Sunday, 22 March 2015

Team MD’s – Fast and furious start to the year!

Team Mountain Designs lined up this year for the annual Wild Horse Mountain Adventure Race, run by Maximum Adventure. This year we saw the name change to the ‘Paddy Pallin’ Adventure Race after being the Kathmandu since 2004. It was great to see so many seasoned adventure racers come out of the woodwork to mix it with the more recent AR converts and some complete beginners. This race has always been the perfect event to try the sport of adventure racing.

Back in 2004 the event was just up the road at Coochin Creek and there were two classes – novice and expert. If you were EXPERT you used your own craft and raced solo or in a team, if you were NOVICE, you could still race solo or in a team. Gary raced solo and went head to head with Guy Andrews, they had both been doing some adventure racing and had way more experience than me! I was lined up  with my great friend Narelle Ash (aka Narelle from Skirt Sports) to do the event with her, but the night before she talked me into racing solo-novice! Narelle raced expert and gave Gary and Guy a run for the money out on the course! Jan Leverton, my Tri Adventure partner in crime, was also doing one of her first adventure races this same year, with Col Andrews (yep….Guy’s Dad) and raced the course as a pair.

Paddy Pallin Adventure Race Map 2015
So eleven years on, the event is still going strong, and four of us (Gary, Guy, Jan and Kim), from that very first one were all on the start line again. Gary has finished every single one with seven outright wins to his credit and I have finished nine. Prior to this Gary and I, representing Team Mountain Designs, have managed to win the premier mixed four times at this event since 2011. The tension was mounting as ‘everyone’ had come out to play, including Gary’s former MD’s team mates Britt Caling and Brett Stevens, last year’s outright winner Paul Elby, Liam St Pierre - Team Rogue, Rob Gowland – formerly SCAR, Gary Palmer & Todd Vallance – Cyclezone Mooloolaba, Ray Deetlefs – Gary’s training buddy and so many more! Every category was going to be super competitive, nothing has changed!

The Start - Paddy Pallin Adventure Race 2015

Fast and furious it was, with a running start, over 100 teams and all following exactly the same course, what else would you expect! Knowing how many young guns were lined up, Gary and I had decided to opt for a more casual start, however by the time we neared the first CP we were right up there… much for taking the start easy! Everyone was flying Guy & Dean were first out of TA 1, with some other teams following, we were a little back as our early detour to try to separate ourselves from the field left us a little behind, but at least out of sight….for now! On the bikes we managed to catch the front of the field in the tricky sand beside the highway…..poor Gary Palmer had some derailleur issues (again), and soon we were chasing Guy & Dean. Unfortunately we were just going too fast and overshot the track to CP 8, so lost our 2nd spot and found ourselves behind Brett & Britt, Ray & Greg, Paul & Andrea, however we were working very hard to catch up! We did not select a great route to 9 either, so it was a very hard grind back to the front of the field, but a bit of MTB team time-trialling with Ray & Greg, saw us hit the foot rogaine together with all of the other teams mentioned just seconds behind.

Kim & Gary head into TA 2 off the Foot Rogaine

Gary and I opted for the CP order ABDC and once again separated ourselves from the field, as most of the other teams went the opposite direction. Gary was absolutely motoring, and we found ourselves first back to TA2. We set off onto the bikes for the Mystery Leg, but at CP 13 (out & back) we could see Guy and Dean hot on our tails. The mystery leg was a Ride & Tie, this is where you have one bike between two and you ride and dump the bike, then start running, your partner then grabs the bike and so on! Somehow we held our lead, but only just! Now with only 3 CPs on the bike to the finish and a 30 second lead, we knew we just had to go for it. Gary was so strong, I was sitting on his wheel with just an inch separating us, and we would have been doing over 30km/hr, that’s how much I trust my team mate. Guy and Dean had us in their sights and caught us at the final CP just 1k from the finish, we tried to go with them, but could not quite hold on! So we finished about 20secs behind absolutely exhausted and very happy with our result, after all, mixed vs male racing is always tough ask!

Team Mountain Designs finish Paddy Pallin 2015

Great racing everyone, it was fast and furious, but so much fun! Guy Andrews Adventure (Guy Andrews & Dean Cane - 1st Overall 1st Male Pair,  Old and Baldy (Gary Palmer and Todd Vallance) – 2nd Overall 2nd Male Pair, Gold Coast Physio & Sport Health (Britt Calling & Brett Stevens) – 3rd Overall and 2nd Premier Mixed Pair. Not to mention Tri Adventure Girls (Jan Leverton & Shannon Mc Grath) 1st Female Pair.

Premier Mixed Podium - (minus Britt & Brett 2nd)

Next week Gary and I team up with our other race partners Leo and  Sloshy,  for the rescheduled Mountain Designs ARA Darkside.  Instead of 2 ½ hours of racing we have up to 18 hours, so we’ll see how the not so fast and furious start will go this time! Out will come the HOKA's and Ay-Up lights! Sloshy is in great form with a recent win at the Upside down Rogaine and Leo has been training like a professional down in Victoria with some great results at Bike Buller finishing 11th outright in the 50k MTB and 2nd outright in the 11k trail run…..he’s on fire! 

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