Event: Kinetic Full Moon Adventure Race
Team: Please wait for us! (Part of the Lickety Split adventure racing team)
Members: William Cairns, Sue Belcher, Bruce Barker
A race report never does true justice to the actual race. I really really enjoyed the Full Moon race. Overall it was an easy race, no physically or navigationally difficult sections. I was also properly prepared mentally for the race which always helps to make a race more enjoyable.
Sue and I have been racing together for about a year now. Our normal 3rd team mate Mike is currently suffering from a broken collar bone so we invited Bruce to join us for the race. As his first ever AR experience it was maybe being thrown into the deep end.
Between us we had all the required gear - except PFDs, fortunately Sue knows lots of people and could organise some - but they were at the Bronkhorstspruit dam and we had to rush there before the race to collect them. At the race start we met up with Bruce and tried giving him all sorts of advice on kit choices - more than likely confused him rather than helped him.
Leg 1 - 14km Paddle, with a bit of a run
Due to the paddling practise from a few weeks ago we knew that the fastest way to paddle was by not using the seats in the bath tub, but rather to make our own, therfor we arrived at the start with extra pillows to sit on and fitted neatly into the boat. At the start there was the normal rush by everyone to get the boats into the water, which we stood around and watched - rather confusing Stefan who asked us if everything was OK. At CP1 I was elected to do the run while Bruce and Sue paddled up the river. I was close behind 3 other runners when we went past the check point - all three of the others missed the check point - I was kind enough to tell my fellow Lickety Split team member the answer but the other had to go back about a kilometer to fetch the point....
Leg 2 - 10km Cycle
The cycle leg was uneventful, however I quickly realised how unfit I really was because the hill from the Transition area out of the main gate made me walk.
Leg 3 - 13km Hike
The weakest part of my navigation is going directly across country where I cannot see the end point of my route. For this reason I decided to go the long way around and kept on the roads. Probably about 1.5km longer, and 15minutes longer in time, but less hardship on feet and legs. We had no problems finding the point and then the biggest navigational challenge of the route was to go across country and find the checkpoint on the "small dam wall" - somehow, probably mostly by luck - I hit the point dead on after hiking the 3kms in the veld - not even 10m off.
After that it was over the hill follow the road. We found the next check point quite easily - and while punching another two teams caught up - not wanting to spoil the fun we quickly left, and strangely one of the other teams followed us instead of clipping the point first. After a few 100 meters they realised their error and had to return.
Leg 4 - 30km Cycle
Rather straight forward, and most surprisingly exactly 30kms. Poor Bruce was struggling during this leg, the previous week he had done his first long cycling training, and his tender rear end had not yet recovered enough to ride again. This leg was where it really started to get cold. When we reached the Transition at the end of the cycle the marshal "kindly" told us that the current temperature was -3. So -3 seemed to be rather cold, but the real impact of it only struck when we reached our boat and found that it was frozen over, picking up the PFDs made a crunching sound as the Ice broke.
Leg 5 - 3km Paddle
Both Bruce and I struggled to paddle, my right arm kept cramping as I paddled on the right hand side. Poor Sue probably did 60% of the effort to get us to the next transition. Now if you realise Sue is half Bruce's height and probably half my weight (and a 3rd of Bruce's) that’s quiet an achievement.
When we reached the other end Bruce had had enough and decided to drop out. It was quite comical seeing his face when Sue and I said "OK, bye" and marched out to do the orienteering. Maybe if he knew that dropping out would not stop us continuing he would not have felt so bad...
Leg 6 - 7km Orienteering
The many locked gates, no access zones and a map without enough detail made this leg a little frustrating. We decide to do 5,6,7 in that order but the access gates between 5 and 6 were locked so we had to take the long way around 5,7,6. After that we came back toward point 5, took a short cut under a few wooded white fences. And here I got confused. At one point I thought North was in the East and therefore could not Orientate my map properly. For about the first time ever the compass helped in getting my bearing correct and we discovered we had walked straight past OP3 Earlier in the evening. I also made a bad route choice choosing to do
OP1 before OP2 making us walk back up a steep hill we had just walked down.
Leg 7 - 3km Paddle
In all honesty I cannot remember this leg. I think the sleepy monster was getting his claws into me. I can remember the finish and realising our packs had been moved. Then getting to the bikes and finding them frozen. Also here we once again saw Lickety Split and Con admitted to not having plotted the last Hike - so I lent him my map to plot from - This must rate in the same category as taking a tube with a hole in it on an AR....
Leg 8 - 50km Cycle
We went peddling off, getting our legs going after the frozen paddle was quite tough but we slowly got going. A minor navigational mistake took us down the wrong road to the main road and resulted in us backtracking a kilometer or so to collect the point. Back down the main road and left off into the dark. Most of the cycle my Odometer was showing a cycling speed of 14km/hr, suddenly i looked down and it said 11km/h so I peddled harder and it dropped to 10km/h. I then realised I was peddling with my eyes closed, one eye open to check where I was going. Suddenly I fell asleep on my bike and just caught it before it fell. We pitched camp in the grass next to the side of the road and caught 20minutes sleep.
When we woke the sunrise had started and we peddled off at about 16km/h - quickly making up the time lost. We were cycling "so fast" that I missed the next check point and we had to again backtrack to collect it. The morning quickly warmed up and slowly layers of clothing were removed. Soon we were at the transition.
Leg 9 - 7km Hike
We strolled over the grasslands to the next checkpoints. All were found with minimal effort and we reached the abseil. We quickly decended and hiked off down the valley. It was quite interesting chatting cheerfully to all the people busy climbing on the cliffs. Many of them were quite interested in the race.
Leg 10 - 2km Paddle
Paddling the bathtub at this point in the race was like asking us to climb Everest. Even Sue was getting tired and was taking rests on the way back. Coming toward the finish the first person we saw was team mate Mike which was great - and then everyone came out of the Marque to cheer us in. The best time to finish a race is during prize giving, you then get the most cheers!
Socks - due to the cold weather we had bought ourselves waterproof socks (seal skinz). Even though my socks became wet inside I think that my feet stayed warm all the time compared to not having the waterproof windproof socks on.
Cellphone - I have been regularly buying myself a new phone as each race I go on I seem to get my phone wet, it has never mattered what waterproofing I put around it. A while ago I upgraded to a Sonim XP3 Quest. A waterproof and impact proof phone. I did the whole race with the phone pushed into the back pocket of my cycling top - it remained working right throughout and proved to be as waterproof as promised.
Big thanks go to Stefan, Heidi and their marshal team. I think their approach in supplying boats, staging unsupported races is a great way of growing and maintaining the sport of AR in our area.