Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Darkside Championships March 28th 2015

This year’s race was out toward Ipswich around the Kholo hills, an area familiar with those of us who had done any of the I-Adventure races. We dropped off bikes and boats at 6pm, picked up a pizza and got to HQ just in time for map handout We had everything organized with 45min to spare, so grabbed a quick shut eye before bounding out of the tents ready for the midnight start.

In2Adventure Darkside Start at Midnight 
We started with a treasure hunt for 2 x tea light candles per team, just a mad dash around the parkland to split teams up which didn’t work, as there was a particularly nasty bush bash after CP2 on which the front teams made a trail and the rest just coasted behind.

Onto the bike and chaos ensued with the start of the trail network over grown with wet grass and ill-defined. We found ourselves with all the major players but not gaining any elevation as the map indicated we should be. We started to head up and found ourselves in the lead. A brown snake in the middle of the track on the way to our 3rd CP stopped us dead and even though we tried nicely to encourage it to move with some soothing sticks and stones it was being obstinate so we took to the bush for a detour around our new pig-headed friend. 

Schlossy runs off looking for a tea light candle!
Our next CP was vague [Classic in2adventure] with the description being in a ‘gully north of track end’,  with the track end being a little fuzzy we were a bit long which the power lines indicated. By the time we had the CP our hard fought lead had vanished with many teams emerging from the dark.
The way back was going well till we got a little turned around in the overgrown trails around the TA. We dropped to 4th here and stayed in this spot through to the next leg. 

The trek leg started with a small hiccup over running the trail we wanted , but on the way out we discovered a better option for the next MTB leg back to HQ as we were meant to take the nasty 1st leg Bush bash with our bikes to get back there.

My accelerator went through the floor as with only 2 weeks of running after a prolonged calf problem I was finding the going tough.  I was dropping off up the hills,  but with my signature kamikaze down-hill running catching back up. We sped through this leg 10min faster than any other teams. We jumped back on the bikes to try our new route to HQ which worked perfectly. We caught a glimpse of the lead Tiger team leaving TA as we entered; we had made up 16 mins in the last 1.5hrs.

Team Md's on the bikes!
The bike to the 1st Mystery leg went smoothly and surprisingly we got there 1st by about 11 minutes. This was an orienteering leg, time to unleash our secret weapon,  Leo's first crack at lead navigating our full team. He absolutely nailed it with a little help from Schlossy's eagle eye spotting another classic In2adventure CP placing. It was not on any feature on the map just a clearing in the middle of thick bush not marked on the map. This was a great confidence boost for Leo and he will be expected to do some of the nav later in the year at XPD. Even with a comfortable lead we still maintained our solid pace through the remaining MTB leg to the kayaks.

We walk the first rapid!
First rapid we nearly broke our rudder off even though we were portaging. Kim and Leo did a lot more damage later putting the rudder through the hull and smashing off a venturi. Thank goodness for gaffer tape. So much for the couple of shallow spots in river as described in the course notes. We had 12 rapid sections to portage.  

CP10 was another mystery orienteering leg with a few ‘out and back’ routes and a long off-trail ridge trek, Schlossy lead us through flawlessly. We felt like we got the better of this leg as it was starting to heat up and we had slipped through in the last wisps of the morning's coolness. Back in our battered boats for the paddle on to HQ and the final mystery trek leg.

Leo goes under!
At the first CP we had a nice rest with a tangle of ropes to negotiate as a team. Kim and I slipped through easily then laughed at our bigger team mates trying to squeeze through the same holes.
We nailed the last 3 CP's and arrived at the finish with a 1 hour lead over the next team. A great Team effort with Kim having every control description conveyed to Leo the ferret before we got to CP location. Leo was a tireless ferret and navigating a leg and Schlossy doing most of the navigation as I was not strong enough to navigate and set a fast enough pace. 

Race Report - Gary Sutherland

Team MD's - Hoka's all the way!
Team Mountain Designs would once again like to acknowledge the great support we have from our very loyal and extremely supportive sponsors - Mountain Designs (since 2004) Tri Adventure (since (2009) Ay Up Lighting Systems (since 2010) Hoka (since 2013). We as a team put our sponsors products to the test and provide plenty of feedback on gear so that the products we have for our sport are always improving. 

Mountain Designs - we have been testing out the MD's branded gear including Goretex Jackets, Endurace and Endurance Race Packs, Dry Bags, Socks, Knicks, Tights, Fleeces and Thermals. We have also been using the Berghaus Race Packs for shorter events, a great lightweight pack for 12-24hr events.

Tri Adventure - provide MD's with some race gear (caps, water bottles, and performance t-shirts) as well as providing the team with some financial sponsorship which includes the costs of maintaining a  website page within the Tri Adventure site.

Ay Up Lights - provide Team Mountain Designs with the latest technology in lights for everything we do, and over the years we have seen the batteries become smaller and lighter but last longer, the mount systems improved and the head torch straps have become way more supportive and comfortable. These lights are also totally water proof and stand up to the demands of adventure racing and are produced here in Australia.

Hoka - Our latest supporter and provider of quality lightweight footwear for endurance events. We have been testing out he trail versions of the HOKAS including Stinson Trail ATR, Kailua, Rapa Nui, Mafate Speed. In the short time that HOKA's have been on the market, we have seen significant improvements made so that the grip is superb in all conditions that may be thown at us. In fact in the Darkside every member of Team MD's wore one pair of HOKA's for all the runs and even on the paddle. We were all very happy with the shoes, especially Kim who wore the MAFATE trail shoes for the first time 'racing'.

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