Monday, April 16, 2012

The Queenstown Adventure

Team MD's at race rego...
Well….we’re back home after another EPIC adventure in NZ.  Queenstown was the setting for the inaugural Godzone Adventure Race…and, in retrospect, it’s a pity the organisers didn’t stage more of the actual race there… is extremely beautiful and has so many adventures in close proximity….so after Team MD's withdrew from the race it was great they were able to make the most of it for the remaining few days….
Spectacular view of Lake Wakitpu from the to of Skyline

But before that…..This is what happened…..

If you didn’t follow the race and hadn’t looked at the live coverage… was absolutely phenomenal…. The teams who endured this event were exceptional....Even the race directors completely underestimated how challenging the course would be and had to cancel a paddle and ride section, for all teams, as the days went on and some teams were still on the first trek!  Our Team MD’s were going really well…..we all thought…..until that first trek which took them 24 hours and Kim was struggling with an ankle injury that had resurfaced from XPD.  It seems that 24 hours of walking (up, down, up, down, up, down, up, up, up, down, down, down, etc, etc….) is just not what she can do any more.  The bone-on-bone thing just got worse and worse.  And the peaks they were crossing were over 1000m….The following bike leg was more pushing (with no tracks…) than riding…..and when I saw them at the end of this one it was when she said she had to pull out.  The boys couldn’t believe it as she had been very quiet during that leg…..except when she growled at Gary…..he should have realised she’s not like that…. Anyway, we all sat around at TA5 and no-one was saying much…..Teams were coming in and going out…..while MD’s were lying around on the grass in the sun….Gary was snoring away…..I wasn’t sure what to do…..I wanted the boys to go on as a team of 3…..but only 2 out of 3 of them wanted to…..and that wasn’t allowed in the race rules….In the end the ride home to QT in a cosy car was the chosen option....

They were very quiet and dosed a lot on the 2 hour drive back to our apartment….so, not a happy team now…..but they understood Kim’s reasons for pulling out….they were just wishing it didn’t happen….But when you enter an adventure race with 4 people there is no guarantee that everyone will make it to the finish… you see in every event. 

So…that’s the sad part of the story.  The rest of it was quite good….
View of QT from the top of Ben Lomond...and the ridgeline track I took for the trek!

 I had been loving my time in QT….Had a para-glide off Skyline hill….Went in the Tour of Wakitipu Mtb race on the Saturday…..and managed to sneak on the podium with those tough kiwi chicks……as did Julian Martin and Austin (Noosa-Kiwi’s…) and it was an extremely beautiful course.  Thanks Kiwi Julie for letting me know about this one…. Then, while the team was out on the course….I trekked to the top of Ben Lomond (big, big peak behind QT – 1748m…) and did some very pleasant riding on the QT mtb trails…..and of course, driving out to see the team at some of their TA’s.  So when I brought the team home…..they got to do all this stuff as well….. Which was great for them....Kim couldn’t do the trek of course….but she was ok riding her mtb…..just did a bit of one-leg pedalling when she had to!

As you can see – it wasn’t all bad.  The race website was keeping us up to date with all our amazing friends still out on course….and it was the best website I have ever seen for an AR!  So, we had a fantastic time, really.  Apparently the weather was very kind to us….although it did reach zero overnight in QT one night (but I was inside with the heater on…) and minus 2 for the Team on their last bike leg…..but other than that, the locals said we were really lucky…

There’s always a little twist to our adventures though….And we sure had one…..well two actually….

1.        .... I have found out the best way to avoid paying excess baggage at the airport…..Just arrive at the check-in with 10 seconds till closing time…..besides the stress levels of cutting it so fine driving to the airport and getting stuck in traffic….then throwing our gear out of the car and sprinting through the car-park with two bikes, a huge gear box, 2 large packs, a laptop and no trolley to wheel them on (No-one had seen anything like us…Kim was super-human and had her bike box under one arm and the gear box under the other with her pack on her back….she would have been carrying about 50kg of weight!....I had a huge pack, the lap-top and was dragging my bike bag too) we saved $250.....$250!....that’s the way you do it…. 

2.      ….the second twist happened because of the first twist…..The bottom line is that when we arrived back in Brisbane, we had no idea where we had parked the car……are you getting the picture?….I’m surprised we even locked it as we were is such a hurry to make the flight…. So, here we were last night, it was about 8.30pm.  We have one trolley…(as they are ridiculously expensive…$4…!) and Kim has her stuff on it…..I am dragging my bike (again) and carrying the huge back-pack…. We are wandering aimlessly in the car-park….(the new long-term car-park in Brisbane airport is stupidly confusing anyway….) In the end I can go no further…..I fish out the keys from my pack….and stand in a spare car space with all the gear while Kim goes up and down 7 (seven!) floors before she finally finds the car on level 2…..I breathe a sigh of relief when she drives up, we load the car and are driving out.  But it doesn’t end there…..we have to pay our ticket ($190!)….at this point I was thinking we should have just paid $4 for another trolley and wheeled the stuff back to Noosa…..I can’t find the spot to pay the ticket…..It is not where it was last time…..we are still driving around the car-park.  Finally I park in a disabled spot and Kim runs out and pays…..If her ankle was not completely wrecked in the race, it surely is now….. We start driving again….I still can’t find the way out…. We are getting a bit frazzled… say the least…. Eventually a ‘way out’ sign is in front of us…..and we take it…… We are out…..and driving home…..tired, dirty and frustrated…..  

So,   I’m not sure what the moral to this story is…..or whether it was just easier to pay the $250 excess baggage…..or relax initially and miss the first flight…..and pay more……or procure our own airport trolley so not to have to pay $4 ever again…that’s if we can find one of the confounding things..…..Food for thought....
        See you out there!
        Jan & Kim