Author: Rick

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

South Island Road Trip

Arrived in Christchurch late Sunday with Lily and Suzie in tow. Headed out for a quick MTB ride with James ,while the girls sourced dinner,  and as usual James’s  green tracks are black for me ! 

Next day we decided to hit the road towards the West coast. First stop Darfield for coffee and breakfast.  Then a little C2C reconnoisence with a stop at the Waimak gorge bridge. 

Next stop Castle Hill for a walk round interesting rocks. 

We continued on toward Arthur’s Pass after a brief stop at Klondyke Corner. 

At Arthur’s pass coffee was again in order followed by a walk up the Avalanche Creek Track.  This a bad choice if you’re looking for leisurely stroll as it is clearly a serious mountain track, and denim jeans are not the correct attire. After ascending around 250 m we headed back down.  

Leaving Arthur’s Pass the weather soon turned nasty but as we approached the West Coast it seemed the front had passed through and the sun was out again.  We turned north at Kumara Junction and found accommodation in Greymouth. 

After a run next to the ‘beach’and out onto the breakwater at river mouth the name of the town seems appropriate. Was swooped by seagulls on the breakwater!! 

 Avalanche Peak Track

  Greymouth Run

Christchurch Parkrun,  Anaconda Trail 

Our last day in Christchurch with again a drizzly day which has to be good for the fires which are still burning and could flare up with weather expected to warm up Monday. Being a Saturday Parkrun was the order of the day. Lil and I ran the 2km from our accommodation to the start in Hagley park where we met James. It is a pretty flat figure of 8 course. There were around 200 people.  James blitzed with a fast sub 20 time. Well organised event but no photos!

I had to return our rental vehicle and ran the 6.5 km back from there in the cool conditions.  James picked us up and we had lunch at his new place.  Later the rain held off, though not the most, so we headed out to Taylor’s Mistake for a ride at Godley head. The first part of the ride was on a walking trail that at times was rather steep and we had to carry our bikes on the first part. This trail went past some military installations and gun emplacements originally there to defend the entrance to Littleton harbour. We the traversed on the Godley Head Connector to the start of the Anaconda trail. We descended on the Anaconda trail which as its name suggests is a twisty descent which I managed most of the way before breaking my shoes(again ).

Track ->

Mt Thomas ,James’ new Place, Christchurch Fires

Drove toward the mountains to Oxford,and after a good quality coffee in the small town,  headed to Wooded Gully campsite. From there we hike to the top of Mt Thomas via the Summit track.  Going up the grade averaged close to 20% and was partly through pine plantation and part native forest.  The view from the top was stunning with views to the

East over Christchurch to the ocean and to West over the Western Alps. The smoke from the recent fires in Port Hills were clearly visible.  We hiked down via the Wooded gully track through native beech forest and fresh flowing streams.  Link to Strava  file of hike ->On the way back we took the alternative route over the Waimakiri river. The smoke from the fires could be seen constantly on the way back to Christchurch.

We had good news of James house settling so went to help him move stuff in. The fires were only a matter of a kilometre or so from James house.  Fortunately they were in a direction away from there.  They burnt through the Adventure park and pretty much over the route we had taken on our mountain bikes three days earlier. A change in the weather is on the way and should help in controlling the fires.