After more than 100 hours of racing, the final of the XPD adventure race in Australia was secured by a communications error.
In last week’s Pique we said Team DART-nuun, which has Sea to Sky racer Jen Segger-Gigg on its roster, placed third. While they were ranked third on the results page, they were actually fourth after they were put onto a shorter trekking course to the finish — just after the team ahead of them started on the long-course because of a communication error and was guaranteed the third spot overall. The decision to send racers on a shortened last leg was made after the first two teams complained of the length and difficulty of a trekking section, and organizers decided it posed a safety issue for other teams.
Despite the problems on course, Segger-Gigg remains positive about her experiences in the Whitsundays.
“Spectacular scenery and one of the most organized events that I have ever attended,” she said. “The race started with a paddle in the Whitsundays where we got to mix it up with various running and snorkeling sections. All very cool. Once we hit the bikes, disaster set in for us as we suffered 25 flats during the first stage. This put us way back, costing us about 10 hours or so, and then we had to struggle to regain some time on the lead teams.”
Segger-Gigg’s team went on to post some of the fastest times in the running and trekking sections, and were back in the running when they hit the second biking section and sustained 10 more flats.
“This was tough as we are a bike team and usually this is where we can destroy other teams. Trust me, you don’t live in Whistler or Squamish for no reason,” she said.
“It was bittersweet to be short-coursed. Good because we got to cut some distance off and not be out as long, but difficult in the fact that we could no longer fight for third.”
The XPD was the leading adventure race this year with the participation of all the top teams and athletes. Altogether 320 athletes in 80 teams of four took part.
The course itself was challenging as well as long, weighing in at 700 km. Segger-Gigg’s team took 145 hours and 39 minutes to reach the finish, or just over six days.