Monday, 4 April 2011

52in52: The adventure race experience

Image from here
I am taking a leaf out of Kelly's book and setting myself something new to do each week in 2011. I am going to post about it each week on Saturday. I won't be doing this in any particular order, and will add the link to the post when it is complete. If I don't manage to acheive everything on the list, (highly likely) I will donate $5 for everything I missed to Oxfam for all the amazing work they do. So here goes...

It was an early start for a Saturday morning. The Geege awoke with sciatica. After appraising the situation, the sympathy fatigue kicked in and he was given the orders to take some Nurofen and take one for the team! We checked our back packs and reorganised our supplies.

Our team mate arrived in her brother's van at 5.30 to pick us up. Destination: Dora Creek.

The freeway drive was smooth and apart from a quick stop at the service centre to stock up on drugs for Mr Sciatica, we cruised to the bike drop off. And straight past it. And then back to it again. Hmmm... A sign of things to come?

We drove to the start, and after a briefing about remembering to stick our dippers into the correct box at the transition areas (causing waves of giggles from the group of novice adventure racers), we were bussed back to our bikes for the kick off.

An adventure race is made up of trail running, mountain biking, kayaking and navigation. The idea is to collect checkpoints (CPs) in the specified order, as quickly as you can. All team mates do all legs together and can be no more than 100m apart at any time. Everyone must pass within 20m of all the CPs.

Our first leg (apart from a quick ride to it) was running. Although the event organisers had messed up numbering the CPs creating confusion among the masses, it was our ineptitude in finding the first CP that caused us the most drama. I can think of nothing more frustrating /embarrassing than getting lost in the bush with a compass and a map!

Once we located CP 9 (labelled CP 1, just to have us questioning our orienteering skills even more!), it was smooth sailing through the other CPs (except for an unfortunate ankle sprain for me) and on to the next leg. Mountain biking.

I can't say I am a fabulous mountain biker. I hate the feeling of losing control so the downhill bits freak me out! Fortuntely the terrain was reasonably kind to us and although I was definitely the weakest link for our team (getting bogged at one stage in a large puddle), we zoomed on to the final stage - kayaking.

We were all nervous about the kayaking leg. It was the unknown quantity for us. We had done zero training in a kayak. My last adventure on one occurred about seven years ago when a friend and I embarked on an overnight trip, also completely unprepared, which was enormous fun but I learnt that I couldn't steer! I used this knowledge and opted to sit up front.

It was a problem-free leg. We all felt sore after about three strokes and then did the rest of the three kms comfortably numb. I tell you what though. Kayaking is bloody hard when you have no stomach muscles to speak of. The s-m life jacket I mistakenly took from the large pile of PDFs was fortuitous in the end as it acted as a brace!

Upon finalizing the kayak CPs we jumped on our bikes and raced to the finish. The end of a fun morning of activity. It felt great! By the time we had reached the van for the return journey we were already planning the next race in sept! No longer novices, we will tackle the classic course. Lots to keep us busy in the meantime - maps, trail running, conquering my fear of the downhill, and, of course paddling.

Have you ever done an adventure race? Keen to try? Check this website.


Cate said...

you are officially my new hero!!

Photographer Mum said...

Sounds like fun! How many were in your team?

Megan Blandford said...

Sounds like so much fun!

Lucy said...

I am in awe mixed with a lot of terror...

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Legend! What a cool thing to do with your family.

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

LOVE this idea - how fun! Can't wait for the next 52 in 52 installment :)

Maxabella said...

You know how brilliant I think you are for taking part in this and the fact that you did it together is just... well, wow.

How's that ankle?


Adventure Racing said...

It's a great experience you had. Cool stuff and Congrats !

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