James and I participated in the Adventure race at falls creek 19th and 20th February with Cara and debbie in tow as our support crew . Saturday started with a short mountain bike down to the lake . Unfortunately the support crew got lost on the way to T1 at the lake and a mishap with our kayak meant we were paddling rather chunky kayaks for the next leg . We’d dropped from 4th to last after our rather slow kayak leg. the next leg was a “moutainbike/trek” of Around 25km . Basically you rode your bike till you got somewhere near a checkpoint then trekked off into the bush to find it. we wasted considerable time hiking carrying our bike looking for one of the optional checkpoints which we never found . the trek to the next compulsory point was a trek up a steep hill through thick bush. the rest of the checkpoints on the rest of the leg were much easier to find . next leg was meant to be a surfboard paddle but with strong winds blowing and a lack of surfboards it became a short run/swim . we then took a short break to eat some food . the next leg was a doozy , another moutainbike/trek that would end eventually at bogong after around 50 km . the start of it was open enough though up very steep terrain . it then became a narrow hiking track often interspersed with fallen logs and wet areas . it was just a little to technical for me to ride a lot of it but jJames seems to be able to ride is bike over just about anything . the eventual descent was steep and a lot of it on bumpy fire road . we eventually had to make a decision to go past 2 checkpoints to get to bogong before another deadline of 5 pm to be able to start the next leg . coming into bogong our path was blocked by a locked gate and we had to scale down a steep wooded hill to the road. the next 3km was an orienteering leg around bogong interspersed by a ropes course . to our later detriment we didn’t take this leg too seriously. the final leg of the day was a short paddle round the lake at bogong and stopping and finding the checkpoints on of which was idden on a bridge a long walk from navigable water. 10 hours and 34 minutes out in the elements but when we found out our race time it was 34 hours ! 24 hours of time penalties , 3hours each penalty and six of them were in the 3km leg at bogong.
sunday started with a kayak leg . this time no kayak mishap . Our support crew however , who thought we would be much slower than the 1 hour quoted for the leg , decided to walk from the lake back to Falls Creek and did not arrive back before we finished the kayak leg 53 minutes later ! The next leg was a bike on the mountain bike trails at Falls . The early trails I could handle but soon for me it was too technical and James spent considerable time waiting ! next leg was a run/hike with most of the checkpoints off the track somewhere in the bush . we were able to find all the checkpoints though was almost 50 minutes finding the second one . The distance for the leg was quoted between 10-16km , but it was actually 20 km! We were unable to make the deadline of 2 pm for the leg which meant we had to skip the next leg – and take a 12 hour time penalty – and bike back to the falls village to the finish. A bit more specific training and we will be dangerous .
With transitiion opening at 530 ,I thought my late start at 0610 was going to be a problem bot soon discovered the laid back atmosphere compared to triathlon . After setting up transition and getting the boat to the beach we waited. patiently on the beach. We had step back from our craft for a short run . There was enough surf to make things interesting . I held water watching a larger set go through as the tandem beside me capsized ,next thing an out of control ski that has got side on nearly takes me out . Into the moderate souwester it slow going , faster when we turn , 3 laps of a triangular course ,I am lapped by the leader but am about to lap the tail of the field when I reach the last buoy. I let a large set pass under and safely surf in on a small wave . The bike starts on sand then climbs up the great ocean walk on wide trail before we turn onto the single track. A lot of it is flowy enough but I find my concentration waning on the downhill and am dismounting on some of the difficult stuff ,I am soon having to let riders past . Climbing up past a guy on wide section ,who then follows me reach an intersection no arrows or tapes . We double back and find the tapes we’d missed , it was odd there was no arrow to direct us on what was a U turn , the rest of t he course was really well marked. I manage to negotiate the last single track descent with ruts everywhere to my surprise with some success . On to the run I soon have to learn a new race technique. We have to crawl under the bridge! The run continues along bush tracks with quite a hill in the middle . It crosses the wooden bridges in the wetland before following the river back to town . After crawling under the bridge again I am running te last kilometre pretty well ,and Lil is there to snap a pic as I cross through the water and she runs with me across the line . All in all a fun well run laid back event .
So race day finally arrives and it is going to be a long one , and a hot one. The Roth Challenge is one of those must do races for triathletes but also the biggest in the world with close to 5000 entries , with close to 3000 individual entries and a large number of relay entries (something the Europeans seem to take much more seriously than us.) Michael was up at the ungodly hour of 330 am to serve us breakfast and then it was on the bus to Hilpolstein at 4 am to get to race start. Finally through the traffic we are off the bus for a short walk down the hill to transition. After putting what’s needed on my bike and pumping up the tyres an announcement comes over that it is 75 minutes to race start at 630! – and it is well and truly daylight at this hour, I go and place my bag with bike shoes etc in its allotted place for me to colect after the swim . Pros go off at 630 but my wave is not till 745 , with Dennis off at 7 and Gav and Shaun off at 715. We head off in groups of 200 making the swim a pleasant affair compared to the mass start in some other races.
The swim is a lap in the canal and is relatively pleasant with the small start groups and completely flat water and a water temperature of 22 degrees . Someone is on my toes for about 500m , I reckon , but trying to kick him away only results in a cramp ! After coming under the bridge I head towards the ramps and and to my surprise am helped onto my feet by the helpers in the water. I figure my time is somewhere near my expected time of around 1:20. The bike course is a great one . Two ninety kilometre loops with a mixture of rolling hills open field and villages . There is one steepish climb of around 2 km and the famous solar berg , where the crowds gather on the hill and part as you climb up a la TDF style . I am going along OK but am pretty sure I am slow , getting passed by many more than I pass . I come through the crowds before the Solar Berg and at the last minute hear Lil’s voice on the bottom of the hill and just get a glimpse of her before continuing up the climb. It is an interesting experience but am not entirely sure it is safe. Coming into the turn back into Hilpolstein Lil is there again with a German couple cheering me on . Surprisingly there is still a crowd when I get there on the second lap . On the second lap the wind out on the back part of the course had increased significantly and was typical of a hot northerly back home. I spot several people on the side of the road – apparently there was a 10% drop out rate on the bike course. Finally into T2 I am happy to take my time and decide on a complete change of gear . I forget to take the race number off and rip it . I then have 4 young girls trying to work out how to reattach it to my race belt. Once out on the run my body is telling me this is going to be a very long ” run “. After 2 km following a toilet break I am vomiting . I manage to run slowly for the first 6km and from then it is a combination of slow running with long periods of walking – I am not alone. The run follows the canal goes off into a town and turns at around 12.5 km then goes back along the canal . To my surprise there are a lot of people behind me . The run goes off from the canal again and turns in a village at around the 28km mark . From there I am finally able to run , albeit slowly , the whole way between drink stations , keeping going on a combination iso,cola and caffeine shots. I note that the light is fading ! In to Roth , I ask a passer by for the time , “quarter to ten ” with 2 1/2 km to go I realise I am going to make it by the cut off. The finish is great , going round in a semi circle wit a very noisy crowd , apparently Lil was there but I don’t hear her among the noise . Under the finish arch I look back , my time is 14:20 , my longest ever but probably what I expected. I don’t get much time to enjoy the post race area having finished so late , have to walk to T2 get my bike on the truck and walk back to get the very crowded bus back to Kalbensteinberg. Lily was there somewhere but couldn’t find me and get a cab back to our accommodation. I later hear that Dennis had to pull out , and both Gav and Shaun have done well with times under the 1130 mark. So the legend of Roth is done – maybe back at a later time when I work out how to train in winter.
Off on “holiday” but of course just happens to be associated with an event Rick is doing “Challenge Bateman’s Bay” a half iron distance triathlon. Decided to take a couple of days to drive up via East Gippsland and stopped in Marlo for the night. Went for a walk along the snowy River beach before dinner.
Rick went fishing but no fish.
The following day we continued to nsw first stopping at Eden for coffee.
Stopped at Narooma for a late lunch.Lil went for a walk while Rick went fishing but only a small snapper.
Soon after we arrived in Batemans Bay coming the hilly triathlon bike course.We had a day to chill out, go fishing, before checking invite bike and registering for the triathlon.
Weather was perfect for the triathlon. A two laps 1.9 kswim followed by a rather hilly 90k bike course and a two lap half marathon along the foreshore. Whilst Rick was a bit disappointed in his run time, his time of 5 hours 55 was enough to get a bronze medal in his age group.
The following day we went for a drive north to Murramarang National Park to Pebbly Beach and walked the tracks to place called Pretty Beach then back along the coast, bush bashing part of the way. What better way of recovering from a triathlon but 18km of bush walking! Rick went fishing but as has been the pattern only a little flathead.