WE MADE IT!
Before we get cracking into our journey we would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone that helped make this race happen. A big shout out to our main supporters, Alterno Foundation and Whai Ora. Of course big thanks to all the marshals, and people who made this event perfect. Also to our family and friends for the support leading up to the race, special mention to Steve, HI STEVE! Without you we wouldn’t have been able to compete.
All right take a seat, relax and enjoy some of our highlights of our Spirited Women adventure race journey.
Anything that starts off with 2,000 volts of electricity surging through a bike as it hangs precariously off a fence is a blinking great way to start the day! And the day only got better from there. After our 30-minute zap session at 5.25am we were able to conclude that bikes are great conductors of electricity. After this we were wide awake ready to get on a treasure hunt for an apple tree...which would have been great if we were looking for check point 7, unfortunately we were looking for check point 2 so 45 minutes later we stumbled upon a very un-apple looking pine tree and we were off again in the hunt for check point 3! Woohooo!
As the sun started to rise the most amazing terrain surrounded us, we traveled through rugged farm land (which caused some funny mountain bike crashes), native bush and powerful rivers. We made up some ground here, as this is what we were use to training in. This all led us to our first activity stand up paddle boarding, which we managed to A) not fall off (WINNING) B) Complete the SUPING in good time and C) Find all the check points within 10 minutes of each other… which believe us it is was miracle.
So we finish the SUPING and off we go again fast forward a few hours, several handle bar flips and hundreds of laughs we were having the time of our lives...the legs were burning but what a feeling! We hit our first running adventure, which we could all tell Bill was bloody fizzing for an off road run.
After our first running adventure our lungs were dying, legs were pumping, ankles were rolling and the sweat was dripping. During this leg Mama nature never failed to teach us lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn. We learnt that nobody has yet invented strapping tape that survives a 16-hour race. We learnt that if you are true to the earth she will be true to you, you can't fool old mama nature! We learnt that simply being present in this race is not enough also simply showing up is not enough, you have to put your BEST foot forward always. We learnt first and foremost you must take responsibility for yourself, before you can contribute to a team… like remembering to eat your food, before getting to the hangry (hungry/angry) stage. We all learnt that you cannot disguise the moments when you are struggling and need your teams support, and boy oh boy does it help when you just let them know. All of us had moments when we just stopped, and stood still for a moment, to feel the brilliance of the earth around us and the love of the people who were crazy enough to embark on this journey with you.
Wooohoo we are back on our mountain bikes ready to start ticking off our next 30 checkpoints!
Little did we know we would soon be bush whacking trying to get onto the right bike tracks… slight confusion of going the wrong way/ getting lost to find check point 36, you illusive little bugger...maps upside down and inside out we eventually got there and that little 'bing bing bing' of the check point couldn't have sounded sweeter!
WE MADE IT… not to the finish line but to our kayaking leg. We had multiple laughs on this leg, we think it was the water that made us feel fresh and re-energized, we are all water babies after all.
After we smashed the kayaking leg we were off again on beloved mountain bikes, which were rather bedraggled at this stage. Eventually after some seriously intense mountain biking tracks we made it to our second running adventure. So off we were again to gallivant around some sweet hills that really made the legs burn, however at this stage of the race it was more of a numb feeling. This leg had us stumbling across geysers, Andy taking us on the wrong track that led us to wild Kuni Kuni pigs and some pretty steep hills we realised just how damn beautiful NZ really is!
Eventually we were on our way back to complete our first mystery activity, clay bird shooting!! Some of us had never done clay bird shooting or in fact never held a gun, so you imagine that there we a few haywire shots. However our superstar Dani managed to hit it first go, which made our clay bird shooting experience a fast one.
Ohho now here’s a story you don’t want to miss… the rogue game. Dani, Bill and Andy head in to complete this game and to begin with we, we were smashing it. We found letter A and B in the first 10 minutes. So of course we thought this would be the easiest challenge to complete… oh how we were wrong, so so sooooo very wrong… An hour later and only 2 more letters found we were running around in the dark like headless chickens going a little crazy. After bush whacking and going off track for every ‘broken log’ we FINALLY found checkpoint letter J, if only J was the hardest. Soon after finding J, we realised that there were many tracks that were NOT shown on the maps. It was a solid 45 minutes of listening to wild pigs and seeing many possums we managed to push through our fear of never returning we found I, hidden in a dark, scary cave, near a river. We were determined to get to the rock climbing before the cut off time at 9pm, we smashed out letters G and H in 10 minutes, GO US! And off we went sprinting to the rock-climbing with marshals commenting “Wow you girls are the only ones still trying to find all the letters”… “What are you doing?” we simply told them “Our goal was to finish the race, no matter what.” So we managed to get to the rock-climbing 3 minutes to the cut off time, and you have never seen 3 girls boulder a wall so fast, sweat, mud and all.
5 check points to go, 16 hours banked and we were still smiling and having the time of our lives. It was a mad dash to the finish line because as well as reading maps terribly we also read instructions terribly and thought we only had 40 minutes till the cut off time. After all our struggles we needed to finish the race, the last 5 checkpoints were a blur.
16 hours, 40 minutes. DONE. Greeted to people cheering and a bottle wine as we crossed the finish line.