Patagonian Expediton: The last wild race
A high-octane contest brings 15 nations to the world stage of precious Patagonia.
Poincenot, Patagonia (Photo: Getty Images)
It's been hailed as the 'last wild race'. It takes place in one of the most stunning landscapes in the world. It's an international stage for a show of strength and sense of adventure.
Guess it's not surprising that the Aussies reigned supreme in 2004.
Ok, the saying is true: winning isn't everything. The key aim of the event is to communicate the unique ecology and cultural heritage of the Patagonian region of South America — and what better way to appreciate the landscape than by touring the terrain in red-hot competition, through a multitude of physical disciplines including trekking, cycling, climbing and kayaking.
Mixed teams of four represent a host of nations at each annual summer edition (there are 15 nations competing this year — but Australia is not one of them). The race has generated increasing attention since its inception in 2004. That's right. The year that saw the Aussies of Team Xinix Water Purification
win the inaugural race, conquering a 520 km trail that crossed Darwin's Range, traversed the Beagle Channel, and finished up at Puerto Williams — the southernmost town with a population of around 2000 people.
The route changes for every edition of the race, and, most importantly, it's all kept secret until the night before kick-off. Teams are issued with landmark-oriented instructions and mandatory information. At checkpoints, equipment is swapped as the discipline changes.
The race is tough, to say the least. And it's getting tougher, if last year is anything to go by — the American Team Cavella lost their way and allegedly survived four days eating nothing but berries until they were rescued.
The fact that there's no Aussie team this year won't stop us from getting competitive (did we mention the British won last year's race?), but the setting really is nothing to be sneezed at. Some of the landscapes are untouched before race day, and some previously unseen by human eyes. In this, the International Year of Biodiversity, it's important to remember to preserve Patagonia in a sustainable manner, particularly as tourism to the area grows.
So, stay tuned to our updates on the event, here at www.agoutdoor.com.au, as 15 nations unite on untouched, fragile and arrestingly beautiful Patagonian terrains in an effort to preserve and sustain the world we all share.
Oh, and a bloodthirsty battle for victory.
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