Team Haglöfs Silva (Björn, Robert, Rob Preston and Corrinne Smith) have spent the last two days sorting out gear and food and experiencing the terrain in Kanasi (northern China, Close to Mongolian border. Weather thus far has been like the best summer days in the Swedish mountains, and the terrain isn’t that much different from the mountains in northern Sweden, except for the fact that the nomads are looking after big cows instead of reindeers on the mountains.
Teams racing the Xtrail Expedition Race have already loaded their gearboxes and bikes on the truck and tomorrow morning at 7 AM, they will receive the racing maps, being locked in without any access to the outside world (to avoid cheating with google maps or similar).
At 11 AM local time (5 AM in Sweden) the race will start with a short hectic run down to the kayaks.
Leg 2, 25 km of kayaking on the Kanasi Lake, is followed by a challenging 4-person raft (no guide) on the river. After the rafting, teams head up to the mountains for a 49 km trekking section, which is expected to finish around midnight. Leg 5 is a 201 km (!) mountain bike section with lots of ascending and descending, expected to take 18 hours for the fastest team.
Having been running and riding for more than 24 hours, teams will get a short rest for their legs on the 15 km of kayaking, before another 40 km of trekking (Leg 7). Leg 7 ends with a special orienteering section in the desert, before teams get back in their kayaks for 55 km of kayaking (Leg 8). Depending on how the time estimates have been this far into the race and how the team is feeling, they might take some sleep prior to this kayak to avoid falling asleep on the water…
After some 8 hours sitting in the kayak, teams will place their butt on the bike instead for the last real section of the race, 106 km of mountain biking. This section is partly to be in the desert, probably the same desert where many teams (including team Haglöfs Silva) found navigation to be really tricky last year. Fingers crossed our team will manage through this one without any mayor mistakes this year!
After finishing this last bike ride, there is only a short run in to the finish line, which according to the time estimates should be around 22.30 Wednesday night for the winning team.
We will do all we can to be there as early as possible!
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/Björn, Corrinne, Robert and Rob
The race overall:
Trekking 93 km
Mountain bike 304 km
Kayaking 84 km
Rafting 12 km
Expected winning time 54 hours.