Portuguese XPD Race Report

The Portuguese XPD race proved to be an event filled with potential but one in which the organizers maybe still have lots to learn! For instance, the international teams, asking about local conditions and terrain speed etc., were told that there was time to complete all mandatory and optional checkpoints within the time allowed. However, this proved very far from the truth. In the end, the winning teams ended up being non-competitive local teams who had just started the race with an eye on finishing. They hadn?t even attempted any other than mandatory check points. To put this in perspective, in the first 12 hour stage, there were only 4 mandatory checkpoints and 12 optional ones and every competitive team attempted the majority of them.Team Gatorade of Finland were the first ?competitive? team to cotton on to the fact that it was simply impossible to complete them all and therefore emerged from the first stage in a stronger position. Other teams, including UK team eVENT® Endure, thought that they had missed the first cut off and therefore stopped racing towards the second stage. However, on arrival, they were informed that since nearly every team had missed the cut off, all teams were being sent back out on a revised course.That wasn?t the end of it. Teams still in the race started to drop with the dreaded ?race lurgy? ? the sickness bug that often accompanies the longer races. In Gatorade, it hit their female hard and she pulled out before a hard mountain stage. The rest of the team stayed there resting and whilst there, an accident on the tyrollean traverse caused the whole race to be put on hold. By the time that had been sorted out and the race resumed, Nora was well enough to go on and therefore Gatorade effectively became ranked once more! Very strange!Less fortunate was 30 year old Peter Nejsig from Denmark who was the injured party in the tyrollean accident. The broken rope / slipped anchor which caused pretty serious injuries to his legs necessitated a helicopter evacuation. The incident is being investigated. There seem to have been far too many accidents recently in races! The winning teams had hardly completed any races before, Gatorade was 4th and eVENT® Endure finished in 7th ? a very low final placement for them, especially considering the field, although thankfully it still doesn?t jeopardize their leading position in the overall Expedition Racing League?