Adventure Race long (ARA) 5:58:00  43.52 km (8:14 / km) +816m 7:31 / km
ahr:161 max:208 shoes: Giro Privateer
So race with Polly - hardcore course - I knew Polly was fitter than me and would spank me on the running legs but I thought I may have a chance on the bike... chaos ensues.
I was ready to go straight to MTB from start - cleats on an all - no 4.5km run k thx in brand new first wear cleat - yowzers!
just over 1 km in had to cross a river on the return crossing I didn't quite clear the water and end chest deep - seriously not how I wanted to start. DRENCHED. and cut up all over from spear grass. dragged myself out which was very difficult.
Water logged running in cleats or gravel - blah this was shit. me ankles and Achilles where really taking a beating. We made it eventually to the last leg of the run and I was in hurts ville already - obstacle course. Pretty much epic fail all on it. ended up doing 40 push ups and falling on my ass a lot. Was not having a massive amount of fun at this point.
Ran back to HQ really not feeling crash hot - yeah MTB this should be more straight forward. (Preface - if done 2 cycles in the last like 3 years on road bike. I HAVE NEVER MTB'ED IN MY LIFE BEFORE) - oh dear god how wrong I was. after making it out of camp- going down the gravel roads (even what I am assured was slowly) was terrifying - Cleats wouldn't stay in, couldn't get right gearing or balance - braking sent bike everywhere, weight distribution felt all wrong, tyres felt too soft/splashy - oh god this was going to be a long day. I was spent already and hadn't made first mtb check point. Got it reasonably well after being confused by some people who pulled up early.
Continued down to point 2 - got a bit tricky for my liking here - again I am sure it was beginners mode for most. bike rear break already sounded horrible from over use and potentially some stick damage as I picked up a couple. Small turnoff downhill rough.. At a stand still mounted - one pedal rotation, flips straight over front handle bars but lands on feet dropping bike to ground - that was lucky but I didn't like the thud of my brand new bike. It sound a bit rough like seat was re clicking into place but it got going again- got this point pretty easily too. But was really hurting now.
From 2-3 had to walk up hill - this nearly did kill me - was really starting to feel horrible now. Hit first of track junctions and Polly had waited for me a bit - I know I had been massively holding her back - her next comment was (she is a doctor so a bit more concerning) - Please tell me that you'll let me know if your getting chest pains. - clearly my pain was visible and she later told me I was looking very green and pale at this point and she was having serious doubts we would be able to continue.
Oh I have to add I had the makeshift map board on my bike but no real way to hold the map down which was causing no end grief for me especially on the downhills when I was getting some pace but scared to do anything but focus.
Eventually made it around to 3 - Polly shot ahead and got it while I trudged the hill to it and sucked in air meeting her near the point. 3 to 4 was a turning point for me as (uncle Juffy should be proud). threw up a mouthful or two of breaky. Slightly missed the track up to 4 and doubled back all of about 100-200m In on foot to 4. 4 Proved a little tricky to spot but got it in a reasonable time frame. Admitted to Polly I had just been sick - however was already feeling better and insisted on some walking rather than running so I could recoup a bit. On exit of 4 spotted Tash coming up towards it.
Proceeded along main roads to the 5 single turn off. on the single track had chunder number two - another small one yet made me feel loads better. Hit 5 easy. Was feeling loaded better now and setoff for 6.
We completely balls this up and ended up at the dead end track left of 6. Eventually decided back to road and up other main road then in on foot. This proved fruitful and we where soon on way to transition. I switched to running shoes in transition - Also got out first Carbo Gel and a snickers. Tash pulled in just before we left - damn they caught up a lot whilst we messed up 6.
Carbo shot and snickers didn't go down as smooth as one would have liked and I was smashing back water too - wasn't feeling super great but definitely had improved 200% from the earlier MTB legs. We opted to run to the furthest point first. Point G. A lot of jog, walk, jog walk going on. Everything was sore and no pain killers around CAFFEINE SAVE ME NOW PLZ. Got it dead on nav was near perfect. Went for L now. A lot of people had said to us they never found it or where really struggling with it but that didn't deter us. We pushed up the road and then I called lets go in early to the ridge line and head up once we got close to where I expected it to be. Pretty much spiked it dead on it was about 25 m north from when I hit the point I wanted to look from - CHUFFED.
CAFFEINE ENABLED - changed plan and instead of going back to main powered down hills side as to not give away the location of the point. Took wrong turn on track though and hit main track - realized we where on it and thought this is fine we just need the river. Completely overshot river - damn. Was running most of this now feeling pretty damn good. we went in and hit the track but well past the point, when we realized back tracked got point pretty easily. I to J nothing remarkable nailed it straight on after some bush bashing. I must add I am still holding up Polly who was looking 100% comfortable just gliding along whilst I was breaking myself to give what I could. Back to TA. I opted to hit another caffeine shot down now which is way earlier than I normally would. Person at the checkpoint said wow you guys powered through that you've made up a lot of ground and positions.
This boosted morale all around and finishing the course actually was now viable when previously it was not. Smashed it up to 8 and hit it nicely - on the exit of 8 I made a nav error and took us down a track which wasn't a track. We got back tot he track shortly there after but it wasn't a great call from me. 8 to 9 down the two main roads. Ran into a lost group from another course who asked for help. Dear god they where in the middle of the map looking for something in the far bottom left - not good for them! Powered up towards 9 and I turned us off early on an unmarked track. I was super confident I was in the right place and said Polly, if I am wrong you can slap me. We back tracked went down a bit - I was wrong. I got slapped. that will teach me.
Additional points given at 9 - damn! went north hard The first point we stopped at wrong track junction then found shortly after - the top point was very straight forward as was the eastern point. Had my 3rd Carbo Shot here. Opted to go down the south east single track to the main entrance road however before we hit the first cross road we came off the track - this was disastrous. we had to dis mount and walk through the scrub. We cross the first track and probably actually got back on the south eastern track briefly but kept marching on. This was Polly's dark moment. swarms of mossi's and parrot bush started to get the better of her and I had to cease control She wanted out and out quick and there wasn't much we could do - I told her this is the only option I know where I am and this is the fastest way. She wasn't happy but trusted me and moved on. Lost a tonne of time here was slow going. We could here red out of bounds road to our left so I know we had drifted off path between the main road and the single track. We eventually hit clearing and road. Could see turn off ~100m from major road into camp site entry. We flew down this road back to HQ - by far the fastest on the bike of the day - I think I almost got into top gear and felt like I was on a road bike - made me happy.
Got back - to HQ for the mystery leg and the last 2 points with about 50 minutes to go. Quick transition and away we went. Was basically footo and I was good to go now - we ran the trail section hard then turned into the bush on instruction and powered through there. Eventually saw flying fox section and ran up tot the top of it. When we got there it only needed 1 person to do it - looked like amazing fun but I said to Polly she can do it. I had thought I had held her up all day, probably was a pain in the ass she deserved to enjoy it and have fun - oh that and I didn't fancy the climb back from the bottom to the start of it again post doing it - even though I know I would have loved it. Polly was happy enough and went straight at it.
It was at this point I realized I had 100% exhausted my 3L pack and was struggling (and had been for some time) on water intake - thinking last time I had a drink must have been in the bush bashing if not before. Oh dear that's not good. Polly return chipper as and I stood up - BANG cramp - one step forward BANG Achilles. oh no. Cup of HTFO and got on with the run to 11. A lot of teams out there trying to find it and a lot making nav errors - powered past them and got it pretty easily. However my quads had starting cramping quite badly - Again i remembered myself not long now and still had about 35-40 mins up our sleeve.
Heading up towards 12 as Polly rounds a corners she slipped and hit the ground hard. gashed her knee and elbow - I was seriously worried it was going to be a piggy back on me for the rest of the event but she got up limping but got up. Hit the main road and legged it to 12. Then the run to the finish. hit the line and stopped - ekk fatal mistake. Both legs ceased both quads cramped - really not good. Managed to get moving but was a waddle not great. Polly quickly sort some first add for knee and elbow and I attempted to stretch but cramping too badly.
Returned to car packed kit and got water. Was starting to walk better already went back and got bbq as we hit the end of the clock. Shortly after Tash crossed the line and came over Sat and had a chat - Had a stretch and waited for results.
and... We came 2nd - not sure how but hardcore mixed booyah. Given we must have lost near 1 hr on nav definitely over 40 mins. and my fitness held us back majorly could have gone a lot fast had it not been for that!
Super happy with result though. Post mortem. My legs have been torn to shreds by undergrowth! I am feeling really great considering and moving pretty freely. No or minimal blisters and the toenail survives again. All in all very happy!
Side Note -
Organizers really need to add a water drop - I know I drink a lot but really needed a drop at TA in the south east and wouldn't have been hard to organize!
Some of the stats above are best guess - time until seeing results - distance and climb will be slightly off. HR is real as far as I know.
I am sure ive probably missed something epic but if you've made it to here you've probably read enough of my dribble and poor English so well done to you for getting this far too LOL. Now for bed!