Yesterday, Team Nike returned to form as they raced around Sir Bani Yas island on their mountain bikes. From the race website description, it sounds like our team played a cat and mouse game with Richard and Elina Ussher’s Desert Islands team for about an hour before the two teams decided to work together and set a pace that would distance them from the rest of the group. The two teams finished the 45 km leg together in 1:37 minutes, a blistering pace that indicates it was probably fast, open road riding. Our friends from Team SOLE finished just 5 minutes later in third place.
After all 36 teams finished the bike leg, there was a mass start on the beach for another 27 km of sea kayaking out to Kurkum Island. There was a 12-knot wind that created a big swell and played havoc for many teams leaving the beach, swamping several boats and forcing at least one team to skip this paddle leg entirely and take a major time penalty.
It’s not clear what happened out in the big chop, but Team Nike had a rough paddle and hit the beach on Kurkum Island 16 minutes behind the leaders. This puts team Nike in seventh place overall, about 22 minutes back. Team Desert Islands has a commanding 10 minute lead over all the other teams, but everyone else is within a couple of minutes of one another. Team SOLE is kicking butt in fifth place.
All the teams are bivouacked on the island for the night (check it out out on Google Earth) preparing their own meals and sleeping in the sleeping bags they’ve stashed in their boats. Early tomorrow, the race resumes with brutally long 80km paddle that will test everyone’s stamina and navigation skills, and will likely be a decisive day in the overall race.
Keep sending our boys and girl positive thoughts!
Thanks for reading,