Race Report: Ruth, Calen, Antonie, Jonathan – Kinetic Full Moon #3- Drakensberg

Keyhealth Nevarest Junior- Antonie Joubert, Calen Hastie, Ruth Avierinos, Jonathan Ham

The third and final Full moon adventure race was held on the 27-28th October at the Qwantani resort, bordering the beautiful Sterkfontein dam. With clear waters, open skies and the Drakensberg mountains looming in the distance we were excited about the race like never before! Our team had finally had a perfect build up to a race with all members being fit and healthy and we were keen to give it our all and test ourselves along the course.

Leg 1: 500m Run  (Ruth)

The race started off at a very fast pace with a 500m run to the fluid canoes. It was a bit of a crazed frenzy but eventually we were in our boats on onto the next leg of the race.

 

Leg 2: 4 km Canoe  (Ruth)

I had trained quite hard for the canoe leg and so I was really looking forward to it. It was really hot and the water looked very inviting. It was crystal clear and I felt like I was canoeing somewhere in Greece. Although this was quite a short paddle it was still quite tiresome as you had to go flat out the whole time.I wasn’t as fast on the paddle as I would of liked as I think that technique was not correct, so I will have to try and fix that before the next race. When we got to the next leg, we weren’t in quite the position we would’ve liked and so we had to pick up our  speed to make up a bit of time.

 

Leg 3: 8 km Run (Ruth)

This running leg had two checkpoints. We set of for the first one staying along the shore line of the mountain pretty much all the way. On our way to the second checkpoint we went back over the top of the mountain. It was quite a fast leg however all my water had spilled out of backpack so this added an interesting dynamic that we weren’t expecting. One of the things that makes Adventure racing such a interesting sport is how you as a team handle these unexpected niggles. My teammates were very accommodating and handled it very well, giving me some of their water when needed. With a good route choice by our navigator -Jonathan- we managed to move up a few positions. And the it was back to the second canoe leg.

Leg 4: 11km Canoe (Ruth)

This canoe was quite a bit longer then the first one, and our goal was just to try and not lose any places. The heat was becoming quite bad and not having any water to drink on the paddle was quite challenging. However when the opportunity presented itself I managed to get some water from the dam. The views were spectacular and I highly recommend going to visit this dam for anyone who appreciates a good view and some fun. After collecting the two checkpoints on this leg we made our way to the next transition, where we would prepare for our cycling leg and Calen would do the Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

 

Leg 6: 61 km Cycle (Antonie)

The cycle began with a very steep climb and everyone was quickly off the bike and pushing. Lucky for us the rest of the cycle was fairly easy terrain with just under a 1000m of climbing. Although the terrain wasn’t too challenging the heat made up for it. This leg was done during the hottest time of the day and the slight tailwind meant there was no wind from the front to cool us down. The team took a lot of strain on this leg and this was probably the toughest cycle leg I have ever done in AR. Calen had some mechanical problems  and I punctured in the front but in the end we always love a challenge.

 

Leg: 7 28 km Run (Jonathan)

 

The final hiking leg began just as the heat started to subside and instantly it gave our team new energy. I don’t often say this but for the first time on an adventure race I felt more at home on my feet than on two wheels. As an added bonus the sunset just added to lifting our spirits and i’m glad we had that as a distraction whilst climbing the first mountain. We worked well together throughout the hike and managed to keep a solid pace, making sure we stayed ahead of the seemingly endless line of headlights behind us. The climb up to CP10 was insane… I still remember my shock as I turned the map around and realised that we indeed needed to follow the other ‘crazy’ team up there. The way down the other side was just as hectic and distracted me enough to get thoroughly disorientated, so much so that I suggested to my team that we climb yet another mountain. Fortunately, the guys just behind us were kind enough to help me find my bearings again, incidentally this was the same team who we ended up having a sprint finish with and who we beat to the line by only a few seconds!

 

The feeling of crossing the finish line will never get old, it puts a smile on your face and happiness in your heart. The champaign, the stories, the laughter and, of course, the shower are left in a glorious haze in your memory. But the truly special moments like the sunset over the valley that you get to watch from the mountain you just climbed, with friends at your side, those images remain crystal clear.