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Elf Authentic Adventure Set to Begin
Brazil 2000
Gerard Fusil's Reconnaissance Report

"I think I will dance my way to the finish line!"
Gerard Fusil, spiritual father of adventure racing, on his planned tactic for dealing with the stresses of the longest adventure race in history.

Competitors have been arriving in the scenic Nordeste of Brazil, preparing for battle in the second edition of the Elf Authentic Adventure — days before the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese invasion. Never one to miss a party — and this promises to be the biggest one since carnival — is here and ready to do that voodoo that we do so well.

Elf 2000
click for pre-race Photos

Thirty teams, comprising 210 competitors from five continents, were welcomed by founder Gerard Fusil and his 250-person organization at ELF briefing. From the look of the maps and a quick calculation of the distance (some 500 miles), it looks to be one epic race. Along with the Zone, 80 international journalists are also here, ready for Saturday's start in the town of Camocin, marking the beginning of Elf part deux.

The host hotel, where teams have been certified on horses, climbing and boat skills for the past few days, is the last place everyone will be together until the start line. So the atmosphere has been festive, as support crews shop for food in the supermercado and prep their 4x4s for the long journey ahead. In the lobby, greetings can be heard in Portuguese, Spanish, French, English, Italian, German – even Chinese.

Meanwhile, along the hotel corridors, kayak paddles, mountain bikes and climbing ropes pile up, while a veritable flotilla of two-person kayaks have dropped anchor in a main ground-floor lounge. It's like a swag-lover's dream come true.

Streaming Video
Elf Pre-race Footage
Elf Authentic Adventure
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On Thursday, everyone moves out to the actual race location some six hours' drive from here. The next day, villagers and onlookers will witness a sailing regatta amongst teams and local fisherman — just a warm-up for Saturday's big start. Then things will get serious, as the four-person, male-female teams travel nearly non-stop between here and the finish line in Sao Luis.

This year's edition, which began last year in the Philippines, boasts kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling (rappelling), trekking and ocean sailing as its main disciplines over a truly diverse landscape. Teams will make their way through mangrove-infested rivers, dense canopied forests and endless barren sand dunes.

While four team members do the racing, three other members of an assistance crew do the supporting delivering equipment, food and dry socks to their teams at designated checkpoints. It makes for two races; one for the competitors and another one for the logistics crews.

Another competition that teams must complete to officially finish the Elf Adventure is an exchange project. This can be educational, medical, cultural or just for fun – and the teams implement them before, during and after the race itself.

The Elf Authentic Adventure has three racing classes: Extreme, Adventure and Discovery. All teams start the race in the extreme category, but drop to other classes depending on how quickly they race. Sometimes the view is best from the back of the pack...

Elf Authentic Adventure Correspondent

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