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Copyright© 2004 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.
World comes to Bend to race its heart out
Swiss team captures second
stage of X-adventure Raid series
From Bend.com news sources
Monday, June 14, 2004
In dramatic scenes that no doubt will make good “reality TV,” the Swiss team, Salomon Suisse, held off American team Nike ACG/Balance Bar through snow, forest and on ropes strung over Tumalo Falls on Sunday to capture the second stage of the worldwide X-adventures Raid Series.
On the final fast downhill 25-kilometer MTB section to the finishing line in Bend, the Swiss combined caution with temerity, staving off any last-minute challenge from the Nike/Balance team to finish the two-day, 11-element event in 18 hours, 35 minutes and 8 seconds.
Even while ensuring a safe and secure ride, they managed to finish with the fastest scratch time and hit the tape at the les Schwab Amphitheater to win the race with a relatively comfortable 36-minute lead. The French team Ertips hung on to take third place as fellow French team Les Arcs-Quechua - with Bend draftee Josh Smullin aboard - finally began to realize they would have to settle for fourth.
The first stage of the mixed-gender multi-sport race was in Morocco in May. The teams move on to France and Italy for the third stage, July 9-11, and to Kalbarri in Western Australia for the fourth stage, Sept. 3-5. The Raid World Championship takes place Nov. 28-Dec. 5 in Patagonia and Argentina – but Central Oregonians will be able to catch the local race highlights in a program on NBC on Aug. 7.
Bend Research/BARK was the top Oregon finisher, 23rd overall and sixth among American teams. Among other Bend teams, Therapeutic Associates' team finished 27th, Team Footzone 34th and Rebound/Beyond Sport 37th. But Bend’s own Justin Wadsworth was part of the Montrail-Revo USA team, which finished seventh.
The race leaders from Switzerland ran what organizers called an incredibly intelligent trekking section over snow and through dense forest to shake off the American challengers. At one point Sunday, the route went down a spectacular 90-foot rappel so close to Tumalo Falls that they were covered in mist.
The American team had been snapping at their heels throughout the entire length of the race. That is how the next-to-last stage began, but after about two kilometers, the two rival teams chose different routes.
A number of difficult route choices were presented, once the snows were behind them, but the Swiss, with arch-orienteer Alain Berger, just seem to get it right more often than the others. Turning on the speed as they came down a gully and crossing the river when things got rough, they managed to increase their overall advantage to 33 minutes, giving them a relatively comfortable cushion going into the final section.
Spie the North Face, also from France, also put in a very fast time on this section but, with only around 25 kilometers to go and paying the price for a major error on the morning’s first MTB leg when they lost about 45 minutes on their chosen route, the only viable challenger for third place was likely to be Ls Arcs-Quechua, which fielded an all-male squad in one final, nail-biting burst to get on the podium. No mean feat for a team forced to race with an unknown quantity drafted at the last minute from local athletes.
As daylight broke Sunday over the Fall River Airstrip attenuated by the misty rain, the teams mounted their bikes to cover the 23 kilometers on the opening MTB section, with the Swiss team holding a slim 15-minute margin over their American arch-rivals.
Both leading teams experienced frustration on the second day’s opening section that took them on a jinking route straight across the dense Deschutes National Forest and back towards Edison Butte, to the east of Mount Bachelor. The Nike/Balance team made an early error that cost them some time and the dirt tracks, muddied by the constant precipitation, made the going very soft, whereas race leaders started well, only to succumb to a sudden onset of fatigue towards the end of the section.
The audacious and unwavering team from the Swiss Alps proved once again that a GPS and compass can only take you so far as their canny and cunning hand them back the lead on the final section Saturday.
As the evening sky filled with cloud and night’s mantle draped the Cascades, the shadows cast by the Ponderosa pines across the mosaic of brush and gorse confused more than one as the teams trekked through the forest up and over Round Mountain.
At the summit, the two leaders were still neck and neck, covering the ground faster than their rivals. But, after Salomon Suisse appeared to take a wrong turn, they split up and chose different routes to suffer equally disparate fates.
“We relied very much on our intuition to find a good route through the thick and prickly undergrowth. It must come from our slaloming experience,” confided Berger of the Swiss team.
“We weren’t going any faster than the others, but if you only use GPS, a great leveler in the sport, the only difference you can make is visual,” added Luc Beguin. The gamble paid off as they gained just under 16 minutes on the Americans over the final stretch of the section.
TraditionalMountaineering folks helped
X-Adventure Raid Mountain Guides manage the
zip line across the lip of Tumalo Falls and the 100 foot rappel into the abyss from the high
wire across the gorge and we got to test it all out before the racers! --Webmeister.
Read more . . .
News of the X-Adventure Raid World qualifier in Bend, Oregon USA
Map of the Raid adventure race course for 2004 Broadband only
Race events in Bend, OR
Photos of the 2004 Pole Pedal Paddle race transitions
Pole Pedal Paddle 2004 results by age group
Pole Pedal Paddle race changes in 2004
Pole Pedal Paddle 2003 race results
Pole Pedal Paddle 2002
Snowshoe Shuffle comes to Bend, Oregon
Atta Boy 300 dog sled race start and finish from Mt. Bachelor
Bend Adventure Racing Klub - The Wild Juniper Berry Race
Annual race to the top of Pilot Butte
Pilot Butte - hike and run to the summit
Cascade Cycling Classic 2002
Bouldering gets a handhold at Smith Rock
ABS Contest night at InClimb Gym
Five Sisters Marathon
CORK, Central Oregon Running Klub plays in The Badlands
Traditional Mountaineering R & R in Central Oregon
Rafting class 3 on the Deschutes River
Winterfest in Bend, Oregon
Bend's Tower Theater restored to 1940s elegance
A snowshoe adventure with Bend Parks and Recreation
Bend's Wednesday market near the Deschutes River in Drake Park
Central Oregon's High Desert Museum in Bend Wolves seen at the Museum!
Bend Log Jam celebrates the opening of the Deschutes southern crossing bridge
Bend's southern crossing bridge
The Beach Boys concert in Bend Oregon, Summer 2003
Cascade Music Festival in Drake Park, Bend Oregon
Misty River Band plays a free concert next to the Deschutes River
Riverfest boat-demo in Bend Oregon
Earth Day in Bend, Oregon
Customer appreciation night at a local store
Nordic Club's fall ski swap
Sustainable living expo in Bend
Fall festival in Bend
Joan Baez concert at the Athletic Club of Bend
Sunriver Resort exotic car rally
Munch-n-Music R & R in Bend
• Alpine Mountaineering: This is the central interest of TraditionalMountaineering.
This tradition-based sport includes: on and off trail hiking, scrambling, light weight wilderness
Leave-No-Trace camping and bivouacking, as well as technical travel and mountaineering on snow, rock and ice,
glacier travel, technical rock climbing and summitting peaks.
• Related Activities: Alpine Mountaineering is an aerobic sport. It includes jogging, running, hiking the hills, backpacking, climbing, mountain biking, back country skiing, snowshoeing, telemark skiing and similar sports all acting together to improve aerobic capacity, strength, balance and athleticism.