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Nevarest 6hr Adventure Race

25th January 2020 – Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, Bronkhorstspruit

Alec Avierinos | Back story – I have been happily married to Rhona for almost 30 years, and Adventure Racing with my children for more than 15 years. For some totally unfathomable reason Rhona decided try her first Adventure Race. Perhaps it was the easy CP navigation with the aid of GPS, or to test out her vastly improved fitness; she’s been attending Greg’s weekly Ladies Bootcamp classes, or the fact that my knee was so stuffed. I may never know, but there was NO WAY I was going to miss out on this opportunity to race with my wonderful wife.

Get set, go!

Leg 1 – Rhona was off like a shot, leaving me in the dust. I caught up just before CP1 where she remembered the CP card was in her back pack (rookie error #1) which she had left with the bikes in transition, as it was only a 4km run. So back she ran with me hobbling along behind her. The combination of CPs and OPs worked really well with people running around all over the show. The fast teams were continually catching and passing us as they raced around trying to maximise their point tally by collecting OPs, whilst we stayed on the basic route collecting only the compulsory CPs. We couldn’t just follow any team either because they weren’t necessarily going in the direction we had to go (rookie error #2). Leg 1 was wet and pouring with rain, which meant our paper map was so to say soaked (rookie error #3). A waterproof or zip block bag would’ve been ideal. We also tried looking at our downloaded Google Map, but even that posed a challenge for us. The screen didn’t handle commands at all in the rain (new error #1) and my optical lens glasses didn’t work too well in the rain either. The 4km run took longer than we anticipated, but we had a blast nonetheless. My knee held up and I was the new pacesetter.

Getting ready for an adventure with my wife!

Leg 2 – A long transition spent faffing around and sorting out maps, and to find out Rhona left her MTB helmet in our cabin which was all the way at T2. She had no choice but to complete the MTB leg, in the pouring rain wearing her running cap as a helmet. We struggled to find one of the CPs which was hidden from plain sight in a tree, and Rhona didn’t allow me to tow her without her proper MTB helmet on so we took quite a while to complete the cycle, but had loads of fun. Nav was also much easier once I figured out the scale on the cycle map was way different to the scale on the run (rookie error #4).

Leg 3 – The sun had come out as we started leg 3, which involved a technical hike in the newly welcomed heat. All went well until the home stretch when I veered way off coarse following the wrong path, and to make matters worse I saw a water tank, knew it was marked as an OP and took off to collect it for fun. Turned out it was the wrong water tank (rookie error #5). We ended up back on the trail we started on having missed T2 completely, I pulled out the phone, used Google Maps and persuaded Rhona to bushwack back to where we should have been in the first place. At the same time spotted the correct water tank, did not bother collecting the OP, and finally got back to T2. In transition Rhona “quickly” made herself a Bovril sandwich (eish!) and by this time we only had 40min left to finish the race before the 6-hour cut-off.  We decided to pull a “Bloed and Omo” and start skipping CPs.

Rhona with her helmet on! 😝

Leg 4 – Skipped completely, we MTB back from T2 straight to the finish. This time Rhona had her helmet on, and with no time left, she accepted the tow rope and I towed her on the climbs and flats, getting back to the finish in record time. When we got there we found out that there was a 1-hour time extension because of the morning’s unfavourable weather conditions. In saying that, we could’ve completed Leg 4 after all had we known about the time extension!

Leg 5 – We completed the tubing, which was the surprise leg, and decided to call it a day skipping the last leg/ run. Having raced for just over 6 hours, Rhona was tired but happy (hopefully this wasn’t our last race together).

In conclusion, an awesome race! Well organised, well run, a professional photographer with free photos made available to the public, medics and a great venue. The weather played ball too. The combination of two race options in one race worked really well – seriously challenging for the top teams, with a lot of strategic thinking required; and basic with handrails (GPS or Google Maps utilised) for the newcomers to the sport. It was fantastic to “race” with Rhona, she did extremely well and I’m super proud of her! My knee took a few shots but my knee op, which was scheduled three days after the race went really well and I’m already well on my way to recovery!

6 hours of Multi-Sport is really manageable and should do the trick at enticing more people to try the longer AR events. I hope you join us at the next A2 event!

Photo credits: Corrie Barnard

 

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