Expedition India, what happened?

So what happened at Expedition India? I have been told the website didn’t have much information and that news of our team being pulled out of the race was first seen on Facebook. We have been racking our brains trying to figure out what went wrong as well. To an outsider it looks like we went too hard and blew up but that is far from true.

The transition onto the last trek was a casual one, we sipped coke and Jonas and I even had a shower. Then we walked up to the homestay in the blistering heat where we stopped for another two hours, slept 1:45 of it and had hot noodles, soup and eggs.

We headed up to base camp which was about 25km away and increasing about 500-1000m in elevation, so a gradual climb. We took our time and had rests along the way to catch our breath and eat and drink. It was the early hours of the morning when we were approaching the base camp and we were freezing, the temp was around -7¬įC and we did not have enough clothes. We thought we would have a rest at base camp and then continue over the pass and down to the finish, however when our oxygen saturation levels were testes we all failed. It had to be over 75 to continue and we were well below.

So that was it, race over and we had to head back 25km to the homestead. We couldn’t stay at base camp in hope of getting better, staying at altitude would only make us worse so we had to descend. We started walking back and Jonas was not in good shape, we were travelling 1km/hour and having to stop for 30 min naps. This walk could potentially take us 24 hours and not get low enough in elevation fast enough. We pushed the emergency beacon button and about half an hour after a guy came down from base camp. He asked us if we were ok and we said no, but he gave us two juice boxes and carried on his way, English wasn’t his best. We assumed that was the emergency help and we had no choice but to keep crawling along.

About 2km from the homestay we received help. Jonas and I got helicoptered off the mountain and taken to Hospital in Leh where we were treated overnight for low oxygen and Jonas had water in his lungs. Simon and Marten went to the homestay and then a car ride back around to Leh.

Was it the exposure to the heat on the way to the homestay and then our bodies freezing before the basecamp that made us have such low levels? Were we just simply not acclimatised for that height yet? I think it was a combination of both. And it sucks so much we weren’t allowed to carry on, really gutting. Especially when it is out of your control to do anything about it.

I must describe the hospital; we were taken to the tourist ward where there was a room of people on oxygen just because the town itself is at 3500m. We asked for a shower and no we weren’t allowed a shower because it is low oxygen, I think because of the humidity. Then I went to the toilet but there wasn’t any toilet paper, so I asked for some. No toilet paper, no tissues, no water, no food, no wifi. I pulled out money and begged for water from some sort of vending machine or something but no. The nurses said they give drugs only, everything else is BYO.

 

All of the things you are craving after finishing a race and we weren’t allowed. I pretty much got myself into the sink in the bathroom to have a wash, then the race organisers visited us and came with food and water, legends. I cant thank you Heidi enough, it was like you knew ūüôā ¬†Actually thank you Heidi and Steffan for organising a brilliant event and couple of weeks, I highly recommend the work that you do and can’t wait to come to Africa one day.

Thank you first to Corrinne and Skylotec for the opportunity. Bobby and his family for the extra work done on the farm without me. Also to my sponsors Liv Cycling NZ, Cycle Obsession, Tailwind Nutrition, Restore Massage, Bivouac, PowerSmart Solar and the team sponsors, Skylotec, OMM, MBT Footwear, 24hour Meals, Squeezy Sports Nutrition. We couldn’t do this demanding sport without you.

I’m now recovering from a horrible cold, feeding calves and then teaming up with Isla and Georgia for Spring Challenge this weekend. Girl time! At low altitude!

Photos by Jana Julian

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Coast to Coast Top 10 Two Day Gear Review

Ok I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while but things have been very busy here on the farm with calves taking over every inch of shed space we have.
The gear used by the top 10 Two Day competitors in 2017:
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the link to the pdf download is here C2C gear two day

One thing to note is the second day of the event is tricky because competitors first start on a road bike leg and then to get to the kayaks they have to run with their bike down a short gravel road. (the One Day competitors can rack their bikes at the top.) Keeping your bike shoes on would be a nightmare trying to run down in, so some competitors choose to use mountain bike shoes for this leg as they are a little easier to run in, or choose to carry a pair of shoes in their pockets and put them on. Also you have to take into consideration if you will be wearing anything on your feet in the kayak, which is the next leg..

There is a real mix of gear used but some similar shoes and run packs to the One Day competitors. The kayaks are noticeably more stable and the paddle lengths similar.
I hope this gives more of the entrants for this years Coast to Coast a bit of a shopping list and a starting point ūüôā

Any discussion is welcome, what gear are you planning on using for 2018?

 

 

Coast to Coast Top 10 Gear Review

Each year competitors stress about which gear to use for the Coast to Coast. Many people are purchasing for the first time, need direction on where to start, and some who have raced before are looking for an edge.
I have always been super keen on getting more people into multisport, especially to the start line of the Coast to Coast so I hope this helps you or someone you know on their way.

PDF Version: C2C gear

There are a few key points from this data. Firstly the bike choice for the men and women; the men almost all ride time trial bikes for all three legs. Whereas many women choose to ride a road bike for the first one or two legs and a TT bike for only the final 70km ride.

The hotly debated use of pedal plates for the first two rides is highlighted here : only six out of the twenty athletes have used them, are they quicker than triathlon shoes, or are multisporters now practicing triathlon style transitions, minimising the plate benefit?

Footwear is carried on in the next column for the mountain run and shows a wide range of brands and models. Shoe choice often comes down to personal preference and there may never be a ‚Äėbest performing‚Äô shoe for the run, however this chart provides a good list of shoes to try.

The running pack column is dominated by Ultimate Direction and Salomon. Some research will show that the packs used by these athletes are lightweight, comfortable to run in, have ample storage and easy access to food and drink.

Kayak choice can cause more of a headache for some people, especially if you are looking to go faster down the Waimakariri; you may be scanning this column and then going on Trademe to find they aren’t listed very often. However from seeing this list, which do you think is the¬†fastest kayak for the Waimak? – Taking all things into consideration.

In the men’s category the Flow MS2 is a popular paddle choice. Is the blade size for Sam, Sam and Sam larger than a MS2?  РLet me know as these three are extremely quick paddlers. Perhaps we will see this list next year with a whole lot of Jantex Gamma Small Plus listed.
In the women’s there is a tie between the Flow MS1 and Legend Small Fusion.

Finally the paddle length is interesting across the athletes and something we should consider more. You will see Sam Clark doesn’t have his shaft at a ridiculous length and the women hovering around 200cm.

Please add in the comments the gear you have used at the Coast to Coast. It is obvious there is no ‘one fits all’ and I think that is what I wanted to highlight here. If you are doing the Coast to Coast for the first time it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are so many options and second hand gear¬†works just fine.

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Multisport Convoy
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From the top: JKK Total Eclipse, Flow Rockstar, JKK Magnetar, Sharp 6

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Well overdue update

We have actually been full on busy with work and life since Coast to Coast in Feb. I’ll do a quick recap of Coast and GODZone, some up coming China racing and then let you in on a BIG change that is coming and what we are really excited about!

Bobby’s Coast to Coast race was extraordinary, he had a really good day where most things went right. The fast pace off the start line was more to his liking that last year and the ride was decent enough to hurt the less cycling fit. A slow transition onto the mountain run but there wasn’t any falling over and kicking toes during the run this time. The beginning of the course was also marked and because it was only his second time over, this was a great help.
Unscathed from the run it was his plan to put a couple of extra minutes in the middle bike ride and short run down to the kayak as he knew the fast paddlers would be coming. But it wouldn’t be, even with a short swim he didn’t see anyone, he was actually on his own from part way through the run to the finish line! Good thing he spends a lot of time with his own company milking cows.
4th place in the most competitive field the coast to coast has ever seen, seriously epic Bobby!
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I did the tandem with my mum and we had a good amount of fun and challenge. The run was really awesome to do together and we could chat and talk with other people along the way. Such as the stand up paddle board Irishman!

We elected to do the early start on the second day but this meant a sunrise straight into my eyes as we tried to navigate the first braids. This resulted in me getting out numerous times and re-positioning ourselves while mum sat like the queen in the back… love you mum.
The last ride was not so fun, the wind meant we couldn’t hear each other so there was little chatting. The roads were straight, flat and boring and it was a battle¬†but we made it ūüôā

Well done to everyone who completed the C2C!
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It was then only two weeks until GODZone and the farm was dry as so Bobby was working his ass off trying to get enough feed out to our beautiful cows. My work has also been crazy busy so our spare time has been precious.

Back down south again and we were in Queenstown with Patrick and Ryan in team Bivouac Inov-8. And all the gear and food you can imagine for a few days of adventure racing.
We had a good race, it was fast, steep and short. A trekking based race and we made some cock ups on the first day which cost us sleep on the first night. This was noticeable among the other teams on the second day and we kept getting hammered by unfortunate events. The team was great, we really wanted it but just never fired, all the small things added up and we have heaps to work on for next time.
We¬†finished in one piece as a team on the long course in 7th place! Still the best placing I’ve ever had and finishing GODZone is a victory in itself every time.

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From finishing GODZone to now has been resting, working our jobs like mad people and preparing for stage racing in China logistically and training wise.
The first China race is Baise and it is a 4 day stage race with offroad running, mountain biking, kayaking and other random activities.

We then come back from China and have Matt and Roses wedding in Wanaka. Then back to China for the Tai and Wengan stage races which are both three days.

 

Coming back on the 28th May and we will both be starting new jobs and a business together on the 1st June! ¬†(It is just down the road and involved lots more cows) But I will write more info soon ūüôā

 

Just getting Bobby sorted for xterra Rotorua tomorrow, one swim under his belt since the Port of Tauranga half, so he might have to do some wiggling once on the bike. Good prep for our upcoming races in China though.

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2017-18 North Island Multisport Calendar

7-8 April               Mountains to Sea 18.5km run, 32km mtb, 62km road bike, 41km paddle, 14km run 34km cycle, 9km mtb

8 April                   Wild Kiwi 12km kayak, 25km mtb, 14km run

8 April                   Taranaki 6-hour adventure race

8 April                   The Generator 6km kayak, 6km run, 32km cycle, 12.5km mtb, 5km run

13 May                 The Nugget 32km cycle, 10km kayak, 10km cycle, 10km run, 23km mtb, 2.2km run

7 May                   Crazyman 13km kayak, 28km mtb, 13km run

20 May                 Opotiki 3, 6 12-hour adventure race

21 May                 Mangatautari Mission 32km cycle, 15km run, 15km cycle, 10km kayak

04 June                3D Multisport 9km kayak, 30km mtb, 10.5km run

10 June                Kawerau 6-hour adventure race

05 Aug                  Whangamata 3, 6, 12-hour adventure race

? Aug                     Coromandel Classic Day 1: 20km mtb, 27km run, 17km kayak. Day 2: 15km kayak, 30km bike, 21km run, 30km bike

17 Sept                 Cambridge to Hamilton Kayak Race 23km kayak

14 Oct                   Motu 65km mtb, 17km run, 52km cycle, 27km kayak, 8km cycle, 3km run

?                              South Head Challenge 11km kayak, 26km mtb, 10km run

5 Nov                    Rodney Coast 10km run, 20km cycle, 25km mtb, 8km kayak

? Nov                    Steelman 1.3km run, 33km cycle, 0.8km run, 8km kayak, 16.6 mtb, 12.6km run

 

Jan                         Rangitikei River Race

20-21 Jan             Red Bull Defiance

9-10 Feb              Coast to Coast 55km cycle, 33km run, 15km cycle, 67km paddle, 70km cycle

Out with the swimming and in with the Kayaking

Bobby raced to a massive PB on the weekend at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman. The swim was a lot faster than other years but he also managed to shave off 7 precious minutes from his bike time over the 90km leg resulting in an overall 13 minute personal best.
This will be his second age group win in a row, and he was the first non elite competitor home, super amazing! We made a few changes to his bike for this race, getting his hydration and spares in a more aerodynamic place and also received a very appreciative donation of a disc and tri spoke to use from Hannah Lowe & family (thank you!)

He is looking at getting into a more aerodynamic body position so we will have a play around to see if he can make any more free speed gains. Or maybe he will just get sore and uncomfortable so will be back to the current position.

I completed the race also and was amazed about how much value you get for your entry fee:

  • Excellent registration and very professional with the various sponsor products on offer.
  • One of the best rego packs I have received¬†in ages, and a transponder that doesn’t cut your leg.
  • Racking my bike the night before felt a bit weird, but I knew it was so safe with all the security and fencing
  • A free swimming cap provided
  • The bike course had been swept so there was no trace of stones or glass. I ride along the course often and it was a dream to ride on Saturday.
  • Barely any cars as the road had been closed for the race
  • Drink bottles with water or electrolyte handed to me on the ride, this was new.
  • So many water stations on the run with coke, electrolyte and water.
  • And to top it all off there is even a tent at the finish for all athletes to enjoy complementary¬†sponsors food and bbq. Wendy Boyce it was a Rolls Royce race to me.

Cheers¬†Willie Bos and Jan Litchwark who taught me to always boot it down Marine Parade on a Thursday morning, there was a 1km TT split there which I had no idea about but it got me¬†a real life trophy, not a STRAVA one ūüėČ

 

So now just as I was beginning to get used to swimming we are hanging up the goggles and picking up the paddles to train for our next missions.

This weekend we have the Rangitiki river race, a super long paddle on a river just below Taihape with grade two rapids. It is excellent mental and bum training for the Coast to Coast and I highly recommend this for anyone in the North Island training for Coast.

 
A friend Kym Wilson recently contacted me as she needed a partner for RedBull defiance so I will be heading down for that for the weekend of the 21st, 22nd January. Anyone keen to go mountain biking between now and then let me know ūüôā

Bobby will be working his ass off on the farm as always while trying to squeeze in some running around the rocks at Maketu to Newdicks beach to train for the Coast to Coast.

Here are some pics from the weekend, we really appreciate all the cheering, it was super exciting coming round in the laps to see everyone.

Chasing Javier Gomez and GODZone 2017

The end of 2016 is nearly here and what a year we have had. We are both feeling better after some recovery from the Adventure Racing World Champs at XPD in Australia in November. Bobby competed in the Rotorua Half Ironman on the weekend and smashed it, chasing Javier Gomez around the course. I did it in a team with mum in preparation for our tandem Coast to Coast, she also did an impressive job gaining some confidence in her cycling.
Because we have unfinished business from XPD (we got sick) we have entered into GODZone at the end of February with Ryan and Patrick. The race is going to be epic because it is being held in Queenstown and they have already promised us more elevation, slightly less distance and hard mountain biking. The Liv Pique will love her next battle!

There are heaps of local events over summer to keep us busy. I have been doing some swimming for easy recovery so decided enter the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman. Bobby does it every year and it looks like a terrible day so all the more of a challenge! If you see me out on the course tell me to hustle because I will more than likely be stuck in cruise mode ūüôā

After the POT Half we will be heading down for the Coast to Coast, Bobby is doing the Longest Day and I am doing the two-day in tandem with my mum, then two weeks later we will be on the start line together for GODZone and I can’t wait.

Bring on summer in Maketu, Tarawera, Pauanui, Mohaka river & everywhere else in between!

 

Thank you to Tailwind Nutrition for bringing us back from the brink in Australia, water alone could not reverse the effects of the state we were in! Also to Cycle Obsession and Liv Cycling NZ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna’s September in China

I have just come back from a two week adventure in China where I had the most EPIC experience competing in two events, the first a stage adventure race and the second an expedition adventure race.

I was asked by Corrinne to join a team last minute with Andris, Mika and Mikko to compete in the Wengan Outdoor Quest which is a two hour drive from Guiyang airport. This was a three day stage race where we navigate the course and change to the different disciplines, mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, abseiling, swimming and some other activities such as puzzles, carrying baskets, climbing walls.

 

 

The day I arrived I went for a mountain bike with Andris and Hamish, my rear derailleur broke so that afternoon we went to the local Merida shop where he fixed my ‚Äėtransmission‚Äô by putting on a new one. The second day I went to take my mountain bike for a ride and the rear brake wouldn‚Äôt work, all the fluid had come out, so I went back to the Merida shop to fix that. This was all the mechanical problems I had for the trip so it was good to get them out of the way before I started racing!

The two Finnish guys and I suffered in the heat on the first day but then we got it together for the second and third day to move up the field. Our team did amazingly well at Wengan, coming in 6th and Andris was super happy as this is the highest ranking he’s had at a Chinese stage race! I am proud of our team work and ability to race hard.

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pre-swimming excitement…

On the last day of racing a bomb was dropped on my exhausted body, a team heading to the X-Trail Altay adventure race had a member fall sick so I was asked to extend my trip and fill the spot. I was up until midnight that night with one of the Chinese translators changing and booking flights, this is where I learnt that nothing is simple in China.

Our hotel room soon became a charity drop off centre with food and gear being left behind for us to use. I borrowed all Johns’ warm gear, jackets, gloves, thermals, sleeping bag as I only brought tropical clothing and now I was to race throughout the night in sub-zero temperatures.

 

We left Wengan and travelled to northern China where our pre-race accommodation was by Lake Kanas in Altay. The final car ride to our accommodation started in the desert and then as we went up into the mountains it was snowing! The time between the two races was three blurry days of getting scared of the cold and organising gear.

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Joosep, Andrea, Andris, Me

Our team started off ok, we had one navigational bush bash error costing us an hour, and then we got into a good rhythm which continued brilliantly for the rest of the race. The first mountain run was 53km, then 34km kayak, another 45km mountain run, 2 hour mandatory stop with noodle making, 98km mountain bike, abseil and a final 58km mountain bike. Our team worked our way up to 6th place but then had to withdraw on the second to last control due to navigational and health issues. Mega bummer.

We had a four hour sleep back at the hotel then wandered around with sore feet the next day getting massages and going through our gear. It was such awesome news to hear that Thule had won the race, my good friends Sam and Corrinne were in that team and deserved the victory!
That night I went out on the town with a group of some of the other teams to a karaoke bar and ended up staying out until 3am which probably wasn’t the best idea for recovery. We had a terribly long bus ride back to Urumqi from Altay and my feet and legs were swollen and sore. I then had two days in Urumqi where we were staying in an Airbnb, I got my hair done at the local salon for sheer entertainment. They had never cut or colour blond hair before and I had to use a translation app on the stylists phone to talk to him. After numerous photos and everyone touching my hair I walked out looking like Marilyn Munroe according to Marcel.

 

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to race over in China as it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life. Next time I would prefer notice so I can do some training beforehand though! The people I met were generous and kind, the race courses were different to anything in New Zealand, I was able to push myself to new limits and I can’t wait to go back for more.

Thank you to my work place PowerSmart Solar for making do with the last minute notice and letting me take on these opportunities. Thanks to Bobby Dean for helping me to get my bits and pieces together before and to keep me sane while I was away. Thank you to Cycle Obsession for keeping my tired bike in some sort of working order ūüôā Thank you to Tailwind Nutrition for the endless scoops of fuel I went through, I was sweating buckets in Wengan and it saved me. www.tailwindnutrition.co.nz

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Jogging at the prologue
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Kayaking at the prologue

Bobby and I have four weeks before we head over to Ulladulla in Austraila to join Georgia Whitla and Mitch Munroe in team Sneaky Weasel Gang at the Adventure Racing World Champs Hosted by XPD.

 

The no-watch Project

A lot of people track their training sessions and use programs such as Training Peaks and Strava, which are powerful tools for motivation, however what happens when you are at a time when you aren’t as fit as you used to be?

Your Training Peaks account has a downward sloping graph and your personal bests on Strava are far off, it makes you not want to open it at all.

The motivation to get out training may seem like you are starting from scratch again and when you look at your watch while out for a run and see your min/km pace to be very average for the perceived effort it can be quite disheartening.

To escape the negativity appearing on your watch, why not escape the watch altogether?

 

What did you do when you first started out? Most of us didn’t wear a watch let alone a gps and training was just whatever pace you felt like where getting it done was the achievement. To get back to that is to let go of your best standards and removing your watch may help with this.

 

The no-watch project was something I began with a short run. Removing time, distance, speed and heart rate meant I could enjoy what I was actually doing in the moment, why I was doing it, how I felt, where I was doing it, and the negativity of my short slow run wasn’t recorded anywhere, not even to myself. How simple and invigorating!

I removed the bike computer and paddling became a measure of what tree I felt like turning around at. Key words there are ‚Äėwhat I felt like‚Äô.

A couple of months down the track and I still haven’t put the gps back on, I have gained fitness back and I would love to have had the data from the past couple of months but I would much prefer the ease of getting it back without a watch telling me how unfit I was. I have no idea how fast I am running or cycling and I don’t care, I know I feel better so that makes me happy.

We shouldn’t let computers dictate our motivation and satisfaction when we are getting back into training, nor should we let a downward sloping graph make us feel lesser than we once were.

 

I’ll see you back on Strava soon.