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Geo 2004, Q Kayaks/Parkside Sports Physio Pt 1

Thanks to everyone for an interesting Geo weekend.

The race for us started with the long haul south as it did for most people, first stop Jervis Bay Sea kayaks to collect our boats, the end result being we didnt arrive till 3am in Eden, not perfect race prep but at least we got there in time for competancies.

The wet exit and re entry of our boat showed the first hitch, namely a faulty electric pump connection, we fixed this but on race day decided we had better put a manual one in just in case, yep , we needed it, as it turned out on race day as we launched into the fog we took a fair qty of water onboard and the electric pump didnt work again.

after clawing our way back into the top 10 we started the snokelling, this proved to be the albatross around our neck, and it certainly seemed to spread the field out, after seeing landrover take the lead in the kayak we were more than surprised to see them pop up next to one of our team. we ended up having 2 members in the water and 2 on the rocks applying the 100m rule, it worked for me as i was hammered getting though the surf.the end result for us being we pulled the pin on the south end after 90mins of frustration and headed for the north end, i had more luck here and was able to get out and regain some confidence in the water and we got all the controls.

from here it was of to mount imlay,for what could be described as a climb and trek or a savage attack on our fun meter as one team mate put it. we missed the ridge on the descent and found ourselves on the wrong ridge, but thanks to the view of a large cliff to our south knew our position and went about fixing the problem, this involved rather a steep descent for a 100m or so and then a traverse under the afformentioned cliff to pick up the trail beyond, apart from a rapid descent by one of our crew, thankfully only brief we rejoined the trail, only to lose it again. then darkness fell as did our world. the team plunged into Imlay creek, however the team had the uncanny ability to know exactly where to go and where they were once the mistake had been realised, this has to be fine tuned so that in future races we know exactly were to go and were we are before we make the mistake.

the end result being we collected 3 or 4 other teams on route to checpoint 12, nice to have you all along guys and girls. alas there was no sign of the guys we had seen disappearing of the wrong side of the wrong ridge earlier,(as it turned out they decided to extend the trek leg to about 12hrs, made us feel better about 7). the next choice was easy, as we had thought we would be doing the trek in the day we cut of part of the map that we didnt need, thus leaving 1 option a shortcut back down the creek and up a ridge line, this would hopefully line up with the buldozed trails evident on the rerverse side of the map we had seen wasnt long after leaving CP12 i started having visions of the arrow race and CP3,4,5. this was not good as in that race my head was doing circles and didnt know were to go.this was now going to be more serious as we didnt have the same guys leading us out, it was us leading us out and i am sure 3 or 4 other teams would have had words had we not got to the TA. The conga line hit the ridge and the bulldozer tracks and then the road, and ultimately the TA.

It was now time to restock food drink tend our wounds and mount our bikes for the next few hours. We had arrived in 29th spot some 6hrs behind the leaders, who by now were well into the adventure gain leg.

We headed out as usual i was cooking and started to peel layers of i had only just put on, but at the same time another team mate was freezing and starting to succumb to the cold. TBC

It was starting to become evident as we rolled towards Towonga that this was not going to be our night, with the temp dropping rapidly keeping moving was a priority.Mechanical probs were starting to hit the team, well more 1 memeber as we had to remove his rear derailier from his spokes, the result being his hanger was deformed un naturally and meant dreggy the mechanic turned rods bike into a single speed, this also meant we were stopped and dreggy was getting colder, we got moving again and jumped from eucalypt to pine forest in a search for the main road. Upon reaching the main road it was evidently cooler and it wouldnt be long before a frosty covering would be on anything stationary. at this point dreggy continued to layer up, putting on his gore tex as well as mine, we new shedding those pounds had a down side he could not get warm, luckily i still had a few to keep me warm.

On the descent to Towonga we sensed things were awry, Dreggy who normally would revel in this terrain had faded badly or dare i say fell in a hole that only the longest rope would reach into, not even towing him was an option, as this would have resulted in dragging him off his bike.we were now only a couple k from towonga, his balance was gone now and it was a matter of getting him warm ASAP
we finally reached down and the descision was made if we couldnt continue with him we wouldnt continue.We got to the bus shelter and pete set off for the phone it was now 2am, i set about making a fire, (not out of the bus shelter) dreggy now had all his gear on and was wrapped in a space blanket and resembled a xmas turkey. i cranked up the fire on the roadside and soon we had 3 or 4 guys around it getting warm, dreggy included, after about some 15mins we were in no uncertain terms told to put the fire out by someone we later found out to be the local town busy body, we did this in order to keep the peace and save the organisers any trouble, luckily our support crew werent to far off and it wasnt long before we all huddled into pauls yellow bus. The teams race was run, Thanks to the guys at Parkside sports physio engadine, Jervis bay sea kayaks, and mikey and norm for their support. and the pizza, although i have to admit i am normally a kebab person at 3am.we were all grateful none the less.
Little did i know this food was to be my fuel for the next leg of the race, although ther teams race was run, i didnt know mine wasnt.

The day continued back at camp at around 3am, as the team consoled themselves with pizza, thanks mike (our regular team mate) and Norm of batemans bay sea kayaks, this was followed shortly after by sleep and apparently we had snorers, team mates now nicknamed Buzz, Chain and Hack, but i didn't hear a sound, we awoke around 8am, we started eating again as 1/2 the team prepared to head home. Once packed we headed for eden in search of morning tea. Someone had eaten all the bacon and eggs so it was pies and cappucinos, Rod and I bid our farewells to the rest of the crew and returned to Race HQ to check out race progress, since we wouldnt be out again we packed and cleaned down the boats and surveyed the massive qty of food that remained for what was supposed to be the rest of our race.

After seeing the lead team come home, well done AROC we decided some respite from the AR world was in order so it was off to check out the petrol heads flogging thier cars through the forests of Eden, one thing was for sure the last thing on these guys minds was slowing for some strange looking folk wandering the forests in groups of 3 or 4. After reminising my petrol head days and satisfying Rods curiosity it was time to leave the smell of beer and petrol fumes and return to the smell of clothes worn for 2 days and the crisp salt air. We decided on take away for lunch so it was hot chips accompanied by a nice bottle of red. Lets just say Iwas glad I hadnt had chance to return to the cabin for the glass of red, as not long after consuming the chips and some left over pizza the camp was a buzz with more teams coming in, of which i was witness to.

At this point my night changed dramatically, somehow (thanks Craig) my name was volunteered to take the place of a fallen team mate and accompany Chris Milne and Andy Harmer for the remainder of the race, as they could only continue with 3, I agreed to help as best I could, I did however offer 1 warning, i had been eating for many hours and may need to use the orange trowel,(enough said). My team mate from the previous 21hr sojourn in the wilderness was now recruited as landcrew and joined his new found landcrew freinds to help out.(thanks heaps rod). So it looked like that food was going to get eaten after all, i then commenced repacking gear and food after finding what stages were left to do. It seemed i had done well, i had missed the nasty bit in the middle and ended up with the cafe latte version of the geo, all we had left to do was a pleasant walk to pambula a nice paddle up a river and a gentle ride home. this was going to be a piece of cake.

Soon we were heading out of camp and in darkness to find a trail around the headland, it took some work but we found it and only sustained one injury, that being to me resulting in a black eye and cut eyebrow after i stood on an unforgiving branch, this resulted in the same action standing on a garden rake has, it wasnt long before i worked out why the guys were happy to have me along, lets just say when you are 6ft 2 and 95+kg its hard just to leave footprints in the bush, i was the new bulldozer that was to be used to clear tracks. this ability was to prove useful as it wasnt long before we were heading for an island paradise on the coast, yeah right. How the Geo crew set this point we will never know, how we found it we will never know, in geo history i have never seen scrub that thick, at one point i was reduced to the recommended form of motion for the island, on all fours and crawling through a tunnell of tea trees, we had a brief stop to check out a local inhabitants but in the end were glad to see the back of that island, some more food was consumed, sticks and branches were removed from any orrifices and we continued on.

We soon rounded a corner at a juction to find a scene resemblng something from cocoon, 4 foil bags on the side of the trail, they also reminded me of BBQ chickens, we let them be later to find out it was X factor grabbing a nap,we were now heading back to the coast and needed to pick up some pace as we had a cut off to get around some rocks at quoraburagun point, the pinnacles were located by following the copious amount of tracks into the trail up, but the flatest part of the terrain so far resulted in me rolling my ankle badly, this couldnt slow our progress and soon we were heading for pambula, other teams around us were now starting to omit checkpoints in favour of time penalties but andy and chris were determined to get through and not drop any.

As we followed the coast to the TA via cp 28 we witnessed a bizarre moonrise, we noticed something orange on the horizon and initially though it was an orange sail of somesort(hence the viking funeral)a small crescent of the moon poked over the horizon and soon after seemed to sink back into the ocean, then it rose again for good, this had the team perplexed for some time probably due to 2 of them being awake for way to long and i was just delerious,mean while back in reality Knight frank and X factor had gone and we rolled in to pambula just before dawn. we were greeted by smiling faces not only of our crew but AROC who were now manning the checkpoint, thanks guys.

The start of the leg had been moved for safety reasons at the river mouth so we were put onto the water about 1km inside the inlet.either way i was glad to be in a kayak, ironically i had set this boat up for chris the previous day and guessed he was of similar build to me, so the boat was perfect when i got in, andy and chris were in the double and we set out into the river. The sunrise was making visibility easier and within 30 mins it was light enough see pelicans standing in front of us in the water, realising pelicans arent renowned for having the longest legs we took a course around them and the shallows they were standing in skimming the oyster leases, the inlet was like a mirror and we revelled in the calm conditions, we had the paddle over and done with in around 1hr and once again our newly formed landcrew were waiting for us,this was the last leg and took 2 of the team into some familiar country for which i was greatful and probably thankful also that i had missed it, however i sure we would have enjoyed it either way.The leg was to take us back through Nullica state forest and via nethercote falls, this was a great little descent followed by a walk to the falls and then a vishus little climb out. soon after we hit bitumen and were lulled into a false sense of security as we headed into nethercote rapidly.

Pt 4 finale coming soon

Steve Cooper







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