Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tri Adventure - Wild Women Skills Clinics

  Wild Women Skills Clinic 3
Saturday 2nd September  2017 

7.00am             Navigation & Gear Clinic …. Listen and learn while we highlight many aspects of the sport including - gear suggestions and nutrition requirements followed by a navigation session… you will also receive maps for your afternoon MTB/Foot Nav session. 

9.00am            AR Paddle & Navigation Clinic… This is a session to help you with paddling techniques on boats similar to those you would usually paddle in an Adventure Race.  Things covered will include steering, paddle co-ordination and paddle navigation.  Plastic sit-on-top boats, PFD’s and paddles provided. 

11.00-12noon  Brunch..… Fuel up to get ready for a big afternoon of adventure! 

1.00pm             Mtb & Foot Nav Session…… We plan to take you out to some of our local forestry trails where you can put some real navigation into practice.  We will show you how to follow a mapped course and then take you through a foot navigation session with some off-track options. 

6.00pm             Happy Hour…. Relax and unwind after a big day of adventure with a champagne and snack or a coffee and cake at one of Noosa’s stylish eateries…. 

Cost: - $100 (Tri Adventure Members $75)

This includes all activities + use of kayak and gear for paddle + high quality performance T-shirt

(NB: food & drinks not included) 

Join Tri Adventure and save 25% on clinics, attend social sessions for free, and get our weekly newsletter update, receive special discounts from our supporters including Area 51, Ay-Up Lights, Endura, Skirts Sports Australia, and Venture Cycles. 

BYO all your adventure Gear (Including mini first aid kit)

MTB & MTB Equipment incl. compass (map-board would be beneficial if you have one)

Back-pack sufficient to carry shoes for foot nav and food/drink during sessions

Hydration/nutrition for all sessions

Paddle Craft & Paddling Equipment will be provided  

Bookings Essential – Registration forms and payments due by Monday  28th August 2017

Email for registration & further details. 

Numbers are strictly limited – so GET IN EARLY!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cowgirls Ride out Geoquest 2017

A bit of Cowgirl history to start…..

The Cowgirls all female team have been making an appearance at Geoquest since 2005, and that being our first year we raced the Half course and were vaguely confident we could achieve the distance.  Things were a bit different back in 2005 – we had an ocean paddle (just like the Full course), we had to copy the CPs onto our maps via co-ordinates (eastings/northings) and we had to contact the maps as well.  This took a lot of time in map preparation.  Things are so much easier now!  Getting back to that original team in 2005 – it consisted of some great females in adventure racing.  Kim Beckinsale, Thorlene Egerton, Susie Blissner and yours truly to make up the 4.  We had no goals in that event other than to complete it as a happy team. 

As it turned out we won the race outright – we were in shock to say the least….. The all-male team that we came in ahead of had chided us for drinking red wine the night before the event – they soon learnt this was a good strategy…..and we learnt that too….so have continued on the tradition for many years since!

2005 – on the beach ready to start – what were we getting ourselves in for??

Moving on the 2006 – where do you go when you win the GeoHalf?  No other choice but step up to the Full course.  We put together another great team – Janie Cooksley, Wendy Read, Kim Beckinsale and yours truly.  This race had the infamous hike-a-bike up Mt Yarrahapinni – the toughest one ever – and we Cowgirls had a 20-minute sleep half way up as we were struggling big time.  This race was one of the longest ever as well – the winning team took 37 hours and we Cowgirls finished the whole course when half the field retired or were short-coursed.  There was a 1.5km portage option on the paddle down the Nambucca River – but we couldn’t lift our titanic sea kayaks – so ended up paddling and extra 10kms around.  We kept ourselves awake (as we were now into the 3rd day..) by singing very loudly.  We found every CP but it took us nearly 53 hours – so we had missed the presentations when we arrived in on Monday morning!  This was truly an epic adventure with some truly amazing women….
Kim and Janie expertly fix a broken chain in 2006

Our cover shot

2007 – we were in Sawtell!  I rounded up some more legends to join the Cowgirls.  Kathryn Preston was keen for her first Geoquest, Linda Davis joined in as did Tamsin Barnes.  It was another great team.  We made it out through the surf on the ocean paddle and went on the complete the event again. I think we finished in 48 hours that year – with a swim across the same creek as 2017!  Kathryn Preston went ahead in leaps and bounds after her initiation with the Cowgirls – it was great to have the opportunity to show her the ropes…

Ready to go on the beach
Cowgirls on the hike-a-bike in 2007

2008 – I had Thor, Tamsin and Alison Curtin in the Cowgirls that year.  We survived the ocean paddle once again.  It was another great experience and we finished in about 42 hours with champagne on the finish line at 2.00am – yee-ha!
Thor, Alison, me and Tamsin line-up for 2008!

Nothing like champagne straight from the bottle at 2.00am!

2009 – This year Geo was in Forster.  We had another gun team – Kim, Narelle Ash, Wendy Read and me (actually, I wasn’t a gun at all, I was 49 and getting rather slow…).  This was the year we had to construct a raft – it was probably one of worst legs in AR that I have ever done – Cowgirls are not known for their engineering prowess!  I think we were on that raft for 5 hours drifting around the Myall Lakes – not something I wanted to repeat again in a hurry.  Unfortunately, we had to retire that year as one of our team-mates developed hypothermia and we couldn’t revive her.  We still raced for 40 hours… got plenty of time on the course.

In the years since then the Cowgirls have been firmly ensconced in the Geo Half.  I have had some amazing girls come through my team and demonstrated to them what girls can do on their own. Lee Burgess, Julie Drysdale, Diane Croft, Mandy Caldwell, Susie Blissner, Gina Dunsdon, Michele Krome, Wendy Flanagan, Kelsey Harvey, Linda Thompson, Cass Kimlin, Shan McGrath, Abbey Anderson and Kelly-Anne Speight – you are all extraordinary women and I hope you are proud to have been part of the Cowgirls Tri Adventure……as I have been so pleased to have you on board! Not one cross word or one complaint has been made from these girls over the course of 13 years…..and no tears either…..pretty incredible I think!

So…’s 2017.  We are back in Sawtell.  I am now 57 (!) – luckily the rest of my team is much younger J  Kim is racing with the Mountain Designs Wild Women – we have a house full of women ready for adventure!  We are happy to see there are 2 other all-female teams entered in the Half course and one other in the Full course.  Girls are finally breaking away from the role as the ‘token’ female…
The east coast low had brought the rain to the mid-north coast (as it did in 2011 when the event was eventually called off..) and we were faced with another critical situation where the race director had to make hard decisions for the safety of the competitors.  A few sections of the course were cancelled, including our only paddle!  This meant we had about 43kms of trekking and 60kms or riding.  There was no question our legs were going to suffer! 
On the run towards Moonee Beach

We started at Coffs Harbour with a 13km beach trek and one CP to collect along the way.  To my surprise we ran the whole way on this foot leg – that would be the last time we ran until the last 500m!  There was one rather challenging section on this beach where we had to make a quick sprint around a rocky section or be sucked out to sea with the crashing waves.  We all made it – but some were a bit shaken by the experience!  It was bucketing down rain (repeat this phrase for 18 hours…) when we hit the TA and our crew fawned over us - a thousand ‘thank-yous’ Steve & Michele!  Our first bike leg was 38km.  It took in some roads and many slippery trails.  We handled it like Cowgirls – slow and steady – looking after each other all the way – especially on the slippery downhills!

At the next TA our crew had ham and cheese toasties – thanks again Michele and Steve – this was awesome!  We trekked off in the late afternoon and were hoping to bag the first of 3 CPs in the daylight – we didn’t quite make it but it was an easy walk into the creek junction to punch.  The next 2 CPs were on tracks – so we walked right onto them…..and then we had to tackle a massive uphill to Peak Trail (thanks for the tow Kelly-Anne!) and then the long slippery downhill to the road.  Kelly-Anne was brilliant at this and she went ahead and helped us pick the easiest way down.  We slipped and slid…..mostly on our feet, a few times on our backsides….but made it to the bottom eventually – with a sigh of relief! Our crew had Mandy’s split pea soup on offer here – Yum – I didn’t think I could make it as well as Mandy, however it was delicious……but we had to do the archery first and this was a bit of a challenge!  Shan proved to be the best – getting 3 shots in, the others were good too – they got one each – I was absolutely hopeless – missing every one – not sure how I come from family with a champion bow hunter father…..sorry Dad!!

We were on the bikes for the ride down to Mylestom – and the knowledge that we would be finishing early spurred us on.  At this point we were passed by the some of the Full course teams – had a little chat and they left us in their dust (actually that would have been mud…).  We did have a small bush-bash with our bikes to find the inland track and then sped into the TA, had a super-quick change of shoes, donned our Gore-tex pants and off we went.

Did I mention it was raining?  Um….well, yes it was.  It absolutely bucketed down again on this trek.  We walked quickly, however the lights of Sawtell in the distance didn’t seem to get any closer!  After what seemed forever, we reached the outlet of Bonville Creek which we had to cross to get to the finish line.  It was a raging torrent of flood water.  There were about 6 other teams milling around wondering what to do as it looked terrifying and completely unsafe and no-one was game enough to attempt the crossing.  I was keen to get across, and we watched a Full course team arrive (with a very tall man), link arms and head into the water.  They seemed to drift a little and then got their feet onto land again and they were over.  Ok, Cowgirls, we have to do this….so off we went with one of the other teams.  We stuck together until we started to float, Kelly-Anne was strong trying to keep us from floating away and, just when it seemed like it was all going pear-shaped, we got our feet onto hard surface and dragged each other up to the shallows.  We were all a bit shaken – especially Shan – but we had made it and only had 500m to go to the finish line!  That’s when I decided to ask my body to run – and it agreed – thanks old body!  I did hold onto Shan’s pack to keep us together and we ran up the beach reflecting on our race.
It had been very tough – it always is – and it gets harder every year for me – but I am a stubborn old thing!  We had been the perfect team – everyone worked well together and we laughed and chatted a lot but then were comfortable in the silences as well.  We had looked after each other too - this is what it’s all about – and come home happy and proud of our efforts as 4 females in a very challenging event – and 1st female team J….
The Cowgirls have been doing this since 2005 – getting women out there together, driving our own event, carrying the gear, making the decisions and finishing up with a bond that you can’t really describe to anyone who hasn’t done this.  Thanks to all the Cowgirls over the years – you have been awesome – and hopefully we’ll ride again for a few more years to come.  Yee-haa!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tri Adventure 2016 - The highlights!

It was a very busy year yet again and as usual,  we packed in some amazing sessions over the past 12 months.  Here’s what we all got up to in 2016….

JANUARY:  We recreated the original Noosa Enduro 100km Mtb event.  It was a massive day on the trails…..and massively wet as well!  Good reminder of the tough race it once was.

The rolling hills at Kin Kin

FEBRUARY: Shan & I travelled to Falls Creek Raid in Victoria – as did John & Linda.  It was a beautiful event in a most beautiful place.  We topped it off with a surprise win – on Valentine’s day – how funny.  Kim, Steve and many others travelled to Lake Crackenback to qualify for the Cross Tri World Champs later in the year.
Shan, on the ropes!

MARCH: We participated in Clean Up Australia day with the help of Kayak Noosa….and also the Paddy Pallin Adventure race at Wildhorse Mountain…pic attached of John’s last AR.

Tri Adventure at the Paddy Pallin AR

APRIL: We rode the Old Ghost Road in NZ….and of course some did Godzone Adventure Race……the most extreme AR of them all!  Then back home we had the Rogue Adventuregaine and the Darkside!

MD's & Tri Adventure ready to start Godzone

MAY: Lots did the Tre-X off-road Tri at Ewen Maddock Dam with some awesome results, then the Straddie Salute and then a great 24/15 hour rogaine out in Warwick. Sadly we also lost John Harders.

Swim start at the Tre-X

JUNE:  Geoquest is our June event every year – and it was an awesome event, once again, this year in Port Macquarie.  All of our teams had such a great experience down there! Kim and Alex were extremely excited to finish on the Premier Mixed podium (3rd place) racing with Team MD's and the Cowgirls topped the podium in the girls division of the Geo Half.

The Cowgirls

JULY:  Just because we like to ride 100km (!) we put on the Rapha Rough 100 as part of the Rapha Women’s 100 concept.  We rode all the hills in Brisbane and clocked up over 2300m of elevation…. (!!).

Girls at the Lookout

AUGUST:  Amongst other things we took off out west for the Mojo Rogue 12/6 Adventuregaine.  A very well organised event – and lots of great results too! Cass and Kim paired up in the all female category.....completed the course and finished 2nd outright....what a result!

Kim and Cass in the cave! Mojo Rogue

SEPTMEMBER: We held our Wild Women AR skills clinic….and later in the month headed out to Borumba Dam for a great camping and adventure weekend where we had fun dragging boats down a dry creek bed… we know it was good practice for Hells Bells. Some of the Tri Adventure group (Annie, Cass, Steve, Shan, Dyson, and Gina) headed to Hiddenvale for the Epic and again some outstanding results with Annie 2nd overall in the females and Cass almost catching Dyson at the end of the 87k.

Challenging paddle - drag!

OCTOBER:  This was a huge month for us!  We staged the 3rd edition of the Hairy Mary, also staged the Wild Women Adventure Race…..then we did Hells Bells….. Exhausting! Three big events in three weeks!

Sister Mary & Hairy Mary

Hairy Mary - It was great to see so many of the Tri Adventure girls supporting this event that Aunty Jan aka Sister Mary created a few years back to provide something for the She Rides graduates.....despite the heat....there was a great turn out again at Victory Heights.

The Hairy Mary - girls ready for action.

Wild Women AR - HQ was at Pomona  and the weather was perfect for a day of fun and laughter in the Noosa Hinterland as pink women roamed around the Noosa Hinterland. Cass and Gina smashed the course taking out 1st place, with Linda and Mandy 2nd. A huge thanks to James and Mike for their awesome photography and for Coach Jeff's efforts on the microphone.

Off they go - Wild Women AR

Hells Bells - A bit of a different event this year with Vital Sports taking over the management from Dare You Adventure. This meant that Kim and Sloshy got to race this year together. Tri Adventure teams really supported the event, however some were a little disheartened afterwards as the event was quite different style of AR to what we have been used to! Kelly Anne & Shan teamed up and won the Female Team in Fairy Bells and Kim & Sloshy were outright winners.

Shan clutches on to her boogie board!

NOVEMBER:  Had a little breather after ‘big October’ then some headed to XPD for AR World Champs…. some headed to Crackenback for the ITU Cross Tri World Champs….and some went to both!  At XPD Cass  teamed up with Neverest; Greg, Steve, Abbey and Rick raced as Tri Adventure M & M's and Michele Krome was there too as super volunteer of the year! We are extremely proud of their commitment and achievements as XPD is no walk in the park! At Crackenback we had some amazing results Kelly-Anne 4th, Bardie 3rd, Steve 3rd, Anka 3rd, and both Annie and Kim crowned world champions in their respective age groups.

Kim & Annie - World Champions

DECEMBER:  We finished the year with a few very local adventures including some navigation in Ringtail Forest as well as Yandina and some coasteering from Noosa to Sunshine. We hope you are preparing for  another year of adventure and excitement in 2017......and we would love for you to join us!
Click to find out how to join Triadventure

It's not so hot when you're coasteering in summer!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cross Triathlon Training Camp

Cross Triathlon Training Camp 
12th & 13th December 2015

Two Days of Training 
Adventure at Noosa

 *    Improve your skills and efficiency in Swimming, Mountain Biking, Trail Running and Transitions for Cross Triathlon.
 *   Further your knowledge of appropriate training strategies for Cross Triathlon by putting some of these to the test. Further your understanding of the nutrition requirements for Cross Triathlon and the implications for training, racing and recovery.
 *  Meet and train with a group of ‘like-minded’ athletes who love to take on new exciting and different challenges.

 Presented by Tri Adventure 

Supported by Noosa Tri Club 
Triathlon Qld

Day 1 - Saturday 12th December

Session 1 - Ocean Swim – Open water swimming – warm up and swim tips for
off-road triathlons, and transitions
Session 2 - Trail Run – Run efficiency & technical adaptations for trail running
Session 3 - MTB   – Refining MTB Skills & Training Tips
Social – Join us for a free drink (wine, beer or bubbles) and some nibbles courtesy of the Noosa Tri Club

Day 2 Sunday 13th December

Session 1 - Transitions – Putting it all together – practice makes perfect.
Session 2 – Off-Road Course– ‘ride and run the trails at speed’ or ‘going the distance’.
Session 3 - Staying on the Trail – Tips & basic bike maintenance for keeping you out on the trail.
The Wrap – Post Training Recovery Session at a local cafĂ©.

Training Camp Cost $200
Triathlon Australia / NTC Tri Club Members / Tri Adventure Members $150

Numbers are limited to 16 so register early to confirm your place by contacting us at

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tri Adventure XPD Race Report

Alex Austin, Gina Dunsdon, Cass Kimlin and Dyson Findlay

The alarm sounded on Wed morning and through nervous and sleepy eyes the team made a mad scramble to don the race kit, demolish the resort buffet for some last minute calories/hot food and finish our final preparations to board the bus and head to the start line.  The previous two days had been a cluster fight trying decipher the logistics of the race and pack our bikes and gear into the allocated boxes so that we would see the right stuff at the Transition Areas (TA’s) – not something you want to stuff up.  We had also spent the previous day closely examining the race maps and figuring out our plan of attack so at this point we were all just stoked get the race underway.

Race start – 8km Kayak from main beach Townsville to Magnetic Island.  30km Trek + 2km SUP
Teams assembled on the strand waiting for the kayaks to arrive so they could prepare their boats for the start.  The usual melee of athletes running around like headless chooks trying to find bathrooms, fill up water bladders, grabbing extra bungees to lash packs down ensued but we managed to find two boats with working rudders and get our prep underway.  Cue clichĂ© start line photo, a quick message from the race director not to pat the salt water crocs and the gun sounded to start the mayhem.  I must admit it was quite funny watching everyone run and sprint off in the boats knowing that we had a darkzone after the trek and all anyone was really playing for was sleep time.  The paddle was fairly straightforward and by the time we landed at Magnetic Island we were positioned inside the top 10.

A quick transition on the SE corner of the island into our trekking gear and we set off to find CP2 at the end of a rocky headland.  Having done our homework on Google maps we saw a nice little route around the perimeter of the headland following the rocks to find the CP2– how wrong we were! The rocks were massive and we found ourselves clambering over these boulders, sliding through gaps and moving at a snail’s pace.  A quick change of plans to head up and over the high point wasn’t much better but we eventually found what we were looking for and headed back to the beach.  The travelling was again slow and with the ocean just there we eventually bit the bullet, jumped in packs and all and swam our way back to the sand – so much for keeping the feet dry!

A quick walk up the beach to CP3 saw us run into one of the Tri Adventure oracles: Kim Beckinsale! Kim was donating her time as a race official as she was unable to compete due to injury.  It was so good to see her so early on in the race and we were looking for a bit of an insight into what the snorkel leg may entail.  But true to her character, she was the ultimate diplomat and gave us nothing!!!  We managed to get the snorkel leg out of the way without much fuss simply following the trail of submerged water bottles and memorised the attached letters.

Cass and Gina - all smiles but tough as nails

Tramping Nth a couple of km’s to CP4 saw us greeted by the second Tri Adventure oracle Jan Leverton! Jan was also volunteering her time helping out the race photographer and managed to grab a few happy snaps of us heading into the next snorkel.  Much the same as the previous leg, albeit a little colder, we finished without fuss, picked up CP5 on the other side of the headland before making our way up Nth past the old battle forts to grab CP6, CP7.  We converged on CP8 with a number of other teams including Bivouac and Tiger.  After arriving a little earlier than us the cheeky lads from Tiger informed us that they hadn’t had any luck and were off to explore a cave 30m South… except they departed in a different direction…hmmm.  Nonetheless we persisted in the same spot with our search, found the CP and headed off towards CP9 and the start of the SUP.

Strong selfie game on top of the fort - Magnetic Island

We ran into Jan again at the start of the SUP which we learned would be two people to a board and one paddle with all your gear – interesting.  2kms later and a sore set of arms we hit the beach, dried off and headed up and over creek line towards CP10.  Rock hopping down the West face of the creek line we were greeted with a magic sunset, so naturally we stopped, had the feel good warm and fuzzy group hug and continued on our merry way!

The warm and fuzzies quickly turned to dark and stormies as we donned the lights and spent the next 4-5hrs rock hopping over the Northern coastline as we made our way to CP11.  Thinking the going might be a little easier up higher we scaled one of the cliffs only to be met with similar terrain, thorny bushes and bighting tree ants!  Back down to the coast it was to endure the rocks to CP11 before picking up CP 12 without much fuss and arriving at CP13/TA around 130am for a quick hit out of Back Country Dehy dinner, a quick chat with volunteer Michele Krome (avid Tri Adventure enthusiast) and a sleep to wait out the darkzone till 6am.  Day 2 – Leg 3 60km Kayak
After a colder than expected sleep on the beach (it was freezing, isn’t it supposed to be the tropics???!!!!) we loaded up the boats and headed East to CP14.  Spirits were high as we had survived the first day, managed to score a few hours of sleep and were injury free.  We plodded along against a stiff cross wind to Saunders beach before heading Nth and chasing the bumps of the SE wind.  Dysons key motivational attributes came to the floor in this leg as the somewhat arduous nature of 60km of paddling hit home.  We were also reluctant to head to shore for breaks as an encounter with a croc was a distinct possibility.  An ever enthusiastic Michele greeted us at CP15 with the good news that we only had 20km to go!

As the sun started to head towards the horizon we rounded the final point and paddled into CP16/TA on the beach where we were greeted by Jan once again and a nice 50m soft sand Kayak portage just to rub salt into the wound.  After drying off and comparing blisters we chowed down some grub by the fire in a beach shack to the delight of the locals who were highly amused by these spandex wearing athletes as they polished off tins of JD and coke like they were going out of fashion.  

Leg 4 50km Trek/Rogaine
Collecting our Rogaine map on the way out of the TA we headed West leaving the coastline behind us and headed for the rain forest and some hills! And what a hill it was to start!  Once we finally found the Foxlees track under the cover of darkness with a number of other teams we spent the next 2 hrs ascending 900m of elevation to land us on top of the Paluma range.  We’d just about used all on our fun tickets on this climb and as so it was decided we’d find the closest Rogaine CP and bunker down for a few hours rest at about 4am.  Our wise oracle Kim had told us if we could make it through day 2, everything would work out fine and the pain would become bearable!  So, we found a small patch of flat, non-tree rooted ground to lay down, draped the sleeping bag over the top and shut down the engines for 2hrs before it was time to make the most of the daylight and get on the move.  Rounding out the final CPs we headed for the next TA17 some 15km through more undulating terrain.

A quick stop on Paluma Range
Dyson slams a 'man can' on the Trek

Leg 5 56km Bike
Grabbing the bikes out of the boxes we immediately set to work assembling the bits and pieces (we would get very good at this by the end of the race!) and departed with a few hours of light left to pick up the CPs.  On the way to CP20 something went amiss and the tracks that I thought we were on weren’t lining up with the compass.  With some generous advice regarding our location from the Tiger Every day fitness team and the Dutch team, I figured out that the angle of my map board was skewing the compass and well Nth, wasn’t quite really Nth… Problem solved and off we went once again rolling our way to CP21/TA. 

Another successful CP find, this time at Birthday Falls

Leg 6 45km Hike + Canyoning
We were really feeling the chill coming into this TA and were delighted to see a fire pit as we packed our bikes away and hit some dehy goodness while attempting to warm up.  We marched off down the road toward CP23, were bang on with our attack line own the adjacent creek line and stumbled upon the flag at the start of the gorge.  Deciding to solder on down the gorge toward CP23 we were quickly “cliffed out” and decided to turn around, head back up the gorge to the other side and take a bearing for the road.  We saw a few lights around us from other teams so figured this was a fairly safe option.  Micky’s hands were rounding 4am so we headed for the creek near the high point across from the CP for a kip.  Turns out we weren’t the only ones with this idea and we ran into Team Neverest breaking camp so we slid ride in to their nice spot till sun up. 

A team dive into the lower section of the canyon

Up at sparrow farts once again and straight up the spur line, across the creek and up 700m of elevation to the CP.  We were fairly convinced we were in the right spot however it took a few nervous moments to find the flag… we certainly wouldn’t have been too stoked at climbing the wrong hill!!

Onwards to CP24 incident free and some more rock hopping into the canyoning section at CP25.  Kim had been camped out for a few nights to help with this section and we were delighted to see a familiar face one again along with Jan who turned up to catch a few happy snaps.  The water was freezing! Aren’t we in the tropics??? It took us 30mins after we crossed the canyons lying on the rocks just to warm up.  I can’t imagine what the teams went through that had to do this at night!!!

 Looks rad but the water was freezing

CP26 was easy as pie and we strolled into CP27/TA ready to build our bikes once again and roll the 50km to the next Kayak leg.  We were greeted here by Michele and Greg once again and their enthusiasm was as uplifting as ever.

Leg 7 & 8 50km Bike and 70km Kayak
This bike leg was fairly uneventful aside from Dyson's front gear leaver detaching itself from the bike... but it was great rolling into the next TA hearing the Wallabies vs.  All Blacks game was underway… even though it was 3-0 to the AB’s.  Dyson our lone Kiwi got plenty of mileage from this on the paddle but it turned out the last laugh would be ours.  As we departed TA the official waved us off with an “Enjoy the next 15km…” This could only mean one thing and sure enough in 500m our worst fears were confirmed as made the first of possibly 300 portages as the water level in the river was virtually non-existent.  We like to refer to this leg as the portage leg, it seemed like every time you’d get going a take a few strokes, bang, the boat would bottom out.  So, out we’d get out, drag it along the bank and try to hug the edges of the river where you could at least get half a stroke in.

Starting this leg at around 8pm, we figured it would be a great opportunity to gain some time and decided to paddle through the night.  It was a decision that was also forced upon us by the temperature!  Bordering on hypothermia and wearing every piece of clothing we owned we paddled as hard as we could to keep our body temp up as stopping would certainly lead to disaster!  Speaking of which we came across a few teams camped up on the side of bank, huddled by a fire trying to stay warm.

This was also the point in the race where we had also gone the longest period of time without sleep and the ‘sleep monsters’ started to take hold.  At about 3am we all entered a state of delirium and the hallucinations took hold. Trees and branches started to transform themselves into faces and objects beyond explanation.  A necessary portage took place and the whole gang got out for some aerobics on the bank to try and wake ourselves up.  A few bottles of coke and some food later we seemed to be through the worst of it and the sunrise snapped us back to reality. 

As we approached the TA we noticed a distinct distance between the flag and where the boat trailer was located… never a good sign.  So, using our throw ropes we dragged the boats 500m up a hill across soft sand to the trailer where we collapsed in a heap at our bikes.  A necessary 40min kip was required before we made the 50km ride into mid camp for some hot food and a proper rest.  If you’ve seen the video of us as we enter mid camp you’ll see our state of exhaustion.

Leg 10 Mid camp and 145km Bike
Departing mid camp at approx. 12am feeling refreshed after washing the stink off and a few hours sleep we were abruptly pulled over by local authorities who were very inquisitive as to what we were up to!  A brief explanation sorted them out but unfortunately our request for an escort was declined. Begrudgingly we made our way easily enough to CP32 and CP33.  It was here we joined up with team Raidlight for a river crossing.  We’d come to expect these type of ‘spanner in the works’ moments from the race director so didn’t think much of it… until after getting to the other side and being confronted by a 50m wide stagnant creek! Oh man, things hit an all-time low at this point as we bashed our bikes through almost impassable thorny bushes trying to find a way around.  The thought of swimming with our bikes even crossed our minds!  Luckily enough we worked our way down the creek and found a point which we could cross and were soon over the other side and making our way back towards the road.  From here it was simply 80kms of bitumen broken up by the very occasional stink of roadkill and a Rogaine around the town of Ravenswood which is an old mining town trapped in the 1800s!  We had hoped to stop for a quick cleansing ale at one of the pubs in town but with the next trek requiring as much daylight as possible the tough decision was made to keep on rolling.

Leg 11 4500000000km Trek
We arrived at the TA to the trek asking which team had won and were shocked to hear that both Peak Adventure and the MD’s were still trekking. This also sent shivers down our spine as the realisation set in that we too would be spending 30 hrs plus tramping through the bush.  We raced to pack our bikes away and get out on the course with as much light as possible to at least nail the first two CPs.  The adrenaline definitely kicked in as we set a cracking pace to CP36 catching up to Raidlight once again with Neverest not too far away.  As we entered the notorious section known as ‘The Maze’ we were met with a labyrinth of trails and contours that didn’t quite match what was on the map.  We found ourselves at a high point overlooking what we thought was CP37 with a setting sun and simply destroyed from the pace we had to keep to get us there.  We had also run out of water and were faced with the tough decision to make a run at the CP into the dark (or what we thought was the CP, turns out it was… a supposed 10m knoll that had at least 30m of elevation… go figure) or back track to a known dam for water, grab some sleep and wait for first light.  We took the second option out of necessity and were suitably devastated at having to give away so much time but it turns out that we were only passed by one of the male teams.  The next problem we faced was that each dam we checked was full of rank non potable water.  We came across a well with clean water, but with no “Macgyver” in sight to rig up a suitable retrieval device we were forced to go without.  So, still without water, we crammed into our tent and got some much needed sleep ready to smash the rest of the course the next day.

And that we did.  Turns out the extra sleep held us in great stead to ramp up the pace and with daylight on our side we breezed through CP37, found a cattle trough with clean water less than 2km away, marched our way up the gorge to CP38, through the undulating bushland to CP38 where the race director had kindly dropped a box of coke and pringels!!!! Yew! Onwards and very much upwards through the torching heat into to the last CP39 which we found with ease as the sun crested the horizon to the West before making the steep descent down towards the final TA and a run at the finish.  This however was not without incident as we were so paranoid about the out of bounds area surrounding the house next to the TA that we overshot what we thought was the road that led to the TA.  After 20 wasted minutes we realised that the gate to the property was actually the road a proceed to find Michele a further 200m along at the TA jumping with excitement as we prepared for the final leg.

Leg 12 40km bike
Building our bikes for the final time, Gina cracked the whip to get us out of TA and on the road to the finish.  After what seemed like an eternity we rounded the final bends of the Ross River under the cover of darkness and cruised our way back to the finish line at the Mercure.  Emotions were running wild as we rode side by side under the finishing banner to the applause of the race director, Tri Adventure oracles Jan and Kim and our number one support team Steve and Shan who had flown especially up from Noosa to watch us cross the finish line.  It was hard to believe it had all come to an end.  The mental fortitude required just to keep pushing finally gave way as we sat on the finishing couch, champagne and beers in hand toasting to what was for all of us the ultimate team adventure of a lifetime. 

What an amazing experience.  Completing a race of this magnitude is mind boggling. Made all the more special by the fact that we were able to share it as 4 likeminded fools!  I truly believe it is the strength of our bond that made our race so special and enjoyable.  A huge thanks to Jan and Kim for planting the seed so many months ago and grooming their plan to fruition.  Their easy going and enjoyment focused approach to all things adventure racing truly shone through in our race style and for that we are eternally grateful.  To Michele and Greg, thanks you’re your enthusiasm and encouragement out on course.  We looked forward to every TA knowing that one of you would be there for a hug and making us feel like champions.  To Shan and Steve, thanks for your support, it really shows the strength of Tri Adventure family! My teammates Cass and Gina, no doubt you two are the toughest chicks on the planet.  The sacrifices you have made to make this possible are amazing.  Whenever Dyson and I were feeling like it was getting a bit much all we had to do was look over at you two and see a smiling face to make it ok.  To Dyson, cheers for the laughs cuz, you really know how to lift the mood and keep that hair impeccably groomed.  Lastly, thanks to our families/loved ones and in particular Richard, Zaelia, Darren and Bex for steering the ship back home and putting up with our schedules!

Until next time.  Go Tri Adventure!

7th Place mixed teams, 9th overall 158 hours and 38 minutes