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XPD – Rivers of Gold

10 Editions in the Making

Rivers of Gold

XPD 11th Edition

The 2021 edition of the XPD Expedition Race is themed “Rivers of Gold”. From the 18-24 July adventure racing teams from Australia and around the world will step back in time to follow the legendary 1870s Cape York gold rush of the Palmer and Hodgkinson Rivers.

This gold rush was described as “one of the wildest, most lawless and most dangerous gold rushes the world has ever seen. It was characterised by mountainous terrain, hundreds of kilometres of jungle track, violent aboriginal people, a dry season in which a man could die of thirst and a wet season that could wash away entire settlements to leave stranded men to starve to death”.

The Adventure Race

as much an expedition as a race

After starting on Turquoise ocean, sheltered by Great Barrier Reef, teams will come ashore and be confronted by the formidable Rainforests of the North. They will journey through boulder-strewn rivers, lush forest, and misty waterfalls, to cross the Great Dividing Range at over 1,000+m in altitude.

Flowing West to the Gulf of Carpentaria are the remote Outback Australian “Rivers of Gold”. Bold teams will paddle these flowing and turbulent waters, mountain bike vast open spaces and hike over ancient landscapes, in search of the ultimate but elusive… XPD Gold!

Palm Cove

Race Headquarters, Australia

Palm Cove is a quiet and relaxing village by the sea where centuries old “paperbark” Melaleuca trees line the casual esplanade. The town will host the modern day adventurers of the 11th Edition of XPD.

Teams arriving at the Cairns Airport on Friday the 16th July 2021 have the option of a transfer to the event headquarters at Palm Cove. A gateway to the Cape York of Australia, the town is a vibrate tourist destination with average July temperatures of 17-25 degrees Celsius.

About

XPD is Australia’s own expedition length adventure race

Teams of four competitors from around the globe trek, mountain bike, and kayak for three to six days in this world-renowned expedition. These adventurers race day and night over a 500km course pushing themselves to the ultimate limits of human endurance. All team members complete all sections of the course and they must never be separated by more than 100m. Learn More Here

XPD 2021 – MAKING THE COURSE

WATCH FULL TV EPISODE XPD 2016

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6 days ago

Geocentric Outdoors

Day 6 - Heading For the Finish Line

One of the (many) great things about adventure racing is that races allow weekend warriors to compete alongside world class racers, and give everyone a chance to get to the finish line. XPD has always been a race which has allowed teams plenty of time to make their way to the finish, and this Rivers of Gold edition is no exception.

Through day 6 teams were making their way back to Palm Cove, by the full or short course route, some of them missing different checkpoints along the way. The split between teams pushing to finish the full and short courses was largely self-selecting. A group of teams including DASH, 6 Degrees of Separation and Vestigial Racing were in a fit enough state after the big trek to set off from the Mount Molloy transition in good time to continue on the full course.

Of these Vestigial were the last to leave at 10.15, and all these teams are aiming to get through the Barron River paddle before the Dark Zone took effect again. It was another 4 hours before any more teams left the transition, led by ‘Directionally Challenged’ and then ‘Rum Drinking Mongrels’, and by then the choice really had to be the short course.

Vestigial may have been the last of the ’full course’ teams to leave Molloy, but they reached the start of the paddle ahead of ‘6 Degrees of Separation’, who had taken a wrong turn on the ride, then slowed down, and arrived an hour later. This made the difference, Vestigial got off the water just in time and could continue to the finish, but ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ are spending another night on the course, camped out at CP38. They were so close! (Only about 3km short of the last transition.)

The short course route may have been a quicker way to the finish, but the 65km ride isn’t easy. It took teams back along some of the stage ride 3 to Mona Mona, then across country to rejoin the final stage at CP40 on the Black Mountain Road. From there it was an easy ride down into the finish, or in the case Rum Drinking Mongrels a run/push as one of the bikes didn’t quite make it all the way in working order.

Once across the line they could celebrate their race, share stories and enjoy the champagne and pizza ... or in the case of Rum Drinking Mongrels, finish off their rum. (They really did take some with them.)

On the final night of the race, with the clock ticking over into day 7, all of the full course teams except ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ are into the finish, and there are 4 teams still on the short course, including both of the all-female teams, Mountain Designs Wild Women, and Kija Wild.

Which just leaves the 3 person team, ‘Sixty Something’s, who are still on the Hann Tableland trek and a long, long way behind. They are still moving steadily forward, but can they make it all the way and finish before the course closes at 12.00 on Saturday?
... See MoreSee Less

Day 6 - Heading For the Finish Line

One of the (many) great things about adventure racing is that races allow weekend warriors to compete alongside world class racers, and give everyone a chance to get to the finish line.  XPD has always been a race which has allowed teams plenty of time to make their way to the finish, and this Rivers of Gold edition is no exception.

Through day 6 teams were making their way back to Palm Cove, by the full or short course route, some of them missing different checkpoints along the way.  The split between teams pushing to finish the full and short courses was largely self-selecting.  A group of teams including DASH, 6 Degrees of Separation and Vestigial Racing were in a fit enough state after the big trek to set off from the Mount Molloy transition in good time to continue on the full course.  

Of these Vestigial were the last to leave at 10.15, and all these teams are aiming to get through the Barron River paddle before the Dark Zone took effect again. It was another 4 hours before any more teams left the transition, led by ‘Directionally Challenged’ and then ‘Rum Drinking Mongrels’, and by then the choice really had to be the short course.

Vestigial may have been the last of the ’full course’ teams to leave Molloy, but they reached the start of the paddle ahead of ‘6 Degrees of Separation’, who had taken a wrong turn on the ride, then slowed down, and arrived an hour later.  This made the difference, Vestigial got off the water just in time and could continue to the finish, but ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ are spending another night on the course, camped out at CP38.  They were so close!  (Only about 3km short of the last transition.)

The short course route may have been a quicker way to the finish, but the 65km ride isn’t easy. It took teams back along some of the stage ride 3 to Mona Mona, then across country to rejoin the final stage at CP40 on the Black Mountain Road.  From there it was an easy ride down into the finish, or in the case Rum Drinking Mongrels a run/push as one of the bikes didn’t quite make it all the way in working order. 

Once across the line they could celebrate their race, share stories and enjoy the champagne and pizza ... or in the case of Rum Drinking Mongrels, finish off their rum.  (They really did take some with them.) 

On the final night of the race, with the clock ticking over into day 7, all of the full course teams except ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ are into the finish, and there are 4 teams still on the short course, including both of the all-female teams, Mountain Designs Wild Women, and Kija Wild. 

Which just leaves the 3 person team, ‘Sixty Something’s, who are still on the Hann Tableland trek and a long, long way behind.  They are still moving steadily forward, but can they make it all the way and finish before the course closes at 12.00 on Saturday?

Comment on Facebook

Su Pretto and team you guys are bloody amazing can’t even imagine thanks for inspiring me to run for 2 hours this morning and pushing my own personal limits. You guys rock! Now enjoy the well deserved recovery and mini break Woo hoo! This photo is awesome

Well done Nathan Archer and team. Great work, now tome for some recovery enjoy.

A dot watcher from the UK (following Type 2 Fun). Another brilliant event.

Well done Nathan Archer

Nathan Archer did you remember to take your Bar Code!?!?!?

Love reading all these little anecdotes 👍

Amazing effort!

Congratulations

That’s a wrap Scott Taylor, the smiles say it all

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Day 5 – A Race for the Podium Places and for the Cut-Off

The race for the podium places was exciting and came down to a ‘sprint finish’ between 3 teams on the final 17km trekking stage. Well, the adventure racing equivalent of a sprint finish anyway; a blistered, painful, glassy-eyed kind of sprint finish, between Chipesti, Alpine Avengers and Thunderbolt.

The leaderboard shows all 3 teams finishing at Palm Cove within a frantic 36 minutes – after over 100 hours of racing! Thunderbolt took second place ahead of Alpine Avengers by just 3 minutes (or around 400m after 472km of racing), and Chipesti were fourth over the line, some 33 minutes later.

Those are the stats, but the dramatic back story is that those positions were reversed when teams arrived at the last transition.

Chipesti had been in a clear second place on the 4th night of the race, but had been caught by the Dark Zone on the final paddle and stopped only a few kilometres along the river, spending a frustrating 12 hours there while those behind them caught up. (There were some white water sections not safe to paddle at night.)

They’d proved a fast and talented team, but were in their first expedition race and while all the more experienced teams around them managed to time their race so they were not badly hit by the Dark Zone, Chipesti couldn't.

Unfortunately, there was more trouble ahead for them as they had to serve a 2 hour penalty at the final transition due to bike box infringement. So, they had to wait, and watch the other two teams come and go, and despite a fantastic effort could not close the gap to catch them. It was a frustrating finish to the race for a team that has competed so well and they are appealing the penalty decision, however, it’s later transpired they didn’t punch CP26 either, and this will affect their final placing.

The race has independent referees to apply the rules, in this case Greg Hollands and Beta Zadnik, who are very experienced ARWS officials, and they had more work to do, telling Alpine Avengers that they too had a penalty for an incorrectly sized bike box. (One hour in this case.) All of which meant Thunderbolt arrived at the transition last, left first, and managed to stay ahead of Avengers until the finish line to take second place, just!

(It’s not the first time XPD has had a sprint finish for the podium, when the World Champs was held in Tasmania there was a cycle sprint around a velodrome track for 2nd and 3rd.)

During the remainder of Day 5, Rogue, 3 Points of Contact and Astrolabe also finished. (Their final positions will depend on checking all these lead teams got all the checkpoints.)

The teams at the back of the pack will be thinking about how to finish their races tonight, and whether to take the short course. The race instructions say teams leaving the TA at Mount Molloy after 6pm “are encouraged to choose the short course”. This directs teams to ride to the finish (65km) instead of completing the final 3 stages.

It’s not a strict cut-off and Race Director Craig Bycroft explains. “I said teams should be leaving Mount Molloy by 6pm tonight to comfortably get to the paddle before the dark zone Friday night. But the paddle is going much quicker than my estimates, so if they can get on the water tomorrow by 11am they should make it. Teams can work their timings back from that, so leaving by midnight tonight a team could have a good crack at finishing the full course. Maybe even after midnight, if they are confident on the bike ride at night.”

So, around a dozen teams will have to make a choice when they get to Mount Molloy. Do they head for the finish on their bikes via the short course, or try to complete the rest of full course?

It may be a difficult choice for some, but for those who arrive tomorrow morning after a long time on the trekking stage, the short course will probably be the only real choice they have.
... See MoreSee Less

Day 5 – A Race for the Podium Places and for the Cut-Off

The race for the podium places was exciting and came down to a ‘sprint finish’ between 3 teams on the final 17km trekking stage.  Well, the adventure racing equivalent of a sprint finish anyway; a blistered, painful, glassy-eyed kind of sprint finish, between Chipesti, Alpine Avengers and Thunderbolt.

The leaderboard shows all 3 teams finishing at Palm Cove within a frantic 36 minutes – after over 100 hours of racing!  Thunderbolt took second place ahead of Alpine Avengers by just 3 minutes (or around 400m after 472km of racing), and Chipesti were fourth over the line, some 33 minutes later.

Those are the stats, but the dramatic back story is that those positions were reversed when teams arrived at the last transition. 

Chipesti had been in a clear second place on the 4th night of the race, but had been caught by the Dark Zone on the final paddle and stopped only a few kilometres along the river, spending a frustrating 12 hours there while those behind them caught up.  (There were some white water sections not safe to paddle at night.)

They’d proved a fast and talented team, but were in their first expedition race and while all the more experienced teams around them managed to time their race so they were not badly hit by the Dark Zone, Chipesti couldnt.

Unfortunately, there was more trouble ahead for them as they had to serve a 2 hour penalty at the final transition due to bike box infringement. So, they had to wait, and watch the other two teams come and go, and despite a fantastic effort could not close the gap to catch them. It was a frustrating finish to the race for a team that has competed so well and they are appealing the penalty decision, however, it’s later transpired they didn’t punch CP26 either, and this will affect their final placing.

The race has independent referees to apply the rules, in this case Greg Hollands and Beta Zadnik, who are very experienced ARWS officials, and they had more work to do, telling Alpine Avengers that they too had a penalty for an incorrectly sized bike box. (One hour in this case.)  All of which meant Thunderbolt arrived at the transition last, left first, and managed to stay ahead of Avengers until the finish line to take second place, just!

(It’s not the first time XPD has had a sprint finish for the podium, when the World Champs was held in Tasmania there was a cycle sprint around a velodrome track for 2nd and 3rd.)

During the remainder of Day 5, Rogue, 3 Points of Contact and Astrolabe also finished.  (Their final positions will depend on checking all these lead teams got all the checkpoints.)

The teams at the back of the pack will be thinking about how to finish their races tonight, and whether to take the short course.  The race instructions say teams leaving the TA at Mount Molloy after 6pm “are encouraged to choose the short course”.  This directs teams to ride to the finish (65km) instead of completing the final 3 stages.

It’s not a strict cut-off and Race Director Craig Bycroft explains. “I said teams should be leaving Mount Molloy by 6pm tonight to comfortably get to the paddle before the dark zone Friday night.  But the paddle is going much quicker than my estimates, so if they can get on the water tomorrow by 11am they should make it.  Teams can work their timings back from that, so leaving by midnight tonight a team could have a good crack at finishing the full course.  Maybe even after midnight, if they are confident on the bike ride at night.”

So, around a dozen teams will have to make a choice when they get to Mount Molloy.  Do they head for the finish on their bikes via the short course, or try to complete the rest of full course?  

It may be a difficult choice for some, but for those who arrive tomorrow morning after a long time on the trekking stage, the short course will probably be the only real choice they have.

Comment on Facebook

(From Ricky) Not for the podium but our team (Mawson) also had a sprint finish around the velodrome in that same Tas ARWC, coming from behind and one member with a flat tyre we mowed down the team in front to beat them by a solitary second (though we were all male and they were mixed so it made no difference to rankings but was a thrilling end nonetheless).

🙌🙌🙌

Geez you smell, Elizabeth Dornom !

1 week ago

Geocentric Outdoors

Team Resicon Thought Sports, winners of XPD - Rivers of Gold. ... See MoreSee Less

Team Resicon Thought Sports, winners of XPD - Rivers of Gold.

Winning Doesn't Come Easy

Team ''Resicon Thought Sports’ came into XPD-Rivers of Gold as one of the favourites and they won by a big margin. So everything is true to form, but let’s not take it for granted because it’s what we expected, or think it’s easier for them than for other teams.

They were popular favourites as 3 of the team finished 3rd together at Eco-Challenge Fiji and Rob Preston probably has more expedition racing experience than anyone in the field, but there was strong competition. Alpine Avengers had 3 of the team who won the last XPD, so if anything they were defending title holders, there were lots of past winners in other teams too, and Chipesti proved there is always an up and coming team who can shake things up.

Every kilometre they put in front of other teams was hard won and they could only get in front of them as a result of dedicated training, requiring a high level commitment and some personal sacrifice.

For Tim Boote and Angus Rodwell it’s a first XPD win, while Rob and Kathryn Preston are past winners, but not in the same team. (Rob has won 3 times before and Kathryn once.) There’s a good reason for that, it’s really hard for both parents of young children to take time out to race together, let alone put in the hours of training, which they have to do separately most of the time.

They won by a big margin in the end, and that will only have happened as they raced as a strong team, supporting each other when morale dropped or they were hurting. They bounced back from losing time on the Mitchell River when their maps disintegrated, and showed fantastic grit in the final stages to go without sleep and push hard to beat the dark zone and secure the win.

They won in 4 days of almost non-stop racing across 472km of ocean and outback, a sporting achievement which should be national news, but will largely go unnoticed as it’s beyond the comprehension of most people.

However, those within the adventure racing community know what a remarkable feat it is and can appreciate and applaud it. And they’ll do the same for every team that crosses the finish line at XPD Rivers of Gold.
... See MoreSee Less

Winning Doesnt Come Easy

Team Resicon Thought Sports’ came into XPD-Rivers of Gold as one of the favourites and they won by a big margin.  So everything is true to form, but let’s not take it for granted because it’s what we expected, or think it’s easier for them than for other teams.

They were popular favourites as 3 of the team finished 3rd together at Eco-Challenge Fiji and Rob Preston probably has more expedition racing experience than anyone in the field, but there was strong competition.  Alpine Avengers had 3 of the team who won the last XPD, so if anything they were defending title holders, there were lots of past winners in other teams too, and Chipesti proved there is always an up and coming team who can shake things up. 

Every kilometre they put in front of other teams was hard won and they could only get in front of them as a result of dedicated training, requiring a high level commitment and some personal sacrifice. 

For Tim Boote and Angus Rodwell it’s a first XPD win, while Rob and Kathryn Preston are past winners, but not in the same team.  (Rob has won 3 times before and Kathryn once.)  There’s a good reason for that, it’s really hard for both parents of young children to take time out to race together, let alone put in the hours of training, which they have to do separately most of the time.

They won by a big margin in the end, and that will only have happened as they raced as a strong team, supporting each other when morale dropped or they were hurting.  They bounced back from losing time on the Mitchell River when their maps disintegrated, and showed fantastic grit in the final stages to go without sleep and push hard to beat the dark zone and secure the win.

They won in 4 days of almost non-stop racing across 472km of ocean and outback, a sporting achievement which should be national news, but will largely go unnoticed as it’s beyond the comprehension of most people.  

However, those within the adventure racing community know what a remarkable feat it is and can appreciate and applaud it.  And they’ll do the same for every team that crosses the finish line at XPD Rivers of Gold.

Comment on Facebook

Gus! Congrats buddy. To you and the whole team! Nicely done.

Congrats to the team. Great race and well timed for last river paddle!

True champions of an amazing sport, very well done

Massive congrats Rob Preston , Kathryn, Tim, Angus and your support crew! 🥂🍾

Amazing effort you guys.

Huge!!

Such an incredible achievement. The commitment, the determination, the intense training, and then the epic race. Wow! What a triumphant achievement. Well done. I applaud you all.

Congratulations on a massive effort. I’m in awe of all the training you all complete in order to get to the start line and completing such an epic race.

They were incredible to watch even as dots on a map. Absolute champions.

… and looking surprising fresh with next to no sleep. Awesome outcome and well raced team

Well done to a great team for a well deserved win. Shame during COVID you can't have the winner's couch, but chairs work just as well. Huge thanks to Louise and Craig for over coming so many obstacles to hold XPD. Craig/Louise for PM?🤔

Absolutely phenomenal! Congratulations Angus and team, well done!

Massive effort! Much respect to all competitors!

Way to go Thought Sports

Congrats Angus and Team Resicon!

Well done, massive effort!

Amazing work , well done 😊

Winners are grinners 🥂😁👏

What a team

Epic race guys. Congratulations 🥳

Amazing effort for a truly challenging competition!

Congratulations

Congrats Team

Woohoo 🙌

Congratulations!!!

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