Yes I made it. Hardest race I’ve ever done. By far. Man, these guys in NZ are good. I wanted to test myself against the best and I can honestly say that I performed my best and they were simply better (as were two Brazilians that finished just ahead of me).
Here I am crossing the finish line
I had a game plan and I followed it: race on that razor thin line that separates 12+ hour sustainable speed from the dark side — muscles cramps, bonks, and psychological lows that are hard to bounce back from. I was right on that plan when I was 13th overall at the top of Goat Pass (the high point) and even started the paddle in about the same position, but then I made two critical mistakes. I took some risks and had two ”involuntary swims” in the rapids, burning up valuable time. But no race plan is perfect and I’m proud of the way I adapted after those mistakes and got back on track. I still had a decent paddle despite a brutal and punishing headwind on the last 90 minutes and even had the 13th fastest bike time in to the finish line.
Here I am swooping down to get a drink from the steam at the start of the mountain run where I started in 17th place, but picked up 4 places thanks to some good route choices and a steady pace.
This is the start of the bike leg after the run — a short 30 min ride down the road to the kayak.
This is the start of the 70 km down river paddle where I had a flawless and efficient transition — if only the paddle had been equally ‘flawless’ … Greg is sporting the Swedish buff so that I could easily spot him at each transition area.
My goal was top 10 and I didn’t make it, missing by ~ 20 minutes and finishing 20th overall. But it took me 5 years to figure out how to win the Åre Extreme Challenge and I reckon it might take more than that to crack the top 10 at Coast to Coast. Patience is the name of the game. The question is whether I can afford financially to try again 🙂
I will post a race re cap and pics later, but I want to say one more important thing:
A HUGE THANKS TO MY SUPPORT CREW !
Greg Scott was amazing — you not only understood (and forgave) my meticulousness in planning each transition, you even dissected, analyzed and improved it. You executed it perfectly and thanks to you I passed a few folks in the TAs. You took 2 vacation days and left your family for 3 days just to follow me around with all my toys in the car –I owe you big time. Thanks.
Greg couldn’t have done it without his assistants Tim Farrant, his girlfriend Stephanie, and orienteering buddy Tane. Sorry I barely let you guys eat dinner Friday night when you arrived because I wanted to do a walk-through of the TAs. Thanks for bearing with me and working hard all day.
Finally, Dan Tartaglia jumped in at the last second to help. I’m glad you could make it but I’m even more glad that I didn’t need your medical expertise out on the course. Thanks also for your pictures from the race !
And finally thanks to all my supporters back home — your messages on the blog, Facebook, email and SMS were greatly appreciated — Now you can get back to your normal life again 🙂
So what’s next ? Well, I’m off to the Sunday brunch and prize giving this morning … then I’m sticking around New Zealand for another 7 weeks and have already lined up two solo multisport races in March before heading back in time for the Scandinavian spring … and the start of the multisport season 🙂
PS Richard Ussher – New Zealand’s iconic mulitsport star — didn’t win this year. His teammate Branden Currie beat him !