Reports coming in from the Patagonian Expedition Race show Adidas-TERREX Prunesco within striking distance of the finish line followed by East Wind and the US team GearJunkie-YogaSlackers! These teams have been enduring harsh weather and challenging terrain as they bike, trek, and paddle across Chilean Patagonia in what has truly lived up to its billing as “the last wild race.”
Photo: Alexandre Buisse – http://www.alexandrebuisse.org/
I encourage you to visit the Patagonian Expedition Race site tomorrow to see the finish. You can get the play-by-play from race officials at their Facebook page and watch the teams move across the map at their Patagaonian Expedition Race MapShare provided by DeLorme.
Here is a screenshot I took just a few minutes ago showing the three remaining teams as they approach the final section, a mountain climb followed by a descent to the coast.
DeLorme is proud to have provided inReach devices to race officials for coordination and to top teams for tracking during the race. I’ve been able to watch from behind the scenes, reading race coordinator messages and watching track info as the event crew worked through several logistical challenges. Pete Clayden, the Patagonian Expedition Race director, has been in close contact with me and gave permission to share some of his stories about their use of the inReach. I think you’ll enjoy them!
InReach saves the day…
During the early part of the race several teams were not able to meet the time cap set at Check Point 3 on the far side of a wide glacier. These teams had to return to the starting line for pick-up as this was the only way off the course. Three days after starting the race the teams arrived at the road however they could not get their sat phones to work (the required communications gear) and could not call for transport. Fortunately Sam from the DeLorme sponsored US team YogaSlackers had his inReach with him and was able to text the race coordinator and communicate details of the three teams waiting for pick-up. He coordinated a bus as well as Thai Food for everyone!
Sam’s message to Facebook was my favorite though… check it out here as it shows on the map where he was located.
A quote from Pete when he contacted me to let us know about the success story:
These In Reach devices are just completely outliving our Sat phones, especially now Sam is in the loop and communicating with us. It’s helping us with a very complicated logistical problem.
A huge thank you to Delorme!
The river crossing problem…
Five days into the race the Chilean Patagonia area experienced unseasonably heavy rains that caused river water levels to rise. Race leaders Adidas-TERREX Prunesco found themselves at a marked river crossing that had become too dangerous to ford. They managed to place a sat phone call to report their situation however race officials relied on the inReach that was tracking the team to determine their location and then passed details using the inReach to the Check Point crew to scout and arrange an alternate crossing location. They were able to share detailed coordinate information as well as specifics regarding the Check Point’s course of action.
Here’s a quote from Pete when he shared news of the situation with the Adidas team.
Hi Chip, I’m sure you’re following all this as we work the river crossing problem. Having the tracker and the PAT units is making coordinating this much easier, no crackling voices, no misheard coordinates, just clear information.
Time for sleep now. Pete
We were very pleased to learn that Adidas-TERREX Prunesco was able to cross at an alternate location and continue without further incident.
Where are the YogaSlackers…
Last one but definitely the most exciting. I actually got to help Pete while he was in the field this evening! He sent me a text from his inReach while he was bringing gear to the YogaSlackers team. He wasn’t sure how far ahead of him they were or how fast they were traveling so he asked me to check the map and let him know…
My daughter Abby wanted to know what I was doing so she climbed in my lap and helped me find the YogaSlackers and determine how far ahead of Pete they were. We took our first adventure race coordinator role very seriously. Even Abby’s cat Jack got in on the action watching over my shoulder… Beezy the wonder dog was less enthusiastic as you can see in the background.
Imagine an important tracking question sent by inReach message from the back country of Chilean Patagonia, arriving on my cellphone in my living room here in Maine… I was able to make a quick reference to the Explore map and respond with the information Pete needed. Looking at the conversation thread at the Explore site, it took about 14 minutes for Pete to ask his question, for me to find the answer, and for him to let me know that he’d found the YogaSlackers. Not too shabby for someone well outside of cell phone range in Chile texting with someone many thousands of miles away here in Maine!
Well, I hope these stories from the Patagonian Expedition Race have given you a good sense of what the inReach is capable of as a tracking and communications system. I hope to share more news from the race after it has completed. I’m sure there will be even better tales once all the participants and officials return from “the last wild race!”