Newsletter 1 – Chapter 7
A massive thanks to you all for supporting Chapter 7, hosted by the stunning Fiordland National Park. This Newsletter will provide you with key bits of information about the event. If you or your team mates, friends, family or supporters wish to keep up to date with developments then please remember to visit or like our Facebook page. If this Newsletter raises any questions or, if you are uncertain about any aspect of the event, please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page. We look forward to seeing you in 2018 for a Chapter Like No Other!
A huge welcome to the biggest expedition event in the world. When we decided to run GODZone through the epic wilderness of Fiordland and expand the event to 10 days, we didn’t know whether it would inspire teams or make them run for the hills. We should never have doubted your insatiable appetite for adventure! We opened up entries on the 1st of July and by the close of the day we had 90 teams officially entered. With many more teams asking to be allowed in, we made the decision to increase the field size to 100. An astonishing number to achieve at an expedition race. There is a fantastic mix of teams from all over the globe and we look forward to welcoming old friends from overseas and many newcomers, eager to pit themselves against the New Zealand wilderness.
We are very grateful to all of you who have supported us on this amazing journey to this point. We hope we can continue to lead this incredible sport from the front and create the spark that captures the dreams and aspirations of new people looking for an Adventure Like No Other. Fiordland offers up something very special and teams are going to experience something that will live long in their memories…a true expedition that will test all teams to the limit and give an unrivalled sense of achievement to all those who make it to the finish line.
If you have been to a previous Chapter of GODZone you will know that we like to things to run smoothly. Check out the general housekeeping items below for your attention. We encourage all teams (and in particular, team captains and/or administrators) to ‘action’ any items that require some form of input, in a timely fashion – it will help ensure that you have the best possible event experience.
Good news. All teams will be provided with two sets of maps this year. No need to purchase an additional set (third sets are not an option, Tim). Given the length of the event, terrain and amount of water in Fiordland, we would urge you all to consider carefully how you will keep your maps dry.
Further good news. All teams will be provided with free spraydecks this year to go with their AR Duo kayaks. No need to hire them or bring your own.
A team list will be added to the website and released to the media when you wonderful team captains or administrators have provided us with a bit more information about yourselves (accessible from the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password). Competitors can update their team and team member information at any time by following the instructions below:
- Visit the Team Login page
- Insert your email address and password in the boxes (these will have been provided by email when you first registered – you can change your password, if you require, once you have logged in)
- Click the Login button
- Use the <Team Info> tab to update general information about your team (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
- Click on <Team Members Info> tab to update biographical information about your team of four (remember to press the Submit button – located at the top and bottom of the form – before you close the page, otherwise your update will not be saved)
- The information collected here will also be used to populate Live Coverage so it is in your interest to do it
- Teams have plenty of time to update their information and can make changes at any time. However, if you want to see a full team list and have your team showcased on social media then it would be great if you could input the information at your earliest convenience. We often receive requests from the media about teams from certain locations or those that have interesting dynamics. Unless we know who you are racing with, we can’t point the media to you. Help us to help you.
To ensure you get the correct sized race tops, please update your team member information (accessible from the Team Login page with your team administrators email and password) where you can select your sizes. Deadline for correct sizing selection is Friday 26th October 2017.
A reminder to all teams administrators and/or captains that you can Sign Up your team to the Team Finder page, if you are looking to fill a position in your team. You can also look for replacements at the Team Finder Search page. Injuries, substitutions and last minute replacements are commonplace in expedition events and this feature may help you link up with that person you’ve been waiting for all your life (or, at least since you realised that your navigator was utterly out of their depth).
If you are going to do one bit of planning in the next few weeks then we would urge you to sort your accommodation out – see below for some tips and hints. Te Anau is hugely popular with tourists and come race time, it will be very busy. We strongly recommend you get on with this part of your trip planning as soon as possible otherwise you may face the prospect of staying out of town which may not be terribly convenient.
International teams are offered a complimentary transfer and return service from Queenstown Airport to Te Anau. The service will operate in advance of pre-race formalities to allow teams plenty of time to get organised before the start. A transfer service will depart from Queenstown Airport at 5pm on Monday the 26th of February. A return service from Te Anau back to Queenstown Airport will depart at 7am on Sunday the 11th of March. Keren will be in contact with all international team captains/administrators to book your transfers, if required.
Registration & Race HQ
All registration, pre event administration, gear check, media interviews, official welcome and race briefings for both the GZ Pure and GZ Pursuit teams will take place at the Fiordland Community Events Centre on Wednesday 28th February 2018. AR Duo kayaks, inflatable canoes and any other race equipment provided by the organisers will be available for testing and observation. Be prepared for an early start on Wednesday. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters. For a general overview of event timing please check out the Schedule.
Pre Race Celebrations
In a slight change of timing to our usual festivities, we have decided to run our main event celebration BEFORE the race starts. The official event celebration and welcome will take place early in the afternoon of Wednesday 28th February 2018, straight after registration and gear check. More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters. The pre race celebration will be open to all competitors, designated support crews, volunteers, sponsors, race crew, media, and all event stakeholders (given the numbers involved in Chapter 7, this will be a large event in its own right). This decision has not been taken lightly but reflects our view that teams who finish ‘early’ in a 10 day event often do not want to hang about for several days to catch up with other racers, with some opting to leave before the final teams arrive. The pre race celebration will be a great opportunity for people to sample local culture and delicacies, relax, ponder the still unknown course, and make wild predictions about where the route is going and how many teams will complete the full course.
Post Race Celebrations
We are planning to host post race celebrations at the finish line on the afternoon and evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the second week (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th of March respectively). We will be working with local business and stakeholders, as well as our special GODZone beer creator, Altitude Brewing, to create a wonderful finish line vibe, encouraging locals, supporters, family and fans to pop down and celebrate the end of your Chapter 7 journey. All are welcome and everyone will be encouraged to purchase good food (subsidised by our local business partners) with all proceeds going to local community and youth groups. A special Saturday night celebration will take place on the 10th for our volunteers and crew who do so much to make this massive event possible. We will also host a ‘Champions’ night during the post race celebrations. This will celebrate the achievements of the trophy winning teams and give friends, family, fans and locals a chance to quiz them on their Herculean endeavours. Timing of this event will be dictated on how long it takes those champions to finish! More specific schedule information will follow in subsequent Newsletters.
Our preferred accommodation provider for Chapter 7 is Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park. It’s super convenient for the event, extremely well positioned for the finish line (hint hint) and post race celebrations, it has a huge range of accommodation options, masses of space inside and outside to get organised, bike wash facilities and the views are, as expected in this part of the world, sensational. We encourage teams to organise their accommodation for the event as soon as possible as it will be a very busy time of year. We can’t emphasise this fact enough, do not leave your accommodation plans till the last minute, Te Anau will be humming during the event period and rooms get booked very quickly. Get it sorted now!
You can make a booking for Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park by following this link.
If Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park fills up rapidly or if you want to look at alternatives, accommodation in Te Anau is available to suit every style and budget. A good place to look for other providers is available here.
There are a variety of ways to get to the host venue, Te Anau, via air, coach or self drive. The most convenient option will be to fly domestically or internationally direct to Queenstown airport. Alternatively, there are domestic and international flight options to Christchurch airport. From either airport teams may elect to self drive, coach or make use of the international transfer option – see above.
Queenstown airport is serviced by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia. Air New Zealand is the national airline and flag carrier of New Zealand, offering regular domestic services to Queenstown from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington as well as direct international services from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Jetstar offers domestic services between Auckland and Queenstown and trans-Tasman services from Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast to Queenstown. Qantas offers trans-Tasman services between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Queenstown and provides a premium service across an extensive international network. Virgin Australia and alliance partner Air New Zealand operate trans-Tasman flights to Queenstown from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
|Queenstown Airport||Christchurch Airport|
|Drive time to host venue – 2hrs||Drive time to host venue – 8hrs|
|Domestic flights by Air New Zealand & Jetstar||Domestic flights by Air New Zealand and Jetstar|
|International Flights by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia||International flights by Air New Zealand, Air Asia X, Air Pacific, Emirates, Jetstar, Pacific Blue, Qantas and Singapore Airlines from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE|
|Queenstown Airport flight information||Christchurch Airport flight information|
All international competitors must have a current passport, valid for at least three months after the intended date of departure from New Zealand. Most visitors to New Zealand do not require visas unless they intend to work, study or seek employment. Please check with your local travel authority before travelling.
Bike Boxes, Gear Boxes & Bags
The section below relates to the GZ Pure teams only. GZ Pursuit support crews will be responsible for transporting all team race equipment between transition areas so it will not be necessary for GZ Pursuit teams to provide gear or bike boxes. GZ Pure is a self-supported event. You will need to meticulously plan all your equipment and supplies then pack them into your boxes. Good planning and strategy is essential to make sure that all your mandatory equipment is in the right place at the right time otherwise you may not be able to continue on the course until a replacement is found. Teams will receive a preliminary logistics planner by email at least a week before the event starts so that they can do some pre race organisation. This pre race planner will include basic information on stages, disciplines, expected fast and slow times, together with any important information about logistics. It will not give information about the route. A more comprehensive logistics planner will be provided to teams once they have completed registration.
A storage area is available at Race HQ that can be used for personal bags while you are out on the course. It is essential that all items are well marked and we recommend that any items of significant value or personal worth are left at home. As with all items of your race equipment and surplus luggage, we do not provide insurance cover for items that go missing or that break so if you are in any doubt, do not bring the item or arrange suitable personal insurance.
Your team is required to bring four (yep, 4) plastic boxes – the exact specifications are listed below. These trunks will be moved to various transitions throughout the course. You will need to pack your boxes prior to the event start and submit it to the logistics crew as per the detailed schedule released to you at registration. You must provide the gear box now known as the ToolPro Storage Box (formally known as the Stanley 102L Pack N Away Box) or an identical model – no other types or sizes will be accepted.
Organisers can obtain these on behalf of teams and have them waiting at Race HQ at a cost of $70 NZD per box payable in cash on pick up. You will need to confirm your order by the 1st December by updating your <Team Info> page (see above for how to access this information via your Team Login). These are the only acceptable gear boxes for the event. Please advise Keren if you have any difficulties in obtaining them.
Gear boxes must weigh no more than 25kg, be correctly marked up (details on how to do this will be released in later Newsletters) and the lid must be securely fastened with velcro straps or something similar on both handle ends of each box. Alternatively you can use a tie down that wraps around the whole box. Very full boxes have a tendency to pop open and these additional measures will help eliminate the chance of gear going missing (and also help relieve the considerable stress on our logistics team).
GZ Pure teams must bring two (yep, 2) 100 litre duffle bags with them for use during the race. The bags must be robust, made of waterproof fabric and have strong carrying handles. An example of what type of duffle bag is required can be viewed by following this link. Duffle bags must weigh no more than 20kg, be correctly marked up (details on how to do this will be released in later Newsletters) and have a strong, fully operational zip. There will be very few opportunities to restock supplies along the Chapter 7 route so these additional duffle bags will give you extra room for supplies. Given that we expect most teams to take 7-8 days to complete the course, having this increased storage capacity should be welcomed. The reason we have not asked teams to bring more gear boxes is down to the remote nature of some transition areas. Bags allow more flexibility in terms of transport options. We can’t guarantee that your bags will be stored indoors during the event so opt for the most waterproof that you can find. Please contact Keren if you have any questions about the suitability of your bags.
Each GZ Pure competitor must provide a bike box for GODZone. Bike boxes must meet the following specifications:
- Be no larger than 30 x 80 x 140 cm (no exceptions so please don’t ask)
- Not weigh more than 30kg when delivered to logistics crews before the start
- Be plastic, corflute, or similar
- Be self-standing
- Be water-resistant
- Have a rectangular shape and be easily stackable
- Have handles or hand slots to enable easy lifting for logistics officials
- Have a secure locking mechanism so that the contents of the bike box do not spill out in transit (we highly recommend a couple of ties around the box to ensure it stays shut)
Please ensure your bike boxes do not exceed the dimensions stated above. No cardboard bike boxes or cardboard wrapped in tape or cellophane (it’s Fiordland, they could get wet). No soft/fabric bike bags and no metal/wooden bike boxes. Make sure you pack your bike boxes well. Although our logistics team will do their utmost to look after your equipment, no responsibility will be taken by the event organisers for any damage in transit or for any items that go missing. It is highly recommended that you take out suitable insurance if you are concerned about your equipment.
The organisers will provide each team with a 200 litre mesh bag. This ‘Water Bag’ will be used to store and transport certain paddle gear; wetsuits, PFD’s, throwbags, spray jackets, etc. It will also be used to transport or store your double bladed kayaking paddles (see below for an important note on paddles for Chapter 7). The Water Bag will need to be returned to us upon completion of the race and requires a small refundable bond to be lodged at registration on collection. This gives all teams a considerable increase in their storage capacity for race equipment during GODZone. With this in mind, we ask you to reciprocate in kind and adhere to the box weight limits and bike box dimensions.
Important Note: Gear boxes, bike boxes and water bags will be subject to a weight check prior to hand over to logistics officials. Teams will be penalised for any that exceed the weight limits specified. Weighing scales will be available for teams prior to gear check in.
Mandatory Gear Update
A new version of the Mandatory Gear List has been updated on the website. We draw your attention to the following changes and key bits of information:
- GZ Pure and GZ Pursuit teams must bring split double bladed paddles. No full length/non-split paddles can be accepted. These can be split into 2 or 4 pieces. GZ Pure teams will use these paddles for kayaking and packrafting. Teams are not permitted to bring more than one paddle per person, though they are welcome to carry one team spare in their gear boxes, should one break. Paddles will be transported in the Water Bag (see above) and not in separate paddle bags as in previous years. No separate paddle bag is required for Chapter 7
- Spraydecks, as already indicated, will be provided by the organisers and not hired out or need to be brought along
- Packrafting equipment has been separated out from canoeing and kayaking to give you a clearer picture of what needs to be carried on packrafting stages
- Wetsuits are NOT a mandatory requirement to carry or use when packrafting. However, this does not mean you won’t get cold. GZ Pure teams need to think about how they will stay warm when packrafting, especially in poor weather and at night. The beauty of packrafting is that you can often (but not always) jump out and walk if you do get cold. Your clothing choice may be dictated by whether your packraft has a closed cockpit or spraydeck – which adds to warmth, for example. Teams are welcome to take a thin, lightweight wetsuit or sharkskin-type layer to keep them warm. The amount of packrafting in Chapter 7 is considerable. Take your equipment and clothing selection seriously
- Fixed ropes will be a part of Chapter 7. There is no mandatory gear requirement as we have taken the decision to provide all safety equipment. A review from the last event showed that far too many teams were turning up with sub-standard gear, harnesses that did not fit properly or that were decades old. Teams at a minimum, should have a good head for heights and be aware of how to abseil, whilst using a mechanical back up device
Packrafting (GZ Pure teams only)
We’re extremely excited about introducing packrafting to GODZone. It opens up a lot of fantastic options for the event, will add to the wilderness feel of the race and create some wonderful strategic decisions for teams to make along the way. It is our intention to make packrafting an integral part of the event going forward and so any investment you make in equipment will be usable, not only in your personal adventures, but also at all future Chapters of GODZone.
We have received a lot of questions about packrafts and related equipment. It is our intention to give you some guidance below, but the reality is that the optimal packraft for this event may not be the best one for your personal travels, the next Chapter of GODZone, or any other race you may do around the globe. If you are going to buy a packraft then we would advise that you get the best quality that you can afford and one that is good for most water conditions, rather than a rather ‘specialist’ version. Packrafts with sprayskirts have some advantages in terms of water ingress and warmth. Those advantages are offset by cost and weight. A sprayskirt or cover is not a mandatory requirement but if it is cold, you may be thankful of having one. Alternatively you could just take some warmer, sharkskin-style clothing. There are pros and cons of single versus double packrafts. The latter can be lighter overall for a team of four and possibly a bit quicker. However, those benefits are offset by the reduced flexibility of the rafts afterwards – in the sense that 4 singles could go home with 4 different people.
In summary, there are a number of packrafts that will do a good job at GODZone and beyond. However, if we had to pick one brand and one model, it would be the Alpacka Gnu. We have personal experience of this and it has been by far the most popular brand and model used by leading teams in adventure races elsewhere. It is light, extremely well designed and fast (for a packraft).
We are delighted to announce that GODZone has partnered up with Packrafting New Zealand to bring packrafting to our event and beyond. Packrafting NZ are New Zealand’s sole distributor of Alpacka rafts and are also based in Te Anau, running expeditions and training courses around the Fiordland area. They will be an integral part of the event delivery team for the packrafting stages and have an intimate knowledge of the best equipment for your adventure. Many of the decisions you make during the race of whether to raft or walk will depend on your experience and skill level. We highly recommend that you take the opportunity to do some training in this regard. Doing it with our event partners in Fiordland is a perfect way for you to get the skills and enjoy some of the world’s greatest scenery at the same time. See below for some special offers from Packrafting NZ to all GODZone competitors, from their intrepid leader, Arno Marten:
Deals from Packrafting NZ
” Packrafting NZ is proud to support GODZone and thrilled that packrafting is being featured in such a prestigious race. But it just makes sense, Fiordland is perfect for packrafting! We’re happy to announce a couple of special discounts for GODZone athletes:
Discount #1 – Participants ordering the Alpacka Gnu will receive a 10% discount on orders placed by October 15th, subject to the following conditions:
- The discount applies to a maximum of two boats per team and only on the Gnu in the blue color and with standard fabric. The discount can be applied whether or not a skirt is ordered as well.
- Orders must be placed through our online web-store using the discount code GODZONE10%
- This will be a BULK ORDER and as such, delivery may take slightly longer than the normal 4-6 weeks typical of our standard orders
Discount #2 – Are you new to the sport and nervous about paddling in whitewater? GODZone athletes can save 10% on either of our packrafting specific swiftwater courses. Book online at the web-store and use the code GODZONE10 (no ‘%’ sign this time)
- Sept 30-Oct 1: Basic Skill and Rescue Training Course: A Swiftwater Safety Institute course that is designed to get new packrafters to a point where they can safely and comfortably navigate class II/II+ whitewater
- Oct 21-22: Advanced Skill and Rescue Training Course: Take your packrafting to the next level! Designed for paddlers who can comfortably paddle class II moving water and are confident swimmers
Finally, if your team is looking to gain skills in this unique discipline in order to be faster and smarter adventure racers, then we’ve got something for you too! Book a skills training session for your whole team, or hook up with another team and come on your own. We have some flexibility in terms of dates available so get your team together and contact us to book your day asap! Course instructors have more than a two decades of experience in packrafting and used packrafting in adventure race settings since 2008. All details can be viewed on our websites course itineraries.
We look forward to sharing our passion for this awesome sport with such a tough bunch of athletes! The future of packrafting and expedition AR is sure looking bright…Go GODZone! “
The section below relates to the GZ Pursuit teams only who have the benefit of a dedicated support crew. GZ Pursuit support crews will be responsible for transporting all team race equipment between Transition Areas so it will not be necessary for GZ Pursuit teams to provide gear or bike boxes.
The supported team format was very much the essence of the Southern Traverse (along with biblically bad weather). We hope to continue that essence (hopefully without the bad weather) and believe that the slightly shorter GZ Pursuit format, along with support crews, should help a wider range of teams to fulfil their race aspirations. Some will already have a highly experienced support crew who will know how to get the best out of their team during the 10 days of racing. But for many, this will be their first foray into a supported race or a support crew role. With this in mind we want to point out some basic information. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Keren.
Some Do’s & Don’ts
First things first. Being a support crew can be a lot of fun. The transition area (TA) antics during the Southern Traverse are perhaps as legendary as the race itself (say no more). However, it is also a lot of work and many support crews of old will tell you that they often got less sleep than the teams, found themselves driving all over the place, at all times of the day and night, desperately trying to navigate to a TA before the team arrived (hungry, thirsty, in need of clean clothes, serviced bike, etc). The following are a list of tips and hints that will give you an understanding of how the event will unfold for you as a support crew:
- You are permitted to help your team prepare their equipment and maps before the race starts
- Once the race has started, you are only permitted to ‘support’ (i.e., feed, water, provide shelter, give advice, etc) in a designated Transition Area (this will be strictly enforced)
- You are not permitted to ‘support’ GZ Pure teams in transition – tempting as it may be (they might look hungry, desperate and they could offer considerable bribes)
- Once the race has started (from somewhere unknown – we won’t tell you until after Race Registration) you will be on the move, stopping and sleeping in multiple locations, until your team finishes back in Te Anau
- You need to be autonomous. This means you need to be ready and able to camp or provide yourselves with shelter at all parts of the course. Most of the TA’s where you meet your team will have very little, if anything, in the way of facilities, so if you plan to cook hot food for your team, dry their clothes, clean their bike, think hard about how you will do that
- With this in mind, your chosen vehicle needs to be capable of transporting all your team and personal equipment between TA’s; including, bikes, camping equipment, supplies, food, water (though this may often be available at TA’s – detailed in Handbook at Registration), etc
- A 4×4 vehicle could be advantageous if the weather is unpleasant but we don’t see it as a necessity for Chapter 7
- Support crews are not obligated to stay in TA’s. For example, if your team is predicting that they will take 30hrs to complete a trek, you are welcome to go and find some luxurious accommodation elsewhere (remembering not to tell your team that’s what you are up to)
- We highly recommend that you come with a good smart phone that has ‘hotspot’ connectivity. Couple this with your PC/Mac/iPad and you will be able to get up to the minute information about your teams progress, in detailed scale, from our Live Coverage platform (where cell coverage exists – another reason to think carefully about dashing into a TA too fast)
That gives you a basic understanding of the support crew dynamic. In summary, once the race starts the support crew could be anywhere, driving all over the place, and will have to be able to set up camp in anticipation of their team arriving. They may have to collapse down that camp very fast to beat the team to the next TA – so you will need to be efficient sometimes – and also have someone in the vehicle who can read a map. Support crews and teams should think very carefully about what they bring too – more on that in later Newsletters.
A supported event requires careful planning so as to mitigate the impact it can have on any given TA. At this stage, we envisage that each GZ Pursuit team will be only be permitted to have one (1) dedicated official support vehicle, responsible for moving all that team’s equipment, including bikes, between TA’s and to be stationed at TA’s.
We are always very welcoming of families and friends supporting teams at various TA’s, throughout the week, but we are sometimes constrained by the amount of space available at a particular TA for parking and campsite set up. This may be dictated by a landowner or by the simple reality of available and appropriate space. We also want to preserve the unique wilderness experience that GODZone provides and do not want to gravitate to vast, open, or urban transition sites which lose the magical sense of being somewhere remote. With this in mind, we ask GZ Pursuit teams to adhere to the one vehicle policy and encourage all teams to communicate with Race HQ about the optimal ways to meet your team on route.
GZ Pursuit teams will receive a Support Crew Handbook at the same time as map handout. This will detail all TA information, timing and other relevant information (including driving instructions) required to keep your support crew on track to keep you fed, watered and organised.
It’s a great time to be involved in adventure racing in New Zealand. The sport continues to strengthen and it’s fantastic to see new events springing up all over the country, with many of them reporting ballooning numbers. We’re particularly excited about the developments that are occurring with the new Adventure 1 (or A1) NZ Series. This new series unifies 5 existing races in New Zealand and we hope to play a big part in showcasing the events to AR fans, new and old. It is our intention to put our technological skills to good work and provide Live Coverage/Tracking at each of these qualifying events which should help to encourage more people into this awesome sport. Many of you competing at GODZone are seasoned campaigners and will have your own reasons for taking part in A1 NZ. Perhaps you want to be crowned National Champions? Or, you may just want to get some quality racing and training in? Either way we highly recommend supporting these 5 events. We also encourage you to promote these events to your peers, friends and adventure racing wannabes…it’s the best way we can future proof our sport and develop it for the 21st century. Train smart, get the skills and we look forward to seeing you at the Chapter Like No Other next year. It’s going to be truly epic.