Saturday was the spring challenge in Kaikoura. Me Becs, and Tanya put togther a team for the 6hr race. The purpose: a fun weekend away with a little adventure thrown in. Well I don’t think at 7pm last night we were thinking fun was in out vocabulary.
Bouncy Bouncy Bike
We packed our stuff up and left chch at about 1pm on Friday. Tanya had borrowed a couple of roof racks and with my roof rack, we had 3 for all the bikes. We were past amberly on the way to the hamner turn off (about 1hr out of chch) when we heard a bit of a thud and then all turn around to see one of the bikes bouncing off down the road behind us. I thought that it look remarkably like mine, when we stop the car, I got out to see which bike was missing from the roof, and yes it was mine. Hmmm, at that point I was seeing in my head a mangled wreck of a bike and already thinking who to contact to get a replacement bike of as quick as possible. Yes Nades was on the top of that list 🙂
But we went back to see the bike and quite surprisingly it was all pretty much in one piece. The brakes were a wonky, but no damage to frame or wheels, the only thing that looked serious was the quick release on the back wheel was seriously stuffed, oh and the seat had a hunk of foam cut out of it (but was still attached by the material that covers it). So hoping that we would be able to find a mechanic in Kaikoura that would be able to fix it we carried on.
The registration was before you got into kaikoura, so we stopped there first, thinking that there might be a mechanic around and we also registered. I asked pretty much anyone who looked like a mechanic or official if there was a mechanic around. But all I got was there was one at r&r in town, and they close at 5.30 (it was 4.50), so rather than stick around for the raft breifing we hot footed it to the store.
The mechanic were a little stunned at how well the bike had come off the fall from the roof, one comparing it to surviving a fall down nigara falls. Well a bit of realigning, checking it was safe, taping the seat back together and $5 for a new quick release everything was hunky dory and I was a little more comfortable that all was now well.
Don’t let go of the T grip
After the drama of the bike, we still had to go back to registration to go to the raft briefing. I was slightly nervous of the rafting, as never done it before, but how hard can it be? Briefing made me a lot calmer. The main point I came back with was never let go of the T grip. Also they said with the snow melt the river was a grade 3 river. That made me slighlty nervous, because I know how scary a grade 2 can be in a little kayak. Can’t say have the kayking experince helped at all, in fact it made me more nervous especially at the start of the raft stage.. more on that later.
Nobodies nice when they are pushing to get their maps
Briefing was at 7 o’clock that night. Nathan gave us the introductory/ sponsors / safety speech. Then he invited all team captains to go down the back and get the course maps and directions. Mayhem insued, got the matter confused more bcause nathan didn’t know left from right to start with, then he cleared it up, then I didn’t know if he was talking left or right from his prespective or mine, and then theres the fack that I can’t tell the left from my right. Well I found the right spot eventually, but everybody was in a mad rush to gets theres. There was no politeness from this group of women, pushing and shoving. Felt a triumph getting there in front of the rest of them 🙂 (Does that make me the pushiest unpoliteness of all ?)
So now was the first chance to see what we would actually be doing.Because of the snow melt in recent days they had to use a continucy course. In the 6hr case that included a 20K bike on SH1
48K Mountain Bike (20K on SH1)
Sweaty sweaty – hard to lift leg – HEAVY wetsuit – run
Saturday morning dawned cloudy but mostly fine. Rain was predicted for the end of the day, but we were hoping to have finsihed by then. We had a 9am start, and with a 60min drive to the start we didn’t have that early start. I had hired a wetsuit, and it was really heavy and tight behind knees, so was hard to lift the legs. We decided to run with the wetsuit on, as did 99% everyone else. I am not sure if this was the right decision, given how if might have effected me for the rest of the day.
I had been ill on Wednesday, and my stomach still wasn’t processing food probably. I was not sure if I would be able to take on enough nutrition for the race. The morning of the race my stomach was still feeling wrong. But told myself take kalinas hard pills and just do it, better to give it a try than not go at all. Plus I wanted to do the raft.
Anyway the 2.5K run to the rafts was HOT, and was really really hard to lift the legs and I felt quite neuseau near the end. But got to the rafts we did, we seem to get in quick and was about the 8th raft on the river.
“Give me the paddle… Mines Broke”
The team that was sharing the raft had the most annoying woman on the boat… “Go, Go, Go we can pass the raft ” she would yell and then giggle. For crying out loud, Shut up women, I wanted to yell, just lets get down the river. To begin with I was reading the river like I would in a kayak. It was kinda a scary because there were holes and wave trains I would hold a different line, but the guide had the steering. But the raft just go through and not need to worry about reading the river and just trust the guide. About 1/4 way down the guide who was sitting behind me, grabs my paddle, his had broken. So we were down to only 4 paddles. Did mean more breaks I suppose.
We had a excellent guide, and he took us the faster braid, but was slightly more difficult I think and we past a few rafts by do so. Out of the raft and then up a couple of steep banks, in that bloodly tight kneed wetsuit to transition to the Mountain bikes.
Hold up Tanya we’re coming
Tanya was riding a hybrid with slicks, where as Becs and me were pushing down the highway on our nobbly mountain bike tyres. 25K on State Highway 1 was a killer, i would have given anything for my lovely road bike sitting at home, but also the seat on my lovely road bike at home wouldn’t have gone astray. My ass hurt by the end of that stretch on my old taped up seat.
It felt good to get of the statehighway and onto a gravel road, then we crossed a river and were on to farm land. Had a bit of fun for a while then the tracks started to get steep and it was get off and push time. About this time my lungs started to hurt. It took a couple of goes on the inhaler to get rid of that feeling. My stomach was feeling kinda ok, but I couldn’t take on solid food, I just stuck to the leppins.
Power Cookie Girl
Once we got over the hilly farm tracks we got to a check point. Em was there is her Power Girl costume and giving out some of her new power bars. I took one but I had a feeling I couldn’t eat it. At this check point they also gave out some questions that we had to answer along the way. So the last part of moutain bike was answering all but 1 of these questions, mainly along rolling gravel roads. About 1K(we didn’t know how far it actually was) from the next tranistion I had to stop, because I thought I was going to be sick, I was feeling out of it, I had nothing much more to give, I took on more sugar and water and kept going. Finally got to transition, and I sat down for 5 min and regathered myself.
At this point I was really contemplating pulling out. But I didn’t want to let the girls down, so I decided to keep going and see how I felt on the hike. We had about another 2K to go on the bike, and we had to carry out hiking gear as well. This took us to the carpark at the bottom of mount Fyffe.
Mount Fyffe… F@#%ing Mount Fyffe
I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t anything what we got. It was a 14K hike, so I gave us 2 odd hours easy. But this was 7K straight up, this was no gentle slop this was steep, probsbly 18 degree if not more and it hard let off for the entire time. I struggled a lot for a long way. A 12hr team over took me, and I think they were a bit concerned, they told me to take on some sugar, and offered me some stuff. Almost threw up 2 or 3 times.I told them I was taking on sugar, and I was, constantly taking it on, but it didn’t seem to be helping
It started to get really cold and then the rain came in. We stopped and put on the warm clothing, and some how that break seem to help and I think finally the sugar started to help. I perked up a lot after that.
“Just another 15min”
Just another 15min… is what the teams coming down kept on saying… man where most of them wrong, the road just kept on going, and going and going. It started to hail and the wind got really cold at the top, but eventually… about 2hrs odd actually… we got to the hut. Stood in the warm hut for 5min took on some more water and then it was back down the mountain. It just seemed to take for ever to go down, hard on the legs, we would jog accassionally, but we weren’t sure of our footing so walked again.
Yah the bikes
After that momentous hike there was no giving up now. Had to carry my running shoes in the back pack on the final bike. I was freezing when we stopped to change over to the bike, but got even more cold on the bike. Tanya thought she had lost the peice of paper with the questions. I just said oh well, hopefully we can remember the answers. But she found it, hidden in her back pocket
Most of the bike on the final section was down hill, so it was fast, but we weren’t work hard, so wind chill got to me fast. We had the final question to answer. Our fingers were so cold that we had trouble writing down the answer, we scribbled it down somwhere and continued to the final check point. It was growing dark at this stage and I was really really cold. I was really concerned that I was close to hyperthermia. Once we got to the tranistion, I said I had to put my fleece on. I don’t know why the cold effected me so much, but I was in really bad shape.
The girls wanted to go, and I hadn’t changed into my trail shoes, I was getting a bit upset at this time and said what the f I just go in my mountain bike shoes but I couldn’t run in them.
We are awesome
The final hike was circularing a small hill behind the finish line. At the top there was a check point with a word that we had to tell the people at finish to proove that we had been there. That was “We are Awesome”. All of us had our head torches at the bottom of our packs (We didn’t think we’d be out long enough to need them) so we weren’t that keen to get them out, biut eventually we could hardly see anything, so we rivaled thriugh Tanyas pack and got out the head torche. It got really muddy and slippery in places, quite surprising that we didn’t actaully fall over, but eventually we got through to the finish line.
10.5 hours later… That was longer than anything that we had planned. I lost fun half way up Mt Fyffe. But I feel, even though slow we acheived something momentous, and rather proud of myself and team.
After the finish line we got into the last of our dry clothes available and straight back to the motel. I couldn’t get warm. I got into several layers of blankets and in front of the heater, to try and warm up, I couldn’t stop shaking and even when I eveantully thought I was warm enough for a shower I still couldn’t get warm. We were to tired to go out and get dinner, so we ended up snacking on what was left in the room.
Still processing this race in my mind and how I feel about it…. need to process it further still