As the Southerly passed through the South Island on a blustery Wednesday night, it dumped a good amount of snow on the mountains. This made for a cold and wet night of picking up controls from the Night Nav! By Friday night the roads through the mountains were open again allowing us to get to St Arnard for a freezing cold night in a freezing cold holiday house. It got so cold overnight I had to get up early and light the fire!
The sun arrived reasonably early and things began to warm up enough to venture outside. When we did however the day was all on. Nick went early on his road bike to catch Brent riding in from Nelson; Georgia, Lara and I jumped on our Mountain Bikes and rode one of the trails one the hills behind St Arnard to the Red Hills hut, and the other 3 climbed up to Parachute rocks.
There was quite a bit of snow on the tops which made for some cool riding…. excuse the pun. As we started to descend there was a chorus of squealing brakes, and a lot of slipping and sliding. I in fact took a bit of a forward tumble which saw the bike land on top of me and some delicate extraction was required. There was some very nice technical riding couple with a very smooth downhill back to home base.
By the time we had made it back to the house, Brent, Nick and Emily had moved onto there next activities, while the others we sitting back doing some study. There was just enough time for a quick lunch before the itchy-ness of the fine weather caused us to get moving again. Before we knew it we were all on the water in various watercraft. Our motley crew of 5 explored the top half of the Buller river for an exciting ride down around about 2-3km of pleasant rapids.
By the time we reached the house again the sun was going down, but this evening the house was roasting hot, perfect preparation for the purpose we were actually all there for the Wily Weka rogaine!
Sunday morning was again a very cold start, but once we were underway in the rogaine, this was quickly forgotten. Brent’s efforts to wear Nick out the day before didn’t quite go to plan and nick was on fire for the first few hours. I was a little more conservative, but still was pushing pretty hard. It came clear quite early on that clocking the course was definitely on, especially being out the back end of the course with 4 hours still to go. 2.5 hours down we passed Brent and Dan, who also looked like they were moving pretty quick.
A small fire was lit under Nick when we reached West bay and we absolutely smoked the orienteering controls…. well Nick did, I was just hanging on as best I could. Around 3.5 hours in the fatigue was finally starting to slow Nick down a bit causing a little bit of brain fade too, and almost a punch up on course with some less than obliging 3 hour competitors!
I felt it was my job here to keep the pressure on Nick as we headed around the bay to the last few controls. Things were going well until we got a bit stumped on one control that was not quite in the right place and we just completely didn’t find it even after going back to where it should have been on the map and taking a photo. Oh well, we didn’t have time to muck around, so we moved on and smashed out the last few controls, finishing up 45 mins early with basically all the controls, but most importantly the win under our belts.
This wasn’t quite the end of the story however, Nick is a competitor and so am I to be honest so we headed to the planner to discuss the mysterious control we went past but did not see. Both parties left the discussion dis-satisfied, which did kind of leave a bit of a bad taste in our mouths after all we had just collected pretty much all the controls, covered 46km and finished 45mins early to take the win!
Georgia, Lara and Em did a good job in the women’s grade, also winning followed by Sophie and Sonia in second place. So a pretty good job all around for the Southerly Storm! An awesome weekend, awesome weather, awesome place, awesome results…. cant get much better than that!
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