Its been a while coming but here it is. Part 1 of our GodZone Race last month. I have certainly recovered and if anything have to stop eating at some point and get back into some training. And with my team mates all having returned to the USA i have to find new (NZ-based) team mates. In this sport, good women team mates are hard to come by and i might have recently found 2 and they want to get out and train and i’m like GULP… sure lets get on that. But there’s nothing like a few all day death-marches or rides to get back in racing shape.
I’m not sure how many parts these race reports will consist of, but better get started or else it will be time to ned Part 1 and i haven’t written anything.
Race day started early with race maps and instructions all handed out at 8am at Race HQ. All we knew at this stage was what we would be doing, in what order and how long approximately each section would be. We have only received this the day before at 6am. This isn’t unusual as they try to keep the course a secret for as long as possible.
After receiving the maps we literally spent the rest of the morning pouring over maps and looking at route choices. We were in for a long race but one i was particularly excited about as i had successfully predicted generally about 1/3 to 1/2 of the race route, or at least places we would go, not necessarily how we would get there.
The image below shows the general race composition and some broad details. We received this on the day before the race.
Finally by 1pm on the Saturday the race started. It was a different sort of start but not unusual for long AR’s. We were to spilt up with Michelle and I running a Coasteering section (running etc around the coast) with a short & VERY cold swim along the way, while Peter & Scott jumped in the 2-person kayaks and paddled a rectangular course off the coast of Kaikoura. Eventually we would come back together and switch, with Michelle & I jumping in then kayaks and paddling the same course and Pete & Scott running the same section we had.
This was done to keep the race in the same confined area for the 1st couple of hours to allow for lots of publicity shots and the one time the spectators could see all of us in the same space. Because as you can imagine the race gets really spread out.
After this we were into the transition area (TA) to assemble our bike, yes assemble as they are transported in bike boxes by race management between stages when we are not using them. This becomes more cumbersome and mundane as the race drags on with fatigue etc.
We set off on our bikes up the coast slowly reeling in various teams. We were as high as 7th at one stage as we rode up the quickly clouding in Puhi Puhi Valley, gaining elevation as we went. Eventually the road turned int farm trails and turned into NOTHING. The Race Directors (RD’s) had intended for us to get over a mountain doing nothing but hike-a-bike. Now i’ve done my fair share of hike-a bike, but this was like no other. Climbing up hill and over rocks and through prickly scrub was misery. This really spread the team out and to do this in the first few hours of the race was a sneak peek of what was to come.
The silver lining was that as we climbed higher cleared the valley cloud and were greeted with some mint views
We finally made it to the top we were found a trail leading us down to where we needed to go just in time before it got totally dark. The ride down was really sweet and was a lot of elevation lost. We crossed a river and rode some relatively easy trails to the next TA where we traded our bikes for running shoes.
The race started at 1pm it was now 11pm and were about to enter our 1st night out. And begin the climb over the iconic Tapuae-o-Uenuku and very famous mountain in NZ.