The race starts in Marysville, a small township that was devastated during the bushfires some years ago. While the scars of these terrible events are still very much present on the hillside surrounding the township, nature has recovered quickly and the “undulating” terrain between Marysville and Melbourne provides an incredibly scenic backdrop to this event.
This is the second time that Tuesday Night Parmas have completed this event. Having chosen this event to make their debut last year, the pressure was on from the outset to at least meet if not improve on their performance this time around. Questions had been asked in the lead up, if Tuesday Night Parmas had what it takes to retain the title of Australias Least Known Adventure Racing Team (ALKART 2012)
Add to this the additional pressure that comes from the fame of participating in an event with The Banzai Adventurer, everyone in the team was feeling the heat.
Lining up at the start line, our runner, and my wife Meaghan, stood shoulder to shoulder with some of Australia’s most successful athletes. Ironman Triathletes, Champion Cross Country Runners, National level road cyclists, Adventure Racers and specialist Multisport Pros all toeing the line at the pre dawn 0630 start. Amongst these endurance speed freaks, though, were teams like ours. The weekend warriors, first timers and those out to just have a go. Race Director, and Adventure Racing Guru, John Jacoby, started the race and the first stage, a 20km trail run up hill to Dom Dom Saddle got underway.
As the runners disappeared into the foggy pre dawn chill, support crews raced to their parked cars (Le Mans Style) and dashed to the first transition area. An important part of this event, the journey of the support crews and Athletes along the linear course to the Docklands in Melbourne, the shuffle of people and equipment from one transition area to the next provides an opportunity to chat about the event and share tales of the leg before or nerves about the legs to come.
The first runner came through the transition area in well under 2 hours. As we were awaiting Meaghan to come into view, we spied Matt from Search4Hurt, clearly in distress from a knee injury and struggling with the thought of pulling out so early into the race. It later turned out that a niggling ITB pain sees him out of competition for a month or so, but luckily, no surgery is required.
Meaghan rolled through and we made the change. Quickly changing the timing band and race bib over I donned the helmet and I was away on the 50 km road ride. This leg is characterised by ups and downs. The eyeball popping descent into Healesville is incredible. Passing under huge prehistoric ferns steeped in mist at 70kmh on damp roads certainly focusses the mind. The ups are a little slower, but they do provide plenty of opportunity to have a chat with some of the other competitors. I tagged along for a while with a group of 4 other riders after Healesville. 3 Solo Males and a Female doing half of the event for the first time. I was inspired by the solo guys and couldn’t help but ask the obvious question.
With kahunas big enough to have a go at this solo, how do they sit down on a normal bike seat?
Finally reaching the top of the Kinglake climb I raced into transition and handed over again to Meaghan. Again an opportunity to meet with the other team members and chat about the race. By this stage, the caravan of support crews was probably nearly 20 km long. Winding our way down to the next transition at Westerfolds park I happened to see Chris (first timer and doing the ride as part of a team) pull up really short and eventually stop stationary astride his bike. I strolled over to see if I could help out and both laughing and in tears he explained that he had cramped so badly that he couldn’t bend his legs. We rather unceremoniously shuffled him off to the side of the road and extricated the bike. After a refill of water and some trusty BBQ shapes to replace some salt, he was away – rather gingerly back into the hill.
Meaghan rolled through the transition area and handed over to Kate. Her first time and a late addition to the TNP lineup, she convinced no one as she promised to “Take it easy” and “not get while line fever”. Just back into training after having a baby, taking it easy meant taking off like a rocket out of the transition area running down everyone she caught sight of. As we left the transition area I caught sight of one of the bikes that belonged to the group I rode with for a while. I spoke to the support crew member of one of the solo males and got the feeling that he was all but signed up to do the event next year.
The transition at Eaglemont Tennis club was abuzz. Always on his game, OS got a little distracted by the phone as the Peak Adventure guy helped set up the rental Kayak for us. Not being full time athletes means we haven’t yet collected the vast array of Adventure racing toys (Such as Kayaks) so we rented on for the event. Peak Adventure is one of the companies that offer this service, if you want to know more check out the Rapid Ascent site. In the transition area we caught up with some of the guys we had met along the way – solo man with the Big Kahunas, the Scottish guy that ran with Meaghan and Crampy Chris were all there.
Kate rolled through to handover to Os for the first paddle and after a short portage to launch he was away. The first paddle ends at Dights falls a short hop from Yarra Boulevard and a simple drive. Unless you have the suburban navigational skills of a blind concrete slab – like me. At one point I actually got worried that I would still be driving when Os arrived.
Thankfully, I succumbed and called Meaghan who guided me in. My 4 km trip took the better part of 40 mins, by far the slowest leg of the day.
A nervous wait for Os to round the corner provided an opportunity for me to catch up with Meaghan and ask her about her ride and run. We realised we hadn’t really seen each other for any length of time since she handed over to me after her bike leg. She had been finished for a few hours by this stage and looked remarkably fresh.
Once he arrived, I helped Os out of the water (Again not without drama as I had a blow out on my thong – should have bought the double pluggers) and we portaged down to the launching site. And that was it. All that was left was for me to paddle to the Docklands, to finish. Paddling through the CBD on sunset was a real privilege.
I arrived just as the presentations for those a little closer to the pointy end of the field started. I was really excited! We had run, ridden and paddled under our own steam, as a team from Marysville 2 Melbourne.
- Total Time
- 10:56:15 (196th overall) Category Placing 31st (Team of 6 – Mixed)
- Gender Placing 161st (male)
- Average Pace 13.90 km/hr (152 km)
It is taking me longer than normal to edit my video of this event but stay tuned.. I will post some pics this week.
Here are some pics of the team in action on the Rapid Ascent Site.