Illustrating just how quickly the tide can change, South Africa’s Merrell Adventure Addicts adventure racing team went from a position among the top 10 teams in the world cup of adventure racing, to finish in 26th place … all due to a lost gearing system early in the second bike leg that just wouldn’t get fixed, no matter how hard they tried.
After an emotional ride (hoping mechanics could fix the problem, hoping to catch local cycling stores on their route, being offered outside assistance that they weren’t allowed to take due to competition rules), including the team towing the injured bicycle (with its cyclist) for 70km, the team decided that ‘just’ finishing was the important goal for them in the end.
They crossed the finish line after 125hours. “We came here to try to win,” says team captain Graham Bird. “That changed due to circumstances beyond our control and so we changed our focus. Life is unpredictable and this sport is a reflection of exactly that.
South Africa’s other competing team, Sanlam Painted Wolf, did well for themselves by securing fourth position.