We tried to get the team together for a ‘Swazi Sport’ reunion, but Amy was out with a knee injury so she helped out with marshalling and Steve was on vacation in Croatia… So Andrew (Wigs) employed Laura Herd, who’s currently training for the Southern Storm, to join us, and I managed to source the navigation expertise of Jeremy Green to guide us.
Happy that we had managed to submit a full team entry on time, we arrived at the start looking forward to racing, with the plan of finishing in 12-14hrs. We received our maps and plotted our course just after receiving the race briefing from a well organised Stephan.
First up, a 12km paddle. The plan was: Combination 1, Jeremy and I, would tow Combination 2, Wigs and Laura. We mounted the boats, tested the towing system, it worked, until the whistle blew. We went right, they went left, we went left, and they went right and so on. Maybe it was the big swell, but towing didn’t work, so we swopped around, Laura and I then were in the same boat slogging it out against the wind to the end of the leg.
After a short hike, we hit the first ride (45km in total). While Jeremy was shouting out all the necessary directions I was going to clip the CP’s, we realised this wouldn’t work when my legs told us they weren’t happy with the situation. So Andrew collected the CP’s and I kept the team’s speed in check. Halfway through the ride, I got a break when Jeremy punctured. Then I got another break, then another one, then another one 🙂 We arrived at T4 just after Team Hawkstone and just before sunset.
With a 10km hilly hike lined up, we set off at a comfortable run/walk up the hills speed. Wigs took it easy this time while I collected the CP’s, Laura practised her trail running and falling, and Jeremy offered various suitable and successful route choices. We picked up some time here, and were happy to arrive back in transition to kit up for the final ride. We shared a good transition with some of the marshals’ stationed at the game ranch, while Alex Pope professionally took our drinks orders and Wigs gave us a good demonstration of how to faffe.
The moon came up, and we enjoyed the night sky, racing along trying to catch Hawkstone, while practising our upgraded towing method with one of Jeremy’s punctured tires. Laura was strong and led the way, start to finish, enjoying the fast flat roads. 10km’s to go and I couldn’t wait to get off my bike, Jeremy flats again and gives us a repeat performance of the first cycle leg, team Do It Now traded places with us a few times and we eventually made it to the end of the leg, glad to see the wind was quiet.
The second paddle leg was uneventful, with us relaxing a bit after the long cycle. Jeremy got us to T6 on the UJ Island quickly, for the final hike leg. We got out in an eerie forest with Hawkstone and Do It Now completing this leg just ahead of us. I kept asking myself, ‘are there currently other people on this island right now….’
Another pleasant paddle and we were done. All I can remember about the finish is finishing and pizza. The pizza was good. We finished in just over 12hrs, 5th overall and 3rd mixed team. We were happy with that, and enjoyed the sleep that followed.
Thank-you to my team members, Laura for sticking it out on the Fluid boats, Wigs for all the towing practise and Jeremy for his insight into successful navigation. I really enjoyed time racing together and the humour we kept. Thank-you to the marshals for staying up long hours and ensuring our safety through-out the event. And a big thank-you to Stephan and Heidi for another fantastic Kinetic Gear event, the organisation was flawless. I will be back.
Author: Robert Crichton | Team Senseless Killers | Kinetic Full Moon, Vaal Dam, 28 August 2010