure we cross the finish line in Townsville. The the dot before heading to work, sees we have not moved tough first day and night now just blend into our race much, knows what’s going on in my head and sends a story. What was all consuming becomes just part of the physic message of love and ’keep moving’. It’s my mum bigger story. A bit like life really.

Race Results Pos Team   1







































































































































































































































































Adventure Systems (18) 198h 00m 00s inc penalty 5h 20m



It’s all good (44) 193h 48m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m



SandgropAR (34) 189h 36m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m



2XU-DASH-ARea51 (16) 186h 15m 00s inc penalty 6h 40m



MUPPETS (28) 182h 37m 00s inc penalty 2h 15m



Type2Fun (33) 180h 53m 00s



New Caledonia Tiger Adventure (41) 176h 17m 00s



Everyday Life Fitness/Tiger (15) 176h 12m 00s



SA Ambulance (30) 175h 19m 00s inc penalty 6h 43m



Goldfish Masters (11) 173h 14m 00s



Tiger Adventure Racing (31) 172h 34m 00s



Tri Adventure (32) 158h 35m 00s



Mawson/Tiger Adventure (7) 156h 19m 00s



NEVEREST (19) 156h 19m 00s



Pretty Flash (24) 150h 45m 00s



That's Cray (4) 148h 33m 00s



Team Raidlight (8) 144h 26m 00s



Bivouac Inov-8 (2) 140h 33m 00s inc penalty 2h 00m



Merrell Adventure Addicts (6) 131h 53m 00s



Mountain Designs (1) 130h 33m 00s


Locations and Estimated Elapsed Times Start CP2 CP13 CP16 CP17

Rubicon (10) 198h 30m 00s inc penalty 5h 30m

Race Results Pos Team   22



















































































Locations and Estimated Elapsed Times Start CP2 CP13 CP16 CP17
























































































Fully Rad Tiger Adventure (14) 213h 06m 00s inc penalty 12h 00m



San Juan Aventura (45) 204h 02m 00s inc penalty 9h 35m



Macarthur Maniacs Tiger Adv (29) 202h 31m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m



Bear Hunt (36) 201h 09m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m



MAAD Tiger Adventure (39) 200h 10m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m


Locations and Estimated Elapsed Times Start CP2 CP13 CP16 CP17

Tiger AdventureFit (23) 221h 35m 00s inc penalty 15h 00m

Non Competitive / Unranked Pos Team  

Antarctic Running Club (26) 220h 46m 00s inc penalty 13h 30m

GT Sloth (13) 213h 35m 00s inc credit 2h 00m

L-Platers (20) 226h 46m 00s inc penalty 2h 40m

Moonen Packaging XPD Holland (21) 204h 34m 00s inc penalty 12h 00m

Rusty Ironman The Yogis (35) 215h 40m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m

Team Kiss My Sweet Inov-8's (40) 206h 04m 00s inc penalty 6h 00m

TMA Tas Multisport Adventures (42) 221h 20m 00s inc penalty 12h 00m Retired Pos Team  


Locations and Estimated Elapsed Times Start CP2 CP13 CP16 CP17



























Hamish and the Wheelbarrow (38) 230h 45m 00s inc penalty 12h 00m









www.peakadventure.com.au (37) 228h 26m 01s inc penalty 4h 00m






Mountain Designs

Damon Goerke Kathryn Preston Gary Sutherland Dave Schloss


Mawson Tiger Adventure

Kris Maguire Russell Newnham Ricky Thackray Kevin Piercy



Bivouac Inov-8


GT Sloth


Team Raidlight

Fully Rad Tiger Adventure

19 Paddy Meldrum Angela Harris Gary Palmer Todd Vallance

That’s Cray




Everyday Life Fitness/Tiger Adventure


Lysanne de Graaf Lisa Marentis Urszula Coffey Lindsay Raynor

Merrell Adventure Addicts


Goldfish Masters

Richard Barnes Phil Newman Andrew Perry Mardi Barnes

Craig Keeling Christine Perry Luke Miles Paddy Howlett


6 Grant Ross Robyn Kime Hanno Smit Graham Bird

Dave Hunt Heather Fearby-Roberts David Barlow Goshi Ozawa

Lyle Jacobson James Rush Elizabeth Woodgate Richard Old

Adventure Systems

4 Aaron Coles Thorlene Egerton Lee Rice Dane Roberts

Audrey Ehanno Dauriac Seguin Nicolas Nicolas Moreau Thomas Gaudion

Ross Wyatt Jordan Hougan Michelle Newstead Grant Hodgins

Daniel Coletti Tim Gill Justin Farrell Dan Barry

2 Ryan Thompson Becky Law Mark Thrupp Bobby Dean



Jarrod Mitchell Andy Turner Samantha Gash David Leggo



Team Moonen Packaging XPD

Jeroen Meijer Rens Rijnbeek Paul van der Veer Stijn Rijnbeek


Tiger AdventureFit

Richard Pember Dave Talbot Shane Crook Scott Rogers


Macarthur Maniacs Tiger Adventure

Jeremy Gibson Mitchell Stafford Todd Panietz Rickie Single


Pretty Flash



SA Ambulance


Josh Street Jarad Kohlar Sam Stedman Emma Weitnauer



Hamish and the Wheelbarrow

Brooke Carmichael Christopher Cox Phip Hughes Hamish Nicholls

TMA Tasmanian Multisport Adventures

41 New Caledonia - Tiger Adventure


Emilie Balthazard Martial Devillers Gregory Darmizin Franck Siret

Tina McCarthy Kent Wyllie Hamish Becker Greg Pilkington

Antarctic Running Club



Tiger Adventure Racing

Rusty Ironman & The Yogis



Tri Adventure


Bear Hunt

Michael McCluskey Micaela Hartley Minh-Tam Nguyen Caroline Christenson

MAAD Tiger Adventure

Myall Quint Thor Harrison David Jennings Ahmed Almajed

Kevin Humphrey Kath Copland Orla O’Kane Laura Prior


Cass Kimlin Alex Austin Dyson Findlay Gina Dunsdon

Amelie Bischof Philip van Gent Jennifer North


28 Matt Wilson Steven Phillips Michael Phillips Adrian Beard

Trevor Mullens Rebecca Wilson Shaun Jackson Douglas Peres

Grant Pepper David Symons John Breed Shane Lewis


26 Dan Vermazen Craig George Fleur Bugarin Jason Blackwell

Morgan Coull Beau Griffiths Owen Jones Rurik Symon

Matt Bacon Scott Taylor Su Pretto Nathan Archer


24 Paul Guard Alan Ferris Mark Wilson Adam Power


Team Kiss My Sweet Inov-8’s

Jan Saunders Deanna Blegg Emma Francis Clare Weatherly

Its All Good


San Juan Aventura

Federico de la Torre Carrera Lucas Masman Martin Osores Juan Manuel Lopez

It’s been a week now, since we crossed that finish line, and I’m still dreaming of checkpoints and dust and woodsmoke and granite rock.... I’m missing the constancy of movement. I’m missing the sisterhood of our team. I’m missing the singularity of thought. The simplicity of carrying my life on my back... I’m missing sitting comfortably in dirt and sleeping in the same clothes I have worn day after day....

Four women, four friends, forever bonded by sweat, laughter, dirt and a deep desire to experience life in all its myriad ways who came to the Queensland Tropics to embrace an experience and support each other through thick and thin. We did that and so much more. We never wanted it to end.

It takes but a few hours to slip into this life that is expedition style Adventure Racing but weeks to let it go..... What does that tell us?

On what we knew would be our final night out, we made camp in the late afternoon, spending 10 hrs in a bouldered gorge on a sandy shelf with a crackling wood fire and tall pines whispering overhead, simply because we could. We were unanimous in wanting to savour every last moment of life in the XPD slow lane. It was as profound as it was unspoken.

In our clamouring for comfort, cleanliness and choice... Could it be what we really need is to be stripped bare of it all and return to basics? XPD and such endeavours are where our true selves explode to the surface like breaching whales and we gulp in life like nothing else matters or ever has....

But when we were on, we were on. We worked hard and moved forward steadily, always. Our strengths got stronger, our weaknesses disappeared. If one of us stumbled, there would be a hand outstretched for us.. literally and figuratively, but maybe a photo and laughter first...

I could write you a race or stage report and tell you my version of the race that “Kiss my Sweet Inov-8’s” experienced over 8.5 days of XPD 2015 but nothing will tell you more than this....

We never faltered in spirit or humour or tenacity. We, as most who embrace this sport do, overcame setbacks through the assistance of others as much as by tapping into our own resilience. Jan Saunders Kiss My Sweet Inov-8’s


Profile for James Pitman

Xpd Townsville Australia  

10 days of adventure racing in Qlds far north.

Xpd Townsville Australia  

10 days of adventure racing in Qlds far north.


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