After the World Rogaine Champs, we arrived back on Thursday morning, just in time for work! So after one weekend of rest it was straight back into the swing of things and by Friday I was jumping back on another plane to travel up to the Whangamata 12hr race with the Weasels. Bobby and Anna had just come of the back of Calving, I was still recovering from jet lag and Matt who we had roped into join us had not raced such a long adventure race before. So it would be fair to say we were not in peak condition and with some fairly constant rain setting that evening and facing a 2:30am start the next morning the enthusiasm levels we not through the roof!
Anyway we rolled up into a damp paddock and promptly got our team base, Anna’s Mum’s camper stuck… eventually we got free and took the high ground to prepare. As 2:30am rolled round we eventually emerged to damp and dark start line. Initially the pace was on and I felt like we got around the rogaine quite well… however a slow transition meant we dropped off the back of the main bunch, it was a gap that just seemed to got bigger the longer we went on. The further through the mountain biking we got the thicker and more puggy the mud got slowing us down further, by the time daylight was coming we realised we were almost 1 hour behind. The rain stopped but this didn’t help the mud at all.
As we finally felt like we were catching a bit of a break, we got down to the kayaks, jumped in and Matt and I in the 2 Sharp were off…. Anna and Bobby in a surf ski however had a bit of trouble. The creek was super scratchy and not at all suitable for a boat with an under rudder. After Matt and I rounded one bend we had to stop and wait, and wait, and wait…and finally we went looking back upstream to find they had broken the rudder. It had got caught on a stick and bent back around to punch a hole in the hull of the ski. We didn’t seem to have duct tape with us, so Bobby ran back to the camper to get some.
About 40mins later we were back moving again, but again motivation levels were slipping. The further we got into the estuary the further the tide went out… again making the place a real mud bog. Bobby and Anna had a real battle on their hands controlling the damaged ski, while Matt and I in the 2 Sharp were managing ok despite neither of us never having paddled one, let alone together.
The final trek we set out wondering if we could make some ground back, there was a little bit of tight navigation in the thick bush which we thought might play into our hands a little. Turns out it was not to be, but we did get some of our mojo back again as we got through the back half of the trek. After that it was back into the kayaks to paddle back up to the finish. Not a super pleasant experience but good to get it over and done with. We arrived back at the finish about 2hours after the winners who had been, gone and were nowhere to be seen. After a bit of a pack up we cleaned up and extricated ourselves.
Despite not really going to plan in a lot of ways it was still good fun racing with the North Island Weasels in their home territory for a change. Hopefully Matt enjoyed the experience even with all of our grumbling throughout too, a real lesson in type 2 fun. Lots of things to learn from and if nothing else all the mud made sure that the bike shops were kept in business!