Team Mountain Designs has had one of its most successful years and certainly one with plenty of adventure in places you would rather be! Finishing XPD the World Adventure Racing Championships in Tasmania as the 3rd Australian Team was certainly the highlight of 2011, so that was going to be hard to top!
Signing up for Godzone was the first big challenge! Coming off XPD, Gary and I were keen for another epic adventure, so we enlisted Robbie and Sloshy (who now are event management company “Dare you Adventure”) to the team and had them lining up for some events and joining us for some awesome training sessions! The four of us managed a win in the Mt Cooth-tha Upside Down Rogaine and then Gary and I followed with a win in the Max Adventure Race at Wild Horse Mountain. This is a great race for beginners as the maps are fantastic and the terrain pretty flat.
Godzone was certainly an event I will not forget, as for me, it certainly produced some of the highest highs and lowest of lows, which are a big part of Adventure Racing and life in general! We had been nominated as one of the featured teams for the “Wild Racers” so we got to do some great pre-event filming which included Bungee Jumping and a ride on the Shotover Jet. We got to carry a tiny video camera to capture some of those special moments that cameras can’t get to, so this was awesome! We started at Milford Sound, paddled rapids in a canoe, climbed some amazing peaks in sleet, and crossed riverbeds in -2 degrees in the dark…….the boys were loving it…..but I was suffering….and decided it was not in my long term health interests to keep going! Probably one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life…..so it was a DNF for Team MD’s.
While I was in recovery, Gary teamed up with Ray Deetlefs for the ROGUE 12 hour out at Mt Joyce, where they managed to blitz the course in atrocious wet conditions, while I managed to stay high and dry doing my volunteer duties! The first event of the Mountain Designs ARA Series in Noosa, so home ground advantage for me! Gary and I teamed up with Sloshy, as we felt we owed him a good race and it was a battle for the finish line, which saw our opposing all male team “Guy & Liam” jump barriers and wrestle for the electronic punch providing some extra excitement for spectators!
We had to find a quick replacement for Lukey (aka Superman) following his unlucky crash in Rotorua for the one of the year’s big events – Geoquest. Leo Theoharis stepped up to the plate and joined Pikey, Gary and myself for the Forster based 48hr Adventure Race. Team Mountain Designs finished on the podium in 3rd place....quite special for Leo as it was his first ever overnight race, and first time for Pikey on the podium at this prestigious event. Gary and I teamed up a few weeks later for the iAdventure race at Mt Joyce where the Wyralong Dam project included purpose built MTB trails. At the event we tested out the new Salomon S-lab Sense trail running shoes and were the only team to clear the course!
We introduced our newest team mate, Nick Moore, to adventure racing with a win at the 6hr Rogaine Championships at Emu Gully near Esk. So, a full team of four, including Nick, Superman, Gary and myself join together to defend our title at the Mountain Designs ARA Dark Side Championships at Uki. We had to work hard to regain our lead after a flat tyre, a small nav error, and Superman trying to overcome a tummy bug he brought back from a race in China. Having Lukey and Nick on-board we became a strong paddling team, and took advantage of this and Gary’s excellent nav skills to get a bit of a break on our closest rivals and mates (Ray, Leo & Liam). We were pretty excited to get the 'back to back' win and do our sponsors proud once again!
Another big one on the event calendar was Hells Bells, now in it’s 9th year. Team MD’s has not always had a great track record at this event, so despite winning in 2011 we knew we had to keep our heads together, work well as a team and have fun out there too! Gary, Nick and I had the perfect race, despite numerous rather challenging maps of not the best quality, we just managed to cruise through the Glasshouse Mountains on that rainy Saturday night thinking “where else would you rather be”. I saw a black snake, brown snake and two pythons that night, just as it was starting to cool down, we loved the terrain, and the spectacular scenery and the back end of the course was unrelenting. Robbie and the Team from Dare You Adventure set a tough course with us not crossing the finish line till about 3.30am, and it was great to see Robbie out there throughout night providing great encouragement and support especially for those teams new to Adventure Racing.
With the season coming to an end all too soon, Kim and Gary had their final Team MD’s hit out at the iAdventure at Mt Crosby. Matt and Amanda once again set out to challenge us all strategically by offering time bonuses for collecting extra CP’s, with some of those bonuses being achievable and some not. I think the idea is you have to try to work out if it is worth getting them, but we like to challenge ourselves to find every CP, so Team MD’s were yet again the only team to clear the course.
Written by Kim Beckinsale
Team Mountain Designs – proudly sponsored by
Mountain Designs, Salomon, Hammer Nutrition, Tri Adventure
Summary of Achievements 2012
1st Mixed Team Upside Down Rogaine Mt Coo-tha
1st Premier Mixed Team Kathmandu AR Sunshine Coast
1st Male Team Rogue Mt Joyce
1st Premier Mixed Team ARA Noosa
1st Mixed Team 6hr Rogaine Emu Gully
3rd Premier Mixed Team Geoquest
1st Premier Mixed Team iAdventure Mt Joyce
1st Premier Mixed Team ARA Dark Side
1st Premier Mixed Team Hells Bells
1st Premier Mixed Team iAdventure Mt Crosby