AR World Championships: Buff Still Leads, Blackwater Makes Critical Mistake

The AR World Championships are seeing some championship drama even as the event draws closer to the inevitable conclusion. Yesterday when I posted an update, three teams were battling it out for the lead, with Buff Thermocool out in front, followed by Blackwater, and Team Silva/Gerber. Overnight, Silva/Gerber dropped off the pace some, while Blackwater kicked it into gear, closing the gap with Buff. But then, the veterans on Blackwater made a critical mistake that could end up costing them the race.

Adventure World has all the details in the story found here, which they put together with an assist from race reports over at SleepMonsters. Yesterday, Blackwater was trailing Buff by more than five hours, but they stepped up the pace dramatically, and closed the gap down to under two hours at one point, and seemed poised to overtake them sometime today. That is until they arrived at a transition area where they only had access to one of their gear containers. That container was for storing their mountain bike gear and didn’t contain their trekking gear, which would be necessary for the next stage of the race. 
Buff Thermocool had read the instructions closely and noticed that this would be the case, taking their trekking shoes with them on the bike ride. Blackwater missed this rather important piece of information, and as a result, they faced a 14 mile trek in the bike shoes. Three of the four members of the team managed to borrow shoes from some of the volunteers in the transition area, but Nathan Fa’avae ended up pulling the soles out of his bike shoes and slid them into his socks and proceeded back on to the trail in that fashion. Something that couldn’t have been a lot of fun to say the least. 
According to the leaderboard, the two teams are still racing hard, but it seems that Buff’s lead has grown back to about three hours. Not insurmountable for Blackwater, but they are starting to run out of time. There is a decent sized paddling section ahead however, so perhaps they’ll be able to catch them there. Either way, you know it’s going to be a good ending to what appears to be a really tough, but great race.