Teams combine their XPD effort
TWO Sunshine Coast teams competing in the gruelling XPD Australia expedition race had to combine forces just to finish the eight-day odyssey.
A team of five uniting members of the Sunshine Coast Adventures Racers (SCAR), Spin City Cycles Ali Rush, along with a Brisbane racer from a separate team, crossed the finish line exhausted on Friday after setting out on Wednesday the week before with their respective teammates
The XPD race doubled as the Australian leg of the Adventure Racing World Championships.
It featured 80 teams of four take on the 700km of trekking, mountain biking and kayaking through the Tasmanian wilderness.
Ali Rush team member Russell Stringer, of Mooloolaba, spoke with the Daily from the island state after finishing the gruelling journey.
"Everyone was just happy they participated. To come across the end is just amazing, you can't describe finishing, most of us were in tears from the effort we had put in," Stringer said.
"It's a challenge of pushing yourself through the different landscapes and achieving each leg of the race that attracts us to it."
Stringer's teammate Ali Wright pulled out of the race on day two after injuring his right knee. .
They then combined with SCAR members Danielle Gage and Dave Schloss, who had lost teammates Rob Gowland and Robbie Andrews around the same time because of illness.
Stringer's other teammate Shaun Lauder pulled out to rest a sore left achilles before returning to the race 24 hours later.
Another teammate Kirk Jackson pulled out ill on day six.
The team of four were then joined by Brisbane's Liam St Pierre, who had lost his three teammates through injury and illness.
"The Coast teams have been rivals in previous races, but it was great we could all join up and finish together," Stringer said.
"A couple of the guys were disappointed they couldn't make it."
The makeshift team of five - Stringer, Lauder, Gage, Schloss and St Pierre, eventually crossed the finish line eight days and one-and-a-half hours after first setting out. Despite being one of the only competitors from the Coast to complete the entire race, Stringer was not without his wounds.
"I had an ankle injury about three days in. I think I've torn a few ligaments off the top of my ankle," he said. "It slowed us down a bit."
The finishing team was unranked because all teams had members drop out.
The XPD was won by the Thule Adventure Team in about six days, they were followed two hours later by the second and third placed teams who were separated by only three minutes.
The fourth and fifth placed teams finished in a sprint to the finish line with only a second the difference.