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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