Yesterday was my first attempt at an adventure race, and a teams event, when I competed with two friends Zoe and Simone in the AROC Paddy Pallin Adventure Race.
For complete novices at this type of event we had nothing short of a brilliant day. We were very lucky with the weather, the only time it hadn't rained for any length of time in the past few days was for the day yesterday while we were racing.
The first two sections involved running, problem solving and navigating our way to checkpoints, then down to the water for the paddle. I was pleased to see a lot of boats remaining, and about a dozen groups could be seen in the distance on the water. The paddle was tough because it was windy out in the middle of the lake, but we overtook four teams and no one overtook us! We were thankful for our pre-event practice at Manly a few weeks previously. During the paddle we had one checkpoint to visit which saw Simone scamper up a headland and back to the kayak, then it was across a bay to another section of navigating our way around to checkpoints and answering questions at each. At this stage we were in the thick of it, with many teams all at that stage of the event.
About 3 hours had already passed, and it was time for the mountain bike section of the course. It was a fantastic course, really good to ride, and I think the ride was were we did all the damage. It was insanely muddy! At times we were carrying our bikes through knee deep mud and even waist deep water at one stage. It was really hard on the legs because it was so boggy, but we definitely had the upper hand on many teams in fitness. At one section halfway into the ride we had a rogaine were we had to jump off our bikes and scramble down into gullies to find checkpoints, then we were running back up out of the gully and all these men were trudging up the hill, saying "go girls". It was the same on the bike, we were riding hills that people were pushing their bikes up, but my legs gave up from lack of bike fitness after a while, training for a 100km trail run does nothing for your quads! I was conking out halfway up some climbs, but Zoe and Simone would just be pedalling past everyone, I was so impressed with their riding! Then while they waited for slow me to catch up they were able to check the maps, so I felt really slack that I wasn't able to do anything to contribute on the bike other than just try my hardest to keep up!
It was so exciting the last section, as we were counting down the time and still managing to get the last 2 checkpoints and then before I knew it we were riding a section of awesome single track as fast as we could back down to the finish line.
So many people were saying it was a lot harder than last year and many of teams didn't make the cut off time. At a total race time of 5:33 hours we were 3 minutes late back, with the time limit at 5.5 hours, but we got all the checkpoints and answered everything correctly, and were thrilled to place 2nd in the women's team race, out of a total of 29 women's teams!
We are talking about next year already, and hopefully I won't have to wait another 12 months before I get the opportunity to race as the Pulsettes (for Pulse Triathlon Club) along side Zoe and Simone again. In the mean time I am going to learn how to orienteer with the local Orienteering Club!
A big thank you to our crew, coach Dani and bike handler Brett (who cleaned both my bike and Simone's when we got home!) and cheer squad Clint.
Event Photos are available on the AROC website.