Adventure Racing (YstervARk Legend) 13:00:00  120.0 km (6:30 / km)
Really well planned and organised by the Tshwane AR Club. They're getting good at it.
So we knew we were starting near Olifants Nek dam. We didn't go west to Rustenburg or east to Breedts Nek, so my google earth scouting useless...
Raced with the XPD team: Danie, Lizelle and Wiehan. Danie was a bit sick last week so underpowered.
We started at 11pm. So most of the race was in the dark, but with my lights I'm starting to enjoy the night racing.
The field splitter was a short run around the campsite to fetch the passport. We got back with Olympus and set off on the bikes.
About 300m down the road Danie released he wasn't wearing his pack. Oops. So the rest of the field streamed past us while he went to fetch it. We caught up with most people at #1, with just Olympus, Hawkstone and Xhale ahead. We worked hard, caught them quite fast and then went flying past them. Wiehan and Danie were well out of the comfort zone so in hindsight that was silly. But we held a few minutes lead up to #2. #2 was off the road in an excavation and I knew that just as we found it everyone else would pitch up. And sure enough they did. We rode away again and Hawkstone took a wrong turn, so we had the lead again. They caught us and together we tried an obvious route on the map which turned out to be dodgy grassy track. Just as we finished back-tracking Olympus turned up. The 3 of us rode together for the rest of the leg with Hawkstone getting a minute ahead by T2.
Out of T2 there was an abseil into a hole. It turned out into a big cave system. At the bottom we got given a map and 13 points to find over about 3km - all underground. It was lit up and there were bats everywhere. Awesome! The first time I've got to do sprint orienteering in an AR :) We passed Hawkstone looking confused on the way to #1. Luckily one of points involved a long crawl so we got out of sight. Lots of fun and we managed to get a good 5-10 minute lead.
Back on the bikes and it was pretty much big straight forward roads back to the dam. We rode hard and I think maintained the gap. Until #16, which I'd marked on some houses next to the road. I didn't see the descriptions for this leg's points so I didn't know what it was on. It was also under 'photocopy' join of 2 topo maps. And I think slightly in the wrong place, it was after the left bend in the road. But enough excuses! - I should have marked it better and got the description. So we messed around long enough for Hawkstone to catch and pass us while were slightly off the road. I caught up and got the description out of them - very kind of them. Turned out it was "bridge, upstream of river". So we found it and set off after them. I blew our nice lead...
Onto the paddle where we knew we'd lose time. The first one was on a willow tree on an island. There were lots of islands and the one it was on was not where the circle was! Hawkstone did the same, so not too bad. We got off the paddle as they were leaving transition again.
They chose to swim out of transition. I thought it was worth the gamble running around. Bad move. We lost about 20 min I think. The vegetation was thick and on the other side I went high, got cliffed out and had to come down again. So they had a good lead and I think moved better than us over the last hike. The views were good, but there was lots of climbing. They pulled away. I'd already blown the only tricky part by not swimming. It was straight forward after that.
So 2nd. Hawkstone moving very well - well done. We had a good race - if I'd lead a bit better maybe we would have been closer, but I think without my marking and swimming errors they still would have had us.
We had a fun race. The team's working well. Looking forward to XPD!