Adventure Racing 101

Today was the culmination of the Phoenix Adventure Intro to Adventure Racing course - a real adventure race. I arrived at the Indooroopilly Canoe Club not really sure what to expect. Did I have everything I needed? Who would I be teamed with? Would they be able to read a map?

We all received a map and had 15 minutes of individual map reading, before our teams were announced. We then had a further 15 minutes to finalise our strategy together. Because I was somewhat familiar with the area, I spent too much time trying to orient myself to the map's landmarks. As a consequence I had basically nothing to contribute when I met with my team members, Miriam and Sophie.

Luckily, Miriam had it dialed. She became our navigator, and Sophie and I would spend the day following her directions to collect the controls throughout Indooroopilly, Chelmer, Toowong and St Lucia.

In all, we covered about 6km of paddling, 20ks on the mountain bike and a few Ks on foot. We made a strategic decision to not go after one of the controls up Mt Coot-tha (I wasn't too confident on the mountain bike component, and Miri wasn't quite sure how to get us across the freeway to the trails). As a result we crossed the line first, but had an anxious wait for the other teams to see if the half hour penalty we took for this decision would pay off.

It turned out that we and another team had missed a control point. We had to take our bearing from a metal shed in a park. We set off in completely the wrong direction, which reminded us of an important tip - metal objects can interfere with your compass.

We weren't the only ones that made this mistake though, and we were well satisfied to have placed second overall at the end of the day.

I'm not sure where to from here. The TEVA adventure race that many in the course were preparing for is only two weeks away and with next weekend already accounted for, there won't be any time for any further preparation. It may have to wait for another time - perhaps the Teva Champs in October.

Thanks Andy for a great week.

Photos courtesy of Phoenix Adventure - Andy Stewart and Erin Appleton

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