Leg 1: Run start then ski – This is always madness and out of control… but very fun… I went well and was on the skis in the top 5-10 people. It’s a quick traverse on the skis before some mint off piste skiing down to the mountain bike.Leg 2: Down hill bike – this stage was epic fun this year, with the recent sealing of most of the Remarkables access road making for swift progress. Loose grit on some of the corners caused some carnage, but the going was smooth for me. Hitting the flat at the bottom of the hill I found myself in 1st/2nd equal with a young fella from a school team – cheers to him for taking more than his share of the wind from there to the lake!Leg 3: Paddle – Conditions were great on the lake and I quickly settled into my work. Being first on the lake I just kept an eye on my speed and tried to keep the effort honest. It was great to come into the kayak/run TA in first place overall – cheers to Steve Norton from Around The Basin for the kayak coaching.
Leg 4: Run – After a strong paddle I came out of the boat feeling a bit worked… I settled into my pace and tried to relax and find my running rhythm. I was quickly passed by 2 or 3 fresh team runners, but watching their progress I felt I was actually moving ok, just not with the normal strength and spring in my stride. I was a bit worried that I had gone out too quick and would be bleeding time to those chasing. (Sorry, no photo from this year…)
Leg 5: Up hill bike – this leg is always a killer… this year was no exception. I was feeling the effects of the aggressive pace that I had attacked the race with earlier and by this stage I felt I was just holding on (pain face). I rode a bit slower than last year, but knew that I had raced the first half well and the crew let me know there was a good gap back to the next individual (Flavio). I kept the hurt on through to the end, wanting to improve on my time from last year. Get there then rest.Finish – Crossing the line this year came as a bit of a relief! I really wanted the win and I was stoked to have nailed it. Not the perfect race, with a bit more pain than expected, but four minutes quicker than last year – yuss!
A massive THANK YOU to my sponsors and to the crew of friends who came out to support me. Hugely appreciated.
From here I am looking froward to the next batch of China races. Its a pretty quick turn around – about 2 and a half weeks. I will be racing four events spread through September, including the unofficial Stage Adventure Racing World Multisport Champioship – Wulong Mountain Quest. Check back here or follow my Facebook page for all the updates.