Push It! P-P-P-Push It Real Good!

My usual team of adventure racing mates, the Tuesday Night Parmas have started a challenge this year and it has gone global. Check out this blog from our good mates Team Virtus in USA.

Team Virtus

Does anyone remember the original Super Century and the Super Century II? Yeah, well so do I, and my taint will never forget them.  And we fully admit that they were terrible ideas.  But we here at Team Virtus are a bit warped, and for whatever reason, we are drawn to stupid ideas.  Our friends over in Australia, The Tuesday Night Parmas, have presented a challenge that is just stupid enough for us.

It’s the Tour de France Push Up Challenge.  The idea is simple: For every Kilometer in each stage of the TDF, you do one push up.  That’s it.  Simple, right?  And for those that don’t want to convert miles to Kilometers, here is a list of the Kilometers for each stage: Clicky-Click.

Tour De France Push Up Challenge

I know it’s short notice since the Tour starts tomorrow, but I thought some of you might want to participate.  There really are no…

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I am a solo finisher – Marysville to Melbourne

“What a great descent, what legs are you doing?”

“I’m hoping to do all of them”

“Oh Shit man, jump in behind I’ll give you a tow. I just don’t know how you guys do it”

Me either, I thought. The rider just in front of me makes me take stock. He passed me a few minutes ago as I was tucked in doing 75km an hour down a screaming descent from Dom Dom saddle. Now, with about 10 hours or so of racing ahead of me, here is a guy who I don’t know offering to let me draft for a while. I’ll take him up on the offer as long as I can stick with him though. His encouragement and attitude was to be repeated and reflected in hundreds of other competitors over the long day ahead as I take part in Australia’s Premier Multisport Race, the epic Marysville to Melbourne.

For the past 2 years we had put in a Tuesday Night Parmas Team Each year we had set new PBs as individuals and as a team. As this was the third year in a row that I had competed, I was keen to step up and attempt the lot. After all, how else was I to bag a PB? I wasn’t getting much faster but could I go further? I had trained more, planned my nutrition and made sure I improved my paddling skills. I had chosen someone to support me that fitted my race plan perfectly: Annie plans everything, she takes it all seriously enough to do a great job, but not too seriously that it isn’t fun.

Annie and Meaghan awaiting Adam at transition

Annie in transition with Meaghan, waiting for me to arrive.

This year, Meaghan and Os were also out for new records. Stepping up to half each, they were heading into unchartered waters – literally. They also headed off to ride, run and paddle further than they had previously.

The night before the race nerves were getting high. Facebook and Twitter updates started early in the day on Saturday as competitors headed up to Marysville. This year we stayed right at the start line and as we were checking in we stumbles across Phil from W.A. After deciding to make the trip across to Vic for the race just before the Anaconda Adventure Race in Augusta last year, he set about training. Training ready hard. He was looking edgy and very keen to get going. At registration we met up with the crew from Rapid Ascent, over the past year, I have come to know them all pretty well and they could see that I was a little nervous about what the race had in store for me. We stumbled across Joel as well and soon we were all sharing tall tales and nervous laughs about what lay ahead.

Sam from Rapid Ascent offered a description of the race that sums up our experience from the past two years perfectly –

“This race is so unique because it is really a journey. You start at dawn in a small country town high in the hills, destroyed by fire a few years ago the whole town comes out to watch the start, you disappear into the rolling hills and you could be anywhere. After the run you jump on the bikes and up and over some big hills you get a sight of the city in the distance. By the time you finish the second run you are in the outer suburbs following the Yarra, then you get to finish with a paddle right into the heart of the thriving CBD. It’s a real journey, much more than a race.”

My journey on race day started with a traditional Team TNP breakfast at the Marysville Bakery. Watching Os pull the M2M Bib on is funny every time he does it. Without fail and it is one of the defining moments of the race. He reckons they are a bit petit for real adventure racers and should come in a bigger size. This coming from a guy that defies lycra and prefers to run in boardshorts and a tshirt.

Os reckons that Lycra is for girls

Os reckons lycra is for girls and that the bibs are ‘petite’

We caught up with Jen and Rachel, second place getters last year who both looked primed this year. Jen had rehearsed every element of the support crew tasks this year and Rachel was looking flighty. She was in with a real chance for a solo podium this year. I headed out for a nervous stretch and caught up with Steve Brydon, also competing in a team this year and Phil. Wandering over the start, Os and I were joined by Joel and before we knew it, 3, 2, 1 and we were away.

Up hill, left turn, up a steeper hill. Feeling good, warming up, “slow down – it’s a long long race”. Top of the first hill and Joel pulled away, I turned to chat to Os and he was about 30 m behind. I checked how I was feeling, this was far to early in the day to go out hard. For the next 15 km, I jogged along with Ironman finishers, Vigor Running mates and at least one Northface 100km competitor. All of them sharing tails from the trails and offering encouragement.

Megs waiting at the Dom Dom transition

Megs at Dom Dom

I pulled into the transition at Dom Dom saddle and found Meaghan and Kate there waiting for me. Big smiles. I knew Os was only a few minutes behind me so thought, I’d get a start on him and try to stay ahead of Meaghan for the first ride. I know I would be faster downhill but was determined not to push too hard on the ups, to save my pins for the second ride and run.

The screaming descent from Dom Dom ends at Healesville. Just out of town I saw Annie, stopped on the side of the road for no reason but to give us encouragement ahead of the climb to come. Such a welcome sight. The climb to Toolangi is spectacular, this year I shared it with a newfound trail mate – Aaron. Having recently completed the 250km 3 peaks, he was motoring up the hill. His description of that event convinced me that it is another of the must do events for next year. He was so excited about the M2M and what lay ahead we chatted the entire way up the hill. It turns out that he was racing solo but a group of his mates had decided to keep him company as a team of first timers as well. Aaron has raised a huge amount for charity over the past year and is inspiring hundreds of people with his Challenge 4 Charity campaign. I didn’t know this at the time, it was a real privilege to be dragged up a hill by such a good bloke. I explained that I had about 10 mins on the rest of Team TNP but was sure they’d probably catch me on the 2nd run. Somewhere on the climb I hear a friendly voice, Os and Kate passed in the car yelling encouragement and telling me that Megs was flying in the descent and was making up ground on the ride. Bouyed by Meaghans performance, I settled into a comfortable rhythm and soon found myself at T2.

Kinglake. 9km before the transition area you cross a highway and get a sign that quite simply says Kinglake 9km. It should say Kinglake 9km – mostly uphill.

A quick chat, some food and time check and I was away again. The descent from Kinglake is scenic and can be quite dangerous. I sat up behind a convoy of 4 carload of bogans for much of the descent. While they bullied and yelled occasional abuse at a guy on a time trial bike ahead of them. I had no intention of passing and for a while there, I thought things were going to go really bad. Thankfully, the road straightened out and they passed.

Into the undulations of Kangaroo Ground we rode. I spent quite a bit of time with Jamie. A fellow solo competitor. By the time I caught him he was struggling with cramps. We had a bit of a ding dong battle for about 30 mins before we found ourselves in the tight switchback descents near Panton hill. He got away from me on one of the descents. Approaching the second of the nasty chicane corners the road veered sharply right then left. Jamie didn’t. He missed the apex and continued straight through the corner up a driveway and straight into a parked boat. It happened so quickly that all I could do was watch. By the time I got there he was straightening his bike up and checking for permanent damage. We ended up giggling about it then continuing on our way. By the time we got to the transition we were both in a spot of bother.

The transition was a welcome sight. As I pulled in I heard a group of folk on the left yelling out to me by name, encouraging me. I had only met Claire from facebook groups that popped up after last years Surf Coast Century. But here she was with her entourage and Team 1000/1 Chance support crew. Cheering me on as well.

Off the bike onto the second run

I am lucky enough to have a “nutrition sponsor” for this event. A small Restaurant Reviewing Club in Melbourne called Phat Phucs has provided much nutrition advice (And entertainment) leading up to the race. At this transition I was surprised to see 3 of their number (And our support crew from Surf Coast Century last year) there to support me and the two other members of Team TNP competing. Joel had been through about 30 mins ahead of me and I knew Os was only 10 mins or so behind. So a quick food stop, some soft drink and I was away.

20 mins later I was walking and jogging with Jamie and we were talking about our common interest in completing the Speights Coast to Coast – one day. Meaghan would catch me soon enough. At the 6 km mark she caught up and walked with us for a minute. As she pulled away, I resolved to jog the rest of the way. Which in the most part I did.

Pulling into the next transition Annie and Meaghan were there and they told me that Os was only about 15 mins ahead. Another quick change of footwear, some more food and I was on my way.

One of the Vigor crew making sure I good to go

That is what this transition felt like as a competitor. Easy. I know that a lot of effort goes into supporting a race so that competitors can breeze through transition areas. It would be remiss of me here not to point out the outstanding service provided by the team from Vigor Fitness at the Kayak transition areas. If you need some skills training or to hire a kayak for one of these events I can not recommend this company to you highly enough. The kayaks were all lined up, labelled and set up ready to go. They helped us down to the water and offered nothing but encouragement. I understand that they also helped other competitors, some of which had arranged boats from other companies or brought their own. THANK YOU.

There had been a lot of discussion in the lead up to the race about the “rapids”. I was relieved to see them well marked and easily navigable. Somehow I had gotten a lead on Jamie into the first paddle, but being a seasoned kayaker he soon passed me. I hung on as long as I was brave enough to before dropping back to paddle my own race. Eventually I approached the Dights falls portage. As I did I heard “Go Adam, two more bends” More of Team 1000/1 Chance support crew. I rounded the bend and caught sight of Os. He was just ahead of me. Another good friend of ours Tommo was there to help me in.

“Fallen in yet mate?”

“Not yet, so far so good, though I’m feeling a bit tippy” as I pull up alongside a rock. Tommo grabs the front of the boat and I go to step out. Promptly, I overbalance and rather ungracefully fall in, in front of the expectant crowd at transition. Refreshing.

The portage was a mix of eating, drinking, shivering and grinning (I was nearly there). I was confident that I would catch Meaghan on the paddle, Team TNP had arranged their kayak from another company and had been disappointed by a late decision by the rental company. Because of the condition of the rapids, it was decided to put them in a plastic endorfin instead. After months of preparation and skills training, they were paddling a beginners boat. I am sure we will hear more on that at some stage.

Coming into the outskirts of the city I caught Meaghan. The next hour remains the best hour of adventure racing I have ever completed. I paddled into the sunset, through the Yarra river, right through the heart of Melbourne with Meaghan. The river was quiet, even glassy as we meandered through to Docklands. It was specbloodytacular.

Mind you, it very nearly all turned truly unromantic when I got all unstuck under a bridge, being passed by a ferry and two inflatables and being bounced around. I was convinced I was going in. If I had there would have been a rather miserable 20 min swim and restart before completing the final 300 m. A big sign under the bridge made it pretty awful consequences (WARNING FOUND GROUND BELOW) so I was determined to stay upright. It may not have been pretty (Judging from Meaghan giggles it was not).

Then that was it, we rounded a corner, into cheering and the lights of the finish line. We were heaved out of our boats, Os was there to greet us and we finished all three together.


Sam announced the finish

“Here he is. Adam Evans solo finisher with Meaghan and Os from Team TNP. We would expect nothing else from Australia’s Least Known Adventure Racing Team than to cross the line together. Well done guys!”.

12 hours and 3 minutes. PBs all round.

Walking back to the car we saw Aaron and his team of mates come in to finish as well. I remember last year and the year before watching finishers, after dark and being inspired by their efforts. Now I find myself part of that community. I didn’t win. I finished and I’ll be back to do it again next year.

What a journey and what a way to finish. This year I did this race to publicly raise profile and funds for Soldier On. A charity close to home for me and many of those that know me. If you’d like to know more about this cause please check out my fundraising page. If I inspired you even a little bit, please consider making a small donation.


What did I learn:

  1. The second ride is not all down hill.
  2. The second run really hurts.
  3. Contrary to Liam’s (Vigor Kayaking) advice to “keep paddling. When falling out of a kayak, stopping paddling, forgetting form and using the paddle in my left hand, tensing up everything and trying to paddle with my right hand while yelling over and over again “f#ck, f@ck, f&ck, f!ck” somehow meant I stayed in the boat, when under a bridge, in the dark in a river of shit.
  4. Every little connection along the journey is an important one. People lift each other up.
  5. The supportive attitude of the folk at Vigor Fitness, both trainers and members alike, extends to racing as well. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to me to learn that this attitude of positivity, inclusion and encouragement also extends to their staff and volunteers in the transition areas.

Thanks again Annie, your smile and everyready support got me through a long day.

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So what’s it take to be a support crew for a solo Marysville to Melbourne competitor

Before I push out my race report for the weekend just passed and my efforts in the Marysville to Melbourne, I thought it might be fun to do a quick interview with Annie, my support crew to see what she thought of the event. Being support crew takes a special person and to enjoy it is remarkable.

1. What on earth compels any normal person to sacrifice a whole weekend to support competitors in such a race?
I go on all your holidays with you…including your honeymoon. I’m never going to turn down an opportunity to sleep in a trundle bed in the same room as my sister & brother-in-law.

Annie and Meaghan awaiting Adam at transition

2. You’re no stranger to endurance events yourself, why not compete?
I didn’t want to take attention away from what could have been your last race as the official ‘Banzai Adventurer’. Well, that and the fact that I can’t ride a bike or paddle. Although watch this space…there is the possibility of a Phat Phucs team forming for 2014….

Annie completed the Surf Coast Century and 2 trailwalker events last year

3. Is it a tough gig supporting M2M?
It is a long day but if you do your homework (ie read the M2M booklet) the day will run pretty smoothly. It helps when the person you are supporting is very organised with tubs and labelled bags!

4. Did you enjoy it?
It would be hard not to enjoy being part of such a great event. It was good to see so many people getting out there and having a crack. The competitors appeared to be supporting and encouraging each other and support crews were all friendly helpful.

The life and times of support crews

5. What prep did you do to get ready to support?
I got the Banzai adventurer to run me through the transitions and what equipment was needed when. Then I got to the serious stuff and made sure I had enough snacks to get me through the day. Support crew need their own nutrition plan you know.

Support Crew Nutrition

Support Crew really need to take care of themselves.

6. Did you feel any pressure to perform?
Sure. I set the bar pretty high as support crew on the Simpson Desert Challenge so I wanted to make sure my performance was just as awesome.

7. Did you get anything wrong or make mistakes during the day?
I didn’t shut the lid of my water bottle properly and tipped the full 750ml into my handbag while walking through Westerfolds park. I haven’t told you this yet, but your blackberry was in my handbag at the time…I dried it off with my scarf and it seemed to be ok….

8. Did you learn anything?
1) In future, make sure the lid of my stupid water bottle is on properly before i put it in my handbag.
2) The dudes from Vigor are super helpful
3) The Banzai Adventurer and Tuesday Night Parmas are pretty tough and should be proud of their achievements

9. Would you recommend it (Support Crewing) to anyone else?
Yep. As someone who has done events that require a support crew, I know how important they can be! It is a great way to be part of an event and the best part is, the person you supported now owes you…big time!!

10. You ended up supporting more than Adam didn’t you? Tell us a little about Team TNP.
Tuesday Night Parmas are made up of my sister Meaghan (your wife) and her two good mates Kate & Os. Kate was my support crew buddy this year (as she is with child), which meant that Megs & Os stepped up and did M2M as a pair. I had heard a lot about how good Os looks in the ‘snug’ M2M bib so I was happy to finally see it in person. These guys did an amazing job…i think you’ll be hearing more from them down the track…

11. What were the highlights?
1) The sausage & bread that we ate at docklands while we were waiting for you to paddle in. It was so good!! We didn’t want to tell you in case you got mad that we ate without you (sorry gang, I’ve given our secret away!)
2) Being there to see you and Megs (of Tuesday Night Parmas) finishing together…that was pretty special.

12. Lowlights?
The water bottle incident was definitely a low point. I was also a bit sad when I finished the last of my sour lollies. Other than that, I had a pretty long but awesome day!!

Thanks again Annie, you really made the day a whole lot easier to get through. If you want to know a little more about Annie, you should check out her blog.

And one final thanks must be given to my nutrition sponsor for the day. Thank you for not only providing all the help I needed in the taper and carb load phase of preparation but also sending down some extra help ont he day. Phat Phucs, Melbourne’s latest and greatest Yum Cha Reviewers. Check em out folks.

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4 Days to go – Another inspiring prep talk from El Capitan

Dear all,

As Team Captain I felt it was my responsibility to send one final motivational email for the big race in 4 days time.

Meaghan at full tilt last Salomon Trail Running Series

The countdown is on.  TNPs have trained, we look lean and fit (I’m not so lean but am blaming genetics) and we are totally pumped to take on another M2M.  This year takes a different format with Adam going it alone and Os and I stepping up to do three legs each.  We also have a new member of the team who has been with us since Invy.

Annie – far right, next to Meaghan in the Simpson Desert 2011

Annie brings a lot of support crew pedigree (Simpson Desert Bike Classic) and will complement Kate’s exceptional organisational skills well.  Along with the original TNPs, Annie likes bacon and egg sandwiches, coffee and general snacking.

The weather report is looking ok – not too cold.  There is a bit of rain forecast for the afternoon but we will get on with the job.  Hopefully this means dry bike rides.  I also hope that the overpriced cafe at the end is stocking up with sausages and are ready for the onslaught from 5pm onwards.  I will be wet, cold and hungry.  And you guys better be there to help me out of my boat!!

A few personal records will be smashed this weekend and these shouldn’t go unmentioned:

–          This is the first time Os will be racing with gels.

–          This will be my longest solo paddle ever in one go.

–          This is Adam’s longest adventure race ever.

–          This is the third time Kate has been pregnant support crew (2 x M2Ms, 1 x Anaconda).

–          This is Ossie’s first bike race on a racer (/ever!!).

–          This is Annie’s first M2M.

–          This is the first year we have done any training.

In other coord tasks, I am suggesting a TNPs dinner at Mrs Parmas – I feel it is appropriate.  Let me know if this works and I will make a booking.  It will be a good opportunity to recap on race highlights and generally talk about how ace we were.

Yours in taper,

Team Cap

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Learning how to turn up to training

The subtle art of coming to terms of not just turning up on the day and bluffing my way through it.

It’s coming to the end of my year of adventure as the Banzai Adventurer and I’ve learned a lot about multisport and adventure racing. I’ve learned a lot about myself too, what is important to me, how I manage my time and what my mind and body is capable of if I give my self a chance.

I’ve said all along that I am a middle of the pack hack and this is still true. I am most comfortable back in the pack with the other weekend adventurers of all shapes and sizes and ability levels. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give myself much opportunity to slack off, I mean if there is someone just in front of me I will try my best to run them down, but what has become very clear to me is that the journey of the event itself, and my ability to cover the terrain, overcome obstacles and complete the distance in the best time I can is what is important to me. Rather than the competition itself.

Team TNP at the King and Queen on Invy

Team TNP at the King and Queen of Invy

While that might sound all soft and hippy – don’t get me wrong. I have been prepared to work hard. For the Surf Coast Century last year, I dedicated every weekend and many early mornings and evenings to training for 8 months to give myself the best chance of achieving the goal I set myself. I’ve also been prepared to learn and develop. I searched around and found a coach that provides me opportunity to train in a group (something that works for me) and encouragement (Gentle and otherwise) to improve and importantly a simple but extremely effective outlook on training and performance – if your expectations for the event match your preparations then you’ll do fine.

And for me those two key themes to my training can be summed up in two words – Motivation and Opportunity. I have truck loads of both.

So how has this translated into my preparations for Marysville 2 Melbourne. Well, I can tell you (just quietly) that I am feeling a little under cooked. 2 weeks out of Surf Coast Century I was nervous but I had taken every opportunity to prepare and was stronger physically and mentally than I am now. So what have I done differently?

I have maintained my motivation well, I have again surrounded myself with inspirational people to keep my excitement levels high and to draw energy from those around me This is actually a critical philosophy for me in all endurance activities as the company of strangers in a long event can make all the difference. The times that I have taken the energy from others for granted I have crashed hard and ended up having to dig myself out of a slump. For M2M this year I have taken counsel from Steve Brydon and set new and challenging goals along the way and importantly beyond M2M. I’ve kept racing with Scott Harkin and done the Kathmandu Adventure Race and Otway Odyssey this year. My team mates from Tuesday Night Parmas – Australia’s Least Known Adventure Racing Team are back again this year and we have all been in constant contact building the excitement of the event. I’ve struggled a little with Work-Life balance but have decided to carry the torch for a Charity that is important to me personally but also one that aligns closely with the industry I am working in, so that gives me a little extra motivation, and support from my work environment. So mentally and emotionally I have done well to get me to the start with all the motivation I need to finish.

Running literally along the Surf Coast

Running literally along the Surf Coast

In terms of physical preparation, each of my Tuesday Night Parmas team mates and I have approached this years M2M with a lot more determination than we have the previous years. The first time we competed it was all about the journey. Last year we had Kate join us and, although we each were fitter than the previous year, again it was all about the journey. This year, it is still about the journey but we have all done something quite different. We have trained. We’ve looked for improvement in each of the disciplines by seeking out coaching at Vigor Fitness and Peak Adventure. We have all paddled more in the past 6 months than ever before, we’ve all done a lot more riding than we normally do and while I have been a little slack in the running department, we’ve all been pushing a lot harder than the previous years on the legs. We’ve even sought out opportunities to train and compete together as part of our preparation. So physically I am also ready to race. My goal, as always, finish and finish in the most efficient manner possible, cover the course and obstacles I will encounter in the fastest time I can and adhere to Liam’s sage advice to make sure that my expectations on race day match my preparations.

So a normal week training for me is hard to describe because I travel a lot but it looks something like this:

Monday: Ride 40 km

Tuesday: Paddle 10km (Every third week or so with Vigor ) Run 8 km Moderate intervals with Vigor or 1 hr slow Ride 40 km

Wednesday: Ride 40 km or run 1 hr slow

Thursday: Ride 70 km with Os or Run 1 hr slow

Friday: Paddle 10 km with Vigor  and or Ride 40 km 

Saturday: Hilly Ride or Run with Meaghan or event (Such as King and Queen of Inverloch by Vigor Fitness)

Sunday: Long Ride or event (Such as XAdventure Dunsborough or Anaconda Augusta by Rapid Ascent)

So, actually not a lot of training for such a long and grueling event. I have a good aerobic base and I am pretty good at pacing myself normally so all things going well, I will finish strongly.

Keep an eye out for these around the traps, those that are wearing them are supporting wounded servicemen and women.

Keep an eye out for these wrist bands around the traps, those that are wearing them are supporting wounded servicemen and women.

On the day I will be wearing a small band that reminds me of a pretty important part of my life and an attitude that I live my life by – taking care of each other. If you’d like to know more or want to show your support then follow the link to donate below.

Please help me raise money for Injured Servicemen by donating to Soldier On.

Posted in Charity Challenges, Events, Marysville to Melbourne, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who is Phil McCorriston and why is he coming to Melbourne?

Followers of this blog may recall me talking about meeting a guy called Phil at the Mainpeak multisport Race earlier this year. Well he finished 11th there and is heading over to Melbourne later this month to mix it up with some of the best multisport athletes in Australia at this years Marysville 2 Melbourne. I’ve stayed in touch with Phil over the past few months and have been following his significant (And rather quiet) training and preparation for this epic event..

– meet Phil:

1. How did you hear about this race? 

Heard about this race after doing a couple of Anaconda adventure races in Augusta though Rapid Ascents web site.

2. Have you done any Rapid Ascent races before? 

Yes it all started a few years back when I accidentally stumbled across the Anaconda race series while holidaying in Dunsborough, I hadn’t even heard of this kind of racing and when I saw the format and all the fun people where having I knew this kind of racing was for me. So I set my goals and entered the race the following year. Since then (4yrs ago) I have competed in all the Anaconda adventure races in Augusta 3 times as an individual and once in a team. Last year I entered their (Rapid Ascent) Mainpeak multisport event from Toodyay to the Swan Valley.

3. What made you consider coming over to Vic? 

After the last few years of racing on the WA coast I thought it was about time to do a race outside of my home state in a different location, the only trouble was I wasn’t sure which event to enter. Which brings to the time when I met this bloke who was going by the name of the Banzai Adventurer, I happened to stumble across this guy on Facebook and was following a few of his adventures through the year. Anyway it is a small world because on the eve of the Mainpeak race I was quietly sitting down at the local pub ordering a meal and bugger me dead who walks in the Banzai adventurer! Then about 8 weeks later I’m down in Augusta sitting on the bus ready to head out to the start of the Anaconda Adventure race and who other than by chance sits beside me that’s right the Banzai adventurer again. So we are sitting there having a chat and he says to me “Hey I have a free entry to M2M if you are interested in coming over?” Usually I’m not one to take up opportunities like this, but the thrill of this kind of racing got the better of me and a few days later I took the offer up to come to Vic and race the M2M.

4. You’re not exactly a newcomer to long distance and endurance races though are you? I mean, the first time I met you you had a 70.3 jacket on? 

 Yes the 70.3 jacket came from the Busselton half ironman last year where I competed in a team doing the bike leg.

A bit of a local superstar, here Phil is seen doing his best Bay watch impression for the local press.

A bit of a local superstar, here Phil is seen doing his best Baywatch impression for the local press.

5. Have you always been an endurance athlete? 

No, I haven’t always been an endurance athlete. In my younger days I played a lot of Basketball up until the age of about 17-18 and then started working and really lost interest in all physical activity. That’s when over the next 8 or so years spent my time parting, drinking and getting into a bit of trouble along the way. It wasn’t until I was 28 when I jumped on the scales in the bathroom and they read 118kg, this wasn’t a good thing with just starting a new family. So I thought I had better do something about this unhealthy lifestyle and started to go for runs, swims and rides. As my fitness improved and I dropped the kgs I started to do a few fun runs and other smaller event and one thing lead to another. Before I knew it I was competing in adventure races and I had the BUG! Ever since starting the fitness journey I have never looked back one of the best decisions I have made and encourage other people to have ago it is a great way to live your life.

6. What kind of training have you been doing to prepare for M2M? 

Over summer I have really stepped up my training to the next level, which is quiet hard trying to fit it all in around family life and working shift work, but any free bit of time I get I’m either out running, riding or paddling. My training week usually consists of one big run around the 20-25km mark and a couple of shorter runs around 10-15km. Riding the bike is the same usually aim for one big ride of about 120-140km and a few smaller 70-80km ones. Paddling I just try to get out about twice a week and do 15km each session. I also try to do a couple of brick session as well eg bike/run or run/paddle just to get the body used to the transitioning from one leg to the next and maybe try to get a swim session in as well if I have time.

Phil.. Soon to be crowned 9th Solo Finisher in his first attempt. The main is an inspiration

Phil.. Soon to be crowned 9th Solo Finisher in his first attempt at Mainpeak Multisport. The man is an inspiration

7. It can be a bit daunting, a race of this format, point to point, it means you really need a support crew, what are you doing about this? 

Yes it can be a bit daunting this type of racing. As far as my race fitness goes I am happy with it and feel confident that I can finish the M2M race. Logistically I’m not too sure I’ve enlisted my old man to come over with me and relying on him to get each transition set up for me. I’m just praying when I run into T2 my bike is there set up waiting for me. Knowing my old man though there is a good chance he may set up my kayak among all the bikes then I’m in trouble ;-P

8. It can be tough to travel with all the gear you need for this, bike, kayak etc. Have you arranged a boat locally? 

Don’t really want to think about this too much because there is a lot of gear to consider and will probably forget to pack something ill need. Will be bringing my own TT bike over with me on the plane. Luckily I’ve been touch with Jarad Kohlar and organised an epic V12 through his company Peak adventure which is a great help.

For the M2M Phil has arranged a local boat through Peak Adventure

For the M2M Phil has arranged a local boat through Peak Adventure

9. Hairy legs or slick? 

Had to laugh at this one it was only last weekend when I was out riding with the local triathlon club and a few of the guys where suggesting that id need a chainsaw to get through the hairs on my legs. So to answer the question ‘Hairy’ it is just cant bring myself to do it.

I wonder how much faster he would go if he shaved the legs?

I wonder how much faster he would go if he shaved the legs?

10. I’ve been watching you pick up the km on strava, you’ve got some big rides in there. I haven’t seen a lot of hill work though, have you seen the course profile?

As I said before I have been increasing my training, usually the big ride I do does go out into the hills so I have no trouble with hills. Also been running a few hills as well. As far as the course profile goes it looks good, the first run looks a little up and down, the ride seems to be more of a downward appearance which I was hoping wouldn’t be the case due to the fact I back myself a little on the bike at the moment riding up hills. Then the second run looks nice and flat, just got to hope the cramps don’t set in and the nutrition strategy pans out for the race.

11. What are you most looking forward to at M2M? 

I’m most looking forward to the whole adventure and journey it will take me on, just hoping everything goes to plan and I finish the race not aiming to smash any records anyway lol

Looking very sharp indeed

Looking very sharp indeed

12. Strongest leg? Definitely the Bike at the moment.

13. Weakest leg? Don’t like to think I have a really weak leg.

14. What drives you to train and compete? 

The main thing that drives me to train and compete is just the healthy lifestyle it gives you and the sense of achievement after each training session or race.

I’d also like to take this chance to thank you for this opportunity you have given me to come over and compete in this event it is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to the big day.

Phil thanks for taking the time to share a bit about yourself ahead of the race. I hope you find the event as welcoming here in Vic as we Victorians found the W.A. Race last year. It’s a great (Hilly) course and I’m sure you’ll do well. See you in a couple of weeks.


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Another pre-race speech by Meaghan – Captain of the Tuesday Night Parmas

As we are only 4 weeks out from the big race (Marysville 2 Melbourne) we are into the final stages of our training. Just saying that seems a little weird, for some reason we are actually training and pretty hard too this year. Meaghan has lifted her team leadership to new levels and as she did last year, has taken to providing us some timely advice and encouragement to keep our motivation high and ensure we are prepared physically and mentally for this epic race. This is the latest of her inspirational emails..

To: Team TNP

From: Meaghan

So, I have attached some course notes for M2M from Liam at Vigor Fitness.  It doesn’t mention anything about embracing lycra but I feel like it is implied.  I am starting to get excited now.  In other exciting news, my new cycling tights arrived today.  Full length – I am going for total coverage, it’s in everyone’s best interests………I hope they make me ride faster.

So a team update . . . .

  • ·         Os ran 20km the other day which is awesome AND is looking very fit – his run is only 19km so he has technically over trained,
  • ·         Meaghan is not 100% sure she can ride 50km without stopping but is convinced that she will try really hard,
  • ·         Adam STILL doesn’t know what boat he is going to use,
  • ·         Os is scared of gels (sort of for good reason),
  • ·         Kate has been researching the best squatting techniques via Commando on the Biggest Loser (for the good of the team of course!),
  • ·         Meaghan is considering starting her taper two weeks early,
  • ·         Annie is pumped about bacon and egg sandwiches at the Marysville Bakery,


Speaking of training, in the next blog entry I plan to describe what preparations we have taken for this years race. As Meaghan and Os are stepping up to half each and I have taken on the whole race solo, we have had to take our preparations a little more seriously than in previous years. Some additional fame as a result of an interview with Rapid Ascent has also helped focus the mind.

Are you doing the M2M this year? If so, please drop us a line so we can catch up on the day.

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X-Adventure Race Dunsborough – Day 2 – a crisis of faith

I went into this event thinking that it will be a good lead up to Marysville 2 Melbourne. Some good coasteering running and mountainbike will be good for the legs. I hadn’t swum much at all but thought, as it was only 1500m that I could bluff that leg anyway.

First let me describe the course

Swim start

A spectacular swim start on the beach at Dunsborough. 1500m swim in crystal clear water – flat as glass and warm. There was some chatter on the day about the contrast between these conditions and those experienced by IM Melbourne competitors.

Transition to a challenging and highly technical running leg that takes runners out along Meelup beach to the lookout West of town. The run included a jump into water and a 20m swim to shore, a very handy way of making sure no one is running with Mp3 players.

Transition back at the Bowls club (Race HQ) before a challenging 2 lap course of the single tracks up the hill from Race HQ. With names such as Browns Street, Firefly, Bone Shaker, Sticks and Stones and Fun if you’re keen, I was pretty sure this was going to be fun, and hard.

The course was all that I expected, hard but fun as hell!

The night before the event I hunkered down with a huge bowl of pasta and contemplated the carnage I had witnessed in the Mini course. It looked harder than a lot of people may have been expecting.

They eat big.... really big in Busso

The next morning I was up early to finish the last minute prep for the race.

Then it was off to the race. I checked out the transition areas and swim course ahead of the race and wondered if I should have shaved the legs before coming over… There were a lot of very slick looking triathletes.

Shave the legs for next year?

What do you mean there’s a short course!?

Show us your tats

I did ok in the swim, it felt like I was swimming well and I was feeling pretty fit. Some of the longer rides and harder interval training I’ve been doing on the bike, running and in the kayak has definitely helped with my aerobic fitness.

I transitioned to the run and was feeling great up to about 6 km. The run includes a tough rock hopping course out past Meelup Beach to Castle Rock.

Just as we hit the first of the hills, I started really hurting. I started feeling really poor. It seemed I had no real power in my legs and I was struggling to keep my effort up. I’m normally the talkative guy on course that is constantly smiling, hi fiving people and generally giving and taking a heap of energy. On this day, I withdrew into my head, shut up and started to really suffer.

Instead of throwing myself into the ‘community and environment’ of the event I sulked and dwelled in how badly I was feeling. This of course didn’t help me a bit. So before I knew it I was walking. While I walked up hill, I started thinking about what was going on at work, some family drama, the scale of M2M and a raft of other stressors in my day to day life this week. Needless to say – I ended up feeling no better.

At just about a perfect time I was caught by a chirpy, bubbly female runner who came up behind me and said:

Come on ol mate – running up hill is good for the hips – see look what it did to mine! Come on tuck in and I’ll give you a tow.

How audacious is that! So I did. Up the hill she chatted away and joked and constantly pressed me for conversation. By the time I was at the top of the hill I was grinning and, although I had no hope of hanging on to her pace (I was afterall actually feeling pretty poor still) I had recovered my mood and paused for a moment to remind myself that this wasn’t a chore, or something that I just had to get through, I was there by choice, in a beautiful part of the country doing what I love. Stop being such a whinger!

Here’s a short video of the most spectacular part of the run.

The run home was quite a lot more pleasant after my exchange with Hips. Greatly assisted by some performance enhancing love in a cup from 32GI. I was passed by lots of runners of all shapes, ages and sizes but eventually I was back to the transition and onto the bike.

The bike course was fantastic. Not the most scenic Mtb ride I have ever done but quite technical and the downhill sections were a whole lot of fun. I struggled with my muppet legs again and, just like on the run, I had a real issue with maintaining effort. So much so that I even stopped a few times up hill to regain my breath and composure. I was feeling really crap and started dry wretching and struggled to keep anything more than a sip of water down. After what seemed like forever the first lap ended and I paused for a moment to consider if I had another lap in me. I found myself genuinely concerned that if I headed out on the second lap, I may not finish the race, was withdrawing – beaten going to be something I would be happy with?

There were plenty of reasons to quit. Something unusual was going on with me that day, clearly my legs had stopped working, I was incapable of maintaining any real effort up hills and I was struggling to keep liquids in. I was even losing my confidence. I felt very much like Maverick, once he lost Goose and he went over the edge – lost his nerve. I didn’t have a motorbike though, that would have been handy, except I cant ride a motor bike.

Anyway, I did the second lap and finished. Much much slower than what I was expecting but in one piece. Despite my internal challenges this was another outstanding event put together by Rapid Ascent. It had all the best of these events. Fun for spectators, race commentary, incredible location and well organised and managed event. This will sell out next year no doubt about it… get in quick.

best view of the transition area Xadv End of the swim

Chad and I after the race

After a very quick catch up with Chad after the race, I drove back to Perth.

Because I took so long doing the race, I missed out on a drop in with Phil ahead of M2M. I hear he is training very hard and looks to be getting ready to possibly cause a bit of an upset over here in Vic. He has been under the radar all year and is my tip for the dark horse.

Anyway, back at Bens I ate all their food, packed up the bike again – with all my stinky race gear in the bag too, freshened up before heading out to the airport (Another Transition) and flew back to Melbourne.

Checked the bike in in Melbourne, had breakfast at the Qantas club and showered in time to start work and fly to Darwin. Ending quite a weekend.


– Rapid Ascent and Banzai for giving me yet another chance to compete in such an amazing event.

– 32GI for giving me a little cup of red goodness that very much helped me regain my composure after the hill climb with Hips. I tried all your drinks at the event and am keen to use it in my training to see if it all works for me. If it does, I’m keen to see if it has a place in my M2M.

– Chad for coming down and having a go and sharing your experience with me, it’s great to be reconnected after so long

– Hips you made that hill a lot flatter

– My little buddy at the transition that shared her wonder at her husband and daughter competing in such events and taught me about a weird hocky, roller skating cross sport (Apparently, Floorball is a sport that Australia is still good at)

– Ben and Tanis, Shaun, Kerry, Gary and clan for feeding, watering and sheltering me

I’m writing this in an airline lounge in Alice Springs waiting for the final flight of the week back to Melbourne. What an amazing week.

10873 km in 6 flights

436 km driving

6 km paddle

1.5 km swim

12 km run

25 km ride

And one really really big bowl of pasta

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X-Adventure Dunsborough – Day One

It was always going to be a tough ask, flying across Australia from Melbourne after work on Thursday, then driving 3 hours South of Perth to compete in the inaugural Rapid Ascent X-Adventure race, then driving back to Perth, crossing back over the country and flying back in time for work on Monday morning. But hey, when have I ever balked from a challenge right..

Stage 1 Fly to Perth Pick up a car and drive to Shauns Paddle at Hillarys

T1 Dinner and singalong

Stage 2 Drive to Dunsborough Watch the XAdventure race Day 1

T2 Dinner – prepare the bike and race gear

Inspired by reading a great blog about micro adventures, I set out on Thursday fully raring to go.

One of the things I have tried to do over the course of this year is make sure I treat these trips away as mini holidays. I did Uni in Perth and Highschool in Bunbury, so the W.A. events give me a real opportunity to catch up with long lost friends and family. This time was no different, I spend a wonderful afternoon with a good friend Shaun, even getting in a sneaky paddle on Friday and caught up with Kerry, Gary and tribe for carb loading and the essential Friday night singalong – getting the Zen back into the race prep.

Shaun is a mate from Uni back in the early 90's he was kind enough to take me out paddling around Hillarys

Shaun is a mate from Uni back in the early 90’s he was kind enough to take me out paddling around Hillarys

Saturday morning it was off bright and early to get down to Dunsborough to catch up with a high school buddy. I hadn’t seen Chad for 20 years. Our families are quite close and when he posted that he had seen this race months ago, he was a natural choice to offer my second free ticket.

I got there in time for the start and waiting in anticipation for him to come through, not entirely sure I would recognise him after all these years. The scene at the start was extraordinary. Chrystal clear water, white sand and green hinterland and hundreds of eager adventurers tumbling into the water to start the swim. Minutes later the first of them were into transition. Then off on the run that would take them around the point coast hopping and rock scrambling towards Castle rock and the water jump. The topic of quite a lot of discussion in the lead up. After the run a challenging mountainbike leg that would test man and machine alike.

Start End of the swim Swim finish Lap one

By the time the bulk of runners came back into transition to collect the bike, they were showing signs of adventure. Mud, Sweat and quite a few scrapes and bloody knees and elbows. I couldn’t help but wonder what some of the quicker triathletes, more accustomed to bitumen were thinking as they took off of then bike.

Chad rolled through and I recognised him straight away. He looked just like everyone else did on the day, buggered, muddy, a little intimidated and grinning from ear to ear.

I said G’Day and congratulated him for getting to where he was so far – about to start the final leg. He took a deep breath and said:

“Man I’m tired, sore, those rocks were much bigger than I was expecting, We climbed through rock gullies, My legs hurt, I have so much chaffing I’m not sure I will ever walk straight again, did I tell you how big those rocks were?, urgh, hey it’s great to see you Adam.”

Then with a grin he was off, deep into transition and away on the bike.

Chad and I after the race

I asked Chad about his experience doing the event and he shared with me his thoughts:

1. How did you hear about the race?
Thru Facebook – The Banzai Adventurer then I looked it up on the Rapid Ascent website.

2. What race did you do?
The short course: 700m swim, 6km beach run, 11.5km mountain bike.

3. Not the full race then? Why not?
A bit more training on the mountain bike on dirt tracks and some beach & trail training would have seen me finish, a bit more 30+ Sun block and fluid intake would have helped too. All lessons for next time!

4. Have you done anything like this before?
No, about the closest I have come to this type of event was when was back packing in Canada in 1995 and we decided to run across and down a mountain because time was limited. I participated in a few road fun runs at various times in the past 15 years, but no multisport events.

5. What kind of training have you done for the race?
Mainly jogging 5km at my local park 2-3 times a week, swimming 800m at the local 50m lap pool twice a week and a bit of time on the bike 15km once a week. I was going to the gym twice a week until I signed up and then realized I hadn’t done any swimming for years.  I had only been to the pool 10 times in the 8 weeks prior to the event.

6. Do you know many other people doing it?
Adam Evans – The Banzai Adventurer! And a work colleague who is nearly 50 and is fitter than I was also doing the short course on Saturday.

7. Where you nervous going in to the race?

 8. Did you enjoy it?
The swim was great with clear flat water & blue skies, a much better experience than my training in the 50m lap pool. The beach jog was technical but it was cool & it was good to be out in the natural environment breathing clean air, rather than sitting in a windowless office. Toward the end of the mountain bike lap I started to get used to the idea that I wasn’t riding on bitumen or concrete and grew to appreciate the physics of mountain bike riding.

9. What was the best part of the race?
The 700m swim. This was a surprise to me because I have done very little swimming in the past 25 years.

10. What was less ace? Anything you didn’t like?
Choice of clothing is important in these events, make sure your clothing won’t cause serious chafing during the run stage.

11. Did you stack?
No. I came close to falling on some uphill bits with rocks and jumps. It’s been 20 years since I last fell of a bike so I was keen on preserving that record.

12. What about other competitors, did you get much of a chance to meet any of them along the way?
It was great to receive words of encouragement out on the course from competitors out on the rocks.

13. Do you think you’d do this event again, or other similar events?
I probably would. I would definitely consider other events held in national parks where you’re out in the natural environment with clean air. If I go on holiday I like to get out for a small hike in national parks. These events allow you to combine your holiday with some more excitement & exercise that’s even better for your health.

14. Now you’ve done this event, do you have any advice for anyone else thinking about having a go?
My first advice is to just have a go. Once you’ve signed up (preferably months before the event), you have a goal set for you. The event date approaches fast and the fear of total failure 🙂 reminds you to prioritize some time for training.

15 Anything else?
Thanks to the organisers for these events and the race officials from the Dunsborough Country Club who spent their time over the weekend making it all possible. Overall it was a great weekend, the best in a long time.


After seeing the state of many of the competitors, and bikes, after the race, I started wondering exactly what I had gotten myself in for, signing up for the long course…

In town that night, over a massive bowl of pasta I had plenty of time to consider my race plan. It ended up being quite a simple one –

Swim, Run, Ride, Don’t stop…. If I stop – start again, don’t quit.

Stay tuned for my next entry, it will cover the rest of this weekend of adventure –

Stage 3 Compete in X-Adventure Long Course

T3 – Throw all of my stinky race gear into the boot of this brand new hire car and make sure the windows are open all the way to Perth

T4 – Catch up with Ben and Tanis, enjoy their outdoor shower – seriously it is awesome, eat all their food and pack up the bike

Stage 4 Fly back to Melbourne

T5 Check the stinky race gear and bike bag into a locker at the airport

Stage 5 Fly to Darwin for work

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Another Mini Adventure Break #Xadventure Dunsborough

5:15pm Thursday and I have just enough time to pack the last of my things and get a taxi to the Airport. I live 30 mins away from the airport and the plane leaves at 6:50pm. It’s storming and traffic is chaos. Here we go again!!

Pair of jeans and t, Chuck Ts, Race Gear, Mtb and wetsuit, a tropical pant and shirt ensemble, 1 Suit, 2 shirts and a laptop.

Pair of jeans and t, Chuck Ts, Race Gear, Mtb and wetsuit, a tropical pant and shirt ensemble, 1 Suit, 2 shirts and a laptop.

I’m getting much better at breaking down the bike, packing only what I need and making sure I don’t forget anything. Though breaking up two work trips with a sneaky cross-the-country adventure to do another Rapid Ascent event makes for an interesting packing list.

It’s been a little while since my last blog entry and I have some news.

1. I no longer have a perfect record. That’s right folks, I missed one of the best events in the Rapid Ascent calendar – Bike Buller. To rub it in there’s even a video that shows how much fun it was…

2. I’ve been training. Or as coach Liam from Vigor says…. “I’ve been learning how to turn up to training”

In fact, as Marysville 2 Melbourne is only just around the corner, my training has very much focused on getting some km in the legs and working out how not to fall out of the kayak. I’ll post a bit of an entry next week on what training I am doing for M2M but for now, lets get back to this weekend.

I’m heading over to Perth, picking up a car and driving South to Dunsborough and competing in the newest of the Rapid Ascent Event the Dunsborough X-Adventure. An off road triathlon in Australia’s Great South West.

Stage one is just getting there.

What a view

What a view

Stay tuned folks.

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