Saturday, 23 May 2015

Adventure Junkie Lysterfield Sprint Race

After a short spell after GODZone, the team goal was to rebuild for Geoquest in June. The Adventure Junkie Sprint race at Lysterfield was an ideal hit out and was primarily entered as a training session. AJs race calender for 2015 has been cut down significantly this year due to the arrival of a new family member, and perhaps as a result the race had a large number of teams (53) which was great to see. This made for some awesome close racing. Gus and Karina had teamed up and entered early, however I made a last minute decision (two days before) to enter with Bruce who was just coming good after broken ribs sustained at GODZone.

I was really impressed with the event and as always had a great time. This mainly was a result of two factors that Serge and Maria continually are able to deliver at this location at Lysterfield: 
- Great courses with a good mix of hills, single track and fire trail
- Some good opportunity for alternative course choices along the way to get a small edge on your competitors

The first leg was able to split the field with checkpoints to be collected in any order (also in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction), but also created some opportunity to make good or not-so-good route choices. We made some good route choices, but were slow on some of the hills and came out from the bush in about fourth place (I think).

The MTB was great fun. Some quite technical sections to ride down (and up) and a large ditch to push/pull/throw the bikes across made for some laughs. We managed to bridge the gap to two teams in front of us reasonably early on and spent the rest of the ride tussling for position with them. We got to the kayak/run transition in 3rd place.

We threw on PFDs and jumped in the nearest kayak. After about 50m we veered sharply to the left. "What's going on back there Bruce" I snapped. "Are you steering or am I?" I think was his reply. In our haste we failed to adjust the foot pedals which were set up around Bruces waist, making it near impossible for him to steer. After some cursing and what seemed to be a long time adjusting out in the deep water we got back underway, but had now lost quite a bit of time and had slipped back at least 1 place (at that point). We took off in pursuit, and began making distance back little by little. 

Back on solid ground we took off in search of two checkpoints on foot. Bruce struggled to get his legs working on this one, probably not helped by a small nav mistake I made leading us to climb through some blackberries and cross a stagnant smelly creek (which would have been nice to avoid). 

The next MTB leg took us across the Lysterfield lake dam and onto another nice bit of single track before some high speed trails. Karina and Gus had passed us on the kayak / run section, doing the run first then the kayak in the super fast XT. We hit the start/finish area and got the advanced course MTB map and were off in pursuit!

We spent much of this section chasing but not catching the teams in front of us. There was again a few route choice options on this leg but nothing that gave enough of an edge to reach them with the speed we had. Gus and Karina had a good tussle with the 2nd and 3rd teams and ended up a few seconds behind 3rd. This meant they took out the mixed category, but  I'm sure Gus was disappointed not to pass them. Bruce and I ended up 4th in the male category, which given his enforced rest he was coming out of we were pretty pleased with.


Pics by Leigh Paulsen