The bad news is that I did not beat my boyfriend. The good news is that I was the first individual female and won a $100 gift voucher! I must confess that I was the ONLY individual female so the competition was not exactly tough. Although I am a bit disappointed that I had no other girls to compete against, I did feel kind of brave that no other girl was willing to take this race on.
Now for a race report. We arrived at the check in point to find out that there were only 19 people in total in the race – individual and teams. My first thought was ‘I am going to come dead last’ and I wanted to go home.
It had rained overnight and there were still some clouds in the sky which threatened more rain. The boyfriend and I set up our skis, paddles and nutrition in the first transition area and headed over with our bikes to where the race briefing would take place. The small field of competitors gathered around and we were informed that the mountain bike track was muddy and slippery due to the rain. This news made me feel quite nervous as my mountain bike skills are limited.The race brief was over and me and all the other guys headed over to the start. The start of the mountain bike leg consisted of an up hill ride on the road before entering the single track. In order to access the single track, we had to carry our bikes up a very steep rocky, slippery section. I felt quite nervous and when I finally got to the top and jumped on my bike I started pedaling over a rocky section and fell off! Not a good start to the race. Anyway, I continued on to the single track and found that it was extremely muddy and slippery. I had a few slips and falls in the mud, but then I started to relax and feel more comfortable and actually started to enjoy the race.
It was tough. The track was muddy, wet and rocky. Some sections of the track were so steep and slippery that I was forced to jump off my bike and push my bike up hill. I felt pretty relieved when I finally saw the last section of the single track.
To end the 16km mountain bike leg we had to descend back down the road. Mud was flying off my tires in every direction. Some splattered right in my face. I dumped my bike at the first transition area and I asked the race organisers ‘Am I last?’ I was pleased to hear that I wasn’t and as I ran towards my ski I saw that there was one other ski still left on creek’s edge. The boyfriend was way ahead at this point, by the way, but I was happy that I was not in last place.I took off my muddy shoes, slammed down a gel, carried my ski into the creek and took off. I was paddling on my own for the whole 7kms. I made sure I stayed focused the whole time and concentrated on using my torso with each stroke.
As I approached the shore to end the paddle, my parents were waiting cheering me on. Having the support of family and friends always perks me up during a race. I jumped out of my ski and my legs felt like jelly. I pulled my ski up onto the beach, put on fresh socks and muddy shoes and began the 8km beach run. The sun was out at this point and it was actually quite warm. Thankfully the tide was low so we did not have to run in the soft sand. The run consisted of 4km in one direction then 4km back. I passed the other guys in the race as they were heading back to the finish, giving high fives and words of encouragement. I passed the boyfriend as he was heading back. There was no way I could catch him at this point. My legs just would not run any faster and he was too far ahead. I maintained a decent pace and finished the race in a time of 2:50:19. I came 9th overall out of 10 and (surprise, surprise) won the first female prize!
This adventure race was tough but it was fun and very rewarding and satisfying to complete. I was extremely proud of the boyfriend who finished in 2:35:00 considering how little training he had done, particularly for the run. How did we compare for each leg? He did 1:00 for 15km mountain bike while I did 1:19, he did 48:55 for the 7km paddle while I did 49:50 and he did 45:55 for the 8km beach run while I did 41:29. I was pretty pleased with my paddle time, which was only 55 seconds slower! Thank you to Matt for putting on a great race (www.wildthingrace.com).
If you are typically a runner or a triathlete and are looking for a new challenge, I highly recommend an adventure race. Adventure racing is logistically more difficult than triathlon as you require a paddle ski. This piece of equipment can be expensive and difficult to store and transport. If you have the opportunity to get a hold of one and you have access to still water to train in, I say go for it. As I mentioned in a previous post, having a fitness goal to work towards with your partner is a totally fun experience and great for building the relationship. Look for an event that you and your partner can train together for now!