Thursday, November 4, 2010

Latest News - October

Aunty Jan & the girls at the finish
October started with our participation in the Rogue 8....a great adventure race put on by the Qld Rogaine Association.....Aunty Jan teamed up with Susie in the vintage female category...and our girls Hayley, Jodie & Ant had a crack at the event as well....what a great effort by the girls getting around for 8 hours in very testing conditions...Not everyone can say they have completed an 8hr adventure race!


Not sure what my motivation was for entering this event… must have started off last year as I was approaching 50 and I was trying to find some challenging things to do during my big 5-0 year…..Of course, we are lucky to have the gorgeous Andy Fellows (previous age-group winner of the event and 3rd place elite male last year) living in our midst here in Noosa….he was probably a starting point for my motivation…..I forget the other things….So it was a long path actually getting to the event – with qualifying last year in Victoria (you must all remember my story about the Kona – cold, rainy and muddy….and massive bruising an blistered rear-end after the event…) and doing some lead-up events where I felt pretty crap….I was a bit nervous about the whole ‘world champs’ thing….and wondering if I have bitten off more than I could chew here….. It’s happened before – but I must be a good chewer…it seems….

I had roped in Aunty Kim to be my Pit Crew Manager (very important job…) and also had organised her into a team of 6 for the event (just to save her from 24hrs of boredom – while I was having 24hrs of Adrenalin….) In Canberra we were invited to stay at the home of Jackie Fairweather (friend and former pro-triathlete, marathon runner and wife of Simon Fairweather – 2000 Olympic gold medallist in archery….) and she made us feel very welcome amongst the trophies and medals – but their amazing wine cellar was also very appealing…..Jackie cooked us some of her special pizza and gave us some extra special red wine – great pre-race nutrition…and we relaxed and enjoyed our time before the event.

Race day…..and I was feeling pretty nervous.  I was set up in my pit area amongst really serious looking athletes….and it was a bit daunting to say the least.  I didn’t have my own mechanic (although Aunty Kim can fix almost anything….) and didn’t seem to be quite as organised as some – my food was looking more like I was at a picnic than a race – albeit a World Championships…. So I was going to eat chips and chocolate frogs????  Of course I was – that’s my race secret…..put in the things that taste good….then they’ll actually go in and stay in……It’s works a treat every time!

Riding through the flowers!

Start line….it was a ‘Le Manns’ start….which means a short run to the bike – leap on and off you go.  Spreads out the field (sort of) and hypes everyone up a bit before the first pedal stroke….and makes a really great noise with 400 people running with bike cleats on bitumen…!!  So, found my bike, and I’m off and riding.  Being very conservative I let lots of huffy puffy boys go past at every occasion…..This was my first time on the course, so just having a look on the first lap, I think, was a good plan.  The track for the solo riders involved lots of climbing….(thank goodness I did some good training for this on Log, Wooroi, Noosa Trail etc over the last few months….)  So up the side of Mt Stromlo we went…..traversed nicely, and all rideable at this point.  Over the top we then got to some interesting stuff…..I took the ‘B’ line down some technical rocky section off the top….which was still very tricky…(can’t imagine what the ‘A’ line was like – maybe they just launched in the air over all those rocks) and then got to a rather nasty track called ‘Pork Barrel’.  This steep, rocky downhill section was the hardest part of the track, and of course on the first lap everyone was concertinaed up so we came to a stop and most of us walked down…..Hmmm… Then when it evened out again I was having trouble clipping my shoe in.  Did some amazing tricky sections with a free-ranging leg (spectacular to watch but terrifying for the rider doing it…) and then thought I’d better stop and have a look under my shoe.  Finding my cleat had disappeared completely was a bit upsetting at this point.  Hey, I’m in the world championships, on the first lap…..wouldn’t you have thought I’d got my equipment organised better than this…???  Made a mental note to self ‘this will never happen again, ok’….and got back on the bike for what was to be a rather difficult next ¾ of a lap (of 20kms) riding with one cleat in and the other one gone! The next section was a climb back up the other side of Mt Stromlo, quite steep… I managed to lock my shoe it at the heel and tried not to pedal in circles with one leg…..sort of like doing that ‘rub your tummy, tap your head’ thing....I was hanging in there, and trying not to get more upset with myself….because I was probably the only one in this world championships who has equipment failure on Lap 1…..oh dear!  Finally made it to the top – it was all rideable, even without a cleat, and then got onto the big downhill run to the finish….Tracks called ‘Skyline’ and ‘Luge’ should conjure up a great image of what it was like – and if only I could clip in my left shoe!!!!  Anyway, I still enjoyed the super-fun bits and made it down to the bottom trying to plan what to do next.  Riding into the pit area I came across Andy Fellows’ pit first and shouted at them (nicely) ‘has anyone got some spare cleats??’ They looked a bit amused but some guy from another pit said he had some – so we rode up quickly and he had it on in about 30 seconds flat…..This was great, I thanked him profusely and off I went - over to my pit where Aunty Kim was waiting.  I had seen her as I was finishing my lap – she was finishing her first ‘team’ lap…and told her of my problem.  She went straight to the mechanics and bought me some new cleats too, and was amazed that I already had one put on…So I sent her off to replace the one the other guy gave me after she organised me and sent me off on Lap 2.
Dusk at the Observatory
Lap 2 was much better now I could ride properly and I settled into a pattern of riding a lap, stopping for a few minutes then going out again all fuelled up on chips and chocolate frogs!  Later in the day I had some hot pizza and coffee waiting for me – Mmmmm, yum… and all of a sudden it was getting dark and we were into the night.  The track wasn’t too bad in the night – except for Pork Barrel, and I walked a few bits of this over the course of the night…..the safest way I think.  It wasn’t so bad when I was completely on my own, but if I could hear someone screaming up behind me I was very nervous about holding them up/crashing in front of them etc, so just decided getting off was the better option….
Kim had been keeping tabs on my progress and she could see I was a long way ahead of my nearest competitor… when I came in at 3am, we decided I should have a rest and ease my aching body (mostly hands and neck) for a while before daylight.  I had a lie down but didn’t sleep and it wasn’t very comfortable on the hard ground, but enough to revive me when dawn arrived.  After some coffee and other food I went out again – all rugged up as it was a bit cold now….Day 2, and I’m still ok.
I was quite fatigued during the next few hours and only managed another 2 laps before I was allowed to finish.  There was a compulsory clause to finish a lap after 23hrs if you wanted to claim a podium spot – so I padded out my last lap so I finished after this time.  It was really great, actually.  I stopped up on top of the mountain and chatted to the volunteers who had been up there all night, then walked a bit of the last climb (as it just used different muscles…) and took my time getting down the other side to take in the awesome views…..At the time, I wasn’t sure if I had to start or finish at the 23hr mark… I knew I could have completed at least one more but 2 more would have been stretching it – and I had committed to racing Hells Bells (24hr Adventure race) the next weekend as well…..I should be committed somewhere else, I know! Anyway, the officials said I was ok to finish – so I did!  10 laps completed – almost 200km on a very technically demanding course, I was satisfied I had done my best, and I had won a ‘world championship’ for my efforts!

As most of you know, getting off the bike doesn’t ever mean you are finished – the tedious job of packing up and trudging up to the car with loads of stuff always makes a hard race longer and harder.  My PCM did her very best to make it easier for me, but I still had to do the chores too!  We stuffed everything in the little hire-car.  Everything was covered in dust (better than mud, I guess…) and sped off towards our hotel.  The Crown Plaza was the ‘event’ hotel and we had booked in there for the night to relax after the race….and it was where they were holding the awards dinner as well.  However, at the last minute they changed the venue for this to the ANU, which was slightly inconvenient, as now we would have to catch a cab there – walking 2km’s was not an option….

Showered and clean we had a little sleep and watched some of the Commonwealth Games before heading out to the presentations dinner….It was a fun and relaxing night – and we enjoyed plenty of champagne as the night went on.  I was awarded 1st place in the 50-54 age-group category….and even made a little speech (they should never give me the microphone….) before getting up on stage with all the other ‘winners’ and enjoying our World Championship moment. 

Wow, I had done it and was glad it was finally over.   What had started off an amusing thought about a year earlier, had come to fruition with a chance to say I was a ‘world champion’……at the age of 50.  See, if you wait long enough, it’s not that hard!
 I probably had not done the training miles on the bike I should have done leading up to this event… most of you know our sport also involves paddling, running and swimming….but sometimes going into these things a little under-done is a good plan.  I have to thank everyone who helped me get there, especially for all the encouragement from elite riders during the actual event – they were most patient with my slow riding even though I found it hard to get off the track sometimes, so as not to hold them up!  Aunty Kim, my PCM, you were awesome…..I felt very special and you made it that way……thank-you J J  The attitude of most of the riders on course was fantastic – The really pointy end riders, especially, were polite and respectful – good to see they have learnt this lesson along the way… It makes the sport all the more appealing…… J J

Riding with Ay-ups blazing
Would I do it again……????  Well, I think I’ll try some other masochistic thing next time….. This one is well and truly ticked off now and I am satisfied and happy with my result…. J J J

Hells Bells was a very hard event for me personally…..especially after the goings on over the last few weekends!  The event attracted record numbers as the Fairy Bells option is appealing for newer adventure-racers (and older ones as the winners were our friends Gerbs & Kelly who have scaled down their activities after having baby Iggy…)

The Tri Adventure teams had some awesome results – especially our ‘Rainbow’s team (Hayley, Ant & Jane) who took out the female category in Fairy Bells – great job gals, you were amazing and we are very proud Aunties! 

Other great winners were team RUSH.  Tri Adventure group member Shaun, along with Ali (my younger, faster partner in Vanuatu..) teamed up with Russ Stringer to take out the Hells Bells premier mixed category…ie: the overall winners…..and even though they came in ahead of Aunty Kim in team MD’s, we are so excited for them – a great win and very well deserved!!!  Our other good mates SCAR took out 2nd place and MD’s (after encountering a lot of bad luck and having no local knowledge..) came in 3rd.  In the end they were really lucky to find their way out of that cow paddock…!!!  It sounds funny, but probably wasn’t at the time for Kim, Gary and Bryn….!!

Vintage riders!
Tri Adventure Vintage (Susie, Uncle Glen & Aunty Jan) had a fantastic time getting through the event.  We went out slowly and came home fast – in fact we were the 3rd fastest mixed team on the last MTB – not bad for a few old vintage adventure racers!  From start to finish we had a happy race – and quite a few very funny moments on the boogie boards trying to get flippers on an off.  Susie was a machine on the bike, Uncle Glen was the ever-present gentleman and also got the camera out at every opportunity and Aunty Jan took the map on the rogaine and we all worked together wonderfully.  We really wanted to test what the over 50’s can achieve and I think we showed everyone that it’s entirely possible to have a competitive race even though you are over the ½ century mark!  This was my 6th time at Hells Bells (only missed 2008 – the cold one!) and the event is always challenging and different…..Thanks to Craig and Louise, once again, for a very successful and enjoyable event!  

Lots more stuff in the pipeline for the next few months.....stay tuned.
See you out there!
Jan & Kim

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LATEST NEWS...September

Spring is finally here and we are full steam ahead at Tri Adventure.  Our Wednesday mtb rides are always a highlight and we have a good group now coming along for our Friday paddle sessions too.  We aunties are out and about racing have some amazing experiences at events from Dusk to Dawn, Vanuatu to our race at the Gold Coast Anaconda last weekend.  Read on for details of these…..Here is an amazing photo I took when coming back along the rocks on one of our Tuesday twilight run sessions….doesn’t get much better than this….

DUSK TO DAWN – 12hrs of riding ‘fun’…..
Arriving at the race venue, a private property near Canungra, the sun was still shining and we were wearing shorts…but not for long!!!  We met up with Richard and Howie and got our tent set up and gear organised before going over for registration…..Suddenly the sun was gone and we were in our snow gear…. Yes, temps dropped quite dramatically… we were now waiting anxiously for the event to begin… Glen popped in for a visit – it’s funny who you meet out in the sticks….Thanks for the encouragement Uncle Glen!  Peeling off a few layers before lining up for the start, we huddled together for warmth whilst listening to the race briefing….All of a sudden we were off…..bikes everywhere, lights blazing and dust flying….. Winging the first lap – who needs a warm-up when you’re going riding for 12hrs – we jockeyed for position on the track amid all the frantic riders gunning for a super-fast first lap…..Always good when Lap 1 is out of the way…..those huffing and puffing boys aren’t so full-on after that.  The course was technical and mentally tough…..and I’m not sure how long it took me for the first lap…but there were plenty to come!  Last year this event was held in mid summer which was a little more enticing - Ride all night and avoid the heat of the day concept….It worked well.  This year – ride all night and just get colder and colder….not so nice we were to find out!!  Terry, you were right….a warm, cosy bed was a far better option!!!!  Anyway, we were there, and I kept telling myself it was great training for Canberra….. So around we went….Stopping occasionally to stretch and eat (which ended up being not so good as when we started again the bitter cold was almost unbearable).  I had a real down-turn during Lap 6 and came in, feeling like I wanted to give up….

So, I boiled the billy and made some coffee, ate some chocolate and contemplated my situation.  I had to go back out, but that tent and sleeping bag were beckoning too….Not that I was tired, I was mentally drained from the course and feeling like I was riding like Grandma at times (most of the time!)….But I had to think why I was here and that was to toughen myself up for my World Champs over a 24hr period coming up in October….Ok, I had done this before, remember the Kona 24hr where I qualified for the Worlds…..I rode all night in the mud, rain AND freezing cold, without a support crew or anyone I knew for that matter…..So, I convinced myself to get back on the bike – at least my rear end was not complaining yet…..

Starting off again, I didn’t warm up till I reached the first check-point on the course.  The screaming girl was still awake – she kept me going at this race last year – I thanked her and kept riding.  All of a sudden I didn’t feel so bad – I was still struggling with some parts of the course, but mentally I was on top of it…..Wasn’t really on top of my aching back, neck, shoulders, and hands…..but, that’s only physical….It’s always the mental challenges that are hardest to overcome…..  It was past midnight by now…and I stopped and started a little bit, often meeting up with Richard, Howie and Kim during this time.  Richard & I were seriously questioning our reasons for doing this – quite a few times – but Kim and Howie were going great guns…..Well, so was Richard as he was riding his ‘very Richard’ 2-speed bike, and being 65 years old was smashing it, I thought!!!!  I continued on and reached 10 laps….and decided that if I can do 12 that would be enough.  My main problem now was the toilet stops I needed – obviously the cold was a factor here, but the coffee probably didn’t help the situation either.  On lap 11 I decided not to stop at the main area for the toilet but to use one on the course, which would mean I didn’t stop for long and get too cold….So I smacked out 2 laps (hardly smacking really…) as it was just starting to get light….  That was enough – I had raced till Dawn.  I crawled into the tent and managed to get about 1.5hrs sleep as the others rode on like champions…. Kim finished at 7.30am and came in 2nd female (same as me last year!)….and was only beaten by our young friend Kylie Maduna (who is half her age..) by one lap…..Surprising I missed out on 3rd by one lap – didn’t really care at this point ….And Howie and Richard excelled themselves with many more laps than me……and Richard might have been hallucinating those ‘wee furry things’ on the track…..I’m not sure, I didn’t see anything furry except the furry jackets that all the non-riders were firmly encased in…..Here's a pic of Richard in the race...

 Most of the teams on the course were friendly and polite – as most Mtb riders are….but one team especially were rude and arrogant…which is a real shame in an event like this…..and I can tell you it wasn’t the Ay-Up teams or the For the Riders boys…..who showed exemplary manners throughout the event…. Thanks for the encouragement too guys!!

So, that’s the story…..I can honestly say, I would much prefer doing this event in the summertime ….so hopefully they’ll have it back in February again next year! And as far as Canberra goes…..I’ll find some way to deal with it, I know…..Andy and the Ay-Up guys did a great job sponsoring and commentating the whole show….and it was a beautiful night with bright stars and no mud…..and the big, yellow crescent moon rose just before dawn….. But, the cold factor is something very hard to deal with – do you think it’s an ‘old-age’ thing????  I don’t know, but it doesn’t get any easier…..

Staging an adventure race is not an easy occupation…. The amount of time spent planning and setting a course can never be recouped in dollar value… the race organiser was extremely challenged doing this event….and we can fully understand why…. With a major earthquake to contend with (the cross-island trek on the last day had to be moved as part of the track fell into the abyss at one point…), native people (have to be the friendliest people in the world) souveniring the CP’s (as they looked great hanging up in their little houses!!) and many other factors made his job very, very difficult to say the least.   So when we look back on the event – we think he did an awesome job under the circumstances……Here’s how it went….
Friday 20th
After our flight was delayed 2 hours (I saw out the window of the departure lounge a guy up a ladder with a torch looking at something in the engine…serious!) we finally took off (without an operating auxiliary engine..)  Trying to explain to Aunty Kim that this must be alright as they wouldn’t risk their own lives (would they??) she only really calmed down when she had some champagne inside her body..!!!  We landed in Port Vila and entered the terminal to the sounds of the South Pacific and when we finally made it through customs (only one man working on the desk!…) and got our bags and bikes were adorned with the beautiful shell and bead necklaces – the Vanuatu custom obviously.  Whisked away to our hotel – we now understood why they said beware of the bus and taxi drivers – as the chaos that unfolded in the 30 minute trip was terrifying…. I think sitting at the back of the bus would have been a better option…..

At the accommodation (which was the official race hotel) we were hustled into a room – with not enough beds to sleep the 3 of us – we all looked at each other and the porters (really the security guards) very kindly brought another one in….. Literally, they dismantled a whole bed in another room and brought it in piece by piece and then put it together while we stood there looking on with great amusement….They drew the line at the bed making…we can do that ourselves, we said….and off they went back to their real jobs…!!  So a very small sleep (it was now about 2am) was shortened a bit more by the chorus of dogs, roosters, pigs etc which started up at dawn (actually I think the rooster went all night – I was hoping he would loose his voice – no such luck…) In the morning we realised why we were hearing all these noises as our hotel was adjoining some sort of community housing area (and all their animals which roamed free) and it was such a contrast to the world as we know it.  We also had the smoke from fires all around us…..this got quite overwhelming after a while and we decided a hotel a little out of town might be an option next time!! 
 Saturday 21st
At 9am we went down to breakfast and rego…and met up with all our AR friends who made the trip over as well….The race would begin with a ride through town out towards Mele village (under police escort – we soon realised was the only option….the town area was definitely not rider friendly!!) We finally stopped at a grassy area at the beach and were given our maps for the first stage which was a Prologue with a 2 hour time limit.  We plotted a course to collect all the compulsory CP’s and planned to get as many bonus CP’s as we had time for.  The mass start at 5.00pm gave us only 1 hour of daylight….teams scattered everywhere and we were going ok until I fell on a rock going for the 2nd CP…..oh dear, I have blood gushing out of my knee and have been warned that cuts and scratches are even more dangerous than the bus and taxi drivers….must remember to smother it with that special ointment when I get back!!!!  Ali (my much younger and faster race partner) and I were struggling a bit with the labyrinth of tracks and finally found the CP hiding in the bamboo, before making our way back through the village with some interaction from the villagers as to the CP’s planted somewhere there.  We then headed out to the beach for the last one before finishing at the Warhorse Saloon where we were treated to a huge feast (and some free wine!....)  Here we were given our maps for the next day – so off we went back to the hotel to plan the day…. Kim and Gary (team MD’s) were
downstairs doing theirs and Ali & I made short work of ours and tried to get some sleep as the next 2 days would be huge.
Sunday 22nd
Up at 5am we had to get our race and bike boxes out the front for pick up and at 6.00am we got a bus out to where our bikes were left the night before and got ready for the start.  Day 2 course would take us up the hill (very big one…) and over to the western side of the island on our mtb’s and then heading north where we would drop our bikes and go on foot to the crossing to Moso Island.  Here we would have heaps of fun (not) with the heavy weight outrigger canoes….We had to use a shanghai to knock down a Tam Tam (native phallic symbol) to pick our outrigger…..I told Ali I was good at this as I had my own shanghai at home…..Well, I couldn’t hit a thing – so she finally took the weapon away from me and hit one pretty quickly at close range….and off we went in our yellow outrigger with concrete paddles…. Kim & Gary were crossing the channel as we paddle past and Kim yelled out ‘you’re paddling a banana!!”….well, we weren’t paddling for long as we found it was easier just to walk on the bottom and push the heavy thing along – at least we could keep it going straight that way!!  Heading north to CP 31 we were out of our boat with about 5 other teams searching for a CP that clearly wasn’t there….Wasted about 1 hour before we gave up here…. Not happy but decided to try and find another one.  So many were taken by natives, taken with the tide or just not there at all in the first place….and we finished the ‘paddle’ leg completely devoid of any CP’s!!!!  Didn’t feel so bad when the same thing happened to Kim and Gary though….. It seems the teams who were there earlier when the tide was out and the wind hadn’t picked up were much luckier spotting these little prizes….Frustrated, we only had time for one CP on the foot rogaine before we had to go on a coasteer around the NW side of the island to the finish line for Day 2…..which was near the village of Siviri.  Once there the clock stopped but there was more activity up until 6pm where teams would split and had the choice of a rope ladder climb then abseil or archery and a snorkel rogaine.  I got in first and did the climb and abseil which left Ali to do the archery (she’s a much better shot than me, I found out earlier…) and snorkel.  I couldn’t face getting in that water again today either…..

After this we were taken to our little camping spot at the community hall (little tin shed)….but most of us had tents so went about showering under a cold tap before getting some boiling water to add to our dehydrated food, eating chocolate and finally getting our maps for the next day.  It would be a 4am start…. OMG….Didn’t sleep well again as chorus of animals was here too….!!!! 
 Monday 23rd
3am wake up call and we were up, packing our tent, trying to eat some (stale) food and drink some coffee whilst waiting for the start.  We finally set off at 4.10 for a short run along the road before heading up into the jungle.  This day was a trek over the island and would finish back at the Beach Bar (near where we started on Saturday) A very long way on my tired, old legs!!!!  After a lot of confusion at the start – with some obscure information about the where the marked track would start – we finally found the track (which we saw on the way up but it was way before the time they said..) and it was marked with pink tape (not red) and decided to travel for the day with another girls team (who were friends of mine) for the whole of the day.  So the 4 of us trekked through the jungle, stopping occasionally to search for the red tape and eventually finding all the compulsory CP’s – plus 2 of the bonus ones – along the way.  We were amazed when we went past the earthquake area and saw the biggest fig trees (that you could live in….) as we went.  Emerging from the jungle we tracked through a farm and then onto the road where we managed a slow shuffle on the downhills….(that’s the marble rule – only run if a marble can roll down….) and we found the creek where we would go in  and finally made our way to the waterfall abseil.  This abseil was done by the one who missed out the day before… Ali and Sharon got organised whilst De and myself went down the thousand steps to meet them at the bottom.   A few more CP’s and we were almost at the finish.  Once again the CP in the rivermouth was not there at all….so we shuffled our way to the finish line to the cheers of those already there.  It had taken us 12hrs 10 minutes…but we had a fantastic day and thoroughly enjoyed the company of our fellow competitors….

Tucking into the roast pig we drank champagne and chatted about the event with Kim & Gary (who had finished 3 hrs earlier – but had failed to go for the bonus CP’s that we got….) It was late when we got back to the hotel….and I think we slept very soundly that night!!!
Tuesday 24th
Presentations over breakfast revealed that MD’s were 3rd place overall and were rewarded with a Tam Tam (much laughter…) and my team placed 19th out of 35…..Not that great, but who knows how they did the scoring…!!!! Ali left for a 3 day stint on the island of Santo (for diving and other fun activities…) and we had time now to relax and enjoy Vanuatu as tourists…. We had breakfast in the hotel and decided to go for a walk downtown.  A look at the produce market and the art & craft market was all I could manage and had to go back and lie down as my tired and shattered body was starting to protest.  Pizza and wine in the room was all we could manage that night…
Wednesday 25th
Susie and Gav (lovely AR friends) invited us to join them on a drive around the island in their hire car…. This was great.  We drove along, stopped to take photos, go for a swim, eat and relax.  We enjoyed a bottle of champagne on the way at the Havannah resort (as a complete contrast to visiting native villages and stopping to drink coconut milk from freshly chopped coconuts…)  It was a great day and we finished up, once again, at the Beach Bar for food and drinks before falling into bed after another wonderful day in paradise.
Thursday 26th
Our last full day in Vanuatu.  Kim and I had put together some shoes and clothes and had been given some swimming goggles that we wanted to give to the school children who don’t have much of anything.  We rode our bikes about 10km out to Mele village and visited the school there.  We met the principal and she allowed us to go into a classroom and observed schooling Vanuatu style.  Our donation of things was greatly appreciated and we thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the village again and seeing it in the daylight.  As poor as they all are, these people were meticulously clean and neat and were all very friendly as we rode around.
Friday 27th
Time to go home….We opted to stay in the hotel before checking out.  Kim had a swim in the pool and I relaxed and dozed in the sun.  Our bus was on time to collect us and we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  We reflected on the event and shared stories with Ali on the flight home – and were amused with her rendition of her stay in Santo and all the things she experienced there.  So…… that was our week….. We experienced many highs and a few lows throughout the event – typical of most adventure races….. Next year the race will be much more organised as everyone gave their honest feedback which was greatly appreciated by them.  Would we go back? – I think so….. Even if it was just to experience those beautiful, friendly people over there. They put our society to shame, really…..

 What a fabulous effort by everyone who took part in the Anaconda Adventure Race on the Gold Coast over the weekend.  The day was even more difficult as a result of the ocean conditions (choppy, gnarly, unfriendly) and the wet weather which persisted for most of the day making the run and mtb course slippery and dangerous…..sometimes it makes us question our reasons for doing this sport…????? But we seem to be gluttons for this kind of punishment – and when we finish an event like this get some great satisfaction and a sense of incredible achievement by doing so……I think that’s the reason……!!!!

If you haven’t heard already, Aunty Kim, once again, came away with the GOLD medal – storming home 20 minutes ahead of her nearest rival.  She braved the ocean conditions and as a result had her shoulder dislocate no less than 6 TIMES during the swim and the paddle….OMG…..that’s a bit scary!!!  For the first time ever in this race she was helped out by a support crew!!  Gary, her Team Mountain Designs race partner, gave us the heads up on a legal portage option at the treacherous Tallebudgera Bar …….and as she had a support crew and a strong outgoing tide it was an option worth considering! So Kim was relieved so see Gary frantically waving his arms to come in before the bar….he assisted her with a portage which saved her from risking further damage to her shoulder. So feeling no pain, she soldiered on to take out the Open Female title for the 2nd year running…..and that achievement is the all the more rewarding as Kim is a Veteran….and has many years (of experience, maybe?) on those younger girls. 

My race however, panned out a little differently…..Surprise, surprise! I hear you say….. I, too, had a support crew for the first time ever….Gary’s lovely wife Kylie and their 3 little girls helped my out for the day.  I forewarned them on swimming ability ie: don’t look for me at the pointy end….and keep an eye out for the drowning ones at the back of the field….that will be me….and, as it turned out I wasn’t quite last out of the water – about 3rd last I think!  Well, that was Leg 1 out of the way…..

Heading out onto the paddle I was just wishing for a clear run out of the Currumbin bar…. Well, you sometimes don’t get what you wish for – and that’s exactly what happened!  I was following behind a guy on a wave-ski (small, novice paddle craft….) and I was a little concerned about what he would do when he hit the surf zone.  Now I’m just that one step up from novice (see: Aunty Jan on big, longer ocean racing ski..!) and I thought I’d better give Mr Wave-ski paddler a wide berth – big mistake No. 1 – as I went slightly sideways at just the wrong time and immediately got wiped out by the first wave.  Having had some trouble getting stuck in my boat on previous occasions…..why wasn’t I surprised when it happened again…. My foot was jammed in the foot-strap so had a semi mild panic when I couldn’t struggle free of the now free range juggernaut coming towards me with the smash of the waves…Finally I got free and then got back onto the boat but my left rudder pedal was stuck fast – I had no steering.... oh dear, big problem…so had to wash into shore with the boat and have a look underneath.  I noticed my rudder was twisted around backwards and there was nothing I could do (with my great vintage female strength) to get it back around the right way…..It was then I saw Tri Adventure regular, Hayley, on the beach waving at me….she had obviously watched the whole debacle and was a bit concerned for me – to say the least.  She had a go at twisting the rudder too – but to no avail.  I wasn’t sure what to do then – so I asked Hayley to help me with my boat and we carried it back up to the transition area.  There I spied Sam Maffett (who is the former owner of my boat) and told him of my dilemma…. He found a screw driver (cos I wasn’t carrying one myself!...) and got the insides of the boat sorted out after some poking and prodding…. Now for my big test – did I really want to go back out again? The short answer was NO….so why I attempted it has got me stumped….first attempt I was washed back into shore (and so was Hayley for that matter….I was hoping she had some dry clothes….) I tried a little bit further down the beach and with some uncanny streak of luck I found myself out over the breakers and bobbing up and down in the choppy, unfriendly ocean.  My greatest fear now was that all the rescue boats were up at the bar (sorting out the carnage…) and I was way back here all on my own and nobody would know I’m here….So….I paddled along, up and down over the quickly rising swells (looking mountainous to me) and hoped I could managed to stay on my boat which was now working perfectly….as Kylie would be waiting at the Tally bar for me – and we had pre-arranged a portage like Kim had – so I hoped she hadn’t given up on me – as I was now about an hour behind time after all my problems.  I could see a jet-ski ahead with a struggling paddler – and hoped they could see me coming too…..and finally I caught up to them, which eased my worry a bit as now I would be saved if I needed it…. I could see the beach ahead and spotted poor Kylie on the beach – gave her a quick wave – and she waved back with excitement to see me still coming.  I managed to get in through the surf zone with little fuss – phew…. I was stressing about that so much after having a near-death experience in this same place about 5 years ago at the first training day Rapid Ascent held for the race….. With assistance from another guy on the beach Kylie carried my boat and I walked beside them, over the rock wall to the other side where the lovely calm water was waiting for me….Oh, relief.  I thanked them profusely…and paddled off on my way upstream to the transition at Connection Rd.  I have to say a HUGE thank-you to Hayley as if she hadn’t been there on the beach I probably would have given up.... but, there you go, I didn’t!!

Gliding into the paddle/run transition I was met by Kylie once again – and got myself ready for the run – stuffed some snakes into my mouth and off I went.  The rain had set in and the course, which is technical and difficult at the best of times, was even harder and I was slipping and sliding all over the muddy bits – but I was happy to be off that ocean so nothing was going to upset me now…. Had a chat to a few other runners along the way – I was feeling ok and got through the run a little slower than other years, but glad to get it under my belt once again.  Onto the bike and I knew it was then under 2 hours to go to the finish.  Most people had already finished by this time – but I was a bit cautious on the slippery track and I was determined to finish this in tact now that I had come so far and conquered everything that had been thrown at me!!  When I rode into the bike transition I was met by Gary who had retired Kylie and the girls (they had been out all day looking after me in the pouring rain) and he also told me Kim had won the race (yay, big smiles) so I ran off for the 2k home run a very happy, muddy and relieved Aunty…..

The news got even better when I crossed the finish line….Our Tri Adventure Girls team had won their category, our Tri Adventure Bridesmaids team of Jules & Gail had lived up to their name and taken out 2nd place – again….and the male team we had helped organise (with Andy Fellows and Jay Pattison joining some Gold Coast hot-shots) had won as well….. Andy had smashed the bike course and no-one can believe how he did it in 51mins… take out fastest bike ride of the day….and everyone else we knew who started had finished the race…..What an amazing day!!  Guess it called for some champagne – so we had some!!  Great to see lots of friends down there racing too – The Coffs connection (well done Tim) and many Noosa locals including the lovely Simon Gilder braved the tough conditions to finish well. 

A huge thanks, once again, to our support crews, Gary & Kylie, who were absolutely great on the day and we wonder how we have done all the other races without them.  Also many thanks to Hayley who helped me out and got nearly drowned for her efforts…..sorry about that!!!

It was great to see 6 junior teams entered in the race this year – and one junior individual.  Makes us feel there is a great future to this sport…..which is awesome!!!  And, thanks to Rapid Ascent who managed to take me out of my comfort zone once again (to add to the countless other times they have successfully achieved this…!!)

So, what’s next for the Aunties……
This weekend sees Kim team up Mountain Designs to race the 12hr Dark Side Adventure Race….2nd October Aunty Jan is racing with fellow Vintage female Susie Williams in the Rogue 8hr Adventure Race…..9-10th October Aunty Jan racing at 24hr World Solo Mtb Champs in Canberra…..16-17th October both Aunties racing Hells Bells in our various teams…...and we are now going to line up for Anaconda Lorne on December 5th……It’s all happening…..!!!

See you out there!
 Jan & Kim

Monday, July 12, 2010


Some photographic memories of a recent paddle to Harry’s Hut….

We Aunties spent a few days in the holidays out slashing and marking the famous run course on the Gold Coast Anaconda… know we love this sort of thing….. Armed with an array or garden implement supplied by Aunty Jan’s Mum we took on the course with gusto, slashing our way though a whole year’s growth of lantana, wait-a-while, fallen trees and washed out sections on the creek crossings. Satisfied we now had a track we were confident everyone would find their way on the training days ahead.

We had the lovely Kev as our guinea pig for the run section – and he was suitably impressed and thought it a ‘true John Jacoby style’ course…..and he hadn’t seen the bike course yet!!! Meeting us at the Double D ranch were George, Al and Thomas….so 6 of us set off on the famous course which takes us up to the track along the Qld/NSW border….Our legs were certainly warmed up after the climb up the tar on Bains Rd….Al’s comments were…”Hmmmm, how do they put tar on a cliff?....” It was pretty steep but we all stayed in the saddle….Bikes over the fence and we commenced the lovely undulating trail which gave us plenty of highs and lows – and some incredible views we were about to make an awesome descent into the valley…. With no dramas to report, but plenty of energy burned – who needs gyms – we rolled back into Palm Beach Parklands around 4.30pm….and Duncan took this lovely shot of us at the water’s edge….
It was fantastic to see Thomas – who escaped Brisbane for the day – and our Victorian visitors Kev and Al – up for a taste of the Anaconda style of Multisport racing….and hope we see many more of you there on race day – September 5th! Let us know if you would like to join a team and we can put you in touch with others…
On the eve of the cancelled Noosa Enduro 100km mtb event, we decided to do it anyway. Why? Cos it’s such amazing course – and a great day out in the hinterland! We also decided to use it as a small (but every little bit helps) fundraiser for our friend Sam Naudin who is battling liver cancer…..

Well, what an amazing turn-out! Twenty-four riders rocked up for the day to ride either the 50k or continue on to do the entire 100km. And what a line-up of legends….John Jacoby, Russell Prince, Kev Piercy and the amazing Sharon from Christchurch – to name a few…and Kenny was there too!! Thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a great day – we literally finished the 100km just before sunset…. We didn’t open the white envelope of donations till we got home and it came to $455!! We have rounded it up to $500 and will present a cheque to Sam in the next week……A thousand thank-you’s to all you generous friends!!!

With the overnight rain easing that morning, we knew it was still going to be a muddy ride as we set off together just after 6.30am. Aunty Kim, at the helm, gave everyone a little bit extra before we got on the right track out to Porters Rd – thanks Aunty Kim!....we always love to go extra, don’t we….????...and no, Alan, we won’t charge you any more for it….ok!.... Our groups ended up riding together till we got to Ringtail forest and then we split into 3. Eventually groups 2 & 3 merged before the Sideburn single track….and Alan, you wanted to pay more after that ride, I know….Terry led us down ‘his’ track – woo-hoo, what a ride! We wove through the Ringtail Forest trails and then up the ‘Rock & Roll’ which took us back towards Forest Acres. Riding along the road, and about to get onto the trail we spied the first group coming out of the Lake Macdonald loop…..and then decided to join up and ride back together. Our second group probably missed a loop of about 5km – but as we had done extra at the start, we didn’t mind at all. On the way back we got a few showers and just nicely mud splattered before the finish….well, for some anyway….

Five of us – including the very determined Hayley – set off towards Cooran for the next part of the day. It was 12noon when we left Pomona. There were so many hills before we reached the ‘Mother’ that Hayley was wondering if her legs were still part of her….and it didn’t help that we took the long way there as well…up a little winding trail on the Network – when the actual Enduro went straight up a tar road….. oh well, we saw a very pretty creek along the way…. See pic of one of those early hills – and look at the view already!....I guess you could say it was just onwards and upwards from here. We had a great time discussing Geoquest antics with Shaun to take away the pain of the uphills….and our experiences climbing the very unforgiving Mt Pinbarren which we passed by at the top of the Mother….and found out we had a 10 x Coast to Coast legend riding with us in the lovely Sharon……and kept eating and drinking….and kept going up and up and up some more…….Finally we were atop the western ridge the skirts the Kin Kin Valley and ready for the ride of our life down the beautiful single track that takes us through to Ewarts Rd…..The surface was perfect – not too wet and not too dry… fact, probably the best texture we have ever ridden on down this great-fun track… all that uphill slog was momentarily forgotten as we turned into 12 year-olds hooting down the hill….. A few more ups and some nice downs and we were at Johnston’s Lookout with a big downhill ride through paddocks through to the ride. This was great fun too – except Aunty Jan baulked at the very steep bit and nearly found herself making friends with the barbed wire fence….but got back on and enjoyed most of it too….. Then we kept on riding, roads and paddocks and eventually got on the tar and made it into Kin Kin. Mmmm… a little stop at our favourite shop where Shaun did the boy thing and had a pie and we sat down to discuss our plan from here as we had less than 2 hrs of daylight left….even though we Aunties were carrying our Ay-ups….. So, the plan from here changed and we took the road out of Kin Kin and through our new Moffats Rd discovery from a couple of weeks earlier….onto Black Pinch Rd and a big downhill to the main road. 4 kms and we were back in Pomona….just before dark and with time to get home and watch the Tour! Phew….what a day…..Even with the few deviations, we all clocked over 100kms…and there you go Hayley, that’s what it’s all about! Hope you have recovered just a little bit by today…..a great effort for someone who has only been on the bike for about 6 months!!

Lots more to come this year so stay tuned....See you out there!
Jan & Kim

Friday, June 25, 2010


We made our way down towards the little village of Uki (in the shadow of the amazing Mt Warning..) and about 14km though town along the Kyogle road we found the Inter Action Learning Centre which would be the HQ for the event…..With no time to waste we lined up and got our maps and had a very short period (as always) to plan and get organised for the next 8 hours…. Our event would begin after a bus ride out to Clarrie Hall Dam (water supply for the Tweed Valley) where we would embark on a trek in the surrounding bushland followed by a paddle. The mass start saw us all dashing up a steep track for the compulsory CP1 which had a bit of a line-up for the punch….After this one we had 4 more compulsory CP’s and 2 optional which would give us some extra points that might be handy in the whole scheme of the event. We bashed our way up the hill in search of CP 2, then went up again and traversed the incredibly thick native bush and lantana which eventually lead us to CP Z (with 45 bonus points we were happy to get this one…) We nailed Y (the other optional) and then made our way along a nice undulating track before we had to aim off (and up) to find CP 3….This was a rather steep and rocky ascent…which proved extremely difficult to one particular Aunty….but finally we were at the knoll and found the CP – and had some awesome views of the surrounding mountains and dam below….lovely! Aunty Kim with map in hand took us through some quite impenetrable scrub on the way to CP 4 and we had to back-track here and find our way down the spur (a little less steep and less vegetated…) and when we finally hit the track we were quite happy….Up again to CP 4 (on a single track…) and then down to the dam wall to CP 5…. Phew, finally we were about to paddle. Thinking we were the only team left we were surprised to see quite a few boats still waiting for their paddlers to emerge from the bush….Must have been hard going for a lot of teams out there – not just the Aunties!

Into to the boats and on our way along the lengthy dam we had to find 5 CP’s along the way before the TA at Crams Farm Reserve… Most of these were fairly obvious and we only had trouble with the one on the island (cos sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s an island and what’s the mainland…..) anyway we finally found it and found the TA. From here we were sent out on foot again to find 7 CP’s before a compulsory 45min ‘time-out’ where we were transported back to HQ for the start of the bike leg. We had about 5 minutes to change our gear and then we were off up the hill for a ride that took us to some of the most beautiful trails in the area – and it was dry!! The only problem was, we had quite a lot of trouble finding the first CP when some other teams convinced us we were on the wrong track (it wasn’t easy as lots of tracks were un-marked – so very difficult really to know what track you were on…..) After about 15 mins of trying every track on offer we found the CP on the original track – and learnt a valuable lesson to trust our own decisions and not be swayed by other teams…!! After another problem finding CP 20, we then found the right track to 21 and were on a roll for the next two CP’s before flying down the hill back to HQ. We had about ½ hour to go back out on foot for about 9 CP’s in the same area we were riding. Getting the closest one to HQ was all we could manage in this time….and came into the finish with about 1 minute to spare before the cut-off and they would start deducting points for lateness…..

We showered, poured ourselves a glass of red while we put up the tent and wandered back down to HQ for the presentations and dinner which was provided as part of the event. To our surprise we were 1st female team…after getting some hefty points for those 2 CP’s on the first trek….. Good thinking there Aunties! The 3 course dinner provided with the entry fee was superb and we all sat around and watched a movie before heading back to the tent for a well-deserved sleep…..

Being held on a Saturday made this event a bit more social with many teams taking the camping option and enjoying the area a little bit more. Breakfast the next day in the Uki CafĂ© (only one in town…) was really good and we enjoyed the fact that we had all day to drive home, unpack wash bikes, clothes etc. before Monday came around again…..

This event will be held again next year in the same area. We would definitely do it again – it was well organised by friendly people and the course was set to cater for the pointy end of the field to get nearly the full 8 hrs of racing like the rest of us…(sometimes in an 8hr event the fast ones may only get 3-4hrs of racing…) The race also had a good variety of disciplines….bus ride, trek, paddle, trek, car move, mtb, trek, dinner, movie & camping……and all in the beautiful Tweed Valley with stunning views of Mt Warning from all the highpoints….

Our Saturday adventure recently was quite amazing….Just the 2 of us for the climb up Mt Cooroora – and as we had never done this on a wet day before, we were thrilled with the different views we got on our way to the top…. Rugged up in wet weather gear we set off in the rain – not too cold though – and had a beautiful hike up through the clouds… Kim took this extraordinary pic on the way up…and you can see Mt Cooroy in the background – and the spine on the ridgeline of Mt Tinbeerwah also just visible above the clouds….While on top we also explored the possibility of the track that goes down the back of the mountain….but didn’t have enough time to go too far as we had advertised that we would be at the bikes by 8.30am….Not that we thought anyone would turn up – but we found Terry & Richard scouting around for us when we got to the bottom….So it looked like we were going for a ride! They were interested in finding the track that goes around the mountain…..and after a little way on Trail 5 we turned off and showed them a way we had explored previously… Aunty Kim was giving them a little extra when she forgot a turn and we had to back-track up a very long and steep hill….but the guys didn’t complain and hopefully enjoyed the trails around Mt Cooroora from a different perspective….and the coffee and snacks afterwards is always good! We were lucky to be joined by our special friend Gail who had been out geo-caching (as recovering from a broken wrist) and was in for some bacon & eggs herself…It was really great to get out on a day when most people stay in…..a very rewarding experience

My Remote & Occupational First Aid course during May was amazing….even though by Wednesday I was in ‘brain overload’ I thoroughly enjoyed the week and now have lots more knowledge with regards to emergencies in the bush….which will benefit all of us….The girls who delivered the course were incredible (must have huge brains to store all that knowledge..!) and we had many ‘real-life’ scenarios….including a night one up at Laguna Lookout….with Aunty Kim as one of the patients! If you are interested in doing something like this, take a look at their website . They have a 2-day course in July and will have another 5-day course later in the year I expect….very worthwhile for us adventure lovers….

What a great weekend of adventure we had…..Here’s a look at what happened….

SATURDAY – The Aunties spent about 4 hours out at Ringtail forest setting up the Mtb & Foot orienteering course. We designed a route that took everyone through a very nice part of the forest – up some good hills and (for the riders) over some really nice tracks….

SUNDAY - Orienteering is a great way to spend a winter’s day. We enjoyed seeing everyone getting excited about finding the CP’s and learning a bit more about navigation in the forest. Welcome back Alinda…! Thanks for coming along with your boys and joining in our activities! The only glitch to the day was the disappearance of CP1 – on the ‘high point’ off Guards Rd…..can’t understand this one as no trail-bike riders would have hiked up there….????? Anyway, those who got to the spot were still awarded the 100 points for their efforts!!

Part 1 - 12 of us met at the Radar Hill Rd entry to Parklands forest. What followed was a fantastic ride through a great line of single track (following Hells Bells map – thanks Craig & Louise…). For the next 2 hours we reached the limits of sensory overload as we tackled this demanding but beautiful course. Notable moments were – passing Chris Vermullen (motor cycle world champ…) on one of the technical bits – well, not really passing him – just going the other way. He was very gracious and stopped to let us ‘vintage’ riders through….. J Georgann was oh so close to asking him for his autograph! Then there was Steve who continued to impress us with his downhill and jumping skills – but only when we asked him to – and he made it look sooooo easy we almost wanted to try it ourselves….(in our dreams…) Parklands is a great way to upskill your technical riding – and I think we all did a bit of that as well…..and Hayley was using her clip-in pedals for only the 2nd or 3rd time which resulted in a few unplanned meetings with the ground but no major injuries….so all good practise for you girl!

Part 2 – After getting back to the car park we formed a convoy and headed to Yandina for coffee and refreshments….Hmm….town was a bit quiet on Queens’s birthday, it seems…. No cafes open and pub only serving lunch from noon, we rocked over to the Ginger factory – as sure to get something there….Aunty Kim made a last minute decision to pull in at the Nut Factory instead – sounded a bit more like us…..Unfortunately, they only had 2 staff working and could not cook us any ‘real food’….ie: put the sausage roll in the microwave, but the scones must have microwaved themselves…..ok…….the girl making coffees was a bit flustered with 12 dirty, hungry mtb riders demanding food – so we helped her with the waitressing bit – Steve was an expert – good catch there Hayley … George was determined to get a sandwich and hot-footed it over to the Ginger factory for one. The rest of us ate and drank what they could muster up – and Terry made nice work of the cold sausage roll….

Part 3 – Down to 8 riders now we got back on our bikes at the bottom of Bottle and Glass Rd, headed north along Browns Crk Rd looking for a track that would take us on a big uphill towards Pt Glorious…. After venturing along near the hippy commune, we decided to turn back and take the more main road as we didn’t want to upset the communers by encroaching on their land. As it turned out we were on Pt Glorious Rd and it took us a very nice way to the top – and all completely rideable…..When we got to the top, we spotted a rider coming the other way – it was Corallea – what was she doing here? We thought she’d gone home…… So, she got lost when following Alan & Michelle (who were heading back to Noosa), then somehow found our cars and took Bottle & Glass Rd to the top and was on her way down when we intercepted her…..convinced she should stay with us now, she made a u-turn and rode with us up to the Lookout….for the 2nd time…. After a quick look and some photos we got back on the bike and found our track that would take us back down. Luckily we had not found this one for the ride up as it was steep, rocky and a bit scary….however, we all made it down intact and a pichere shows the steepness… riding this for the girls. We then followed it back to link up with our uphill track – and got our heads around this beautiful forest a bit more. We were pleased with our efforts – got a great ride in, got some more accurate tracks on the map and all in the company of adventurous, fun and like-minded people….

Part 4 – Yes, there was a part 4…. After everyone else went home, we Aunties had a few more tracks to explore – it wasn’t dark yet, and we did have our lights anyway… we spent the next couple of hours out there again – found some more linking trails and another ‘creek paradise’ to show you all one day… that will be next time…. Home for fish & chips washed down with a bottle of bubbly….Mmmmmm, yum!

WEDNESDAY MTB – and more!
After our Queens Birthday experience, where many of you went right out of your comfort zone, this week was going to be a bit of a quiet one……but our Wednesday ride always seems to be entertaining in one way or another…. Changing the venue with one hour to start time saw George put in a few more Km’s than necessary….however; she wasn’t too worried about that. We left from The J for a coffee run to Coolum, enjoyed great coffee at The Caf (and got the discount cos we were wearing lycra – see Toby, that’s the reason we wear it…..) and headed back along the bike path. At Marcus beach I decided to offer everyone a chance at the sand track that runs along the east side of Lake Weyba. George, Hayley, Terry & Richard were starters…and the others took the safe route home along the coastal path. Sand riding is a great way to build some leg strength…..and as it was still a little damp from recent rains, was not too overwhelming….(ie: didn’t upset anyone too much!...) We got some great views of Lake Weyba and beyond on the high points….and Terry got into the native thing when finding a broken ‘spear’…..see pic….

Our Sunday paddle-run was spectacular, as it always is, when we head up towards Harry’s Hut. We managed to smack out about 35k’s of paddling with an 8k run though beautiful trails in the middle….See pics of Lake Cootharaba & Noosa River on the most picture-perfect day……The wind did whip up on the lake for our paddle home, however, it was not the worst we have seen it….and we enjoyed the challenge to end a huge day… We were very happy to finally get to Boreen Point Top Shop and they remembered our breakfast order….. even though it was about 2pm by then…..fried eggs and crispy bacon is good no matter what time of day it is!

We had a fantastic ride out on the eastern ridge to Kin Kin recently….Starting at the Dairy Farm on Trail 2, we made our way up the hill towards Cootharaba Views Lookout. Backing up a group of runners who were doing a ‘recci’ for a scenic day walk – we thought we could drop off the ridge down Murray’s Rd, and take a short-cut around Kin Kin…. We took what we thought was that such road, and the runners opted for a run down the paddocks. As it turned out we had the most amazing ride down the spur off Sheppersons Hill…..and we were on Murray’s Rd, but the spur took us north-east rather than west and we found ourselves in the valley near Sheppersons Lane….the runners had got here too and taken the trail through the cow paddocks and we met them when they reached the road…. Not knowing how we could get back off road, we mulled over the maps in Kin Kin whilst enjoying some coffee and snacks. We decided to take the road back and turn off on some back-roads, wing-it, and hope they go through. The runners took a big chance when they opted to take the Eastern Branch Rd….us riders went a little further along the road and took Moffats Rd….We climbed up the big, big hill and found the link to Williams Rd…and (on the advise of Aunty Kim’s dad) forged on along a fence-line with an indistinct track till we found the end of Black Pinch Rd. The runners were lucky too – they run the entire length of Eastern Branch Rd, then went through a couple of paddocks and we met them at a fence corner just above the Dairy Farm! They were happy they had discovered a nice way back from Kin Kin – and we were very excited to find our way though as well.

So, that’s about all our news for a while. We will be on the Gold Coast opening up the Anaconda run course next week – then taking a group over it on July 3rd. Plenty of stuff to do in winter outdoors…

See you out there!
Jan & Kim