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.
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.
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.
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
- Another Mini Adventure Break #Xadventure Dunsborough (banzaiadventurer.wordpress.com)
- The best micro adventure blog around
- Day Two Wrap up