4-5 August 2018, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
“The excitement. The challenge. The pain. The Glory”
The Cyanosis 30HR Adventure Race took place in the very scenic Midlands area, in the heart of the Kwazulu Natal Region – a perfect place for Teams to explore and experience the beauty of South Africa.
We caught up with Clinton Mackintosh, Race Director and Cyanosis Adventure Ambassador about their very successful race hosted by Cyanosis Adventure Racing Team.
CG – This was the 3rd Race in the A1 Series and the race was very exciting – how did you go about deciding on the course layout and what challenges did you have?
CM – The course by large was put together by Hilary (Cyanosis) and Deon Bruss (ex-team Jeep) who live in Greytown and who convinced Nic & I that a race in Greytown would be spectacular. Hilary lives and trains in the area and the diverse landscape that is on offer is perfect for adventure, she also wanted to share her playground with the AR community. Being a farmer, themselves helped a great deal, the amount of private land that teams traversed was phenomenal and the permissions were made easy by a community that embraced the race. Hilary herself put in a tremendous amount of effort and time to get the government approvals required and this showed by the town mayor coming to watch teams swim across the dam at 7 am visibly amused by the fact that teams swam across a freezing dam by choice rather than going around and a visit by the Police commander on Friday night without the teams even knowing about it.
CG – The A1 Adventure Series in Australia and New Zealand has been very successful. What was the response from participating teams and how did they enjoy the race?
CM – The response has been very good, teams believed that the route was tough but fair with some teams telling us that they felt they had been out there for days rather than hours. We wanted to put on a race that getting to the finish line would be an achievement and not a right. We believe we achieved this and teams that crossed the finish line left with a feeling of tremendous pride and satisfaction.
CG – The A1 Adventure Series South Africa has attracted major sponsors like KeyHealth Medical Scheme. How did the local businesses and sponsors assist with support for the Cyanosis 30HR Race?
CM – KeyHealth has put up the cash prizes for the top three teams for which we are very thankful for. This race would not have been possible without local business support and of course the support of the Cyanosis team sponsors (Salomon / FirstAscent / RaceFood / Petzl)
CG – The area around the start venue Greytown has a variety of terrain from rivers and forests to open mountainous areas. How did the teams approach the course and what critical navigational choices did they have to make?
CM– Variety was our main strategy for the course design and the constantly changing terrain definitely kept the navigators busy. The forested sections were undoubtedly the hardest, due to the lower visibility, but also because some of them were done at night. All the teams definitely fared better in the daylight sections and seemed to be more cautious at night, sticking to more distinct navigation points like larger roads and staying next to rivers and big mountains rather than cutting straight across country. One notable leg in the daylight, however, was from CP 9 to 10. The more technical navigation route was fairly direct through some forested regions. The alternative easier route was on a forest track that was about a kilometre longer and also involved more altitude climb. The GPS tracking shows clearly which teams chose what route and is a good indicator of each team’s confidence in their navigation.
CG – What did you expect to be the biggest challenges for the Teams in this race?
CM – The kloofing leg after Transition 4 was for us the make-or-break feature of the race. We expected it to be bitterly cold when the top teams reached it just before midnight. The effect of sleep deprivation, tiredness, cold winter weather and cold water should have been a crux point. The teams got a little bit lucky in the end due to the massive berg wind that blew throughout the race, meaning that air temperatures were a good 12’C above the normal in the kloof that night!
CG – The winning team finished in just under 24hours – how did this time compare to your race predictions?
CM – We got very close with our predicted times. The lead team was a bit faster than anticipated on the first 42.2km trek, by 30 minutes. However, the strong winds slowed them down on Craigie Burn Dam and brought them more in line with the expected time. The kloofing was also done in exactly 90 minutes as predicted, but we severely underestimated how the teams would battle to climb up through the forest tracks up the Blinkwater mountain. They were about two hours slower than expected through this section, with the race leaders making a 30-minute navigation error right before the last transition. By this last stage, Jabberwock had built up a solid lead, however. In their tired and sleep deprived state, I also don’t think they pushed as hard on the last bike leg as they would have, had it been a closer affair. Their 22h27 time was 2 hours over our expected calculations but within the 20-24 hour timeframe, we advertised.
CG – With 3 out of 5 Races now completed how important do you think the last 2 races will be for the top teams?
CM – Three different teams have each won a race in the series so far; Cyanosis, Keyhealth Nevarest and Jabberwock. All three of these teams still only have the one race counting in the series points, which will count the best three races. Thus there is everything to race for in the WCAD and Kinetic races. The most important factor is that these teams must finish each race to score points, withdrawing is not an option and a non-finish due to injury or a mistake would be a disaster!
Congratulations to the Cyanosis Adventure Racing Team for putting together a very well organised and challenging event. We hope to see them again as organisers for another Cyanosis Race for the Adventure 1 Series in South Africa in 2019.
Craig Giese is an Adventure Photographer and Media Content developer from the Eastern Cape.