It was a glorious winter morning when Team MOJO set out on what would be our 8th Adventure Race since the teams inception…
This race – the 8 hour- was nearly double the length of previous races, and a step up in testing our skills.
We had a fairly dodgy lead up to the event with outside of racing commitments and ill…ness impacting heavily on our energy levels and training time.
Nevertheless we set out to have a go and see what happened..
Map prep for the longer race was a little more intense, but with our cool map measurer we at least could easily calculate approximate distance and times per leg. Optimistically we wrote them on the back of our control card..
After so many sprint races we know we can usually ride and kayak pretty well, and knew the run legs would challenge us. We elected initially only to get bonus points in the ride legs.
Leg one started well, although we knew my sudoku training would not be required as we elected to not go for bonus points in this leg. We picked up the shoreline CP’s with ease and set off in the kayak.
Now, we don’t know Matt the race director that well but somewhere between the start hooter and the kayak he must have sent up a prayer to heaven that went something like this,” God the teams look a little too strong this morning, and might finish this race early, any chance of a 100k/hr headwind to slow them down?”
And it was so. It wasn’t 100k/hr but it was strong enough to blow your paddle and kayak backwards. It also meant a second shower as the waves crashed onto me..
After much wailing and nashing of teeth we reached the shore on our kayak that had turned into a giant log. We were so happy to see our bikes!
The bike leg was pretty amazing with some very nice single trail, some steep hills and a watery tunnel to drag our bikes through. We managed to find two bonus checkpoints and felt good…we munched on lolly snakes (an omen I think) and even scored a great photo of my bike dumping me off into the mud. My awesome Nav, E even bush bashed us through a really dense bush section, compass in hand to land us almost on top of the checkpoint we were seeking!
The run rogaine was on our next leg and all seemed well till this point. We managed to find one checkpoint buried deep in a magical forest, full of ferns , tall pines and those orange magic mushrooms. We didn’t actually eat the mushrooms but things went down hill from there… Power lines on the map, no power lines in reality, finding clumps of trees in a forest, a CP in a creek that didn’t seem to be there at all..
By this time E’s feet had started to catch fire and even walking was problematic. We stumbled back to the TA to make a survival / how to finish the race plan. After some discussion with the TA guy we elected our best bet was to scrap a couple of legs and ride back to the kayak drop point. We felt bad leaving Matt with our kayak to pick up.
We were up to hours 7 to 8 now of racing but felt ok -except for E’s feet. The race briefing had mentioned snakes and as it was a warm day we had been cautious when trekking and kept an eye out for them the whole race. At the crest of a hill I managed to ride over my first snake, a baby brown about 30 cm long… It scared me a bit and I’m not sure how he fared in the encounter..
Eventually we found ourselves back at Kayakville and went to look for our lone kayak. Our spirits lifted to see that there were still 25 kayaks there, which meant that only 19 teams had actually completed this leg. We stored our bikes by a boat shed resting on some ropes. I think my bike was a bit miffed about the snake still! As it was now over end of race time we managed a swift paddle back to finish, joined by another few teams along the way. Thankfully the wind had died down a bit by now, so it was relatively easy even though we were getting a bit weary.
Finally we finished…all I wanted was cold can of coke (I don’t drink coke normally). Our punch card looked like a bad night at Bingo, but at least we finished the race in a convoluted sort of way.
We went back later to retrieve our bikes only to be greeted by kayak carrying baby soldiers.. Thanks cadets!
Every time we race we learn something new. This race we learned heaps about our team tactics and skills. Adventure racing is not for the faint hearted.. I think it is for the fun hearted. We are elite athletes by no means, just a couple of friends out having fun testing our skills and bush smarts.
If you are keen to give AR a try but don’t think your good enough, fit enough or have cool enough gear, just do it! This is an awesome inclusive sport where you are nearly guaranteed to be cheered on for your rookie efforts – no matter what your age or stage!
Thanks to Matt and Amanda for another great iAdventure! Can’t wait for Mt Crosby..
Jo and E