Race Report: Jabberwock – Kinetic #FullMoon

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to race with a very strong and experienced team so when I was offered the chance to fill in for Ruan while he recovers from injury I jumped at the opportunity to race the Full Moon Adventure with team Nevarest Jabberwock.

When the venue for the November Full moon was announced as Francolin Creek the team knew right away that this was going to a be a flat and fast event and it certainly lived up to that expectation. With Red Ants and Keyhealth Nevarest both fielding strong teams so we had our work cut out for us.

The first leg was a 16km ‘trek’ but from the outset it was going to be a flat out sprint, the three leading teams started to gap the rest of the field by the 4th checkpoint and it was neck and neck with Red Ants and Keyhealth Nevarest until CP8 when we managed to start get into the lead and pull a small lead going into the first transition.

The second leg was a short 19km cycle down to the Vaal dam for the paddle, in the last few km of the cycle Keyhealth Nevarest started to show their strength and caught and passed us on the run down to T2. We carried on pushing and held pace knowing there was still a lot of racing ahead of us whilst keeping an eye out for Red Ants who we knew would also be charging hard.

At transition 2 we were within 2 minutes of Keyhealth Nevarest, they were still sorting out boats and paddles before heading down to the water as we arrived. With the temperature rising both teams were happy to hit the water for a paddle and cool off with a quick dip as we got into the boats. The paddle leg was uneventful with us narrowing the gap to Keyhealth Nevarest by the smallest of margins. Luckily for us the wind had not picked up yet as we heard later that the slower teams had a rough time out on the water we were thankful for cool calm conditions for the paddle.

At transition 3 there was a definite sense of urgency as we transition into another ‘trek’ leg and with Keyhealth Nevarest only a 100m ahead of us it was time to make our move. We caught and passed them on the banks of the Vaal Dam and then managed to pull a gap on them on the long steady false flat up to Transition 4. The pace for this leg was still very fast and the heat was beginning to take its toll.

With the sun still up we had already completed half of the race distance and there was only one 57km cycle leg to the finish to go. With Cobus plotting the route on fresh maps the rest of the team took the chance to recover slightly and prepare for the last cycle knowing that Keyhealth Nevarest would be chasing us down the whole way. We managed to leave transition before they got there giving us a distinct mental boost for the cycle ahead. Cobus was navigating with precision and accuracy cutting corners and shaving kilometers off the route. The sunset was absolutely spectacular as we passed CP15 and with only 35km to go the wind had picked up and we kept the hammer down knowing that Keyhealth Nevarest and Red Ants were still chasing hard somewhere behind us.

In an incredibly far 9h 33mins we crossed the line taking the overall win. Keyhealth Nevarest finished second only 11 minutes later with Red Ants rounding out the podium. It is incredible to see the competitiveness of Adventure Racing growing in South Africa and with that a huge thank you Stephan and Heidi and Kinetic Events Africa for another incredible event and thanks to Nevarest Jabberwock for the opportunity to race, as well as the backing Nevarest Team with major sponsors Keyhealth and Toyota for helping us take part in the sport we love so much.