Day: December 3, 2017

East Gippsland Challenge

Victoria had been having some great weather and I was looking forward in competing in this event at Lake Entrance on some dry mountain bike tracks ! Only the weather dumped 75mm of rain in two days . We exited the main street of Inverloch through an impending flood and the visibility on the road to Leongatha was appalling due to the rain. A facebook message from Serg assured that the event would go ahead , with some modifications , so we continued on to Lakes Entrance . The rain eased somewhat once we were over the Strzeleckis. At Lakes Entrance the rain had not yet arrived and at registration/briefing we were informed the kayak leg would be moved from the end  to the start of the race and shortened in case they had to get people off the water in a hurry. Overnight the rains hit Lakes Entrance in a big way . 

The Kayak leg became 3 loops of a triangular circuit in the north arm in flat water with persistent rain . It looked like a field of about 20 started with there being a few withdrawals . I kept just a little behind a group of 3 ahead of me and encouraged Wayne after each turn of the bouys. At the end of the 3rd lap I passed a solo female competitor and lapped the last of the ‘duo’ entries , then hit the beach 10 metres from where I was meant to be !

 The bike ride started with a steep climb on the bitumen out of lakes entrance . I felt like I was standing still as the girl who I passed on the kayak flew past me . After several kilometres of bitumen we turned into a motorbike access track which for the most part was rideable but the rain had created a couple of steep muddy climbs , and one competitor came past and had to also had to push his bike up the hill . This is the time you now wish you’d put on flat pedals instead of having cleats . After  bit more access tracks and fire road finally I reached the single track which despite a stream of water flowing down them were well groomed and fun to ride . Somewhere along Howard’s tack I heard the sound of brakes somewhere behind and noticed Wayne had caught up with me. After letting Wayne through we went up a bit of a climb and he seemed to intimate that I might like to come back past . There are a couple of ups and downs on this before you then reach the one way sign which signifies the start of the Lollipop track which is 2 km of roller coaster type track with dips , sharp turns  , some bridges etc . You need to be going flat out down the dips to make it up the other side . 

There was a small section after the lollipop  of a steep downhill followed by an uphill to the final fire road back to transition . I was flying down the hill when my front wheel caught i a ditch at the bottom and I was thrown forward over the handlebars . I was still connect to the bike , felt my helmet sliding along the mud , and then had intense pain in the lower chest and upper abdomen and my left calf , don’t think I’ve screamed so loud ever . I lay there for over a minute and figured my head and neck were OK and the pain was starting lessen. It seemed nothing was broken and bike was still in one piece( There was a least one other competitor crashed at the same spot I later found out)  . Another competitor came past as I was pushing my bike up the hill and asked if I was OK.  I got to Forestech and Lil met me with my run gear at transition , despite the still pouring rain. 

On the first few steps of the run every stride hurt the bottom of my chest but I figured my liver wasn’t ruptured and I could probably continue, albeit slowly,  the 16 km to Lakes . The run goes through some spectacular country initially along the Gippsland discovery trail . It is overall downhill but has some very steep climbs in amongst it , one of which I basically had to crawl up the mud . Like a lot of there events you are pretty much out there on your own once the field has spread out but I was passed by a couple of competitors in the last kilometre.

Serg and Maria from Adventure Junkies put on a great event that went ahead despite the conditions , and was the best marked course I’ve seen  , looking forward to more of their events . 

Link to Movescount track