The SKYLOTEC Adventure Team took a hard challenge in South Africa. The newly established team went on “Expedition Africa” and won its very first challenge amongst 28 teams. For us, they report about their exciting trip.

SKYLOTEC Adventure Team is a Swedish adventure racing team with high ambitions. The members have collected experiences from different team constellations but are now united to perform on the highest level with focus on the Adventure Racing World Series. Founded a few months ago, the team of Simon, Johanna, Jonas and Mårten went to its very first challenge in South Africa – and were triumphant. Here’s the team’s report of winning the “Expedition Africa”. Have fun!

We started the SKYLOTEC Adventure Team in the beginning of 2017 and since then we have worked hard to get everything together to be able to perform our very best on the race course. We are very happy to have our partners helping us out and we want to say big thanks! You are all a part of this and the beginning of our journey!

“Expedition Africa” is a race in the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) and this time the action took place in the area in the eastern part of South Africa, Cape St Francis. Estimated winning time was a bit above 72 hours. We didn’t know so much about the different legs until 2 days before race start when we got the logistic planner. After that we could pack our gear and energy for the different legs in the boxes and bags provided by the organization. This was the course: Trek 5 km, kayak 28 km, trek 6 km, kayak 15 km, mountain bike (MTB) 89 km, trek 59km, MTB 97 km, trek and rope 4 km , kayak 25 km, trek 18 km, MTB 123 km, trek 48 km.

2500 altitude metres before transition area

The race started Sunday morning at 7 am on a windy beach and the sun was about to rise. The wind forced the organization to replace the second leg which was sea kayaking due to strong wind and huge waves. Instead, the first run became a bit longer. We didn’t expect to take the lead in the beginning, we just wanted to go in our own pace but it soon became clear that we had a bit higher speed than the others as we took the lead of the pack right from the word go.

Trekking through bumpy South African paths.

The first legs of trekking and kayaking went well and we had a good pace without working too hard for it. In adventure race, there are often things that you don’t think about and one of those things could be that sometimes the kayak has to be carried to the transition area (TA), and this time it was uphill, about 60 altitude metres up, a pretty taxing effort.  After completing the two kayaking legs and the two trekking legs it was time to get on the bike for an 89 km ride. The area was characterized by agriculture in the beginning, then we reached the mountains and started to climb the 2500 altitude metres before reaching transition area (TA). We did a good leg and got to the TA as the first team.

The team members checking the roadbook.

Adrenaline running through the veins

The next leg was affected by a so-called “dark zone” which means that during night hours you have to be still. This was due to dangerous buffaloes. We got to TA at about 9 pm and we had to wait until 4 am before we could enter the canyon. We decided to try and get some sleep at the TA and then take an easy walk, the 10 km until the canyon border. Most teams don’t sleep during the first night as the adrenaline of racing is still high and it’s hard to relax but at least two of us managed to get in some precious sleep.

It’s difficult to find sleep after day 1 – but it works.

Find out what happened on day 1 of the expedition: