Whangamata 12-Hour Adventure Race – Saturday, 29th July
report by Oliver Lawrence Y13
With 750 competitors in all events, this is the largest Adventure Race in New Zealand and is considered the national sprint title for Adventure Racing. We took part in the Secondary Schools 12-hour Duathlon Event.
The race started at 7:30am, after a cold dark morning wake up. It began with a fast-paced race up the forestry road on our bikes, before hitting the muddied bike tracks. Half pushing and half riding, we briskly completed the cold Stage 1, getting all the control points. Stage 2 was a steep but quick off-track climb through the thick bush, trusting our compass to show us the way as we could not see it. Running where we could, we finished Stage 2 with all bonus and control points after 2 hours.
Stage 3 was a straight-forward bike ride along a winding single track, back past the start and towards our next transition. With only a few steep climbs and drops, the hardest part was trying to squeeze past teams without taking them out. Only a cold river crossing and steep climbs at the end made us lose our breath. Coming in at the 4-hour mark, we rested at transition for food and mental preparation for the next large trek. Stage 4 consisted of an off-track 40 km trek, with some options to cross back early. Steep climbing, dense bush and river crossing in the forest along the ridge lines forced us to cover around 3/4 of Stage 4. Our solid navigation and determination to keep going at any cost helped us cut back along a river, picking up a number of bonus points far off track. After running where we could and scrambling in the mud for the last five hours, we stumbled into transition cold and wet, with the light fading fast.
After nine and a half hours, we set out on the 5th and last stage in the bike park. We were treated with a long climb up a dusty forestry track, with the sun setting over the hill behind us. As we pushed on, we ducked into the trees and raced down a solid single track for a good half hour, questioning whether to pull out the torches or keep pacing as we were actually enjoying ourselves. Darkness came upon us at the next check point, as we carried our bikes over a freezing river. With light complications, we rode in single file, while I described the terrain coming up ahead. Picking up half of the check points and following a few ‘dodgy turns’, we rolled down the final hill and stumbled across the finish line at 11 hours 50 mins, taking third place in our event.
Team: – Oliver Lawrence, Taylor Haynes, Ryan Zent and Mica Erdman
Junior Adventure Racers Reach National Finals
On Thursday 10th August, two combined Westlake Girls/Boys Junior Adventure Racing teams competed in a Hillary Outdoors Junior Get2Go Challenge, which is the regional qualifying race for Nationals. Recruiting, trials and training began in July for two mixed premier teams, consisting of four Westlake boys and four Westlake girls. The Junior Get2Go event involved a range of activities at different Auckland locations, including problem solving, orienteering/rogaine and mountain biking.
This was an important Junior event as each year Westlake has always just missed out on the top spot, which is the only way to gain entry to the National Championships event; a five-day race held on Great Barrier Island in December.
After hot competition from 20 other schools in the Auckland region, our First Mixed Premier team took the top spot and won the whole event, with our second team coming a respectable 10th place.
Our Seniors have displayed incredible patience, organisation and support with preparing both teams and have been an inspiration to the junior racers and especially to the large number of brand new competitors who are only just beginning their adventure racing journey.
Team 1: Seb Lawrence, Nathan Borton, Hayden Williams, James Donald
Team 2: Ikenna Unamadu, Alex Jobbins, Logan Rea, Finlay Knapp