Adventure Racing teams know they can never have a perfect expedition race because over several days and many disciplines there is always something which could be improved. Sometimes it is just luck with weather or equipment which could have favoured them rather than hindered them, and it this uncertainty which is one of the great attractions of long adventure races. Every race is different and the unpredictable nature of the event is one of the challenges they relish.
The same is true for the organising team of course, who plan their logistics and all the support for the teams down to the finest detail, but they too know the best laid plans won’t always work out. Nevertheless, they aim to produce the perfect race, and the organisers at Raid Gallaecia have been working at this goal for 4 editions since 2013, and are working now to ensure the 5 th edition of this amazing race will be the best ever. The experience and knowledge of the whole organisation is key to giving all the teams a great race experience and this takes many, many years to achieve. Adventure racing in Gallaeica goes back to a group of friends getting together in 2002, and then in 2005 organising the Bugarent Challenge as the newly formed club called ‘Gallaecia Raid’. (This was part of the first Spanish AR league which was established under the Spanish Orienteering Federation.) The club has organised two or three races in Gallaecia every year since then, including the first Spanish Championship in 2011. The reputation of the races for quality courses, team support and detailed mapping attracted many world class racers to these 24 hour races (Fran Costoya, Stuart Lynch, Nick Gracie and Antionio de la Rosa among them) and in 2013 the first 30 hour non-stop ‘Raid Gallaecia’ event took place.
This was repeated in 2014 and in 2015 the first full Raid Gallaecia expedition race took place as part of the AR World Series, built on the success of organising 25 races over the previous 10 years. The race organising team had arrived on the world stage and wanted “to show the world the land in which we proudly live, a land of mountains and one thousand rivers, where the Cantabrian and Atlantic Ocean meet.” In the first two editions world class teams like Haglofs Silva, Seagate, Naturex and Estonian ACE Adventure have taken part and the race always attracts a strong French and Scandinavia entry. The feedback on the organisation has always been positive, even from the most demanding elite teams. Sebastien Raichon, the Captain of Team 400 Naturex commented in 2017; “The volunteers have all been so nice and helpful and I really enjoyed the maps. You could tell that the organizers had put a lot of thought into tracing the race route and it really showed in the orienteering choices we were able to make.” (The team will be defending their title this year, but with an entirely new line up.)
The quality of the mapping is a great strength of Raid Gallaecia, which is not surprising given the long association with the Spanish Orienteering Federation. Race Director Pablo Lopez explains, “To develop the race requires an entire year’s work. It begins with choosing the race area and gathering all the support to make it possible, field work and cartography updating. It is a job that takes months of work and thousands of kilometers travelling.” The planning team are all racers and orienteers themselves, and Lopez is a prolific racer, having raced at 10 different World Series races on 3 continents and 2 World Championships. He aims to deliver a race he would like to compete in himself and is supported by a team of ‘tracers’ who check and test the course and the checkpoints. They also update the details on existing maps and add them to the 1:25,000 race maps which are printed on Robuskin to ensure they are waterproof and easily foldable. The race also works very closely with their tracking partner and sponsor ‘Track The Race’ who provide the real time tracking which viewers can follow on detailed maps. The presentation includes lots of detail on the teams and the chance for friends and family to send in messages of support. This is just one of many important roles in the race organisation, which has to work together as coordinated team under the direction of Lopez. These include the Head of Safety (Jose Balseiro) who is in charge of the extensive medical and rescue support and the Logistics Manager (Victor Picos) who looks after all the transport. Logistics is far more than just moving team equipment from one transition to the next on time (though that is what teams are most concerned about of course.) The start/finish and transitions need to be set up and volunteers and media have to be moved around too. The whole race is on the move all the time and the logistics team is at the heart of the event. Jose Pereira is in charge of the accommodation and food and included in the entry for teams is excellent hotel accommodation at the start and finish, as well as food at transitions. Of course the volunteers and media have to be fed and accommodated too and the briefings and awards ceremonies organised. The race has 90 volunteers working to deliver this level of excellence with skills including climbing, cooking, driving, and medicine, all supporting the teams day and night from start to finish. And at the same time the media are keeping race followers all around the world up to date on their progress with reports, photos and videos. The teams who arrive in Viveiro for the race on May 9 th can be sure the organisation at Raid Gallaecia will do everything possible to ensure they have nothing to worry about except their own race performance. Everything else will have been taken care of as the team looking after them aim to achieve the highest standard and make the race the best it can possibly be.
You can find out all about the race at https://raidgallaecia.com. Raid Gallaecia takes place from May 10-
19 th .