Suwati in foreground at The Step Up
So here we are…. a review of the race calendar and woohoo an obstacle course on the Saturday followed by an adventure race on the Sunday. I was sure this was going to be a killer weekend!!
After a quick confirmation the adventure race would be on the Sunday, I registered for the Saturday morning obstacle course. Now I was just left waiting for Ray to ‘get back’ so I could register for the Sunday adventure race when it opened.
Finally registrations opened for the adventure race. Oh no, the race has been moved to SATURDAY.
Ok, no drama’s, this is not a problem, just a hiccup. After a few emails I had managed to move my obstacle course to the Sunday and I was all registered. Now it was going to be a BIG weekend.
Friday night I was taking the 4 kids (under 8) by myself to the Broncos. Saturday saw a 4:15am start to make the adventure race up north, and Sunday had a 5:30am start for the 10ish-km obstacle course.
Friday finally rolled around and the weather was horrible! It could not be looking worse to head to the Broncos with 4 kids! Luckily the Broncos (and Cowboys) heard my prayers and the right team came through with a nail-biting win together with the weather staying dry over Suncorp Stadium! Excitement in the household and a short nap later I was back in the car heading up the coast to the adventure race.
This was to be the first race of the season for my teammate. It was wet, cold and dreary, but that was not going to spoil our spirits. The discussion on the way up consisted of the lack of breakfast that I had had and whether the boogie board (no body boarding happening here) was going to be last or not. We were both gambling on ‘surely it will be last to head to the finish line’.
Bikes dropped off … maps in hand and back to the car to mark it up before the rain set back in. We read the first line … oh, we are ‘getting wet’ straight up! Wow, no beating around the bush with that one!
We soon had our optimistic route marked up on the map and headed to the toilets for that mandatory ‘pit stop’ before ALL races!
The Step Up start line
Before long we were lined up on the start line, ready to brave the water in the cool wind and ‘hoot’ off we went. I brought my son’s little board because I decided it would be lighter to carry for 2kms– it worked a treat. The disadvantage was that I was completely drenched straight away but found the water was quickly quite alright. I watched a men’s team go racing into the distance very quickly. I think I managed to keep up with them for the first 10m’s. The rest of the pack strung themselves out across the dam quickly and I soon found I had totally lost my teammate and was left kicking away by myself.
Luckily for me another person had also lost his team, so we kicked together and decided to wait ‘on the other side’ for our respective teammates to catch up. I was jealous of him as he appeared to be ‘high and dry’ on his blow-up-looking-device. He later advised me that I looked much warmer than he was and that he was quite wet and catching a lot of wind. Maybe this was the point that I should have told him that that is what you get for going so fast – and that was with NO FLIPPERS!!!
Running @ The Step Up (Suwati in foreground)
I finally found my teammate, who I discovered I was looking straight at but not recognising, and out of the water we stumbled. A quick trot over the grass to grab the first checkpoint, a flipper-shoe change and up the slippery wet hill we trudged.
We quickly found the next few checkpoints. As one would know, these ones are generally easy when you are mid-pack because you have the beauty of practicing your much-played primary school game of ‘follow the leader’. (Something that my regular teammate and I have noticed has often landed teams in quite a mess in adventure-races).
Enjoying the mud tunnels at The Step Up
Soon we were wading … swimming(?) through the tunnel with the world’s biggest spider and out the other side. A quick rethink of tactics and off we went behind the rest of the teams to the ‘right’ (along the highway).
Passing checkpoint 6 to get to 5 proved valuable for us as we did not have to ‘look’ for checkpoint 6 later after taking the time to look for it as we passed by. Checkpoint 5 down … checkpoint 6 down … and much to our surprise we found ourselves ‘in the game’. Yes – this was purely based on noticing that we had managed to get checkpoint 5 and 6 before team Mountain Designs. This will forever by my claim-to-fame for this race (haha).
This lead over them was VERY short lived as they raced past us before we were even close to checkpoint 7 and we never saw them again – oh wait yes I did — when I was eating my sausage at the end!
The Step Up bike leg
On to the bike we went and from here it was all down-hill. Unfortunately this was not in a literal sense but more-so in a sense of my teammate realising it was much wetter and harder than she expected. I think the late night was catching up on her as we found ourselves rerouting our entire course to eliminate ALL small tracks and sticking only to the major track.
The highlight of the bike leg was probably when we hit the bitumen! Yes – that was FANTASTIC!!!
My poor teammate struggled on listening to me telling her to change her gears up-down-up-down continuously. If it wasn’t that it was me telling her to walk up the hills with me because we were walking faster than riding or praying she would make it through that ‘next huge puddle of water’. Oh wait – that was a river I think! She is a champion and somehow put up with my constant nagging without complaining at all (at least not verbally!)!!!
The Step Up trek leg
We decided to ditch checkpoint 21 and head straight to 22. By this point I had no more brakes on my bike but wanted to push on as much as possible. The decision was paying off for us until we had to cross a fast flowing swollen creek – in which my teammate lost her footing and had a massive rock smash into her leg.
At this point I was ready to go back to the main road and call Gary for him to come get us and give us a feed. My teammate decided she would be right to push on and on we went – welt on leg and all. Checkpoint 22 down and back to the tunnel we headed. By this stage we just wanted to get back and were quickly running out of time. Ok, lets be honest, there was 15 minutes left till it was 2pm!
More walking and shitting myself down-hill without any way of stopping other than the mercy of mud at the bottom; the chance of an uphill and otherwise it was going to be a“JUMP and pray”! Checkpoint 23 proved to exaggerate just how ‘vertically challenged’ we were; so we decided to have a bit of a laugh at the fact we really thought we could reach it for a fleeting moment and continue on our way. Checkpoint 24 was out of the question and off home we headed.
Across the dam-overflow creek we waded. Ok ok I almost lost my bike here as it started floating away on me before I managed to grab the rope and readjust midstream.
Out the other side and heading straight for the food! Forget the finish – we wanted food!!!
Oops, clearly we made a wrong turn and forgot to keep navigating because we somehow ended up on the wrong side of the fence. I still have no-idea what the ‘correct way’ out of the fenced area was. But, we ended up next to the beach and got some kids that were fishing to come help up ‘chuck our bikes over the fence’ before clambering over ourselves.
Presentations at this stage were well underway as we snuck in the ‘back entrance’ to the finish line and chowed down on some cold sausages and hot Sprite.
Yes, we were one of the teams that got ‘punished’ for not doing all the checkpoints but, on the other hand, we did manage to finish the event in a timely manner. No, I didn’t say timely as in ‘on time’ but timely as in ‘took our sweet time’ – approx 2.15pm!
The day was great and the only thing that would have made it better would be if the teams, like us, that finished really late could have had a warm to luke-warm sausage to eat rather than ‘scraps’. Afterall, it’s the ones that finish last that usually need it the most.
A quick ‘check in’ with Ray and then in the car we jumped to head home. The drive home was quiet but we were still in high spirits and definitely ready for a sleep.
Posing at The Step Up
I enjoyed myself immensely. I loved the random tube activity – although my teammate was the one that did it. Maybe that made me like it all the more as I had time to relax; show someone a new trick with ‘counting 100m’s’ (which I only learnt at an event earlier this year); and have a good drink before continuing.
The Sunday race was another early start. I was late awake but still managed to get up. The event was the Jurassic obstacle race. This was by far the BEST obstacle course I have done yet. It was a reasonably small event and set in a beautiful natural area with many different obstacles; which was spread out nicely throughout the course.
My teammate from the day before came too and we both found that the event was a great way to stretch after our long race on the Saturday.
I highly recommend BOTH events that I did on the weekend. The only things I would change is
- Hope the Broncos are NOT playing at home the night before
- Make sure you have done a bit of mountain biking before – esp with all that water!
Great events to all the organisers over the weekend; shout out to my teammate for surviving and
Suwati (Team: Not another hill)
Thanks to Ridgeline Adventures for the photos.