With less than an hour before the start of the AR European Championships, teams are still sorting their kit out, and the kayaks are still causing consternation!
Boat issues seem to have been a big topic of the morning. Team Sweden swapped both of their kayaks out for 'spares', which fortunately the race brought a few of. One boat's rudder wouldn't centre, and the other seemed to have a slow puncture in one of the side tubes.
Outdoor Roedovre were having different issues, unable to to get three of their four issued spraydecks to fit onto the boat cockpits. They too managed to get some swapouts, fortunately, as the decks are non-stretchy nylon so couldn't just be wedged into position and left to settle.
The rest of the boat manipulating has been more of the personalisation variety.
AdventureJunkie have been adding thick foam to their seat bases to raise their positions up, as well as taping on a deck compass. The Estonian XT Sport team has fitted high seat backs from sit-on-top kayaks to give more back support, though probably at the penalty of spraydeck fit. Other teams have taken up the tip of extendeding and re-inforcing rudders, though the material seems to have varied from team-to-team, from bolted aluminium to Correx board via what looks like laminate flooring. Team Yeti, having finally arrived, have folding sails rigged on the front of their boats, and Russian Squirrel Sqaud/Arena team have a lower-tech version of the same, a folding childrens beach shelter.
Aside from the boats, teams had to present their bikes to be wrapped up in bubble wrap, packed into a van, and shipped to the first bike transition. There were a few cautious looks from owners of the shinier, lighter, more fragile bikes, but the volunteer crew were taking great care to avoid and knocks and slippage that could potentially hinder someone's race.
This is, as we've said, the 16th edition of the Red Fox Adventure Race, and the organisation are amazed by how it's grown. The first edition, back in 2003, had 20 racers; this year's has over 500 across the two races and various different classes.
At the Opening Ceremony, course designer Vitaly had an interesting message for the teams: "It is good to see so many friends from so many different countries here. Governments may be against each other, but sport teaches us to co-operate."