As teams are busily putting the final touches on their preparation, it’s time to turn our heads briefly to the Adventure1 predictions blog. The Raid 100 holds a unique place in the A1 series as the longest and potentially toughest event in 2019. A rogaine-format, expedition-length event is a novel concept in the sport of adventure racing – almost an experiment if you will – and it takes a brave team to take on the challenge. Of course, the race itself has a deep pedigree in the Rogue24 and as such sees an impressive field of teams looking to tackle the race not only for finisher’s bragging rights, but also to claim those vital A1 series points.
A look over the team list has one team stand out as the clear favourites for the overall title: Wild Earth Tiger Adventure. Built on the backbone of a wealth of experience in the form of Russ Stringer (who has raced every Rogue Adventure Race and managed to at least be on the podium for most of them) along with veteran racer Gary Sutherland, the team has recruited a pair of strong Kiwi racers who certainly won’t hurt their chances. I know how Gary likes to race – he’ll see the course and work out how to get all 100 check points in under 100 hours and work backwards from there. With so many uncontrollable factors that come into play in an adventure race, it’s too much to say that it is their race to lose, but they certainly are the team to beat.
And who could be those teams looking to take up the challenge for the top step on the podium? As always in adventure racing, experience speaks volumes and there are a few teams on the line up with the goods. The Rogue Adventure team have a solid history in their namesake’s race. Coming off the back of a second placing in the A1 series last year, the team has been preparing well with the Raid 100 a major goal for 2019. I suspect they will race conservatively up front, which in the unique Raid format could make all the difference. Rogue are racing as a team of two men plus two women, as are over a third of the premier mixed teams at this year’s race which is an interesting trend to note in the bigger picture of the sport.
Other noteworthy teams capable of pushing at the front of the race include experienced outfits such as the BMX Bandits and Dynamite Adventure, along with the Tiger triplet set of Wild Flow Tiger, Every Day Fitness Tiger and Tiger Adventure. Team captain from the Bandits, Dave Ellis has a previous second place to his name at the 2016 Rogue24 and should be familiar with the race’s strategic challenges. Dynamite Adventure are first timers at the race but have plenty of long race experience and should adapt well to the format. Along with these teams, I’m most excited to see how the youth sponsored team Aussie Battlers will fare. While young by AR standards, the team has enough expedition length AR and rogaine experience to push it with the top teams.
It’s not all about the premier mixed teams of course. The Raid series of races can be won by any category of team regardless of gender and size. The Mountain Designs Wild Women are almost a lock to take out the all female category barring disaster – the question is how far up the overall ladder can they climb (quite high I suspect). Team Goes Alright are one of the stand out all male teams. In saying that, perhaps a win might come from the teams of two category. In theory these teams may be able to travel more efficiently over a longer course and the fact that there are a number of teams travelling across the ditch from New Zealand that I just don’t know enough about to comment on, then a win in the single gender category might come from an unexpected quarter. As we always say, anything can and typically does happening in adventure racing and it usually takes the right mix of experience, talent and plain luck to make it to the finish line in front.
The finishing touches have been put on the course and flags have started going up. The area is looking stunning at this time of year. Temperatures have been relatively benign although expect some cool nights out on the course. A slight chance of rain on the long range forecast will just add to the post-race tales if it eventuates. The final distances are in and teams are faced with 69-161km of trekking, 62-91km of kayaking and 299-374km of mountain biking (those with a keen eye will have picked up on some slight changes in the previous advertised distances).
All the action can be followed on the race live site: http://raidadventures.com/100live/ Share the link with your networks: teams can be tracked live via satellite GPS along with an updated scoreboard. There will be plenty of information coming out from the course which can all be dissected on our event discussion forum. When we next check in it will be to announce the Raid 100 start location!