Its been 3 weeks since Rollo’s now and now I’m finally starting to catch up my sleep! I made my adventure racing debut in the 24hour race with Tim, the first time I was back racing with Tim since the World Rogaine Champs in 2010 which was a bit of a disaster!
The Friday beforehand was a big day of traveling then a late night of planning and sorting gear which made the early start on Saturday morning all the more difficult. It was a bit of a mixture of nervousness and excitement that got me up and going. Riki (one of our support Crew) drove me out to the start at Anakiwa. The weather was significantly better than was expected much to our relief and once the kayak was sorted out it was almost time to go. As we had a sea kayak we had a 30min head start as a handicap.
At 9:00am we were underway with a short 1km run to the kayaks to start. Tim and I had a good plan and hit the water first. We had a little trouble with the rudder but eventually it was sorted to an extent and we were able to make some headway. We reached the first checkpoint in 1st place, then came the portage… It was about 1.5km and 150m of climb so hard work carrying a sea kayak! We lost quite a bit of ground here and got passed by about 6 or so teams before getting back in the water. It was a long hard slog the rest of the kayak as we progressively got passed by more and more teams who went flying past us. Attempting to pee was a bit of a mistake two and that lost us more ground, anyway we were not too far behind pulling out of the water at the end.
Onto the bikes for our 60km ride was a welcome relief after sitting in a kayak for hours on end! It was made all the more exciting as I was riding my new Giant XTC composite 29er 🙂 Along the gravel flats we gained back a heap of places almost immediately and up to Pelorus bridge we were making good headway. As the climb started Tim began to suffer a little. I quickly relieved him of some gear but there wasn’t much more I could do to get him moving too much faster. The closer we got to the top the more Tim appeared to be suffering…. once at the top of Mangatapu saddle it was mostly downhill and an exciting downhill it was!
Coming into the Bike to Trek transition we caught a glimpse of Brent’s team getting ready to go out on the trek! A bit of a surprise for us as we were quite a way behind on the kayak, so we must have made up time on the mountain bike. I grabbed some more gear off Tim and with a speedy transition we set off in hot pursuit. The first 3 controls the time difference didnt change between us and them. They were well out of sight heading up the hill however and I pushed the pace to try and make up some ground. Unfortunately Tim began to suffer moving at this pace and drank way too much water way to quickly. We slowed down a bit and I made him go in front to set the pace. It seemed like quite a while until we got to the hut, and Tim got some more water. Near the end of the ridge we spotted a few teams close ahead of us but too far to catch it seemed. About halfway through it was time to climb up again, Tim wasn’t looking forward to this bit. Once into the forest I took his pack, along with mine as we continued to climb up and up and up Wooded peak. It was a really steep descent and by this stage Tim’s stomach started to play up. He faded quite dramatically and we slowed down considerably with about 10km or so to go. At one stage where we thought we were getting close to the control we missed a vital junction and ended up right at the bottom of the valley with about an hour to get back to get the next control…damn.
Back at the Trek to bike transition at the Maitai dam Tim spent a bit of time trying to settle his stomach and keep warm while I mucked about sorting gear and food out. It was good to get out of the Transition and back on the road home… however I needed a quick stop pretty soon after starting again! Once we were underway it started to get quite warm quite fast. There was some serious local knowledge coming into play, we foundered around first trying to find the right track then Tim’s light went out and he didn’t have another battery… Eventually we made our way to the final transition at about 4:20am… I was hoping to be finished by now, but it was only a short trek to the finish, maybe 2hours or so.
Tim was in a pretty sorry state at the transition. He had a bit of a spew, a bit of a lie down and was not looking good. He pulled himself together to drag himself back into the race. I was keen to move quickly to get it all over and done with, but looking after Tim and making sure he was going in the right direction was my priority. There was some nice flat walking before the final hill came along…. Tim was more than happy to hand over his pack to me too. Then it wasnt long before he was hanging on the back as I towed my pack, his pack and him up the hill-good training for the Sky Tower Stair Challenge the following weekend. Tim was in a bad place for a while, wanting to sleep and rest but being a hard task master I kept him moving. It was nice to have a map in my hand and even though the map was shit I was able to figure it out well enough to collect all the controls without too much trouble. As we descended into Nelson the birds began to sing and the sky started to lighten. We even managed to muster a jog the final kilometre to the finish, we even had a little trouble actually finding the finish and the final sprint involved a quick bit of climbing up the grandstand!
The finish was a welcome relief as we had made it though the night and into a new day, across from Anakiwa to Nelson by means of Kayak, Mountain Bike and foot! Despite the tough going I really enjoyed the race, I felt good most of the way and was in good shape the next day apart from the lack of sleep. Hopefully this Adventure race was a the first of many and a pity it was the last ever Rollo’s. Thanks have to go to Riki and Stephanie for being our support crew, staying up all night and being there ready for action when we arrived. And extra thanks to Riki for all the driving me around!