Thursday, November 5, 2009

Report from the PpART/Elephant Park relay Team

What a feeling to share the many experiences I have been fortunate to live through with the Pennypinchers Adventure Racing Team - this time it would be with 3 young up and coming junior talents who hail from MARS (Montessorri Adventure Racing School) to take on the 2009 Merrell Eden Duo during the weekend of the 30 & 31 October.
Gabriel Van Wyk (15) was the team MTB rider, Nina Orzechowski (15) our paddler and Knysna Canoe Club Development Athlete - Stephen Harker (17) learning how to pace himself on the long hikes and trail runs.
We all completed the first stage together - kloofing the Kaaimans and progressed quickly through the first TA1 and make up good time with excellent riding and confident navigating by Gabriel. Our mission was to collect as many of the CPs we could and any mistakes would mean valuable time lost.
Arriving at the second transition TA2 our turnaround time was good and Stephen was able to work with a topographical map for the first time in his entire life. It did not take long however to pick up the basics and our hike was turned into an interesting map reading lesson. He also unselfishly took on the back pack of a fellow junior racer from another team who was battling with the conditions and this illustrated the great potential this young athlete has in the sport.
A wrong route choice near the end did loose us all the time we had saved on opting to pick up CP 4 from the weir and 20 mins later we had CP 5 in the bag by opting to use the flatter alternate route on top of Saasveld.
Another quick transition at TA3 and Gabriel was back in business navigating us to CP 7 and 8. A nav error however looking for CP 7 cost us both time and altitude and it was difficult not to say something and rather ride on down with my young partner back into a valley we had just used precious time to ascend ......however it was the only way Gabriel would work out his error and the continuing lesson he was experiencing in a live event will have stood him in good stead for the future.
The sun set as we picked up CP 7 and 8 was going to be messy in the dark so opted for the longer distance wise but simpler navigation route option to collect CP 8. This was the last we could collect as unfortunately we had missed the paddle cutoff.
The long beach hike with Stephen was a tough challenge having only had the benefit of a lowish tide close to Swartvlei. After this it was a slog through the loose sand above the high tide mark and some adrenalin filled moments as we dodged the waves up against the odd cliffs on some of the tighter sections nearing Wilderness.
The last paddle was in some beautifully crafted mist and the team completed thier mission at 02h50 in the morning having worked as an amazing unit throughout the event.
Thank you to our superb seconds - Ronelle & Jeannine who like my young racers had never done this before and came out as a truly professional outfit with all guns blazing.
It has and always will be an honour to have shared this particular experience together.
Congrats to you and keep up the wonderful attitudes.

No comments:

Post a Comment