Race Report: Malcolm Dunkeld – Kinetic Full Moon Drakensberg

My friends and family all thought I was a bit crazy by choosing top spend my 33rd Birthday racing a 120km adventure race in the Free State. But as a man with a heart for Adventure, I could think of nothing better.

I was privileged to be joined by my wife and two daughters at the beautiful Qwantana resort on the Sterkfontein dam.

Race Day: After racing a number of races together this year our team all new their responsibilities and were able to get ready for the 11 o’clock start relatively easily. The race started with a 500m run to the kayaks and a panicked 4km paddle to the first Transition. Here we had to collect two CP in the blazing sun. We managed to get a small lead over the other top teams to go into the next 7km paddling leg. We are not a strong paddling team but managed to maintain the lead to arrive at T3 in first place. Michael took on the SUP challenged while Ruan plotted the 61km cycling leg and Yolan and I sorted gear.

Onto the bikes, long open moderately hilly Free states roads where what awaited us. Being a stronger discipline, we rode hard and managed to hold out lead. Unfortunately with about 10km to go this is where my problems started. Suffering from what must of bean heat stroke or something of the sorts, I became very nauseous and physically really struggled. I limped into the transition and tried my best to recover. Onto the 28km trekking leg. Here is when the team element of Adventure racing truly became prevalent. Ruan put me on tow for the entire 28km as the nausea simply drained me of all energy. Despite my physical condition we managed to hold our lead well into the night.

With 4 CP’s to go we were faced with a monster of a mountain to summit, I simply couldn’t find it in me to keep going but once again the team stepped in a Michael pushed Ruan pulled and we eventually managed to summit. Descended down the slope and onto the ridge line, unfortunately in the dark and confusion we turned too early and wend down the wrong ridge line, one of three running parallel to each other. One we realised our mistake and corrected the error we had unfortunately be caught by Jabberwock racing. It was now a sprint for the finish.

Sadly, I simply couldn’t hold the pace and despite every effort from the team we could not keep up to Jabberwock and eventually finished in second place. It was a great result but I think the whole team felt we could have won. Well done to Jabberwock racing on sticking to their guns and finishing awesomely strong, also to Team Red Ants and Cyanosis. The adventure racing has stepped up this year and it has been an exciting season. Thank you once again to all the sponsors involved and specifically KeyHealth, First Ascentt and Toyota for their unending support.

Malcolm Dunkeld