Take us to the Wildside

The 5th and final race in the Australian Adventure Racing series took place on the first weekend of October down in Kangaroo Valley, 2hrs drive south of Sydney. The ruthless, unrelenting, technical and raw adventure of Richard’s 36hr Wildside was simply an incredible race.

With yet another loaded team of legends, Trevor Mullens back from Peru to captain his team Tiger Adventure, fellow inseparable pocket rocket Sara Barrett, Aurelien Penneman lead nav / gorge hopping moutain goat and myself completely and hopelessly in love with Adventure racing therefore the first to say yes to this kind of team!

This race was a slightly different from the beginning as we were not given Race Logistics prior to the event, merely a list of the “order of events” therefore had absolutely no idea about how long each leg would take and what we would be doing during the day or night. We didn’t know where we would see our gear boxes making it very difficult to plan both food and gear for each leg. My method for this was to pack a supermarket bag for each leg with 3hrs food for each, earlier legs having food I could eat at higher intensities and later legs having more “morale” foods and things I could eat while going more slowly. I packed a change of clothes into each leg and figured I can always take them out.

Checking the weather a week out – it was going to be cold. Checking the weather half a week out – it was going to be hot. Checking the weather the day before – it was going to rain and be early 20’s down to 8 degrees overnight on Saturday then fine up on Sunday to over 30 degrees. Brilliant for when you need to pack your gear and food a week before the race for your team mates to drive it down and have no idea what time you will be doing each leg! Basically the best of planning will be planning at best, as always with adventure racing!

I flew down to Sydney midday on Friday with good mate and training buddie Milford chatting logistics, predictions and strategy the whole way especially as it was Milford’s first race in a while. Greeting our friendly ride and new mate Pierro Francois helped to get excited about the adventure to come. By the time we neared Kangaroo Valley the mist rolled in, the landscape became greener, hillier and more densely packed bush I was buzzing to get into the wilderness surrounds. The setting reminded me more of NZ, a stark contrast to the brown, dry, prickly and relatively quite flat terrain of Queensland. There was one particular road that I am writing in this blog to refer back to for good reason – Moss Vale Road. Remember the name road cyclists if you are ever in the area. Descending into Kangaroo Valley this road offered Tour De France quality switchbacks in dense beautiful green bush descending/climbing almost 600m across 8km. I will definitely be keen to give it a ride someday, but as this weekend called for alot more activity off road – it was an adventure to be had another day.

Arriving at camp my team mates had already taken over our cabin with gear and packing. Trev and Sara – legends – had done the 12hr car trip the day before, truck packed up to the sky with gear. The immense amount of gear required for these races is unbelievable, I will detail this more in one of my blogs over the summer – look out for it newbies as I will share my gear lists after three races of my experience to get you started. My first gear packing venture took two weeks. I now have it down to about 2 days.

Arriving about 5pm, some excited hugs were shared and had a brief meet and greet with my newest team mate Aurélien Penneman. Aurélien has raced many times with Trevor including twice at New Zealand’s prestigeous GODZone 7 day expedition event. He is a very experienced racer having raced in many events in home country France and other AR World Series Expedition events in the Nordic Islands, Scotland and others. I was pretty proud to be racing with this speedy, experienced Frenchman and had full confidence in his role as Lead Navigator – just as much as I always had in Craig Keeling. This for me is such an important factor as a team member who is still pretty knew to the sport. With Aurélien leading Tiger Adventure #19 and my trusty faithful’s ever strong Packhorse and Team Captain Trev, and motivational, everlasting side kick Sara it was set to be a solid team. With a few of the big dawg teams still recovering from Eco Challenge the field was looking promising for us to rank well. I knew I would need my game face on in order to pull my weight with this team, time to pull up the socks and suck up whatever was to come our way!

Favourite Race Tucker – Baked spuds and the increasingly famous Weetbix Slice

Packing last minute sammies and baked potatoes before Rego at 6pm where we get the customary “fresh as a daisy” team pics and Map handout and briefing was at 7pm – after which the course is revealed and we can finally pack our bags.

Briefing was a little different to normal – we didn’t have the maps before we were introduced to the course. I actually loved the way Race Director Richard introduced the race. Telling a story of how we would pass through the course revealing one epic leg after another, having full attention of all 60 odd racers in the crowd listening to every detail of the adventure ahead.

Hearing we would be bussed up the river to start with a 7km kayaking up one of the side creeks as far as it would take us on water into the start of the Bundanoon creek gorge. Where we would then navigate up the gorge with approx. 500m vertical elevation over 12km. At the top we would find our mountain bikes and a box of gear in the hub of a large trail network to complete a 50km MTB rogaine. After the rogaine – back at the box to change or restock food again we would head back down the neighbouring Tallowa gorgefor 14km descending back to our kayaks. Next a 24km kayak down the lake would take us to our next and last Transition Area (TA2) before finding again our bikes to complete Part 1 of a 70km Mountain bike (MTB) that would end by taking us approx 600 vertical metres up Meryla pass. At the top we were to complete a 20km Foot Rogaine before completing Part 2 of the mountain bike back to town and the finish line. The second MTB would include a compulsory walk with the bikes along a tourist walking trail and a fast downhill to reclaim all the elevation gained in the earlier part of the MTB. By the end of his description I had butterflies in my stomach – two epic canyon/gorge hikes (my absolute favourite trekking terrain but by far the most energy draining also) and a total of 46km trekking/running, a huge hill on the MTB with 120km to pedal all up and 30km of paddling we would have our work cut out for us across the ~200km course in just 36 hours racing time. What made things more tricky was the two time cut offs at the MTB rogaine and the Foot Rogaine which were essential to make in order to not be short-coursed. We thought at the time we would have a good chance at meeting the cut offs if we were moving steadily through the course but it certainly wasn’t a guarantee. Throughout the brief and course notes Richard still did not give us an estimated time for any of the legs meaning we had to give it a go ourselves after maps.

After mapping the course and Richards adventurous tale we had the best idea we were going to get of what was in store – time to pack our gear and food for the mission ahead. Now remember – briefing started at 7pm, it was 8pm by the time we got back to mark up the maps. By 9pm we were packing our gear and approx 10.30pm we were getting into bed for a measly 5 hours sleep prior to our 36 hour venture. We were due on the bus at 5am to be shipped to the start. Sometimes the adventure racing mission starts well before and clean up certainly ends well after the race itself.

We woke to steady rain on the roof at 4am, shovelled in some breakfast, last minute packing gear in and out – rethinking how wet and cold it could potentially get. I had already done some sleep “packing” overnight, poor Sara waking at about 3am to me grabbing the duvet of the bed we were sharing and trying to “pack” what I thought was clothes into a “bag”. I woke from the eventful slumber in the middle of the night to Sara’s “You ‘right mate?”, us both taking a second to realise I was in fact “sleep walking/packing”. At least no one can say I am not organised right? Off to the start line and onto the bus. Bus trips at the start of an adventure race I find incredibly amusing. Just to paint a picture. Think of 50-60 odd athletes wearing kayaking gear, carring brightly coloured dry bags, lifejackets, packs and paddles, wearing race bibs, tight shorts, rain coats, compasses around their necks, carrying maps and the last minute banana tucked in a pocket somewhere all trying to walk down the aisle of a bus, and fit into the tiny two man seats. I imagine these bus drivers must find it quite a unique crowd compared to their normal shipments!

Arriving at the start at the Tallowa Dam picnic area in Kangaroo Valley to a steady drizzle everyone is collecting their barge of a kayak off the trailer and lugging it down to the waters edge, having last minute wee and other toilet stops, taking off and putting on last minute clothing changes, tying dry bags to the kayaks and putting split paddles together. The lake is beautiful – glassy, misty and green and I am feeling pumped to get going.

Lined up to start on the shores of Lake Yarrunga on the Kangaroo River at the Tallowa Dam picnic area.

Before we know it 6am arrives and the hooter goes. There is not many formalities at the start of an adventure race I have discovered, no countdown, no warning just a hooter so often people are caught out and it requires you to be organised and time keep for yourself. So, off we go!

And we are off!

The kayak was a fast and uneventful 7km starting in fairly clear weather which slowly closed into a steady downpour heading up the arm of the lake to our transition into the gorge. With banks getting steeper on either side and some cool rock formations and cliffs at the top we were getting more excited for the depths of the gorge to come.

Getting to Dougie – the man with the flag on the bank at the top of the arm of the gorge. At the end of the kayak we ran our boats up the bank, ditched our kayaking gear and grabbed our packs out of the dry bags. There was no box at this transition therefore we had to carry everything for the Trek and the next 4hr paddle on our boats – a real staged adventure in my eyes, I loved it! Getting a couple minutes into the Trek a team member from Team Rogue was running back at us – only for Sara to thankfully ask Trevor if he had grabbed our tracker (one of the absolute essential pieces of equipment). Something so easily forgotten was actually forgotten so Trev back tracked and we vowed to make a team effort to remind him at each transition from then on. Thankfully it was only a 2 minute mistake on this occasion!

Heading on up the gorge was fast at first, travelling with team Rogue was pretty fun, knowing they were in the running for the win and having the title to defend from last year we were pretty stocked to be comfortably travelling with these guys up the Bundanoon Creek. It felt fast at first, running over rocks, clambering around trees moving at a fast pace we were travelling well and quickly caught our fellow Tigers team Tiger Shackleton containing my mates Milford McArthur and Pete 250cc Hopwood, previous team mate Joel Claxton and the experienced Kevin Piercy. Finding the right junction easily with these other teams we turned up Nyes Creek where the going got a little tougher and a little slower. The boulders got bigger, the terrain thicker and the ascent steeper. We came to a junction where we could take a right up the waterfall or a longer left up a steep spur and Sara and I, pulling up our courage we put our trust into the boys faith in our ability to climb up the waterfall while team Rogue and Shackleton headed up the spur. It was a potential shortcut that turned out to be a little slower but nevertheless that sort of decision is impossible to know how it will go until its gone and can potentially mean a nifty shortcut or that you fall behind slightly. In our case this was where we lost sight of the leaders team Rogue. We quickly caught and passed our Tiger Shackleton mates again to head deeper into the gorge. Aurélien showed his true strengths at this stage, our team now alone in the gorge he led us with a finesse over the rocks that I could only dream to be able to move with and he did this while navigating with a map in hand. We often had to call back our nimble French mountain goat so we were in sight of his movements, finding it much more efficient to follow his footsteps than bumble our own way through the terrain with an eye on him in the distance. It was at this point I taught him the game Marco Polo often losing sight just 10m away behind the boulder in front. Sara and I held our own well enough with half the length sized legs and strength of the boys while we all collected our fair share of bumps, brusies and scratches on the unforgiving slippery moss covered, wet creek bed. It was absolutely fantastic.

Approching CP 3 we were certain we were in the right place and double checked the area before heading further up and down then around the creek to find the CP. Unfortunately by this time, we had missed the 11am cut off we were racing for at the mountain bike transition and 50mins later we orientated ourselves and had found the CP. We were passed by three other teams in this time, the Avengers (who had also made an earlier nav error costing them the cut off), Mont (who apparently chose the high road out of the canyon for a while) and the trusty Shackleton boys who were impressively without errors in the gorge. Soon learning as we arrived at the mountain bike transition that Rogue were the only team to make the 11am cut off and not be short-coursed for the rest of the race, meaning as long as they finished they had won the race just 5 hours in.

This timing gives you an idea of how slow going it is in the gorge. The fastest team, without nav errors moved at a speed of 23 minutes per kilometre and took approx. 4.5 hrs to complete the 12km gorge. Personal speed is important to know to be able to time when you might be approaching a creek, CP or judging the distance travelled in a race. I am usually timekeeper for the team and Trev has a keen feel for our pacing meaning we always had a fair idea how we were travelling.

By the end of the gorge and transitioning into the MTB Rogaine, simply put I felt like shite. My knee was starting to niggle at the end of the gorge and I was terrified and ashamed that my body was starting to crack this early in the race. I was especially worried because I knew downhill is always worse on joints and we had another, longer gorge in reverse to take back to the kayaks in Leg 4 to come. I popped my first Ibuprofen at around 10am just 4 hours in and was hobbling along the roads to the MTB TA1, this was not good news. I spoke up early to my team – it is always a hard pill to swallow to admit the first niggles for yourself and the team but absolutely essential to be able to go on and complete the race. Often your team mates will have suggestions that will save you that you hadn’t thought of or if you are dehydrated, low on fuel you often cannot see the correct solution yourself. From experience I knew I needed drugs and Sara also told me she had stronger anti-inflammatories I should take next time and reminded me to hand over weight to the boys if it was still niggling on the way back down the gorge.

At the TA we got our MTB rogaine maps and Aurélien and Sara quickly decided and mapped out which 5 CP’s we were getting.

Setting into the bike I was red lining it trying to keep on the wheel of my team mates and quickly falling behind I had to also try and play catch up with food shovelling snakes into my mouth as much as my heavy breathing would allow. Trev dropped back and mentioned I might need a tow. Towing is an important part of a race – the team is fastest when it stays together and helps one another out. Although I was gutted. They were words I never wanted to hear 7 hours in. I have pride in my cycling fitness from the past two years but at this point I was busting my ass and only making 20kph on the flat – something else was definitely up. Thankfully with the word “tow” mentioned and a couple of helpful pushes from Trev and Aurélien I was able to keep on Sara and Aurélien’s wheel…just! Trying not to think of the later consequences of a 2 hour sprint session, I did what I had to to keep up with my strong team.

This was definitely the lowest moment of my adventure racing so far and although I ate something in TA, it was a quick transition and probably not enough. Looking back – the gorge and kayak took us almost 6 hours and I definitely had not had my usual 6hrs of food whilst trying to clamber over rocks and keep up with my speedy team therefore was likely running very low on fuel. Lesson learned the hard way.

Back at TA I shovelled in as much food as I dared before our run ahead. At this point it is super important to realise what is coming. Yes I was underfuelled and we had a 14km trek – during which I would be able to handle a large volume of food in my stomach as we slowly worked our way down the gorge. However to get to the mouth of the gorge we had a 6km run on fire roads – for which we would definitely run at a solid pace. Chatting quickly to my navigators I soon figured this out. Therefore TA food was calculated – liquids with sugar, potatoes, couple of mouthfuls only of rice pudding and baked beans but nothing crazy to upset the stomach. Even some of you may think, I could never run on that! This shows the importance of not only running for training but training the stomach to deal with food whilst running.

Pocket Rocket posing for the camera, having fun at the back behind the unsuspecting boys!

Running to the edge of the gorge and slipping into our second canyon of the day we starting making our way down the impressive Tallowa Gorge realising it will take us into the evening to get to the end of it. So, we set off with haste to get as far down in daylight as possible and after I had popped my second lot of Ibuprofen, egg sammie for dinner courtesy of Sara (wham bam thank you maam!) and sucking up my knee issues for the bumpy road ahead. Tallowa Gorge was more knarly than the first with boulders the size and height of cars and sheds often requiring negotiation around or down. For us pocket rockets – we become rather height challenged in this environment. Sara at 1.57m and I at 1.62m understandably find it a little difficult to clamber down the front of a boulder with a two metre rock face. Whereas Trev and Aurélien standing at near 2 metres tall themselves they quickly became essential to getting us down the gorge. Aurélien used the bear hug method standing front on to us and essentially grabbing us like small children and lowering down to the ground or grabbing our hands to pull up a tall boulder absent of footholds. Trev used the tree trunk method, standing strong whilst we climbed onto his shoulders and slid down his back to the rock below and giving us a leg up from the ground for the tall rocks whilst Aurélien gave us a pull up. Thanks boys, we would have definitely had trouble without you!

Finally dark descended on us in the gorge and the progress became slower, but who should come upon us at this time – our mates Rogue Adventure who had been travelling with us in this section of the Bundanoon creek earlier in the day. With 8 pairs of eyes and headlamps, spotting routes in the creek was much easier and we kept up a good pace for the remainder of the gorge, the need to keep up with Rogue outweighing nagging knees and other niggles. Finally we came across our kayaks once again that we had left so long ago that day, after a mighty 11 ish hours in gorges and just 2 hours on our bikes, it was safe to say most bodies were pretty glad to be sitting in a kayak for the next 4 hours.

Usually kayaking at night is sleep-inducing, disorientating and difficult to keep a decent pace however this particular 24km course I really enjoyed. Aurélien and I worked well in the navigating boat, me keeping timing and pacing at approx. 7km/hr and my spotlight on the obstacles ahead and the shoreline for orientation whilst Aurélien kept his eye on the features of the lake matching to the map. He chatted to me about the map and what to look for ahead which was really helpful in both of us keeping our orientation. A strong headlight beam up front was essential to find our way in the pitch black. With cloud cover and no moon there really was a deep velvety black colour in the night. We luckily had Rogue to follow in the distance and kept pace well. Collecting CP’s without error, as we paddled to more populated areas of the river we came across campers and the lights of distance campfires along our travels who were startled to see paddlers at this time of night, and in an intoxicated state called out “what are you doing!!?”. I feel once they got their answer they were probably more confused as we informed them we were in a race and had 12 odd kilometres more to paddle and were only halfway through our race! Nearing the end Trev and Sara became a little dozy and I was in the mood for a song, having downloaded some Elton John words in my mind earlier that week I cracked out some Crocodile Rock and Tiny Dancer to keep the brains of my team going. Nothing like the cliffs of a river to accentuate and echo the voice of an undiscovered star bellowing out a Rocket Man chorus (I always knew I sounded amazing, why did Mum never agree?). Unfortunately I didn’t hear Sara’s request for Eminem whose songs I have had unashamedly memorised since I was 12, oh well I will save it for next time mate!

Making it to TA2 in a nifty 3.5hrs and the second and only TA with a box of gear to restock we were feeling good. My team mates were pretty chilly at this CP however I was thankful for my NZ blood and slight winter layer at this point finally being the one not in discomfort. It all swings in roundabouts over 36hrs! Just to paint a picture at this point – we spent approximately 45 minutes at this checkpoint. You may be thinking woah thats a huge amount of wasted time! But this was our last and only overnight transition, the last place in the race (with 15hrs to go) where we could change clothes, pack extra clothes for warmth, rain, the heat of the next day, shoes for the foot Rogaine to come, reapply chaff cream and gurney goo, eat a decent feed that weighs alot eg: tin of beans or can of coke, refill water and electrolytes, fit lights to our bike, do a poo and dump the gear we didn’t need. We need to pack up our kayak gear, close up the boxes and carry the kayaks to wherever the transition volunteers direct us. Its not a fast process and almost essential to take this time in order to have the energy and gear later on to survive the race. I am sure the fast guys reading this will be thinking that it is a long time but relatively I bet they spent there longest break here also.

Setting off on our bikes we had a big night ahead, zooming through the first few CP’s on the road we set off into the bush, thankfully my bike legs were pretty much back and I mostly kept up with my team, except for the odd hill here and there. There was one descent that lulled all of the team to sleep especially classic snoozer Trev, I become increasingly worried about the lack of NoDoz taken by Trev at this point compared with his usual requirements by 2am and his veering towards the cliff on the side of the road. So I directed him to ride on the inside of Sara and I so at least we could try and wake him before disaster. Falling asleep whilst biking downhill does sound funny, and is certainly laughable at times but the consequences are potentially very severe so it does need to be taken seriously! Paddling is a little safer in fact falling in probably solves the problem! The packs were heavy on our backs with 15hrs of food and 6 hours of fluid plus rogaining shoes and clothes heading up some steep hills including the intimidating and epic Meryla Pass. This was one helluva hill on which once again we found team Rogue curled up asleep in the ditch halfway up. Disturbing their peace they joined us for the walk / granny gear slog after 20 hours of racing up the 550m of elevation over approx 3.5km required to get to the Foot Rogaine at the top. However at least it kept us awake and as we neared the top we were rewarded by dawn breaking across the Crackey’s Creek canyon looking very similar to the picture of the Blue Mountains I had seen.

After frustratingly looking for a CP15 with Rogue for a good half an hour that some little bugger had nicked off with and no longer existed we approached the Rogaine. Now in full daylight, breezing within the first 7am cut off by about half an hour. Us girls and Trev were pretty knackered by now (Aurélien barely seemed to break a sweat the whole race the fit little bugger!), with probably 2000m elevation, 25 hours of racing and 11 hours of gorge trekking in our tired legs, a 20km fire trail run ahead was not a welcoming task.

Collecting our rogaine maps we set off, quickly realising that Sara and I , the pocket rocket twins that we are, had now both developed twin ITB knee pain issues and running was not an option at least for now. Keeping to a fast walk we were pretty bored at this point, collecting CP after CP at a slow pace to our usual in the increasing heat of the morning. With knees becoming increasingly painful and our minds more, to be honest, disappointed in this relatively boring leg of the course we started to get savvy with our race decisions. Trev, realising we wouldn’t catch the teams ahead at our current max pace and that we had been the last team to enter at the 7am cut off suggested we get 5 checkpoints out of our potential 7 CPs allowed which was one more than the 4 CPs allowed for those who reached the rogaine after 7am. To still come ahead of those teams but also to not bust our girls knees completely and take an extra 1.5hrs on course for no change in placings. It was a welcomed and motivating call so, giving the boys our backpacks we were able to hobble an interesting style of jog for the last 2 CP’s.

Very sore Rogaining – at least the view was a good distraction!

Now for the last stage – the MTB back to the finish. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but somewhere involved 600m of elevation loss and a section of sealed road, can’t be too hard right? Wrong.

Zooming through the first few fire roads through massive puddles was super fun to start and then we got to the section of the race where we had to walk our bikes for 3.5km along a tourist scenic walk called the East Rim Walking Track. Reaching the entrance we were greeted with absolutely breathtaking views at Twin Falls lookout over the incredible Yarrunga Creek gorge. Looking even more similar to the Blue Mountains pictures I had seen this was confirmed by team mate Aurélien who knew the Blue Mountains well, that this sight was potentially even more impressive.

What incredible views! Definitely looking like we are 30 hours in!
Yarrunga Creek Canyon from one of the lookouts on the East Rim Walking Track.

Walking our bikes along what was admittedly one of the most incredible short walks I have ever seen past many waterfalls and lookouts, was also extremely frustrating at the time! Just imagine midday on a beautiful Sunday long weekend at the end of school holidays how many tourists and families were out enjoying the trail in the good weather. And here we are now 30 hours in, sleep deprived, hungry, tired, exhausted, now hot and some who-will-not-be-named very grumpy racers trying to keep up a pace through the mahem. Thankfully the pictures don’t look as bad as we felt!

Finally out of the circus, smiling again we came to the Fitzroy canal, we hooned along the fire road keen to get to the finish line. A couple CPs collected and our last hill done and dusted, we had the most epic section of riding to go! A massively steep and fun switchback fire road down down down losing all our elevation in one go, certainly testing my downhilling guts and skills with butt right back behind the seat, brakes on, conservatively pumping, it was a cautious descent for this weary rider. I made sure Trev was behind me knowing I would slow him down and how tired he had been getting in the last few km’s. Sara and Aurélien were fast out of sight with skills vast excelling mine in this terrain. Hitting the road we were almost home. With our second to last CP under the main bridge into town at the popular swimming bend on the Kangaroo River, Sara and I couldn’t resist jumping in fully clothed shoes and all to cool off on what was now a 30+ degree afternoon. Looking a little out of place amonst the other bathers, thankfully our boys joined us for safety in numbers. What an amazing feeling!

Riding into the finish I thought back to that moment in the gorge when I had to admit my knee was niggly and the worry I had at the time about completing the race. Adventure racing really digs deep into your abilities as a human, through sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, mental obstacles and real physical pain shine qualities of endurance, determination, grit, teamwork, strategy and mental toughness. It really is an amazing discovery of self, of those supporting you and those that you are there to support along the journey.

Another race finished, another adventure had, job done superstars. That’s my team of which I am immensely proud to be part of, Tiger Adventure. This pic will always bring a giddy smile to my face. We came away with 5th overall and 4th in the premier mixed my best result yet. This meant that overall for the year team Tiger Adventure finished 6th in the A1 National Australian Adventure Race series of which I was able to be part of for three amazing events with five incredibly gutsy, awesome humans Trev, Sara, Aurélien, Joel and Craig. Thanks for the adventure guys!

Some of you may be wondering why my race report has come out so fast, usually it’s a month later! Well, the aftermath of this race in the last few days have been a tough ride. Scratched and bruised, hobbling with the knee that managed to persevere the remaining 29hrs after the original niggle, a creaking back from carrying 15hrs worth of supplies by bike over the pass and sore muscles I never knew existed after the gorge. On the drive home the immune system started to fail also, leaving me with a headcold, sore throat and mouth ulcers that are yet to heal meaning two days sick at home alternating between bed and couch writing my race blog! I am wrecked. But what better test of endurance, sometimes you learn more about yourself from the tests in life that hurt the most or don’t go to plan.

That’s a wrap for racing for 2019 my debut year into the sport I feel I am truely made for. I’ll be taking a break until March but over summer I plan to blog about stuff that will help those newbies out there get started comfortably into Adventure Racing with gear lists, discussions, recommendations especially for the ladies! Also my forte of food, what to eat, when and how to plan it. So if you are interested, getting in to it or perhaps are still working on getting it right, then I will share all the secrets for your 2020 debut! Stay tuned to Wali’s Adventures, share the blog with your mates and comment away! I love hearing your stories and advice.

Bring on 2020 with first race in the calendar in March, 24hr Explore Gippsland run by AR, Rogaine and Orienteering Aussie legend Rob Preston in Gippsland, Victoria. However, next years overall goal is bigger than 24 hours. It’s been my life dream since its inception in 2011, the world class 9 day expedition race in Rotorua, New Zealand, GODZone 2020. Bring it on Tiger Adventure! Lets get training!

Thanks Trev for all the amazing Tiger efforts you do to bring together fantastic people for incredible adventures.
You are Awesome.
Awesome (defn): extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe.

Join the Conversation


  1. Nicole!!!! You are amazing! I just loved reading this! I was imagining you flying down those hills! Thank you for sharing this. Such a wonderful record of your incredible achievement. Proud to be your Aunty.


  2. Nicole and team. How impressive are you! Brave and resilient. So few people can dig so deep so I can only guess the exhilaration when you get to the finish. Loved the description of descending the boulders with the help of the guys. Well done!


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