By: T.C. Worley
To say that today has been an eventful day does not nearly begin to hint at what has gone down. Right out of the gates the first section of the race, the kayak, had to be cancelled due to winds in the neighborhood of 45 knots, and waves at 3 meters. With the Navy deciding that the conditions were unsafe, all racers, support staff and press climbed aboard the ferry and the race began as a beach trek instead. Race director, Stjepan Pavicic spread his arms wide, boomed “Welcome to Patagonia,” and the race was on.
The route has taken us all past some jaw-dropping scenery. Wind-blown beaches have given way to wind-blown plateaus. At this point in the race, there is no escaping the wind. On the biking leg, the winds gusted to nearly 80mph! “I was literally blown over,” said Chelsey from Team Gear Junkie. On the downwind areas, teams hardly needed to pedal at all and speeds of 35mph were no problem. In addition to the beautiful countryside, we’ve also seen wildlife ranging from tiny black and white dolphins, to pink flamingos and Guanacos – a Llama-like animal. On the beach trek, a bony whale carcass lay in the path of the race.
The lead has switched hands at each checkpoint so far with the Helly Hanson and Team Switzerland leapfrogging. Team Gear Junkie took an alternate route from all other teams on the first biking leg. The unconventional strategy paid off—they are one place higher now. “We’re happy with the decision to alter the course,” Team Gear Junkie captain Stephen Regenold stated. Racers are transitioning into a long trekking section tonight. As they arrived, they were met with the news that some of the food that they were expecting to eat upon arriving at the TA was stuck on the other side of the Straight of Magellan along with a great deal of support supplies. In Patagonia the reaction to troubles is to find a way to work with what you have. Press, staff and local volunteers all contributed personal food items to keep the race moving forward. So, into the night the teams go—on an act of kindness, and wishes of good luck.
For more images and race details visit:
Wenger Patagonian Expediton Race