Tuesday, February 8, 2011

YsterVark AMA-Zing Race - 28/29 January

Written by our guest team-mate Karin Joubert.
Mike, Nando, Con and Karin with William seconding)

Wow! Awesome! AMA-Zing race! I truly enjoyed it….and thank you to Lickety Split for the opportunity to race with you!

Con, Nando, Mike & William – you are all gentlemen – thank you for being so kind, supportive and taking me into your team. I am going to try and say a few things about the race, however, not sure if I am ‘William Shakespeare’, though!!

(I’m not going to write the normal race report – rather want to share my experience)

We all arrived safely at Mnweni – a few of us only a bit earlier than others. We all had a few hours sleep, got up at around 2am – made sure of last minute gear, and ready for the 3am start. Nando however, had to do his last ‘admin’ a minute before the race started – the team did say, ‘that’s Nando’. J And off we went….into the dark – 20km hiking/kloofing! I wasn’t sure how long this would take us….never thought it will be 8 hours! Phew! Surprise-surprise! And it did take us more than 8 hours! What an experience!

Walking – hiking - climbing – kloofing – it was wonderful! The beautiful Drakensberge and surroundings were ‘picture perfect’! (first time in the ‘Berg’ for me!) Going all the way to the top of the mountain, to one of the caves, was difficult, but fairly doable. Not quite sure what the time was when we reached the top, however the sun was already awake and smiling at us.

But now the ‘difficult’ part started (for me though) – I never realized that I am so ‘afraid’ of heights. I couldn’t even stand close to the edge, to see how far we have to go down. I really wasn’t aware of this ‘short coming’ of mine. We started going down the mountain – slowly at places – cause this ‘bangbroek’ just couldn’t get a move on. Thank you for the 3 of you, Con, Nando and Mike for helping me. You know where and when! Finally we reached the bottom! And the legs/thighs talking in foreign languages! But I made it – all smiling!

The last part of the hike, myself and Con was chatting and walking at a steady pace, with Nando and Mike strolling along! We waited for them, and as a team we arrived back – with our wonderful second waiting to take a photo! He was so happy to see us! He filled up our bladders, checking our food supply, making sure my blister is fine, I could feel the energy he was having – thank you William – it was awesome.

Off to our first MTB leg – it felt wonderful just to get of your feet and onto the bike! Really bliss! We were going at a steady pace, I would say, enjoying the moment, moving on swiftly. Until Con told us – yip, we are going to the top! We then realized that this is not going to be an easy ride! Through rivers, up hills, sun laughing at us – 35 degrees! Have to say on few hills – ‘in granny gear’ I was passing the guys – felt really good – hehehe! But it didn’t last – the really tough hills I had to push my bike up – I wasn’t the only one, a lot of the other teams had to do the same!

I really think we had a great bike ride and then it was time for the paddle! And William waiting for us, ready as always, making sure we have everything – paddles, ‘plakkies’, water, and and! Thank you William – you were great!

Have to say, the ‘paddle’ around Emmarentia dam really helped me, and I was ready to start the paddle with Con in the K2! And so were Nando and Mike! The paddle went smooth, and we return to ‘base’ (hehehe) just under 2 and half hours! This was awesome guys! And waiting with warm spaghetti bolognaise – our wonderful second – William, damn you were a star!

The sun was setting and we still had 2 legs to go – MTB ride and a last hike! We were ready and started the ride with smiles on our faces. We were trying to use the last bit of sunlight the day had to offer. This didn’t last long! We got the next CP quite easy and then started heading back to transition point 1 – but knew one more CP was up for grabs before we get there. I was really enjoying every moment of this!

We were counting the river crossings – and it seemed that we were just not getting to the road where we have to turn off to get the last CP at a bridge. Myself and Mike were wondering how far to transition. Nando was ‘just’ riding his bike and Con very determined to get the last CP of the bike ride. Con then said, let’s go down this road, the other 3 of us realized, if we go down this road, we have to come back up again. Luckily it took us to the bridge (only about 1.5km down) and there Nando spotted the CP point. We were all very pleased with Con’s navigation skills, I even asked him, ‘how did you know it was this road’? He just said: ‘I had this feeling’! I then told him: Well done, really proud! J

Heading back to transition was really putting a sparkle into my eyes! Knowing that we got all CP points up to now! Very happy campers – that were all of us!

Still feeling good, not really sleepy – I was ready for the last hike. Or I thought I was ready….don’t want to say much about this last part, just that it was amazing to head back into the mountains at that time of night, through rivers, going up steep hills (yet again I was a bit afraid of the height).

I had a wonderful experience with you guys, I really enjoyed every moment! You are gentlemen through and through! Would love to race with you guys again – hope I didn’t disappoint!

Thank you so much for all the help and support! The gear, motivation, and and....