Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Adventure Race Success!
It was exciting setting up camp the night before. We even managed to pick up the course notes at 5.00 and had the course plotted by 7.00. Barry, Lea and I headed into New World Kawerau where we made use of Dave's computer and printer to print maps and calculate distances. We were in bed by 10.30. 3 hours ahead of last year's schedule.
The raw stats are: 24 teams entered, 6 pulled out (25% attrition!), we crossed the line 18th out of 18, but our bonuses for finding checkpoints moved us to 14th! Our goal, established by Captain Possum, Barry, was to finish 15th or better! Goal achieved!
We started with a kayak on Lake Tarawera where we headed along the north side to a mark and then across the lake heading towards the track to Rotomahana. One check point was abandoned by the organisers because they were concerned the conditions would deteriorate. The paddle across the lake worried me but the conditions in hindsight were very good. I can't wait to get more confident in my boat! Lea paddled strongly to lead us across the lake. We then trekked over to Rotomahana to pick up a checkpoint and then back to our kayaks. We decided then to miss the next two checkpoints and head back to the transition at the camp where we started, picking up 2 check points on the way.
It was great to see Marg, Joc, Kate and Lyn joining our support crew of Leigh and Ted at the transition. George provided great support as well.
Thankfully we missed the rogaine and headed off on the first trek in about 3rd place! We trekked along the shore towards Okataina picking up all checkpoints before we took a bearing and headed straight up the bluff! Apart from one small error when we shouldhave listened to Trevor we navigated very well and picked up the next checkpoint. This was followed by a clamber down a dry canyon to the Tarawera River and a tramp along the river bank to the falls carpark. On the way I elected to do the swim across the river, scramble up the rocks to collect a checkpoint and return. It was only when I dived in the river on return that I remembered I still had my glasses on.
We had a bit of a boost after our 6 hour trek to see our supporters now joined by Lucy, Kurt and Hine as we transitioned onto MTBs just as the sun was setting. We were about 30 minutes behind the A Team of Destry, Karl, Hedley and Teleri. They looked to be going really well.
The MTB leg was a low point for most of our team though Lea seemed to cope OK with it. She did have some almost falling asleep moments. I thought this leg might take 3 hours as it was only 60ks!
It took us almost 7 hours. It was dark. It rained some of the time. The fog came in. There was lots of climbing. The roads were made of sandy pumice. Our lights were useless. I forgot my gells. I was sick of bars. It was relentless!
We decided to miss the first checkpoint but when it looked like we might decide to miss the next one I suggested it was the compulsory one, so we headed off-road and Barry and I eventually found it. We seemed to be back on track again as we turned north and headed largely downhill towards Kawerau from near Rerewakaiatu.
We eventually ended up at the shooting range where I hit 5 from 5!!! Barry missed one and blamed my minder for bumping him. The others got 5 from 5 too! A Highlight! This lifted my spirits a bit and we headed off through farmland, took a wrong turn and rode through the streets of Kawerau at 11.00pm to finally reach transition at Tui Glen where we were fed and looked after by Ted and Leigh.
Our spirits started to lift as we made the midnight deadline. We were saddened to see the A team come in and Hedley, who had had a big cold all week and Teleri who was a bit knackered after 17 hours had to pull out. It was good to have destry and Karl join us for the final trek.
So at midnight, after ODing on Coke the 6 of us headed off aiming for the Rotoma highway which had a deadline of 3.00am. Once again, our navigation through difficult country was spot ona nd we arrived at the checkpoint at 2.30am where they tried to convince us to pull out as most teams were taking 8 hours from there to the finish. After a great feed of soup, biscuits and coffee I asked each of the other 5 if they wished to continue. They all wanted to go on so off we went. Not too far down the track Destry and Karl pulled the pin and headed back, The country on the map looked difficult.
The four of us pressed on and we made very good progress and navigated really well picking up all of the checkpoints. A bit of hallucinating was going on, but I insisted on regular food stops and we made the last manned checkpoint at 7.30am. Unfortunately we still had 2 hours of walking to the Falls carpark and then back along the Tarawera Falls track to the finish.
The falls are outstanding and were worth another look! I found the last hour and half the most difficult and began to flag abit. It was awesome to be met by Aaron and George on the track 500m from the finish and then to see Leigh and Ted on the bridge as we finished after 27 hours.
It was a challenging and brutal event. There were moments when we all struggled and we all had low points, but our team morale was strong. Barry did a great job making sure everyone was going OK and even during his low moment on the MTB kept the navigating going. Lea kept the positive vibe going throughout the full race and the silly things she said kept the humour level high. Trevor was simply outstanding in the bush. He can sniff his way and end up in the right place.
We all won a spot prize! Leigh and Ted were great support crew and we dined on great stew and soup!
Best one I've ever done! Never felt the broken rib either! Told you that wouldn't stop me!
Check the other photos.