Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wounded Wanderers Report on 24 Hour by Destry

After briefing, on Friday night, the team assembled at Jenny’s house. We were relaxed but in the same token could not wait to start. This is what we had trained for! The plans were marked up and Karl knew where we were going.
First leg was the mountain bike leg from the start of Pikowai Rd, picking up a few control points along the way to the western side of Lake Rotiti. We were in the starter’s hands, the starter counted down and away we went, a lead bunch soon established and we were keeping up with them until the first biggish hill. We were only a few minutes behind. We had a genius plan. We got our way to the first checkpoint where it was decided we would go back onto the road which was well established. This proved to be a bad call on the team’s part, as the track in question was in supreme condition. We estimate the cost of that collective decision to be 5-7mins! Upon rounding the bend which would take us to the junction where the others came out Destry suffered his first flat tyre, a quick change (3-5min). We passed our support crew, which informed us we were 3mins behind the opossums, mothers close your kid’s ears, cause there was swearing. As we carried on we could see those rodents ahead, that just put more fire in us, I pitied the people behind us as the amount of tacks we were spitting someone was going to get a flatty. We flew past them not a word was said. We quickly got the next control and carried on only to suffer our second puncture, Karl’s rear tyre, we decided not to change but instead just pump it up. After we found out how to use Jenny’s air canister (3mins), which pumps the tyres up instantly - again the opossum cruised on by. Away we go again. As Destry picked up his bike he noticed the front was a bit spongy, another slow leak, he rode on it thinking he could make it to transition, but no, this time we pumped it up and changed wheels with Tiny’s as he being a lighter person air won’t come out as fast. Instead it was Karl’s rear tyre again, and again we just pumped it up, we made transition, a quick calculation of time for tactical error and punctures (20mins).
Second leg
After a quick carbo load we were off again this time in kayaks, through the outlet and oh my God, straight into waves, this was going to be along leg for Destry. He made it halfway across (after 5 or 6 tip outs) when again he tipped out, this time in front of the coast guard, they pulled alongside where he jumped aboard, sick of swimming he had had enough. Upon being taken to shore they ran into another kayaker swimming, greeting Trevor they loaded his boat on board as well. The first Opotiki person’s team member to shore was Tiny, as he couldn’t turn around, in fear that he would tip out. But the first Opotiki team to shore was the Opossums, slowly they got themselves organized and started to lug their boats across to the next lake. After they had gone Jenny turned up on the back of the coastguard boat, she too had managed to come most of the way only to get tipped out with 1km to go, now awaiting Karl who had paddled all the way, and to be fair Karl and Jenny had looked out for Destry helping where they could. He had a bit to go. He’s made it! He didn’t take long before he was ready for the portage across to the next lake. The Opossums had left 15mins before us, but again the determination showed, lugging our kayaks to the next lake. We arrived just as the Opossums left. We got in our boats and away we went. All the locals said” this lake will be easy as it’s sheltered,” they couldn’t have been more wrong. It was worse than the last one. Again Destry tipped out after about 600-700 meters. Again he had the loyal support of his team mates Jenny and Karl. He swam to the rocky shore line where the decision was made, he could probably get further down the lake but would not be able to get across, the only option was to carry his kayak back to the road over hongis track. After further discussion, Jenny and Karl felt it was too big a risk and decided they too would carry their kayaks back. We saw Tiny coming back, but saw him turn around, he decided not to come any further as he too might succumb to the lake for a swim, he instead found a couple of teams also stranded on the wrong side of the lake and waited for help. After every one had been picked up, the time had flown by, there was not enough time to carry on with the whole course, instead we opted to finish the last trek leg, not much to say about that trek, after a while we knew we were heading the wrong way on a well defined track, with nothing to play for, it was like. “Oh what the hell it’ll come out somewhere.”
That about sums our 2008 24hr adventure race up
There is always next year.
Some say, you can measure a person’s character on how they just take it on the chin and carry on with life. Ready for the next challenge!

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