Sunday, February 26, 2006

Race Day…
After 4 days of preparing for the 2006 Eco Seagate Adventure Race, it was finally time to give it our all. We had to board the buses at 5 am so we were eating breakfast around 4:30. We had spend the previous night mapping the course….basically, right before dinner on they gave us a map and a set of coordinates for 11 check points (CP’s) and we had to figure out how to get to them all in order.
After a .5 hour bus ride, we arrived at a beach where they shuttled us out to an island in the middle of Lake Wakapitu.
The start: The temp was about 45 degrees F and I was dressed for racing, not for standing around. Needless to say, I was COLD, shivering, and doing anything to stay warm. After 15 minutes of pictures with helicopters flying overhead etc… we were placed in order for a mass start. There were 40 teams of 5 and each team was started according to how many “Eco Tokens” they had accumulated. Throughout the week, you got these for various test, participation, etc. Our team, “Fuel” (named after my bike but my teammates agreed to the name before they knew that) started in 5th position. The start was a mass start into inflatable kayaks.
CP1: When the horn blew, 200 people were screaming, yelling, and scrambling for a set of boats. I busted through and grabbed some close to the optimal point facing CP1. CP1 was a 2 mile paddle away. Fuel got going right away, and before we knew it, we had a 200 meter gap on the entire field…the copter (which by the way was filming in HD) was over us doing sweeps. We exited the lake in first place by about 5 minute. I fell in the 60 degree water when trying to dock…freezing!
CP2-CP6: These were orienteering CPs. The wooded hills we navigated were used in the Lord of the Rings for the Battle where the Orcs were riding the Wolf like creatures. Anyway, we navigated some difficult terrain and bushwacked down a gnarly ravine to gain extra advantage. By CP6, we had a good lead because many of the teams had gotten lost in the thick woods.
CP7-CP9: This was a 20K bike leg along the shores of Lake Wakapitu. I was doing fine so I took on extra weight and did one handed pushing up hills. Our team started to tire, but by continuous movement, we finished with an even larger lead.
CP10: To get to CP10, we walked up the hillsides used for the horse scenes in the Lord of the Rings…pretty cool and beautiful. At CP10 we put on our rappelling gear… we repelled over 100 feet into this canyon across a river…they had 5 ropes set up so we got to do this all together. My safety rope got hung up on a sharp rock at one point, but the aids managed to free me. It was a little disconcerting hanging over 100 feet up not being able to move.
CP11: This was BY FAR the most difficult leg of the journey. We had to navigate the canyon with life vests on. The water was 44 degrees F, as it was being fed by snow melt from a high elevation snow earlier in the week. The water took my breath away…I was shivering uncontrollable and my body was numb. However, one of my teammates, KB, from Malaysia, could not swim. I helped Shawn swim him down the canyon when I could. When we finally exited the canyon, I was the coldest I have ever been. Body fat would have been useful at this point.
Finish: The finish was only .5 km from there and we jogged in with the WIN! The next team didn’t come in for 26 more minutes. We were happy with the outcome. We took some hot showers, drank some water, ate while watching the other teams come in.
That night we had a closing dinner.
We got a little trophy for the win…I wasn’t expecting anything more, as our reward was being in Queenstown=)Until next time

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