I have spent the last 3 days looking at the coast to coast from the other side, as the support crew. I don’t think being a support crew member is my fortay. (It just isn’t enough about me, I am not after all a good team member…. ok I am not that into myself, but admit to feelings of jealously and envy that I wasn’t doing it myself ). But I did enojoy myself most of the time. It was good to see the how the race actually operates, rather than just moving through the well oiled machine and turning up on the beach at sumner. I do think it is probably easier to do it than support it.
Tanya picked me up just over 11.30. Then we headed over to her friends (Chloe’s). We meet up with Chloe and her support crew and the other competitor (Dougal) that would be in our group for the weekend. Turned out the Chloe’s support crew were old successful hands at the C2C. Turns out, Darryl is a past winner of 2 day c2c, well back in 1988. Mike and Dougal had won the teams competition a couple of times back in early 2000’s. So we were in pretiguse company and Dougal was going for the 2 day individual run.
Well any way, in true Tanya style (I admit, I have a completely different focus to her, I would have been all concentration and “Just get me there” focus, and at times her way of doing things got to me. I just told myself not to be so utterly ridiculous and it was her race so she could do it any way she damn well wanted) we talked a bit, packed the cars up and headed off. We eventually got to Kumara and got her registered, and ankle strapped, there wasn’t enough time to go to the house, so went straight to the dinner, then went to the house we were staying at. Paula had got us awesome accommodation, about 500m from the start line. Then back to the town hall for briefing. Juddy’s speech was practically word for word the same as last year, but still amusing and made you smile. I think almost relaxing to athletes. Then back to the house and eventually to sleep.
Race day 1
The weather was not doing all the well first thing Friday morning, it was pissing down with rain. We left the competitors to ride to the bike transition from the house and headed towards Aikmens corner for the tranisition to the run. You get to park about 20min walk away from tranisition. The rain had stopped, so we got the chairs out and sat down and had a bit to eat. We were going to boil up a hot drink, but we forgot to bring any water.. duh.
After a while, we decided it was time to make our way down and get some proper breakfast into us. “The works” it was (I didn’t really eat that healthy this weekend.) It was a bit bazarre arriving at the transition, I knew how it look for the competition, but wasn’t quite sure how it worked for the support crew. But as I learnt, they have a barrier up that crew have to stay out off.. but once the first cyclists are about 5min away they let us in, to set up for the transition.
Dougal was first in, in the front bunch, the boys dealt with him, in a spectacular smooth and fast transition, just change shoes and throw on the back pack. Tanya and Chloe arrived in the same bunch and it was chaos, Rebecca was standing in the thick off it, grabbed Tan’s hand and pulled her out of the crowd, she took her bike and I Grabbed Tan’s hand the pulled her to the stuff to get changed. Went really quick and then it was walk back and continue on to the next spot. It was really cold and wet in Arthurs Pass and not much better at Klondyke.
We were well wrapped up warm, but you just get chilled to the bone standing around. Dougal was the first to arrive, in just over 3hrs… unbelievable, the girls probably weren’t even at Goat Pass yet. He just look relaxed and capable of running all day.
Then it was a bit more waiting around and running into people you knew and having a chat. I was quite surprise and my unsociable self knowing a fair number of people in the around.
Eventually, Chloe came in and about 40min later Tanya came in. She had done it in just under 6hrs, which was really awesome. She was a little sore but not to bad. We headed back to the bach we were staying in at Arthurs Pass, it wasn’t much, but it was warm. Tanya, asked us as she was sitting recovering after the leg “Is it cold?”, yes we said it was freezing, she had a tendency to stop and talk to people, and we got a little impatient I think, we were just really cold and wanting to get warmed up.
It was very cosy in the Bach, Dougals’s parents arrived and Richard and his Son were staying the night. But we all fitted and had a good dinner thanks to Paula (Camp Mother).
Race Day 2
So this morning was the early morning start up at 4, on our way as soon as poss. The ccompetitors were to wait in the Bach till later and then cycle down to the start for 7.3o (lucky buggers, last year I was stuck in the marquee for 2 hrs). The alarm didn’t wake me up, neither people moving or lights been turned on, and no one seemed to realise I wasn’t awake. I eventually woke up sometime when, hurreidly got dressed and were on our way to the kayak transition.
It was a freezing cold morning. We took Tanya’s, Chloes and Douglas’s kayaks down and through scrutineering. There was a long line but things moved reasonably quickly. Then off to set the stuff up at tranisition. By this time it was probably about 6, so had a bit of time to kill. We stood in line for Breakfast and watched the sun rise, than stood in line for coffee (Well hot choc for me). We were literally waiting a hour, but that didn’t seem to bad, until we got the coffee, and it was not great.
A bit more waiting and gossiping before deciding it would be time to head back down again. The first cyclist started to come through. Day 2 starts in numerical order with 10 going every minute, starting at 300. Quite surprisingly the first numbers to arrive were higher up than you would expect. Tanya came in first, she was looking good and we got her in the boat with no probs. Than we were running straight back up to the shoot to wait for Chloe. Dougal and Chloe were expected in about the same time, so the boys would take of Dougal and we were going to take care of Chloe. Chloe’s knees were sore, so she had to walk the bike down the road, and we had a much claimer walk over to the kayak’s.
Mike showed us how a kayak transition should be done (he’s the kind of guy you’d want on support crew, calm, talks you through it and out on the other side). Learn’t alot from watching him on today. So once again the competitors had left us. And we had a 5 hrs to get to Gorge bridge. A bit of hanging around the van again. This is one of my favorite spots and the sun had come out and it was warming up. People had cars lined up and ready to get out before the last cyclist arrived, we couldn’t be bothered so sat around for a while, before joining the end of the convouy and heading off again.
The Final Transition
We arrived at gorge bridge with plenty of time to spare, so after setting up the bike it was down to the river bed. The sun had come out, but it was still a chilly wind. Surprisling sitting on the stones in the river bed wasn’t too uncomfortable. We watched the front runners come through, and a bit more. Tanya had said it would take her 5 to 6 hrs, but looking at the state of the competitors and the level that were coming through, we weren’t all to concerned at 5 hrs. We got up and saw Dougal come in, and thought Tanya would be a fair way behind him.
Rebbecca was checking the woodstock board, that shows the numbers as they go through Woodstock approx. an hour away, but no number showing up. I went off to the toilet and the girls and Richard were sitting on the river bank talking.
Fate takes a hand
I was standing in the line to the flush toliets and had been for a while, and the line just wasn’t moving. There were some porta-loos about 200m down on the river bed and I was contemplating going and using them. I was contemplating this for a wee bit when I hear “NADIA”, I thought what the F that sounds like Tanya, and low and behold there she wasa walking up the road. I think I probably said “Shit, you aren’t suppossed to be in yet”, and took off. Who knows what the rest of the people in the Que thought about me and my crewing skills.
Anyway, Tanya had come in, we obviously were not there to greet her, as she went through the shoot, she had seen Mike. I think she had asked Mike where everyone was, he told her not to worry, grab her arm and started walking her up the road, thats when they saw me.
Which was a good thing, because neither of them knew where the gear was in transition. Well, the running up the hill with Tanya was supposed to be Rebbeccas job, so I hadn’t really worried that much to take note of exactly where the bike was.
Tanya was looking awesome and was running up some of it, though as I was walking as fast as she was running, I probably should have told her to conserve energy and walk. But I found the bike with out too much bother, she had to do without the planned sandwhich, that she was to have eaten coming up, and had a fruit bar instead.
She had asked us to have her helmet and glasses down on the river bed, but we had forgotten and thank god we had, I think that was the 2nd time that fate saved the day at that tranisition, she was off on the bike and no problems despite the hickup.
At this point I went into overdrive. I raced back down to the river bed and found the guys sitting there chatting away, I think I screamed at them “You idiots, you missed her”. They didn’t belive me at first, they thought I was joking. I felt like I was having a argument with Daryal. “Tanya, come in?”, “Yes she has”, “No way not possible”, “Yes she Bloody well has I just put her on the damn bike”… anyway at this point I gave up, and said, we better find the Kayak and went hunting for it. I think they must have belived me when I started walking away from then.
Then it was all a bit of a rush, we didn’t want to miss seeing her finish, and this made us a little late. So dunk the kayak, empty it out, me and Richard carried up to the car, while the others went and found the rest of her stuff. Really we probably didn’t have to be so fast, but my adrealine was flying. In the van and we were off… on the long way back to Chch down the north side, than through lytellton in to sumner.
We arrived at the finish line with probably 10 -15min to spare. Tanya had a awesome secound day. Dougal had finished 3rd overall, and Chloe seemed really happy with her paddle.
Other interesting things to note: Josh Stevenson (Got my Grade 2 from him) did the entire thing in bare feet (OUCH!, why’d ya want to?). Rosie was in a team, and the runner had done a awesome time but she got a big hole in the kayak early on, that screwed there race.
So do I want to do it again… Hell yes, all that waiting around, makes you make a whole heap of plans. But expect me to change my mind tomorrow. Would i support crew again… probably, it was a fairly fun weekend, but prefer to be doing it.
Things I learnt helpful for support crew in the future:
- Lists, make crew feel much more confident, than instructions verbally given the night before
- At Aikmens transition, tell competitor to go left, and be ready to push through the crowd
- At the kayak transition, straddle kayak, makes much more stable for competitor to get in
- At Gorge Bridge, never take any required gear down to river bed. Leave instructions, that the bike will be in x row near the road or something. So if you miss them, they can still go though and get off.
Better go to bed now, got a tri tomorrow and another early start. (sorry no time to proof read, just cope with the nad-ya isms)
P.S way to go Em on the 3rd win!