Sorry about the delay on this race review, guys….the last two weeks have been total madness getting work and home organised for Christmas….anyway, with the excuses aside, here is my account of my first crack at the Lorne Adventure Race (formerly the Anaconda Adventure Race).
I had seen this event pop up in my daily peripheral for a few years now….before I really had started to dabble in the “dirty sports” arena. I had been involved in similar stuff in Tassie (Tasmania Winter Challenge), but only as a team member for the trail running and MTB….both of which were strengths at the time. I left the cross-country skiing, river kayak and road cycle to my mates.
It’s funny how you can kid yourself into the whole “yeah, I can do that” mentality. I had completed some big events by this stage, ranging from 27hr continuous obstacle racing in sub-zero temps to a 100km trail ultra-marathon and was feeling pretty good about it all. When I decided to give the Lorne Adventure Race a crack, my subconscious had obviously deleted the fact that I really hate triathlons. Why I thought the Lorne race would be different was beyond me. I looked through the legs of the course, carefully analysing each one-by-one….”Ocean Swim1.9km? yep, that’ll be sweet…can’t be much different to laps in the pool….Paddle 13km? Hmmm…still a bit of a muppet, but whatevs….Run 14km?….hello?!…ultra-marathon!….MTB 18km?….how bad can it be? I mean really?….Beach Run 1.2km?….1.2km??….come on…ultra-marathon!”
The pre-race nerves weren’t at their usual volume which was nice (for everyone else), and our first day at Base Camp in Anglesea was magic. The weather was spectacular, we had a good spot secured and Gus had one of his mates tag along, so he was happy and busy running around all day while Marcelle and I proceeded to chill. Nice.
With a 0500hrs start required the next day to secure my boat and get it ready (thanks, Peak Adventure), I really wanted to avoid having to drag Marcelle and the boys up at sparrow’s-fart to drive the 30mins to Lorne. So, courtesy of my Mountain Raid team-mates (Thomo…elite multi-sport athlete and Jimmy…lover of elite multisport athlete), I was able to secure a spare mattress in Lorne within 5mins of the start line. This made things SO much easier for us…..thanks, guys.
I’ll try not to ramble on too much about the race. Suffice to say any deficiency was my own fault….the race was really well organised, I had my gear sorted out in good time before the race start and I was generally feeling ok, with the usual race line jitters keeping me on edge. The weather was a little feral with some chop and a strong northerly forcing the organisers to change the paddle course and keep everyone pretty much within line of sight of the transition area.
Here are some quick notes before I hand over to a short race video compilation to give you a look through the eyes (and tears) of a punter….
- Swim: Why would I bother going for a warm up dip? That makes no sense whatsoever. Hmmm….maybe to at least see if your goggles are fitting properly so you’re not treading water and inhaling half of Louttit Bay while trying to fix them in deep water, dickhead. That really sucked the big one. Not a fun start. It took me ages to settle into a reasonable stroke. I’ll take the warm-up dip next time thanks.
- Paddle: OK….I’m a veteran of about 8 hours of kayak experience. Throw in some chop and wind on top of my race nerves and the “offs” were inevitable. They all took place within the first 400m after which my self-talk words were so fierce, I literally intimidated myself into staying upright for the remaining distance. Unfortunately, no amount of verbal abuse would keep my left leg from falling asleep to the point I could hardly work the rudder. Awesome….navigation is over-rated anyway. Frustrating thing was that I really enjoyed the paddle squad sessions leading into the event, but now I was more focused on staying upright than being aggressive with my strokes. How many times did I fall off? Click the vid below and take a guess…
- Run: After having my left leg anaethetised for most of the paddle, running now felt like I had just completed 1,000 pistol squats on it. For about 5km, it ached as if recovering from a CrossFit session. I pushed on and chalked it up to experience and sport-specific conditioning….something else to work on, that’s all. The run course was challenging but the scenery proved to be a great distraction. I actually managed to pull back a few more places, so that kept my spirits up a bit.
- MTB: What a brutal course. It was a relentless onslaught of climbing with the first 6km gaining 480m in elevation. Usually I feel quite philosophical about rides like this….what goes up must have some serious fun going down. Not the case here. I found the random downhills fast, but brief. There was a serious absence of technical single track too, which was a little disappointing. There was however plenty of cramping to keep me company. When both VMO’s lose the plot simultaneously, I can assure you it is a torturous experience….made worse by watching two riders pass me by. I had to work my arse off to catch those guys earlier too. The race organisers are looking at improving the single track content for 2014, but at the expense of adding on extra mileage. I’ll take that trade off.
- Beach Run: Running in bare feet along the high water mark felt awesome and was a nice way to finish. I wanted to finish this race under 6 hours and ended up blowing this out by 33 minutes. Disappointed? Yeah, a bit. But that’s just a reflection of the absence of race experience, training and preparation I’ll be smarter about the whole thing next year and will hopefully do a better job of it.
The time blowout was also thanks to what was a somewhat relaxed attitude in transition. I had help from our awesome supporters to get kit changed over but I was just in a totally chilled state of mind….maybe residual from the 24hr World’s Toughest Mudder and 100km Surf Coast Century which were more “distance/load” and less “sprint”. Marcelle later told me she was pretty much expecting me to lay out a picnic rug at each transition. My own recollection probably resembles something like this….
Was it fun? Yeah…but moreso afterwards than during I’ll know better next time and will hopefully be not so late coming in that my wife is making a missing persons report to race officials.
Here’s the best of what I could capture on film for the day’s adventure…..unfortunately the water looks far too calm and the hills far too soft in comparison to what my own eyes were decoding. I should have put a disclaimer at the start.
Can’t view this on your mobile device? Click here.
If you like the sound of this race, you should definitely give Mountain Raid a crack. I will be training as hard as I can over the next 7 weeks to ensure I am not the team’s boat anchor. I can live with screwing my own race times, but trashing the times of team-mates has a whole different taste. Not gonna happen.
Bidding you a safe and happy Christmas with friends and family, I remind you that for every question in the universe, there is only Chuck Norris…..
Jean-Claude Van Damme 0 Chuck Norris 1
Can’t see view this video on your mobile device? Click here.
Haven’t seen the original, amateurish version from Jean Claude Van Damme?