100km of swimming, paddling, running and mountain biking broken up into nine legs. It sounds like a combination of triathlon and adventure racing taken to the extreme, and that's pretty much how it was.
This was always going to be a fun event for me. Still recovering from last weekends MTB enduro, the body was in go slow mode, but still keen for this great adventure triathlon.
When my team-mate doing the swim and MTB legs pulled out with a days' notice, there was no time to reconsider the options. I had only been intending to do the paddle and run legs. Solo it would be! Doh, I'm a sh!t swimmer at the best of times!
My sister and father kindly offered to "crew" for this race, with all the logistics involved.
As expected, the first 800m open water swim was an experience. I wasn't quite last out of the water, but needless to say, I would not be competing for a place in this event. Huh, I wonder how far I really swam, treaded, dog-paddled since I went in anything but a straight line - lol.
2nd leg, onto dry land, shoes on now, and much more at home. Bit by bit, I catch and pass a lot of the rear of the field, up till the next swim leg, when most of them again pass me. This see-saw passing motion was quite amusing for me as I alternated between strong and weak disciplines. The kayak too was a slow one for me; no training does that. The highlight for me here was seeing a dolphin playing alongside me in the Pumistone passage. Any small diversions from my slow paddling were welcome.
Leg 5 onto the bike. Now finally I felt at home on the land again. It was getting warm. I figured one bidon would be enough for 20km on the bike. I saw lots of others loading up with camelbacks, but thought the weight unecessary. This ride was fast, flat and sweet through some sandy G'house mountains fire-trails.
Leg 6 was a 9km run finishing up Whitehorse mountain in the midday heat. Hard work for my tired body, but I was happy to plod away and just be consistent. Leg 7, a 30km ride. It was a meandering course and a fun ride. I made up lots of ground on my competitors on this leg, only to again lose it on the following paddle.
Going into the final 4km run, leg 9, logistics issue. My support crew weren't to be seen. Either they'd decided I was too slow and it was beer o'clock, or they'd got lost with my crappy instructions. Turned out to be the latter. Just when I'd decided to do this last run bare-foot, my crew and sand-shoes arrived. 4km to the finish, and now it was (ginger) beer o'clock.
My time of 8:09 would have placed me 15th in the solo division. It was a real fun day with friends anyway. Might have to see if I can get some swim and paddle training in before next years event.
GAR put on a good selection of adventure races, off-raod triathlons and MTB enduro's. Check them out here: http://www.gar.com.au/