It’s Day 5 of the Abhu Dhabi Adventure Challenge and the teams have now completed the 107km (66 mile) desert trek. From all account, it sounds like it was a blisteringly fast pace through the sand dunes, that saw Wilsa Helly Hansen claiming the fast time for the stage and putting them in contention heading into the final stage tomorrow.
As of now, the leaderboard now has Desert Islands back on top with a lead of just over one minute on their fellow Kiwi’s of Team NZ. Third place is now held down by Wilsa Helly Hansen of France who are in a virtual dead heat with their countrymen from Team Sport2000 Vibram Outdry. The fifth spot is occupied by Team Nike, who are currently about 45 minutes off the pace.
According to this race report, the top teams blazed through the desert stage yesterday without any of the top five really gaining an advantage on one another. When night feel, Nike moved to the front of the pack, with ace navigator Chris Forne showing the way, as the other teams followed their lead through the darkness. Apparently Chris was driving the pack so hard at one point that other teams asked Nike to slow down so they wouldn’t get lost.
The battle for the podium spots will really heat up tomorrow, with the top four teams relatively close to one another. Personally, I expect the two teams from New Zealand to battle for first with the two teams from France left to fight it out for third. Nike dug themselves a hole early in the race thanks to issues with their kayaks, and have struggled to get back into contention every since. These stage races make it very difficult for a team to dramatically change their position late in the event, unlike a non-stop expedition race, where they can continue to push forward at all times.
Tomorrow, Stage 6 will have the teams on their mountain bikes early on before going back on foot, and over a ropes course. Once they are through that section, they’ll return to their bikes for one last dash to the finish line.
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