Its been a busy month and so the GZ reports dropped off. But here we go again.
As ended last section… bike problems. We arrived in Hanmer Springs to the sound of Scotts bike making a weird sound. Upon further examination we discovered that his frame had cracked. Yes cracked. He was racing with his carbon fibre bike and paid the price of the rough terrain. To make matter worse, it was cracked in 2 or 3 places.
His response was… “Oh we can just duct tape it, and it will be ok.” Pete and i responded with NO WAY. this is a serious problem and could easily lead to total frame failure and Scott falling on road or trail and potentially hurting himself. We had no other option and of course you think “well this could be it” but again the resourcefulness of AR people came through.
We did duct tape it and then proceeded to tell Scott how it was going to be. We had about 40-50Km left to bike to the TA and most of it was on a paved road… thank goodness. We told him that he had to stand on his pedals and ride. No pedaling up hill we would push him and he had to ride an easy gear the whole time. Then coast on the downhills. But it was bad because his bike could have snapped in 2 at any point.
WE MADE IT. yes unbelievably we made it to Glen Wye Station where we exchanged bikes for trekking shoes and really the most fun part of the course.
Before leaving the TA on foot we informed the race staff that we had some “homework” for them to do… find us a new bike. They were fairly confident they would, as were we. We left Glen Wye Station in the dark after a quick TA and no sleep. This was the best part of the course. There were no CP’s to find only at the next TA. That meant that the race directors had given us lots of route choices and it was up to us how we were going to get to the next TA, the 101km paddle.
But first we had to get over this huge mountain range… by any route possible. We trekked up hill choosing to go up high and avoid the THICK bush… we made a good choice and overtook about 4 or 5 teams on this section. We quickly got above the tree line to bee greeted by a spectacular dawn. The price for going high is easier travel, and navigation, but there is no water up there and soon were without water and becoming dehydrated. We knew this was coming and had been in this position before so pushed on. The ridge lines continued on and on until eventually we choose our route down into some thick bush. But only for a short while before we found a trail and made more good time out to the TA. This section took us around 19hrs, but i heard some team spent over 30hours out there. Probably because they tried to go the shortest route in a straight line and paid the price with thick thick NZ bush and a lot of elevation gain and loss.
We got the TA around 10pm, and had obviously hit a “dark zone”. Which means that the river paddling has been deemed to dangerous to be on at night and therefore from 830pm-700am no teams were allowed on the water. And had to camp where they were on the side of the river.
We were glad to miss it as it meant we could get ready for the paddle now and then get a few good hours sleep.