The third edition of Expedition Canada is the also the third Adventure Racing World Series Qualifier of the year, attracting teams from Canada, the USA, Japan, France and Poland.
Twenty teams are now gathering in the town of Penticton to prepare for an epic 590km race which is expected to take the winners 4 days, and on which the teams have a maximum of 7 days to complete the distance. The longest stage is a 160km bike ride, which could take teams 24 hours, and the course includes backcountry and single track mountain biking, canoeing and packrafting, high alpine treks and a canyoning and ropes stage.
Race Director Nathalie Long is a fan of long races and has set the longest and most challenging Expedition Canada course to date, visiting new areas in the Okanagan county region. “There are no mandatory stops or optional checkpoints,” she said, “but there is one dark zone on the course and there are cut-offs which may be tough to hit.” Teams missing the cut-off times will take a shorter route to the finish line.
She added “The weather leading up to the race has been really hot, up to 30C, and while the temperature may drop for a day or two it’s expected to rise again, so the heat may test the competitors. The snow melt is really fast so conditions on the Alpine treks are mixed, snowshoes might be needed but the snow could be soft and if the underbrush is exposed it could be hard going. The melt is feeding the rivers and they are fast right now. I was packrafting at 19km/hour last week without paddling! The rivers could be exciting!
“Teams will probably see a lot of wildlife in the warm spring weather as well. I saw bear 3 times last week on the course and teams might see moose, snakes, lynx and wolves.”
The race teams have gathered in Penticton, base for the event organisers Hoodoo Adventures, and the opening ceremony took place on the SS Sicamous. The ship is the largest remaining paddle wheeler in Canada and is now a trust run heritage museum. Teams were welcomed aboard and to the region and tasted local wines and beers.
There is a very strong entry for the event and the competition should be close as the elite teams try to win the race title and a free place at this year’s Adventure Racing World Championship in South Africa.
The defending champions are Bend Racing ... but they have an entirely different line up to the team which won in 2022! They have a large squad of expedition racers and this year the Bend team is Jason Magness, Dusty and Emily Caseria and Lebn Lovejoy.
Magness missed out on the team’s recent win at Expedition Ozark due to a kidney stone (which he has only just been operated on to remove) and was replaced at the very last minute by Dusty Caseria.
Dusty and Emily were also on the Bend team which placed 7th at the last Adventure Racing World Championship in Paraguay and have been on the winning team at Expedition Oregon as well.
Lovejoy was on the winning team at the Endless Mountains race last year, racing with Magness, so between them they have won all of the races in the North American Expedition Race series!
To win another title they will have to beat some top international and North American teams.
There are two entries from Team Bones (one from the USA and another from Canada) and all are very experienced racers, as are the Strong Machine AR team. The race will also see a first outing for the new Team Ozark, including Expedition Ozark Race Director Jason Bettis.
On the international front both 400team Givaudan and East Wind of Japan are proven and experienced expedition racers, but each has some less experienced racers included in their team for the race. The Snowdog Trail team from Poland will be aiming for a podium place too, and were only a few places behind Bend Racing at the 2021 World Championships in Spain.
The race starts on Tuesday May 23rd, and until that morning teams will not know where the start will be or the location of the course. They know there will be 8 stages and the details of each, but not where they are going.
Race fans will be able to follow the race closely through the live satellite tracking, which can be seen at;
There will also be regular video, photo and news posts from the course on the Expedition Canada and Adventure Racing World Series Facebook and Instagram pages.
To find out more about the race see; https://www.expeditionracecanada.ca/