Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whakatane 24 Hour Adventure Race

I have run a few marathons, done the Motu Challenge as a solo several times and also done the Coromandel 2 Day Classic as wellas the Colville Connection several times, but nothing compares with the 24 hour adventure race recently completed by the Opotiki Opossums.

The highlight for me was the tightness of our team, including supporters. As soon as the briefing was over we huddled down and plotted the course and confirmed all logistics including food and transport etc were in place. Excitement levels were high and it was difficult to sleep on the final night, especially since we had to rise at 4.00am to be at Matata for a 7.30 start.

We started with a MTB ride to Rotoiti and the team closeness came to the fore as I really struggled with this leg (3 hours sleep, driven 800k over previous two days and slept in three different beds!) but the team kept me going with Barry even pushing me along up some hills. It was on this leg that we came across fellow Opotiki Team the Lost Wanderers who made a navigation error and then got three punctures. We got to the kayak transition before them, but as we were enjoying the transition they raced through and hit the water before us.

The kayak across Rotoiti was incident-packed. We picked up the Lost Wanderers when Destry tipped out of his kayak. We struggled across the lake in quite a chop and wind with it being everyone for themselves as we attempted to stay upright. Trev fell out 800m form end and was rescued by Coastguard. It was a bit of a surprise to see Destry in the Coastguard boat. He had tipped a few more times. It would have been difficult to rescue in those conditions if they weren't there. Training companion and guru, Roger Armstrong, also tipped and was washed against a cliff face and was rescued 30 mins later by a fisherman when he was close to hyperthermia.

The next stage was a 3k portage of our waka which was bloody hard work. I didn't appreciate my big plastic sea kayak at that stage (but I was sure pleased with it on the next lake!!!) We got to the shores of Rotoehu just ahead of the Lost Wanderers and launched into the lake for a short paddle with a strong tail wind expecting a speedy and quite comfortable ride across. How mistaken we were.

Have to log out now and will continue on Friday when I get back from Auckland.

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