Monday, 28 July 2014

Peak To Peak Winter Adventure Race

What it was all about!

Several months ago myself, Gemma and Rachael was sat in our house one night looking for running events we could all participate in over the winter months. On searching the net we found a Multi Sport Adventure Race 'Peak To Peak' The race consisted of a 2km downhill ski onto a 16km downhill mountain bike, jump in a kayak for 7km across Lake Wakatipu before running 9km out of Queenstown, finishing with a 9km uphill bike ride to Cornet Peak Ski Resort. We instantly all took a shine to the event as something to do as a house (Little did Chris know he was going to be apart of all this, as he was working late that evening) after a little discussion on how we would sort each persons relay leg we left it at that.

The Night Before..
A couple of months later it was the week before the event and in a last minute dash to get all the equipment together we entered our team 'The Hungry Hippos' Kind of fitting as we all exercise to ultimately eat! Any one looking from the outside looking at us would just laugh at how we was going about the event. Pretty much everything we had to get for the event we didn't have as we were all travelling. The ski's, MTN bike and road bike were all rented and not used untill the day. Our Kayak we had from a friend.. so basically the only leg we had covered was the running section! The night before the event we popped down into town to collect our race bib and information from registration. First thing we noticed as people pulled up in cars etc.. that everyone had the best gear on the market! Some of these athletes were in it to win it, ultimately multi sport racing was there number one sport. And here's us renting and borrowing everything. 
Rachael heading to the start! 

Race morning come and after a brilliant home made pancake team breakfast from Rachael we were off! Rachael and Chris left to drive up the mountain as Rachael was racing our Ski section followed by Chris taking on the downhill MTN section. I was up for the 7km Kayak and passing on the bib to Gem for the 9km run with myself finishing off on the uphill bike to the Ski Resort of Cornet Peak. Me and Gem went down to Frankton beach to sort the kayak out and get ready to collect the bib from Chris on his bike. As soon as we got to the beach I instantly realised that me in my little casual weekend kayak was going to struggle big time! Every other team had a nice slim racing sea kayak.. Nothing like going against the odds. Our kayak choice soon was the talking point of the beach with people coming up to us saying that we wouldn't make it in our 'joke' kayak and we may well not start. A little demoralising but people who know me knows that I will just find that extra 10% effort some where just to prove everyone wrong and yes I was going to finish wether it took me 40 minutes or 3 hours, I like a good challenge! 
Chris ready to take on the downhill.

12:00 came and the race was off, Rachael set us going with a good downhill ski to finish her leg within the middle of the pack. Chris then took over the bib to ride it down from the Ski Resort to the Frankton beach where I was waiting to Kayak. Chris also had a storming ride and kept our overall place high by passing a few more competitors along the way. Next up was me on the Kayak, now kayaking 7km alone is an effort! Kayaking 7km in a small weekend toy against seasoned kayakers in racing kayaks just seamed impossible.. after 400 meters away from the beach I instantly knew it was going to be a big effort to finish this leg of the relay but I certainly wasn't going to give up and let the team down. Looking around I taking 5 strokes to everyone else's 1 and I still wasn't getting any where to be honest.. 
Just splashing around..

Minute by minute I lost more ground on all the other competitors and was quickly loosing everything what Rachael and Chris had given us so far. Just over the hour mark I finally came into the final stretch into Queenstown beach, unfortunately at this time I was one from last!! That leg of our relay just killed any chance we had of doing well but not to give up Gem took the bib off me and shot up the road like a dog after a rabbit to see what we could actually claw back from this race. 
Have a guess what Kayak I had?!
Gem storming the run leg! 

After locking our kayak up to a tree myself,Chris and Rachael headed to the car to drive up to the final transition area to wait for Gem to arrive and pass on the bib back to me to take us up to the finish line. As we drove the run course to get to the finish we passed Gem half way into her run flying! She had already taken 4 runners and was easily going to catch a few more up the road as they had nothing on the climbs where Gem was making some serious ground on them. On crossing the finish line we found that she had over taken 9 runners along the way. The team was in good spirit and the thought of coming last was slowly going away from our minds.. With Rachael, Chris and now Gem all having awesome legs I was out for revenge on the bike after my disappointing kayak leg. 
Transition, Run - Bike

I took the bib off Gem, popped it over my head and set off all calm and relaxed with the idea off hit the bottom of the climb hard but still at a sustainable speed to carry on with it to the summit. First mistake I nearly missed the left turn to go up to Cornet Peak, breaks went on and I turned the bike around to take the left turn. By this time I was now on a mission to get up this hill at the quickest possible speed I could. I soon missed my carbon road bike from back home as I started to climb the hill with this old aluminium bike we had managed to get for the event. The support from Chris,Rach and Gem was awesome! They kept driving up a little, stopping and getting out to show their support what always helps you when everything is hurting. 
On the up..! 
Reaching snow line.

Half way up the climb I had managed to catch 7 riders and still was feeling ok, at the 5km mark I decided to try and push on and up the pace once again. As they say everything comes in 3's so I still had one thing what could go wrong and just as the team had passed me for the final time before the summit my chain jammed and come off.. I quickly jumped off to try and sort not wanting to loose too much time in the process. I continued to push on and climb to the summit and managed to catch a few more riders in the final km's taking the tally to 16 riders caught. 100 meters from the finish line Chris took my bike whilst I ran up the stairs and along the snow to cross the line. Where Gem and Rachael was waiting and cheering for me. A fellow work college Katelyn was up the ski resort skiing at the time too and had gone to get the team some drinks and chocolate for the finish line! What went down a treat.. Just what I needed after turning myself inside out to get up the climb. Thanks Katelyn! I owe you :-) 
Every last bit of energy to the finish line.

Overall I think I can talk for everyone in the team here, we all loved it and something none of us had done in the past and all really enjoyed it. I would defiantly recommend to people just to give something out side your comfort zone a go and you might actually surprise your self. I'm defiantly not saying I'll take up Kayaking as a sport any time soon but was good to test myself physically and mentally for sure. The day was finished off with a good feast out in the American Diner in town and a laugh at some of the videos and pictures we got along the way. 
Finish Line picture! Team Hungry Hippos.

Thanks again to everyone who follows and take the time to read my posts! Also a thanks to Chris and Rachael for capturing the event on camera on the way round.. 

Chris has also put a little video together, showing some of the best parts of the event!

Also check out Rachael and Chris's take/blog on the days event here. Some more cool pictures to check out too!

Paul x 

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