Groundbreaking 3100 mile race documentary reaches Australia and New Zealand
By Rupantar LaRussoauthor bio »
About the author:
Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.
Since its initial release last year in the US, the documentary film 3100: Run and Become has been gradually rolled out across the globe. The film travels the world to celebrate the importance of running to the human soul, with a particular emphasis on our very own Sri Chinmoy Self-Trancendence 3100-Mile Race. Now the film has reached new Zealand and Australia, with premiere screenings in February and March.
13-14 February Lumiere Cinemas, Christchurch • tickets »
17 February Penthouse Cinemas, Wellington • tickets »
While previewing the film, Stuff (New Zealand's biggest news website) interviewed Harita Davies (pictured above) from Christchurch, who completed the race in 2017 and 2019:
"What am I doing? It's crazy! That was the thought of New Zealander Harita Davies as she stepped up to the start line of the world's longest running race....The New-York based Cantabrian was the first New Zealand female to run the 3100. She's now done it twice."For the complete article...
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A busy winter Down Under, and more to come!
By Prachar Stegemann
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in Australia has continued to be as active as ever during the winter months Down Under. Melbourne’s popular race series drew large crowds while Brisbane is also in the act with a suite of race venues gathering momentum - they recently had their largest race field, with over 300 finishers!
The oldest event on the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team calendar in Australia is the 24-Hour race, which has been staged for 39 years variously in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Campbelltown (south of Sydney). The most recent edition was held in Campbelltown in June, featuring a 12-Hour, 6-Hour and Marathon races in lanes 3 and 4 in addition to the marquee 24 Hour event staged in lanes 1 and 2, the track was abuzz with energy and excitement with 100 runners going through their paces at various times of the day.
That race was the final instalment of this race in Campbelltown, as it will now be incorporated into a brand new format...
Mark down 20–22 March 2020 in your diary as the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team will stage the 48 Hour Track Festival at the prestigious Australian Institute of Sport Track in Canberra. The Festival will revolve around a 48-Hour track race and will also include the 24-Hour race and a 6-Hour races as well as a Midnight Marathon, Half-Marathons and “Saturday Night at the Track” (a track meet under lights with distances ranging from 1,000 metres to 10,000 metres). The evening before the races kick off, after runners have enjoyed their welcome dinner at “My Rainbow-Dreams” cafe, we will have the Australian premiere of the hit ultrarunning film 3100: Run and Become with director Sanjay Rawal in attendance in a special outdoor screening.
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2019: Michael Brennan's Solo Report
By Prachar Stegemann
Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100 – A first ascent
This year’s Canberra Trail 100 was my first attempt at a 100km race. While not a stranger to long distance endurance events, the longest formal foot race I had previously completed was 21km, so needless to say I was coming into the event a novice. In summary, this race is a serious challenge of mind, body and soul and this year was no exception.
Friday night registration was a buzz of excitement and camaraderie as teams met (some for the first time) along with solo entrants to check-in. The My Rainbow Dreams Café hosted us all for dinner while every aspect of registering was overseen by a very proud Prachar Stegemann whose contented demeanor expressed: ‘These are my people’.
Welcomed by a beautiful clear day, perfect running temperatures and very little wind – it was near perfect conditions for the race. There was large group of solo competitors and huge number of teams making this year the largest field, eclipsing the inaugural event in 2013 by 1 runner.
Andé and Mike at the start.
What attracts me personally to endurance events like the Canberra Trail 100 is the human connection. As soon as the race was underway at 6am, the process of getting to know your fellow competitors commenced immediately. There is an intensity to the relationships that you develop while completing a race like this, especially as the day wears on, as your vulnerabilities are exposed.
I was very fortunate to meet a very excitable, affable and genuine fellow at the start of the first leg named Justin ‘Timberlake’ Hiatt. An accomplished runner (including a UAT 100 finisher this year), Justin was very generous with his advice and was an absolute joy to run with. Throughout the day we experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows but encouraged each other to push through until the end. It was so special to meet a kindred spirit out on the journey, along with his Dad David, partner Ellen and Mum Jane.
Mike and Justin celebrate the completion of marathon #1 on the ascent of Mt Stromlo.
During the in between times I was also fortunate to run a few kilometers with Andrew Donaldson, who was competing in his 26th 100km event in 7 years! Andrew is an absolute inspiration and was happy to provide plentiful advice about endurance running. After the picturesque and challenging (i.e. traumatic) ascent off Black Mountain, I had the pleasure of running with another supreme athlete named Trish McKibbin. Also running her first 100km, Trish’s mature approach and humble character will undoubtedly make her one of the ultra-champions of the future!
In terms of my key ‘lessons learned’ to pass onto future aspiring entrants, here is my top three (all you experts can skip this bit!):
Set Out Slow – aim to run the flats of the first 50km 30 to 45 seconds slower than your cruising pace for a 20km run. For example, if your cruising pace is 5 minutes / kilometer, set out at a 5 minute 30 second pace. Andrew Donaldson drew me a virtual graph that illustrated that fast is flat when comparing running pace over time.
Walk The Ups – walk all the steep ups and even the little ups if you have been running for 5kms non-stop. It changes your blood flow and gives tired muscles a quick break. Whatever you walk you will more than make up for in the flats and the downs.
Practice Fueling – use your chosen energy sources during training sessions and do this lots. Feeling nauseous during the event was one of my biggest challenges.
Justin Hiatt informed me that a lot can happen in the second half of a 100km race. The race winner, Nicholas Hamilton ran out of water during leg 2 and dropped back to conserve energy until he could refuel at the 2nd transition. He was moving well when he passed Andrew Donaldson and me on the paddocks before Black Mountain and finished in a time of 11:01.
Andrew Donaldson who was in 5th place at the second transition calmly worked his way through the field from the very start to finish second in a time of 11:11. Andrew caught up with Justin Hiatt and me a few kilometres into the third leg, which is where we gave Justin some space to enter and dig himself out of a “dark hole”. Andrew encouraged me almost all the way to the Summit of Black Mountain but has inspired me for life!
Trish McKibbin caught me toward the base of Black Mountain and towed me over O’Connor Ridge until Lyneham High School. Trish finished third overall in a time of 11:25! Another 20km and I reckon she could have picked up Nick and Andy – she was so strong and methodical out there.
Abhishek Tiwari ran a solid race from the start and was only passed by Nick, Andy and Trish relatively late in the race to finish fourth overall in a time of 12:06.
The start of the 4th leg was my time to visit a dark place myself, brought on by nausea and exhaustion. To illustrate, kilometers 80 to 82 took 34 minutes in flat terrain!! Thankfully my friends Trev and Nat Fairhurst came out to help me take my mind off the pain – if anyone could understand what I was experiencing it was these two. Another friend Travis Haslam then arrived to get me running again for a few kilometers until the start of the Mount Majura climb.
The turning point in my final leg was the ‘wooo hooo’ arrival of Justin ‘Timberlake’ Hiatt who was back from oblivion and excited by the prospect of sunset over Mount Ainslie followed by a jubilant finish.
Smiles back at 92km and cadence still matching...
For anyone who knows Justin, his enthusiasm for life is infectious, and we set off again with a matching cadence as we had throughout the whole race.
Justin got his sunset!
All downhill now to the finish...
Overall, there were 35 solo finishers from 54 starters and every one of these athletes made lifelong connections and has an amazing story to tell. Take Anthony Miles, Morgan Pettit and Caroline Warner who finished together at 11.15pm in a time of 17 hours and 15 minutes – I am in total awe of these three and hope that I can hear their story of the 2019 Canberra Trail 100.
A vote of heartfelt thanks to: Tash, Amelie and Ciaran for being my support crew; My friends who came out to cheer me on (thanks Dave, Mel, Ellie and Penny) including those competing (well done Heather, Alina, Michelle, Rach); Andre Camilleri (finished in 16:05) for encouraging me to try an ultra; Joe Howland for keeping my body functional, and to the selfless Sri Chinmoy team for yet another inspiring event to challenge one’s self and build the social fabric of our Canberra community.
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Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's Report 2018, by Kevin Miller
By Prachar Stegemann
I have looked at the Triple Tri many times over the years and thought I wonder if I could do that? In all honesty, I thought the answer was very much no, or at best, maybe I could do a chunk of it – turns out I was wrong.
About me - I generally carry a semi ok base level of fitness, but really nothing outside of normal. To clarify, I ride to work a few days a week (16k round trip), a couple of shortish runs, some team sports and a couple of sprint tris over the summer. I write this, as I found it a little daunting reading past race reports and making my own assumptions about how much these crazy fast people must train, probably my own assumption but perhaps useful for people considering giving solo a go. Really, I’m just the guy that will give anything a go to see if I can do it
The plan was simply to see how far I could get. From a ‘pass’ mark perspective, I was aiming for 2 of the 3 triathlons and finish with KFC for dinner in Tuggeranong. Seems a lot less scary to break it down into chunks and then see how the day unfolds. Of course, the optimist in me thought perhaps I could do the whole thing and really this is that story. I have a long version of this, which is largely for me and my memories of the race and a shorter version which is hopefully useful for other people considering doing the race solo.
The Short version;
People keep asking me things like was it hard, how did you do it, what was the toughest leg etc, things like that – in a way, it kind of wasn’t hard which probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong it was super tough, body parts ached, hills were horribly steep both up and down and it was a very long day, I guess for me it was about training for a planned pace and sticking with it. In my case it was a lot slower than the winners but it was the pace that got me to the finish in one piece – so figure out your pace, train to that pace and just keep chipping away at the distance
No matter how many hills or elevation metres you cover in training, cover more. If you aren’t sure whether to go left or right in a training session, take the one that goes up the steepest hill. The triple tri hills are mean, even when at the top of a mountain, there are little course deviations to make sure you go to the top of the trig point (just to prove the point I guess).
Your helper is the most important person in your race, really they are working their butt off all day getting everything where it needs to be, dealing with all the stress, worrying about where you are and that they have done everything expected of them etc. Help your support crew understand what you need from them and make it as easy as possible for them to do their thing. For me this was separate swim, bike, run and nutrition tubs with numbered bags for each leg and a heap of notes but no doubt this is different for everyone.
Any transition that involves a swim leg takes longer than you think. Putting a wetsuit on and off of a sweaty tired body isn’t a whole heap of fun and is a lot easier with a couple of people. Looking at my race plan I was pretty much bang on schedule with the exception of the last mtb leg and my transitions into and out of swims. Factor that into your race plan.
It’s a long day and it can be lonely in sections. As a slower soloist, the majority of the field had passed me by the 2nd ride leg. Once the passing dies down, it is largely you, the course and the volunteers (who are great). I was fortunate enough to ride and run with another soloist for the 1st tri but was then largely very much a solo competitor.
Nutrition is obviously important, I have a reasonably good idea of what I can and can’t tolerate. Transitions were pretty much a smorgasbord of different foods, gu’s and sports drinks for me to take on the go. This helped as there were times were the thought of a banana for example was not going to work but there were several other suitable options to choose from.
The bits I found the hardest in no particular order were
Push bike hill; it just stinks no matter how many times you practice on it
the running climb out of Majura to Mt Ainslie which seems to take forever (but you do get to run down Mt Ainslie and then ‘coast’ to transition after that)
Standing up out of the water at Acton Ferry and also climbing up the ladder at Lake Tuggeranong; everything just wants to cramp
The stupid over the fence steps / ladder thing at the back end of the 2nd bike leg. I am so glad no one was around to see my struggle over this
Running down Mt Taylor, its steep to get up and steeper to come down especially on tired legs
The second half of the last bike leg, I don’t even know the name of the hills down South but they felt the toughest on the bike legs.
Going up Red Hill was also tough but you know that the finish line is very much in sight and once you are onto the path on the other side that’s the last of the mountains.
The best bits
People are so incredibly supportive of solo athletes. So many random people would offer encouragement throughout the day. The volunteers are constantly friendly, helpful and happy all day. I had a number of family and friends support and cheer me throughout the day. All of this was incredible. Despite finishing 4hours or so after the first finisher I received what felt like a hero’s welcome as I finished which was cool
I had this weird feeling of just knowing I could do it pretty much all day. I didn’t expect this at all. Once I got going, I kind of just got on a roll and kept rolling all day. I’ve never really noticed this before in anything that I have done but it was definitely an ‘in the zone’ kind of feeling
Coming into transition and seeing your support crew eager to see you, check you are alright and help you to the next one
All of the little incidental moments that happen during the day, some are funny, some are weird, some are hard and in reality, the biggest majority of them you just forget but they are all a huge part of it.
So that’s the short version, now the longer version for anyone interested.
Training wise, I tend to get bored and lose focus on any training plans over 6 weeks. After deciding to enter, I pretty much had 12 weeks of focussed training with a 2 week overseas holiday in the middle. Training was set up with the simple goal of building volume and endurance initially with cycling and then adding in running volume and also making sure I could still swim. There were a couple of what I would call mega days which involved multiple legs and transitions, the longest being about 8hrs or so. No doubt I could have done a lot more training, longest training weeks looked like 35 – 40km run, 100 km ride, and 4kms of swimming. In reality, there were only a couple of these and the majority were a lot less. Really it was setting into a rhythm that worked with family life and squeezing in what I could around that.
Having not done a multi event like this before, I found it nuts how much gear I had to pack. I decided to change gear pretty much on every leg. Didn’t have to, but wanted to make sure I was comfortable. The intent was never to race for speed, was really just to see how far I could get and to do that I wanted to be as comfortable as possible.
I hadn’t seen the email advising the bike course change until late Saturday night, “3kms extra for free” or words to that affect – REALLY?. Lake section closures meant we were swimming on the other side of the lake and had to ride a bonus 3kms. Not something to stress over but was pretty sure I was ok without the extra 3km.
The swim was largely uneventful and settled into a good rhythm, had a little bit of trouble finding the last turning buoy but finished slightly quicker than planned time. Bike was set up pretty much on the beach so was out of the water and away nice and quickly.
The 3 bonus kilometres served as a good time to eat some pikelettes and get settled onto the bike. Being a north-sider, I was pretty familiar with this course and had a good idea of where it was hard and less hard. I had covered push bike hill a number of times in training; I have lots of non family friendly names for push bike hill, for me, its an 8 minute slog huffing and puffing, wondering if I will ever get to the top. But what goes up, has to come down and was at Bruce Ridge before I knew it. In my endeavours to maximise speed, I had pumped up my tyres way too much, which really was daft and made a lot of the off road sections harder than it should be. In reality, Im a pretty nervous nelly on a mountain bike and had gone over the handle bars the week before so probably was more self-preservation related rather than tyre pressure. After you get to the top of Lyneham Ridge it’s relatively cruisey into transition. I somehow managed to miss an arrow and rode a little extra picking up a puncture just as I got into T2 (which was magically fixed when I next rode).
A quick bit of food, a kiss for my wife and onto the run, and the profile looks tough (Mental note for next ride transition, if you are wearing knicks over tri shorts for the ride, take them off before you start running). The majority of the first 3kms are pretty steep up hill (Mt Majura) which involved a lot of walking. Legs were feeling ok, maybe a little bitey but still plenty in the tank. I was fortunate enough to have met up with another solo competitor and we ran this leg together. Goal was to average 7min km’s on this leg which pretty much went to plan. Walk up the big hills to save the legs and jog the rest. The summit to Mount Ainslie seemed to take forever and it was starting to warm up, but was good knowing that once we were there it was pretty much downhill to the swim. A ‘nice’ downhill run on the Mt Ainslie path and then the last 5kms or so to the Boathouse for completion of the first tri in 5h20.
Looking back, Im really happy with how this tri went. Tyre pressure and lack of mountain bike skills aside pretty much everything went to plan. Really it was about getting through Tri 1 with enough energy for Tri 2. I probably should have had a bit more electrolyte on the bike but was able to catch that up later in the race.
It is very difficult to put on a wetsuit after moving for 5+ hours. Fortunately my helper group had increased in size so had many hands helping. We somehow managed to get the wetsuit on without my legs locking up and after a quick chat, and drink it was time to swim. This was probably the leg I was least looking forward to, 3.5km of straight swimming – YUCK! My swimming training consisted of maybe 10 swims in total, one being 3kms straight. Theory being that if I could swim 3km without a wettie then 3.5kms would work. The time for this leg was about 10mins faster than I expected and I don’t really know how. Swimming out to the first buoy across the lake seemed to take an inordinate amount of time, and then the next one and the next. My brother was kayaking in front of me (he was the ‘incase I drowned’ guy) – really it was just good to have someone to look at and keep you company to help you finish the distance. I just tried to focus on ticking the arms over and not using my legs (cause they were ready to cramp). Was a good current behind and the wind was helping as well. Got out of the water and started to get changed and then got freezing, couldn’t stop shivering. My poor helpers took turns rubbing my back and arms to warm me up.
Once I was moving, I warmed up pretty quickly. The first 15kms or so are relatively fast across cycle path and fire trails with only the hill at the arboretum to contend with. Was met by my wife on Coppins Crossing Road to top up energy drinks and take some gear before I headed further towards Stromlo. This part is a little draining, it’s not super hard but it’s not easy either and it’s just hot. Once you cross the road into Stromlo it starts to get a bit hillier and then there’s the Stromlo climb itself. There were a number of times I found it made more sense to push the bike up the steep hills rather than burn the legs with so much more still to come. The last 10kms or so around the back of Weston Creek and Cooleman Ridge seemed to take forever but slowly the k’s ticked by and it was time to run again.
Mt Taylor – I honestly didn’t know it was so steep, seemed to go up forever. Coming down felt just as steep and could feel my knees starting to get a little unhappy. As the course levelled out, and it became path, my pace kept improving to pretty much the overall average I expected. Pretty quickly I was back in transition ready to start the last Tri – who would have thought!
Looking back on tri 2, I think I ‘raced’ this one quite conservatively ensuring that I had the energy to get through to the end. That was basically the race plan but suspect there was less time to be taken here (easy to say that now though). I think I felt better finishing the 2nd tri than I did the first which was a really good sign heading into the last tri
So it seems my flippers (arms), in particular my left elbow had had enough of swimming by now. Was doing my best to maintain an easy relaxed stroke but old leftie wasn’t quite pulling his weight leading to a bit of weaving across the lake. Fortunately I had my brother kayaking beside me to try and keep me on course. At the end of this leg you have to climb up a ladder to exit the lake – not fun, but made it out and was rewarded with some Chicken nuggets before the last ride.
Whilst it is the shortest, I think the 3rd bike leg is the hardest, the elevation gain isn’t that much less than the other two and it is ~13km shorter, plus you are knackered from everything else. It starts off pleasant enough with about 6km of bike path but then it’s pretty mean from there on in. A fair bit of hill walking on this one. There were even a couple of down hills I walked as they were pretty steep and didn’t think the extra speed outweighed the risk. This was the only leg outside of transitions that I missed my expected time range. The tunnels at the end under the parkway were super weird to ride / walk through – I’m 170cm and found it tight to go through (and that was walking) but it was cool in hindsight. So onto the last run
Being close to dark, I was allowed my helper / lovely wife to run with me. I probably talked her ear off as had been quiet for such long chunks of the day. Red Hill was steep but we chatted, walked and jogged our way over it. 9 or so km’s in she ditched me to be at the finish with the kids and I had my brother run the last bit with me. It was very much dark from the top of Lady Denman drive to the finish but that didn’t matter. Was able to pick up the pace a little over the last few km’s and was elated to get to the end in one piece
Tri 3 was definitely hard but at the same time you knew that it was the last swim, the last ride, the last 5km etc. I had more pace in my legs after Red Hill than expected and it was cool to know for sure that I would get to the end.
There are heaps of thanks to people when you do a race like this, really it is quite a selfish thing to do and you certainly can’t do it without the support and understanding of your family. I was very fortunate to have plenty of people giving up their time to help me and of course to have an amazing wife that put up with me in the lead up to and during the race. So to all those people, if you have read this far, thank you so so much – I could not have done this without the part you played in helping me (and woo-hoo I did it!).
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Cycle Ride across Australia - Vilas Silverton
By Tejvan Pettingerauthor bio »
About the author:
Tejvan organises short-distance running and cycling races for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in his home city of Oxford. He is also a very good cyclist, having won the National hill climb championships in 2013 and finished 3rd in the National 100 Mile Time Trials in 2014.
Vilas Silverton of the Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team recently completed a 5,474km cycle ride across Australia - as part of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race.
Vilas from Bristol, England started in Perth on 17 March and finished in Sydney nearly four weeks later. The route crossed the wide uninhabited plains of Western Australia before passing through the cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. During the race, Vilas rode mostly unsupported, often sleeping in make-shift shelters and buying his food on the way. For over 3,000 miles Vilas had to contend with heat, traffic, fatigue, long straight sections of headwind, the weight of his equipment, and the occasional temperamental kangaroo.
Vilas got inspired to do the ride after following the race in previous years and seeking a new personal target for self-transcendence in cycling.
In preparing for the race, Vilas attempted a few long audax rides through Great Britain, including a ride from Bristol to Glasgow and back. Over the cold English winter, Vilas completed several weeks of high mileage. However, his preparation was hampered by a knee injury from January to March, which meant little training in the final months. But, after an eventful few weeks, Vilas was able to complete the full distance finishing in Sydney.
Interview with Tejvan Pettinger
Q. What inspired you to do the race?
I followed the race closely last year, and I felt great joy in the heart at the prospect of entering the race.
Q. How did you prepare?
I rode the bike a lot! I built up over the year and completed some periods of high mileage. Though in Jan I injured my knee - so from Jan to Feb - I didn't ride much. And I needed to calm fears about not being able to train and even whether I would even be able to enter. But, after the good training in Dec, I felt I would be OK.
Q. How did you find ride itself?
Riding on the narrow roads was quite challenging. With cars passing close by, I found I was frequently inspired to pray for protection while cycling!
There were many challenges which made the ride more testing. On the first day, I was sick and this continued for much of the first week; as a result, I had to recalibrate my timescale. I just tried to ride as much or little as I could without worrying about time. The main objective was to finish. The fact I was sick meant I didn't physically push too much - it was an effort just to complete what seemed like the minimum.
During the ride, I learnt to be more tolerant and understanding of myself and other people. The various tests highlighted the importance of patience and resilience.
During the ride, I tried to be grateful for the moment and enjoy. When cycling I turned my phone off to avoid being distracted and gain an excuse to stop and break my rhythm.
Q. What did you enjoy about the event?
Meeting people by the side of the road who were following the ride on GPS tracking. For example, when I reached Adelaide, I found people were there to support and offer encouragement - I was grateful to meet people who were handing out food, and on some occasions putting me up for the night. Special thanks to friends in the Sri Chinmoy Centres in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.
Q. How did you feel about finishing?
I felt relieved, somewhat elated while also being quite tired. When I finished, I discovered a group of riders who had finished earlier were waiting at the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Very unexpected and beautiful. I was also happy not to be riding anymore!
Q. How do feel a week after the race has finished?
It's a really long way! But it is nice to hear people were inspired by the event.
Sri Chinmoy Multisport Classic in Jindabyne [video]
By Tejvan Pettingerauthor bio »
About the author:
Tejvan organises short-distance running and cycling races for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in his home city of Oxford. He is also a very good cyclist, having won the National hill climb championships in 2013 and finished 3rd in the National 100 Mile Time Trials in 2014.
The Sri Chinmoy Multisport Classic, held in Jindabyne, is a unique multi-sport event held in the beautiful surroundings of Australia's Snowy Mountains. The annual event has been held for several years and combines water and land-based sports over 12 different legs.
The event attracts a diverse range of athletes who can compete either individually or part of a relay. This video, produced by Sarankhuu Jargal, shows highlights from the different sections including running, swimming, mountain biking and paddling. Steve Hanley a former winner also gives his brief thoughts on why he enjoys the race.
The course is varied, with 3 mountain bike legs ranging from easy to highly technical; 3 running courses from flat to very not-flat; 3 swims of between 1.2 and 2.5 kms; and 3 paddles of 5.5 to 9.5 kms. The swims and paddles criss-cross most of Lake Jindabyne, while the mountain bikers and runners thoroughly explore the rugged Eastern Escarpment, rolling farmland of the Western Shore, and bushland of the adjoining Kosciuszko National Park.
The event is organised by the Canberra/Australia Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.
Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Winner's report, 2017 by Rowan Beggs-French
By Prachar Stegemann
I love living in Canberra. There are not many places in Australia that I have been that offer more to people who enjoy the outdoors and endurance sport. The facilities, surrounding green space and calibre of athletic community here means you are never short of opportunities or motivation to explore somewhere new and train hard.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1995 created a multisport event showing off the spectacular landscape of Canberra, and pushing the limits of endurance in a single day event. Each year since then (with the exception of 2 years due to weather) the Triple-Triathlon has tested athletes either solo or in teams to swim 6.2 km, ride 100 km and run 45 km in an enduro triathlon format taking in the lakes, mountains, and meadows that envelop our bush capital.
It is not your typical triathlon! It is not a race where you can sit on your pre-determined power output on the bike and then sit back into your marathon pace running. On the bike you will be doing gate vaults in the bush, and pushing your bike up crazy steep loose fire roads, then soaking in a view before an awesome descent. On the runs you will be running along trails mainly used by kangaroos and wombats, scrambling up Canberra’s biggest peaks, and dropping through beautiful single track. It is a race that forces you to go off feel and immerse yourself in the amazing trails. Which is why I love it so much.
I first raced this event as part of a team in 2008 with my now wife Amy and friend Scott. I was racing standard distance triathlon but was mainly training on trails and the event really appealed. We had a ball and the next year raced again. In 2011 I decided to push my limits and go solo for the first time. After a great day I finished first solo in just under twelve hours. After moving around Australia as an Air Force Pilot, I was itching to do it again in 2015 when as a family we moved back to Canberra. I had another great experience winning and setting a half hour PB.
My 2017 has been pretty up and down with injury but about September I started getting excited to aim for this event as it was the twentieth anniversary of the race and the field was looking bigger and deeper than it ever had been. My build for the race involved a lot of strength work in the gym along with hills riding and running. I am a full time dad and luckily my daughter loves going for adventures on the back of my bike or in the chariot!
Having done the race previously is a huge advantage – the stress of not knowing what to expect has passed and you have nutted out the logistics to make it run as smooth as possible. Over the last couple of weeks the training wound down but visualisation of the course and how I would feel throughout ramped up. The week of the race I was full of nerves, not knowing how the day would come together given my preparation, and nervous about the competition I would face with 8 previous winners of the event lining up with me.
Race morning was early! A 5:30 race start meant getting the family up at 4 to get ready for the day. Amy and my friend Marty were my support crew for the day along with my three and half year old daughter Imogen. Arriving at the shores of Lake Ginninderra to the west of Canberra the weather was beautifully mild, around 15 degrees, and there was this calm enthusiasm and anticipation from the 22 other solo competitors and their helpers (the 70 odd teams started half an hour later).
In the soft dawn light after a moment's silence we dove into the first 1.5 km swim of the event. My plan was to try and jump on the feet of Michael Brennan, but after about 50m he left me behind and I settled into my own rhythm. It pays not to blow up in the first swim of an 11-hour race!
The first transition went smoothly and I was happy to be on the mountain bike, where my plan was to push a solid pace and see if anyone went with me. I met up with Michael about 5 km into this leg and we rode together for the next 8 km, through some fast flowing fire roads, which were perfectly grippy from the rain of the past week. Then we reached the first of the big hills – affectionately known as ‘push bike hill’ on the side of Black Mountain. The 800m rocky Fire Trail sits between 25 and 35 per cent gradient for its length and is the first of many opportunities to get off your bike and push.
After a short stint walking at the steepest pinch I got riding again to put some distance between Michael and me. The rest of the first ride went well, some more punchy climbs and flowing descents and a great single track section through Bruce Ridge which led us towards the transition to the first run of the day starting at the base of Mt Majura. The atmosphere in transition was awesome, many of the teams were eagerly waiting for their riders to come in with the warm morning sun and barely any wind. I sat down for a moment to get my socks, runners, and hydration pack on before taking off for the 250m climb of Majura.
After setting a quick pace for the first ride I eased into a more relaxed rhythm running, following the rocky single track that weaved up the western side of Majura. It’s a special track especially in the early morning sun as you get glimpses of the city and Brindabella Mountains glowing in the distance. After reaching the summit the next section was a rollercoaster descent through the single track in the Majura Pines mountain bike park. Traversing the ridgeline between Majura and Ainslie I checked in with the body, which was feeling great. More importantly my mind was really calm, I was taking the chance to soak in the surroundings and not over thinking what I needed to do or concerning myself with pace.
The expansive view of Mt Ainslie is iconic, and against the blue sky and having 2 of the 3 biggest hills of the running course out of the way was an awesome moment! Coming off the mountain and onto the flat bike path leading to the next swim my calves were starting to tighten up, but luckily I had a 3.5 km swim ahead to get off my feet and let the legs recover.
Getting into a wetsuit mid race is an experience! I bought a sleeveless wetsuit in order to expedite this process. After having half a bottle of my Infinit electrolyte drink and the 3 of us working as a team I was in the wetsuit and off on the next swim. That feeling of being off my feet and just rolling the arms over was sublime. I had a gentle tail wind, which meant the chop was giving me a slight push. I pulled alongside a jetty mid swim to get some more calories in – the best part of an hour mid-race swimming means it’s really easy to hunger flat going into the next ride (a lesson learnt from previous years!).
After a quick bite of sushi and some beetroot juice in the next transition it was off for the longest ride of the day – around 38 km of flowing fire roads to the southwest of the city. It turns out I exited the swim at the perfect time as friend and veteran of the Triple-Tri, Dave Osmond came past me about a kilometre in as part of a team. I was feeling great at this point so jumped on his wheel and spent the next 10 km riding and chatting with him. This ride is where the day can start to get pretty warm – as it is predominantly open and it's late morning or early afternoon at this point of the race. Despite only having a top of 25, I was feeling the heat. The climb up Mt Stromlo went well, just slow and steady, before another fun descent along some weaving fire roads.
Another friend, Michelle Cooper, came flying past about 5 km from the end on her way to taking the bike course record. Again surging to stay with her was a great boost both to my speed and mind as things were starting to tire. Staying close to her for the rest of the ride I came into the crunch point of the race tired but feeling strong.
A quick reapplication of sunscreen, body glide and some no dose and I was off onto the 11 km run which has you summit Mt Taylor, a short and sharp peak in Canberra’s south. In the heat of the day it will definitely let you know if you have gone too hard early in the race. As soon as I hit the 25 per cent fire road climb I was down to a walk. But that was hurting my quads too much so I started walking backwards, and then discovered shuffling backwards felt great. The 1 km of climbing felt like an eternity but after reaching the top the view of the Brindabella Mountains and knowledge that the rest of the run is downhill was a huge boost to morale.
Nearing the end of the run my legs were shattered, but mentally I was still calm, happy and very much looking forward to the last 1.2 km swim. The swim was slow as I really focused on recovering, cooling down and preparing mentally to push through to the finish. Getting onto the bike for the final time with a solid dose of caffeine I tucked in for the coming 10km of flat bike path into a head wind. Klayten Smith the winner from 2016 was about 20 minutes behind in second place at this point so I focused on opening that gap so that we wouldn’t be running together at the end.
The short steep hills on this leg passed quickly and before I knew it I was approaching my last transition through the infamous storm water pipes of Hindmarsh Drive. Being 6’5” and having raced for over 9 hours already, riding a bike through a drainpipe for about 80 metres is somewhat of a challenge. I got into the tunnel just ahead of one of the team riders and completely messed it up! I tried to slide down and lie on my top tube as I had done in practice but instead just lay on top of my seat and had my back wedged against the tunnel roof, paying my blood sacrifice to the race.
After some frantic stuffing around I exited the tunnel, had some more water, caffeine and a bottle of Infinit and took off on my last run. I settled into a rhythm through the climb over Red Hill, enjoying the final view of the city. The legs were in pretty good shape compared to previous years, and I focused my mind on keeping my running form as light and smooth as possible. The smiles of the teams as they come past and words of encouragement from the helpers at aid stations are one of the things that make this event so special.
Coming onto the bike path and past the second last of these aid stations I glanced at my watch to see what the time was. I saw that it was 3:18 and I had 7 km to run, which meant that if I was able to hold my current pace of just over 5 min per km that I could surpass the solo course record set by off-road legend Jason Chalker in 2002.
The remaining distance was gently undulating and shaded along the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. There was plenty to lose myself in and appreciate as the final kilometres ticked down. Rounding the corner to the finish the joy of having completed this course quicker than anyone had in its 20 year history was overwhelmingly emotional. A week later it is still sinking in: I like many others thought that record would never be broken. Overall it was an awesome day.
Endurance sport is such an amazing experience – the emotional highs and lows, the hundreds of small decisions we make leading into and during a race, the weather, the mechanicals, the other unforeseen challenges we have to adapt to make it truly special when it does all come together in our favour.
If you are looking for a different challenge, atmosphere and experience this race will provide it. I love the diversity that exists within the sport of triathlon, and this race truly is one of those hidden gems. I am already getting excited to toe the line and see what the day brings next November!
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Triple-Triathlon Solo Male Finisher's report, 2017 by Andrew Renwick
By Prachar Stegemann
"I'm not a quitter" I told my wife, during a conversation earlier in the week. It's easy to say, hard to do and even harder to hold consistently as a principle. "I'm not a quitter, so I'm going to need your help on this one".
This year was the 20th edition of the Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon, a scenic route around Canberra involving 6.2k of swimming, 96k of mountain biking and 43k of trail running. It is an event I have competed in during 2007, 2009 & 2011. This year, the push was on to field the largest solo field possible for the anniversary event. I knew it would attract the best. How could I turn down the opportunity to toe the start line with triple-tri greats like David Baldwin, Julie Quinn, Rowan Beggs-French, Trevor Fairhurst, Klayten Smith and Alina McMaster? So myself and a few mates agreed, it was April. Plenty of time to prepare...
In 2011 I trained upwards of 25hrs a week and achieved a 2nd place finish just 15 minutes behind Rowan. This year with a few exceptions, my training was limited to my daily commute. I was under no illusion that I was honing my competitive edge nor that I'd be rubbing shoulders on the podium. So then why? Why take on an event so physically and mentally taxing you know your whole self will be pushed to the limit? Why take on an event that will bring the hurt, perhaps like it has not been brought before? Why take on an event that has the capacity to chew you up, spit you out and leave you lying on the side of some trail, somewhere? Maybe by the end of this story you'll know. Maybe you'll just have to sign yourself up next year. to find out... I hear the 21st anniversary is going to be pretty special.
The Lead Up
Two young boys to juggle, full time work, a daily cycle commute, 5 pool sessions (total) and 3 short "swim/bike/run" days is the training summary. An ear and sinus infection 48hrs out and a visit to the GP for antibiotics on Saturday morning capped off my less than ideal preparation. The fact that my mates were unable to race solo as well was another hit to the psyche. As a result the last minute go decision, frantic packing and 3.5hrs drive left me somewhere other than the zen-like state which would help me through race day.
Thanks to the enduring support of my wife Julie, I got to the start line and donned the swimming wetsuit for the second time in 6 years. I then contemplated the day ahead with a group of like-minded people in the frigid waters of Lake Ginenderra. Where would I rather be? Nowhere.
Leg 1 – 1.5km Swim Time: 0:31:18
The start was called and off we went. A large lead group formed and wow, they could swim. I'd love to say I held on and cruised through 1.5k of easy swimming, though it is not the case. My limited swim training shone through from the get-go and I struggled through half and hour of mild discomfort. Not a good omen for the remaining 4.7 kilometers in the water.
Leg 2 – 36km Mountain Bike Time: 2:58:43
Most of my preparation for this event involved commuting to work and as such I was very glad to be out of the water and onto the bike. Julie executed a flawless transition and soon I was peddling lakeside knowing that my icy bones would warm up in the hills around Black Mountain. 'Push Bike Hill' lived up to it's name. A steep, stony ascent towards Telstra Tower. Switch off the mind, point the bike upwards and keep on trucking. I reached the summit and bombing down the other side was in order. I was warm, riding well and picking off solo competitors one by one… Them BAM! my pedals locked up with a horrible metal crunching sound. Not ideal.
A brief visual inspection clearly showed that my rear derailleur and chain were mangled with no hope of recovery. Bugga! Time to call the cavalry... Though I have no phone... Bugga! Luckily the next solo competitor, Josh, did. A call to Julie, a hike out to the road and the expectation that if I can find another bike before the next leg I race unranked.
Julie had other ideas. An early morning call to a mate Hov and next thing I know I'm back in the game, albeit an hour behind the rest of the solo field.
I coursed through the final 18 kms and into TA.
Leg 3 – 18k Run Time: 1:56:43
Stoked to be back in the race I swapped bike for trail shoes and headed off up Mt Majura, then up Hackett Hill, then up Mt Ainslie with a few more ups in between.
Finally a long down took me past the War Memorial and to Lake Burley Griffen and the run along the foreshore into TA. By this stage I'm feeling pretty good, 1 tri down, longest run done and as I enter TA another solo is leaving! It’s all about to change.
Leg 4 – 3.5km Swim Time: 1:29:56
The first swim leg hurt me a little and safe to say I was really looking forward to being on the other side of this expanse of water.
I could wax lyrical for hours about the discomfort I endured throughout this swim. About how my legs cramped from the start and how I was fairly certain I was going to drown at some stage during the last kilometre. Or, I could describe the lovey first aid officer who met me coming out of the water, saw my blue face and hands then stated "You'd better come with me mate. You dont look so good." To which I responded “Thanks mate, I don't feel so good, but Ive been here before and just need to get on my bike to warm up."
It was ugly, I'm glad it's done, we shall never speak of it again.
Leg 5 – 36km Mountain Bike Time: 2:24:02
I headed out for the second bike leg, suffering though knowing there would be plenty of hills just around the corner to warm me up. Soon the rhythm settled in. Pedal the flats, bomb the downs and get off and push anything over a few degrees off horizontal. It was so great to see Andrew Graham (Graz) out along this leg as the sun was baking, most of this leg is exposed, so when the breeze dropped away it was brutal. Soon enough though I wound my way down to TA.
Leg 6 – 12km Run Time: 1:26:49
Mt Taylor. A sufferfest. Every time.
Out of TA, up and up and up. A small respite down the backside then into the oven. Fire trail and bike paths through the backstreets of Canberra. Towards the end of this leg I was really coming unstuck. The body had had enough. I made it into TA and this is how it went.
Graz: "Mate, you dont look so good."
Me: "I feel like death. I just need to lie down for a few minutes."
Julie: "That's no good. Now get your wetsuit on and get in the water.”
Me: "Just two minutes."
Julie: "You've already been here two minutes. Get off the chair, get your wetsuit on and get in the water."
So I did.
While this may seem harsh, the primary role of a support person is to keep you moving. Often this involves making decisions that are in the best interest of the racer. Julie has seen me suffer plenty, she knows my limits and more importantly, my capabilities. I'm forever grateful to have her on my side.
Leg 7 – 1.2km Swim Time: 0:39:43
The water was blessedly cool and while it was not exactly pleasurable I was stoked to be on my way for the third triathlon. The leg finishes with a short climb up a ladder out of the water. You can imagine my limited appreciation for the ingenuity of such a device at this stage of the game.
Two to go.
Leg 8 – 24km Mountain Bike Time: 1:58:27
The final bike leg is the shortest of the three and Julie was right. I felt much better for my leisurely splash and I was elated to be still moving forward given the day so far.
Shortest doesn’t mean easiest and the ever present steepness plus the cumulative stress on my weary bones certainly made for a challenging ride. Luckily the day was cooling, the sun getting lower in the sky. The light that had been so harsh a couple of hours ago turned magic, filtering through the trees. Smashing down the final single-track and through the storm-water pipe I emerged into the final TA. Just one challenge left and this day would be done.
Leg 9 – 13km Run Time: 1:28:31
One leg to go and I could hardly believe it. 36 hrs earlier I was at the GP, questioning if I would even get to the start line. Now just one more mountain to climb.
Up I went. Near to the top Sean, Kim, Hugo and Oscar came out to see me. It was wonderful to see their smiling faces and hear their cheers. "This is the last mountain Andrew. Almost home!"
Down I went, then through the flatland towards Lake Burley Griffen and the finish line. The sun was going down and the sky turned a delicious shade of red. It was amazing. After 14 hours I was on the final stretch, there was no one around and I was truly grateful for my place in this very moment of time. There was nowhere I would rather be. My mind was a fire with wonder and awe. Strava tells me that at this point I was running between 6:30 and 7:00 minutes per kilometre. Not that flash, though truth be told while my head was clear my body certainly didn't feel that flash either.
2.5km out from the finish I see Sean's clan once again.
Sean: "Mate, there is another solo just 50 seconds in front of you!"
Me: "But I've got nothing left..."
Sean: "I know you've got something... "
My body wept as I forced it to move, doing the math in my head. "50 seconds over 2.5km...." I had no idea, nor the capacity to figure this out. Faster, that's all there is. Faster.
So that's what I did. Go faster. 4:30, 4:45 maybe. Whatever it was it hurt like hell. But I caught the guy and the team runner in front too. I didn't slow until the finish and Julie's waiting arms.
I crossed the finish line in 14:54:12, almost 3hrs longer than my 2nd place finish in 2011. I was ecstatic. The cards had been stacked against me, yet my strength and the support of Julie, Graz, my friends who came to cheer me on and the Sri Chinmoy community got me through another Triple Triathlon.
The end of a Journey
My day was only made possible through the support of my family and friends and I am so very grateful to the following people: My wife Julie, my support crew in life, I hope I give as good as I get. Graz, your support for both Julie and I across the day was phenomenal. Thank you for giving up your time to join me in Canberra. My Mum, Dad, brother and sister in law, thank you for looking after our boys all weekend. They had a great time hanging out. Prachar and the Sri Chinmoy team, thanks for another year of an awesome event. Josh, for stopping and lending my your phone. Dan Hovenden for dragging yourself out of bed and lending me your new steed. Lastly, thank you to all my fellow solo competitors. Events like this only exist when people are willing to take them on. Huge congratulations to Rowan Beggs-French, David Baldwin and Julie Quinn. Amazing athletes who each broke their category's respective course record. What an achievement!
So there you have it, another race, another story. Perseverance and pain. Elation and endurance. A story I write for myself to help me understand my journey of discovery. A story perhaps, that I’ll share with my children as I watch them overcome challenges of their own. Take from it what you will and perhaps one day we will toe a start-line together.
2017: Report from Goulburn team "JindaBeanThere & DoneThat – #4Pete"
By Prachar Stegemann
Note: more photos from Andrew Oberg's report can be found at the end of the event photo gallery.
The Jinadabyne Multisport Classic did not go unnoticed to the Goulburn contingent of Mark Stutchbury, Andrew Dawes, Jacqueline Oberg, Kelvin Martin, Kerry Baxter, Rod Smith and Andrew Oberg. Most of these competitors are pointy end finishers of the classic Triple Triathlon in Canberra (“Giant 440 Woddies #4Pete” whom were 5th outright in 2016). For the first time, a team was formed by this energetic lot, “JindaBeanThere & DoneThat - #4Pete” who eagerly headed out to tackle a multitude of demanding legs.
Unlike the traditional triathlon format, this event throws in an additional challenge - kayak legs! Right from the first kayak leg, it became apparent that this discipline would be a steep learning curve. Fellow competitors had immensely impressive crafts. Their slick, streamlined and intimidating vessels, would prove to be far superior when compared to the Goulburn team’s craft. Goulburn’s humble little machine would look more at home trout fishing in the local area than racing the magnificent waters of Lake Jindabyne.
Kayakers, Andrew Dawes, Kelvin Martin and Rod Smith all had solid performances, albeit in different conditions. Andrew had a windless ride with a lake as flat as the Sri Chinmoy post-race pancakes. Andrew prepared extensively for this leg, which was clearly evidenced from his super-fast finishing time. He even spent hours constructing a customised hydration system for this leg to maximise paddling time and efficiency. In the second paddle, Kelvin whilst out racing, encountered equipment difficulties. His paddle separated in the middle and with sunscreen all over his hands he was unable to rejoin it, until he had assistance from the water safety crew. Regardless, he still managed a strong performance. Rod had to endure the third leg. By the time he began his leg the lake was becoming a surfer’s delight with waves breaking over the bow. Many of the slick race crafts that were dominant in the earlier legs become victims of this situation. Consequently, Goulburn’s stable little boat would prove its worth after all. By the end of his leg, Rod came to shore battered and sore after suffering the tough conditions.
All of our swimmers were proven performers in the H2O. Mark Stutchbury, Andrew Dawes and Jacqueline Oberg swam in that order. Per usual, Mark and Andrew were formidable forces in the water. Both athletes managed category placing’s in the top five, in turn, helping establish strong leads for the team. Jacqueline got to enjoy a picturesque ferry ride across the lake to her transition area on a remote beach. Her swim started in ocean like conditions becoming increasingly calmer the closer she got to shore. When she emerged from the swim, she sprinted up the bank to tag our last kayaker, proving why she was selected as one of our team runners also.
The mountain bike legs lived up to their respective reputations. During the first leg, Andrew Oberg snapped a chain only 3kms in. Luckily, he was able to repair it in around five minutes to still post the 16th fastest ride for this course. Mark Stutchbury showed his time trial prowess and his ability to scale a barbed wire fence in order to conquer the course, subsequently making up a few more positions during the second MTB leg. Kerry Baxter, racing on a brand new bike reveled in the hilly conditions of the third and longest ride. This involved him conquering over one kilometre of total elevation.
Whilst waiting for our first runner to get underway, Kelvin took the opportunity to do a spot of fishing amidst the chaos! To everybody’s surprise he pulled out not one, but two trout from the water, both were returned to fight another day. Jacqueline got our run campaign started and ran well without incident over the undulating cross country course. Rod took on the second run leg which was easily the most arduous. Given the courses colossal difficulty, the team had plenty of time to have some lunch before the later legs. Andrew Oberg ran the final 5km run leg in just over 20 minutes. The Sri Chinmoy photographer for some reason was twice seen by him on this short run leg. Hence, not wanting to look weak for the lens added a little more pressure to his run.
The team came home in 10:35 minutes and were the 22nd finishers overall. They were the seventh team in the open category and had an absolute blast! The post-race lentil burgers were enjoyed immensely by all and were scoffed down in record time. Following the race, the team commenced strategising for the next year’s event. The “JindaBeanThere & DoneThat - #4Pete” plan on returning next year, bigger, faster and smarter across all 12 demanding legs. With a more fine-tuned race plan, they hope to scale the leaderboard and return more victorious one year from now.
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2017: "Go Go Girls All Over 60" Winning Team Report
By Prachar Stegemann
Go Go Girls All over 60 – 2017 Jindabyne Multisport- Perspective from each discipline
SWIMMER - Helen
Suddenly I remembered….
Yes the Go Go Girls are back to test ourselves at Jindabyne after a 6 year break.
The first swim at daylight is always a heady mix of excitement, nerves and cheering as we headed off to the buoy in calm overcast conditions.
Suddenly I remembered for those at the rear end it is akin to swimming in a spa as the thrashing of legs and arms whip up a foam and fog with a sea of colourful caps ahead.
Gasping with the effects of too much adrenalin suddenly I remembered _ “It is OK, goggles are on, just swim to the finish, tag Jeannie for her paddle”. That team greeting at the end of swim 1? It feels great.
After several months of training in the local pools where the water temperature was up to 31 degrees, the only alternatives was a coastal estuary one hour drive from our farm. Depending on the tide the estuary was a mass of seaweed, the occasional blue bottle, small fish and curious pelicans.
All was going well until a friend mentioned that Bull sharks lurk there! Not wanting to have shark assisted times in training, I took to our farm dams. The leeches were pleased, the ducks and tortoises rather surprised.
Joy of joys the conditions are calm for the second swim and having Jeannie paddling alongside is very reassuring.
Suddenly I remembered how good it feels to swim in this cool clean lake water.
“Goggles are on, just swim”.
The team is going steadily and well as the day progresses and we are waiting at Horseshoe Bay for Peggy when a black line of clouds appears from the south. Pelting rain, wind and Peggy arrived all at the same time. The previously glassy lake is now a boiling mass of chop and the buoy barely visible in the squall. I was so grateful Jeannie was paddling despite the headwind and waves. Suddenly I remembered - “goggles are on, just swim and breathe at the top of the wave.”
When Sue ran to the finish and we were cheering suddenly I remembered how wonderful it is to share this day with three fabulous women on our team, other teams and the brave solo athletes.
Thanks to everyone at Sri Chinmoy and the volunteers who make this event so special.
PADDLER - Jeannie
Sing ho! for the brave an’ gallant sea kayaks
The rockets and epics and fenns are fast, but Lake Jindabyne is renowned for whipping up some choppy seas.
So I decided to take my trusty, comfortable, stable, but slightly slower ‘Mirage 580’. I had tried out my nephews fenn kayak, but found the slight instability meant I wasn’t much faster in it, and the paddling was less enjoyable. Having done some “training” – paddling between Wonboyn and Tathra the week before the race – I was hoping for a bit of rough weather! Well it did happen. A dark clouded squall hit just as our swimmer set out on the last swim leg. I paddled along with her – partly for safety, company and a sort of a warm up before my paddle leg. Helen bravely rode the waves and managed to breathe at the crest – mostly. While I revelled in a bit of stormy seas and pelting rain in my gallant sea kayak.
Jeannie with granddaughter, Frida (mascot for 2 teams) and daughter, Melanie (competitor in team 701)
Thanks so much to Sri Chinmoy team in holding this event. A wonderfully enjoyable day.
RUNNER - Sue
I was privileged to be a part of this great team. Swimming, paddling, mountain biking no problem for Helen, Jean & Peggy. The conditions were pretty good too, only one nasty squall in the afternoon which the girls in the water handled without missing a stroke.
The run legs were challenging. I ran steadily on the first and third ones, but the long, second run was by far the most difficult. It was also the most scenic. Struggling through the Thredbo River (Jean and Ron were there to help with the guide rope) was a bonus. But, by the end of that run I had a meltdown. A good lunch, encouragement from the GGGirls and our indispensable supporters Ron & Paul, got me through for the final leg.
It was a pleasure to do the last run on the edge of Lake Jindabyne at dusk and be greeted by everyone, not least the gracious Sri Chinmoy organisers, it was a truly transcendent experience!
RIDER - Peggy
“By The Time I Got There…..”: (3rd of 3 rides)
By the time I got to the marshal halfway up to Burrangabuggie:
Those really fast (young) blokes were finishing. The marshal, as it turned out, was delighted to have something to do. He must have been on duty for 4 or 5 hours and not seen anyone for a while. “I’m not last”, I puffed, “but you will be able to go home soon”. (Thank you, to all marshals, on all the legs, for being there and offering cheerful encouragement).
By the time I got to Botherum Plain:
The headwind was roaring, the herd of brumbies were moving off to shelter out of the stinging, spitting not-quite-rain. Just enough to dampen, but not drench me. It was a long slog over to the forest, hoping for a bit of protection from the assembling squall and (yippee!) downhill.
By the time I got to Horseshoe Bay
The first solo, Klayten Smith, was just finishing.
Back at Horseshoe, the cold rain squall was seconds away and NPWS boat broken. A huddle of cold bikers shivered on the beach along with anxious team swimmers. Helen, our swimmer and Jean our paddler, ploughed off into the growing chop. Joy of joys, my brilliant team had left me a warm jacket and raincoat.
We (the back end of the field) caught one of the last shuttles after a long cold wait. (Thank you to the skipper and her crew.)
By the time Sue brought the team home with a nifty last run we were well within cut-off – 10 years plus an hour and 5 minutes slower than our last record.
Excellent event. Made possible by Sri Chinmoy Marathon team, land holders, NPWS and other teams, those astonishing solo athletes, our helpers/photographers, Simmo and Paul, and us - brilliant (and still sparkling) team.
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"HMAS Friendship" Team Report, 2015, by Murray Robertson
By Prachar Stegemann
"Las Triple Triathlon"
So our brave and gallant team of three boys had a cracking day of racing at the Sri Chinmoy Triple Tri in Canberra.
What the hell is the Triple Tri? It is a 9-leg beast of a race that demands the utmost respect!
It is three off-road triathlons back to back, in various distance (think about it as a big relay). It makes a loop around Canberra, hitting every lake, every mountain and nearly every bike path. We start in the pond-like Lake Ginnindera and end up at Yarrumlumla at the Sailing Club. It adds up to around 6km of swimming, 100km of mountain bike riding and 45km of running.
It is a beautiful, brutal race.
You can have 9 people doing it, with one taking each leg, or you can do it solo or anywhere in between. We decided to do it as a team of three. A triathlon relay. Team HMAS Friendship.
The line-up was as follows:
Tommy Brazier: The gun runner, Tom has honed his skills doing 100km races and was worried that this one would be too short. We gave him the first two runs to destroy himself, so he could relax and let poor old Murray do the last one.
Ed Hall: Big E was an unknown quantity because he had made the smart decision to ditch mountain biking for the world of road cycling, but we had faith that he would get the job done. He would do all the bike legs, a very solid day out.
And of course, there was me. I had hesitantly volunteered to do all of the swimming legs, as well as the last run! My cycling crash three weeks before had left me with a less then ideal preparation but I thought I could gut through the swims without letting anyone down.
We spent the night before the race gorging on pesto pasta and sweet potato, talking smack and working out logistics for the big day on Sunday.
We knew that there was another team of 3 who would give us some serious competition throughout the day. They were seasoned veterans of the race and were very strong athletes. I was more worried about them then Tom and Ed, because I knew their swimmer was better then me. We would soon see by how much.
I was staying away from the boys in the house of Tom's mum, who had kindly given me a bed. The day began at 5am, as I prepared for the first 1.5km swim that would start us off.
So it was that I found myself in the scummy Lake Ginnindera at 6am, watching duck poo drifting past me and trying not to think ahead to the 3.5km swim that awaited me later in the day.
I did my usual, excitable sprint at the start and found myself leading the field, not the smartest beginning to a 9hour plus day of racing.
I dropped into a pack of 4 swimmers and while I slowly slid off the back of them, I was within 40 seconds of the leader, giving Ed a good crack at our rivals.
When not competing or eating, the day is taken up by driving to the next checkpoint to hand over for the next leg. So Tom and I made our way up to Antill St, below Mt Majura, where Tom would begin his first and longest run at just under 20km.
Ed came screaming into the transition, just behind our rivals, having taken a wrong turn on the course (it happens).
Tom then proceeded to annihilate the entire field on the Ainslie/Majura run and posted the fastest split of the day (a hugely impressive effort considering that the majority of racers were only doing one leg, or one run).
This gave me a couple of minutes lead over our competition for the start of the 3.5km monster swim in Lake Burley G.
We started behind King's Bridge and swam down the middle of the lake, under Comm Bridge and into Acton Ferry Terminal.
It is a long, hard slog of a swim. As soon as your arm enters the water you lose sight of it in the murky, dirty depths. Visibility was at a range of about 5 to 10cm.
Luckily we had a little bit of a tailwind, so I cruised down the lake. When I occasionally flipped over to do some backstroke I could see the orange cap of our competition, slowly but surely gaining on me (he would take 2 and a half minutes off me in this swim). I could also see my kayaking escort, who I would say hello to every time I did backstroke. He said nothing back. It was a long swim.
With about 400m to go I was over-run by my rival but, tactical genius that I am, I cut across and sat on his feet for as long as I could.
So halfway through the race we were neck and neck and we knew it would be very tight. (there were two teams of 9 in front of us, with some pro-triathletes and Martin Dent, enough said).
Big E gave us a little lead for his second ride and then Tom, being the backbone of the team, proceeded to put another 3 minutes into them, running up and over Mt Taylor into Tuggeranong.
I was looking forward to finishing my swimming with the last leg looming but that was short lived because it was now in a 25m pool (due to the water quality of Lake Tuggers). It would be a lot of tumble turns with a run in the middle as you had to get out and run to the end of the pool to start again (3 x 400m loops of the pool, ducking in and out of each lane).
Luckily, I am nearly 2m tall, so because I could push off the wall each time so I only swam about 15m a lap. Perfect.
The pool temp was about 30degrees, so I was feeling pretty drained at the end, but we had our 2 and a half minute lead still intact and only 2 legs to go.
And so this is where things got tactical. I was feeling fresh (relatively fresh, after 6km of swimming) so I would do the final, 13km run over Red Hill. Tom had smashed himself knowing he only had to do 2 runs, so we put our plan into action.
So it would come down to the final leg. Did I feel better after 6km of swimming than their runner who had done nearly 30km of tough trails?
Ed came in with that crucial 2 and a half minute gap and I took off, up and over Red Hill!
I felt amazing, and my splits started at 5:00 per km as I climbed over Red Hill and got down to around 3:40 in the first couple of flat km's, but that's when the day caught up to me and I started to fall to pieces.
I began to cramp in both arms. Arms! WTF, who cramps in their arms when they are running. And my toes.
I had to rein it back a little, otherwise I would have been in real trouble. This wasn't helped when our rival teams swimmer and cyclist started waiting for both of us at certain points along the course and providing splits and updates.
Finally, after 9 hours and 8 minutes of racing (something like that), we finished.
The tactic had worked, as I put over 6 minutes into their poor, tired runner.
We won our division, and come third overall. Beating teams with up to 9 members in them.
It really is a fantastic race. It is lonely too, because we were out in front the whole day, we rarely saw any other teams because the field gets strung out by hours.
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2015: Rowan Beggs-French's Solo Report
By Prachar Stegemann
Race Report – 2015 Sri Chinmoy Triple Triathlon
The Sri Chinmoy triple triathlon first captivated my imagination in 2009 when my now wife Amy and I first entered it as a team with our friend Scott. It showed me trails and views I never knew existed in Canberra despite having lived here for 4 years at that point. The atmosphere, the people, the course, everything about this ultimate challenge was amazing and left me wanting to do it again.
Coming into 2015 I had now done the event 3 times as a team, and in 2011 had my first attempt at the race solo. I had the race I had dreamed of and with the support of Ian, Dave and Marty not only finished the race but was the first solo in a time of 11:56:23. Since that race I had been itching for the opportunity to do it again – in 2013 I was living in Darwin and could not make it down, and in 2014 the race was cancelled due to the risk of bushfires.
Life had also changed heaps since 2011, I was a dad now and my time to train was really limited. So coming into this years race I had a real mix of excitement at the opportunity to compete again, but lots of questions as to how the race would go. I really wanted to prove to myself that the result I had in 2011 wasn’t a one off and that I could maybe go quicker 4 years on despite my compressed training time.
Training wise I had really good consistency, just the volume was lower than what I would consider ideal. I focused on getting lots of hill work in as there aren’t too many flat sections. Due to time and having a good base already in swimming I didn’t get in the pool that much in the lead up (max twice a week), but aimed to do heaps of body weight upper body strength work. My longest run in the build up was 32 km. About 3 months before the race I did a fundraiser everesting Mt Ainslie on my bike, I think I tapered for the coming 3 months following 200 km and 8890 m climbing!
Coming to the week before the race I focused on being as prepared as possible – planning out with my support team my entire race. Every detail, how many calories when, from what source, different plans for hydration dependant on the weather, gear options and points to meet me and boost my morale. Nutrition is such a critical part of endurance sport, and my plan centred around using predominantly liquid nutrition – from Infinit Nutrition Australia which simplified things massively. Together with the team at Infinit I had come up with my electrolyte drink of choice which is high in carbs, and electrolytes, as I am a big guy and sweat heavily. In addition to this I made some vegan raw food bars which would allow me to chew something during the 12 hour race!
Race morning as always was super early, up at 4 to get a good breakfast of oats, soy milk, apple, banana and chia seeds and do a last minute check of everything. Driving out to the start with my support team of Amy my wife, Daina my sister in law and friend John I was the usual mix of nerves and excitement. I love that feeling – it means you really care about what you are about to do. It was meant to be- the perfect day weather wise – mid twenties and not much wind. I took plenty of care before the start to use sudocreme to prevent any chaffing making the day really uncomfortable, a bottle of infinit and a shot of beetroot to make sure I was as fuelled up as possible.
Then it was time to race! It was rather fresh in the water with the other solo competitors at the start, including friend and training buddy Wes Fraser who was doing it solo for his first time. Once we began, I got into a good rhythm in the first swim, and was ahead out of the water into the first transition. The first transition was a little chaotic! I sat in the deck chair whilst Amy and John ripped my wetsuit off and put my gloves, socks and shoes on.
I took off on the bike, just trying to keep things under wraps and not get excited too early. It was fresh on the first ride, but I wore a wind vest along with arm warmers, which was perfect. I really enjoy the first ride, the section around Aranda, Black Mountain and Bruce, still, peaceful and great views as the sun rises and the air is still crisp. I came into the next transition feeling good, and excited for the first run. This transition was super smooth, and in no time was off up Mount Majura. It was so cool the buzz in transition as all the teams were waiting for their riders to come in, the sun was warm and the encouragement was a massive boost.
I knew at some point on this run I would be overtaken by the first team runners, and was hoping this would be towards the top of Mt Majura, a bit later than last time I raced. But as I was about halfway up Craig Benson came screaming past. I tried to just focus on my race, and not get down because I thought I was going slower than last time (I wasn’t racing with a watch, just going off feel). The section through the single track in Majura Pines is always such a highlight. The soft light through the trees and smell of pine needles a really nice juxtaposition with the more rugged Australian bush which most the course highlights.
Heading into the main climb of Mt Ainslie I was feeling slightly more fatigued than I was hoping but this was nicely balanced by the boost I got from the team runners coming past at regular intervals. Up top my team were there cheering me on which was really cool, and I happily got into the descent knowing the hard work was over for a while. I was really happy with my shoe choice for this race – a set of Altra Instinct’s, super comfortable with heaps of cushioning for the descents and bike path sections of the course.
Coming into the next transition I was pretty warm and looking forward to getting into the lake for a cool off and change of pace. I decided against a wetsuit, as the hassle of getting into a wet one for this leg definitely outweighed the efficiency gains I would get from it. The first 1 km of the swim was pure bliss, really good rhythm, really nice cool down. But the cool down unfortunately continued and I got really cold by the end of it. This combined with having consumed 0 calories in the 55 minute swim meant I was stumbling out of the water and onto my bike. Will definitely eat something in the middle of this swim next time, and investigate maybe a speed suit or something to keep just a bit warmer.
The next ride I got back into a good groove after the first 5 km on bike path. It was really cool, going across the arboretum and out through Coppins crossing I was trying to stay with Cristy Henderson as she came past. I was a bit quicker on the flats (aero bars on a mountain bike work on this course!) but she put plenty into me on the climbs. The problem was, because I had been cold and hungry getting out from the swim I then didn’t stick to my plan on this leg, and consumed double the calories I had planned to.
Getting off the bike and starting to run up Taylor I was not in the happiest place, I felt like I was going to throw up, was heavy and tired in the heat. I took my only walk of the race up the super steep fire road, walking backwards for a bit, sideways for a bit, just trying to take the load off different muscles. It was feeling like a really long day when I reached the top of Mt Taylor. Fortunately I realised that I had overeaten so just had water on this leg, and by the time I got to Tuggeranong pool for the final swim my stomach had come good. I knew I would have lost a heap of time on that run and that second place was uncomfortably close.
It was a pool swim due to the closure of Lake Tuggeranong due to algae. Jumping in was such a relief to be off my feet, however the pool was boiling hot! It was good actually having the pool swim though because it allowed me to see Warren who was in second place, which was a good jolt.
This combined with my stomach being back to normal meant I hit the final bike leg with the most energy I had all day. The 2 no dose (first caffeine of the day) also helped that. I felt great, and stuck with a couple of team riders that came past me heading up to Wanniasa Trig and loved the flowing fire road of Isaac’s ridge in the mid afternoon heat. The tunnel to finish the ride is never fun when you are 6’5” and its really disorienting when you are fatigued from having raced for over 10 hours already.
I burst out of the tunnel and was ready to hit the last run hard(ish). Another smooth transition with not much time sitting down and then I was off up Red Hill, the last climbing of the day. Coming down and onto the bike path in Curtin I felt much better than 2011, I think because my stomach had forced me to hold back more than I otherwise would have on the second run. It really was a stunning spring afternoon, and coming past Lady Denman Dr my crew let me know for the first time that I was on track to do about 11:30:00. The final 5 km I pushed, going along my favourite section of the lake bike path and with massive relief and ecstasy arrived at the finish line in 11:26:02 a full 30 minutes quicker than my last attempt.
A huge thanks to my support team for their logistical juggling, to all the volunteers and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon team in organising such an amazing event, to Infinit nutrition for making an awesome custom product that takes the guess work out, and to Onyabike Canberra for Bike support.
To race this event surrounded by such wonderful friends and endurance athletes is such a privilege. While the race didn’t go perfectly, I couldn’t have been happier at the end of it. I learnt lots, I experienced lots, and just had great fun which lets be honest is the reason we do this stuff. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to race this, and I hope that I am able to learn, experience and enjoy just as much.
Continue east on the path from the transition area for 80m to cross Majura Ave at the RHS of the bridge and then follow the RHS of the canal along a dirt ST next to the houses of Ainslie. This track heads SE for approx. 500m then swings right to head SW/ W for 500m and then swings left once again (S) for just over 400m before you finally leave the houses track by turning left to cross the dry watercourse and 80m later take the left fork of the fire trail to head uphill into the trees on the Ainslie Link Trail. After about 200m keep left on the Ainslie Link Trail to climb 100 m up to an open area with large double powerlines and then turn left onto the large West 132KVA Track. Follow this for approx. 1.2K before the next major junction where you will turn left and head downhill on Hancocks Road for only 200m before turning right to follow the Hackett Houses track.
After about 1K follow this track as it zigs left (at intersection with Blue Metal Rd), zags right (now called Hackett Houses North track) and then climbs gently, directly straight ahead for about 700m (you pass on the RHS of the big water tank) before you turn right before the noticeboard to cross the logs and head uphill (E) on the Majura Horse trail. This trail climbs E and then swings N and after 500m crosses the Casuarina track.
A bit over 1K later you will continue straight on Majura Horse Trail as it intersects Oldfields Lane and then Clancy’s Walking Track. Approx 150m after Clancy’s Walking Track intersection you will turn right (uphill) to take the Mawson Majura Track, which heads E for about 230m and then swings left to the NE for about 120m before you come to a critical right turn (through hole in fence at white wire) to follow a set of powerlines along a clearing that takes you very steeply uphill on rocky terrain (no marked track, just follow powerlines).
After approx 400m the powerlines lead you up to Mt Majura Rd where you will turn right to run all the way up to the First Drink Station just below the Majura Summit Trig. Take the dirt ST up to the Trig and retrace your steps past the Drink Station to head down through a gate to head steeply down the ridgeline fire trail heading S. After approx. 800m the trail flattens out and you will turn sharp left downhill (to the E) at the wooden bench seat and proceed for only 50m before turning sharp right (before the gate) at the “Mawson/Majura Track” sign to head steeply downhill on a very rocky ST descent. After 570m the descent brings you to an intersection with a Green Signboard and horse stile on your left. Continue straight ahead on the narrow ST as it heads uphill for 120m before it merges with the main fire trail coming up from your right. You will now follow this undulating trail as it follows the ridgeline over Hackett Hill with great views to the E and W as it heads mostly SW for approx 1.8 K until a T-junction with Hancock’s Rd.
Turn left (E) and continue straight ahead at the saddle track intersection to continue heading down Hancock’s Rd towards the airport and Campbell Park. Now head downhill for approx. 1K on a long, smooth wide track. Turn right at the major trail intersection at the bottom of the hill onto Telecom Rd and then just under 200m later take the ST to the left that cuts the corner to merge with another main track heading E out towards the airport. This track swings right and then follows the fenceline on the edge of Campbell Park.
Stay on the main track as it temporarily veers away from the fenceline around a small dam. The track heads back into the trees and 120m later turns right (uphill) and turns into “Scotts Boundary Track”. Follow this track uphill, keeping the fenceline on your LHS. The track swings right past a “House Trail Link” sign. Approx. 400m later take the left fork in the track, which very soon intersects with a large cross road. Cross this road at the 4ft high cement post and immediately after crossing take the worn vehicle track heading off to the right at approx. 2 o’clock heading. This track swings left and starts to climb steadily uphill, hitting a clearing, passing under powerlines and then follows a single power line for about 140m before reaching a T-jn.
Turn right at the T-jn to take the wide dirt road heading uphill between the power lines. This road then descends steeply to cross a dry watercourse and then climbs quite steeply for about 200m. As the road starts to flatten out keep a lookout for an upcoming ST on your LHS that you will soon turn left at. This narrow ST soon climbs steeply and after 300m or so becomes wider and less steep. When this track merges with another road from the right you will travel only 40m before taking the right hand fork (BNT sign) at the track split onto some narrow ST. After 650m you turn left to climb a stone staircase and pass through a metal arch to reach Mt Ainslie Dr.
When you reach the road turn right (stay on the RHS) then head straight across Mt Ainslie Dr, heading straight up a dirt ST towards the Radio tower on the summit. At the tower take the steps back and down to the right to the road, cross straight across Mt Ainslie Dr onto a cobbled footpath (there is a water bubbler and tap and second drinks station to your left, just past the 1m high cement block). Continue straight ahead down some cement steps leading under the lookout and turn right around a metal barrier onto the main walking track. This sealed track passes some big steps and a lookout - 400m take care to stay on the main (sealed) track.
There are several sharp hairpin turns on the way down and you pass around 3 wooden corrals before passing a gate, a wooden footbridge and take 8 steps down onto a small dirt track that leads you to cross Treloar Cres behind the Australian War Memorial.
NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NO SIGNAGE IN THE VICINITY OF THE WAR MEMORIAL, FROM TRELOAR CRESCENT UNTIL YOU CROSS FAIRBAIRN AVENUE AT THE PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC LIGHTS.
RECOMMENDED ROUTE – Follow the road straight ahead that runs between the War Memorial and the car park for about 200m until it ends, continuing straight across onto the grass between the footpath and trees and then running down the grassy bank following the line of trees heading towards the lights/pedestrian crossing at Fairbairn Ave.
After crossing at the lights you will follow the footpath to your right which then heads along the LHS of Anzac Pde past various memorials. Take care when crossing Blamey Cres and Constitution Ave at the lights.
Turn left onto the footpath immediately after crossing Constitution Ave to follow it for approx. 140m before turning right into the entrance to the car park on the RHS. Veer 45 degrees right to short cut across the car park, passing near the building edge and heading down to the corner of the car park near the underpass.
Turn right onto Wendouree Dr and cross over to the footpath on the LHS to pass under the two sections of Parkes Way. 70m later turn right to cross Wendouree Dr at the ped crossing and head down the path for 50m to turn right onto RG Menzies Walk near the Lake. Only 40m later take the bike path to the right to head up to Rond Terrace and the finish line chute on the grass.
Congratulations, you made it!
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Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100, leg 3
By Prachar Stegemann
Leg 3: Kirkatrick St, Weston (next to RSPCA) to Cnr Majura & Phillip Ave, Dickson, 25.05 km
NOTE THIS COURSE HAS BEEN AMENDED FOR 2020. AMENDMENTS ARE IN BOLD
130m after leaving CP2 veer right off the road to follow a dirt path next to a wire fence. This turns to bitumen after 120m. After another 100m make sure that you turn left between the pine trees (just before the path swings right) to head down a rutty single track to a small bridge after 50m. Veer right from the bridge to keep heading right across a larger bridge crossing the Molonglo River. 270m later continue straight ahead past the swing gate and intersection - heading uphill into the pines. The climb flattens out after about 300m, and 200m later brings you to an intersection where you will turn right (N) to follow the road parallel with the powerlines. After just under 800m you will turn left at the first intersection to run parallel with the big double powerlines. 80m later veer right to pass under the DBL powerlines and another 80m later turn right to join the Boundary Rd that heads around the boundary of the Arboretum.
Follow this road up towards the Arboretum for approximately 1K before Boundary Rd turns left (NW) to go around the Western boundary of the Aboretum. Boundary Rd running parallel with the double powerlines. After approx 1K the road descends parallel to DBL powerlines, 200m after that swings to the NE towards Black Mtn Tower and 140m later starts climbing up to the Arboretum Works Compound buildings. Pass by the white locked gate near the Works compound and take care to stay left near the fence at the boulder to stay on Boundary Rd., which turns left downhill (N) and then right (E) to commence a steady climb of about 700m up to a white swing gate at the Cnr of Boundary & Himalayan Cedars Rd. Turn left at the gate to keep following the dirt road which turns right (E) to head steeply downhill with great views of Lake Burley Griffin in front of you. At the bottom of the hill turn left at the fence corner to cross the wooden horse stile and continue straight ahead on the “Cork Oaks via road” track, which you follow for about 800m. Turn right at the T-junction to follow the path under William Hovell Dr and after 130m turn right at the T-junction onto the bike path heading towards Black Mtn Tower.
After 250m turn left to leave the bike path and cross the pedestrian stile leading into Aranda Snow Gums Reserve. After 200m you will follow a walking trail denoted by a series of wooden posts. Keep a lookout ahead for these posts which first lead you parallel to an erosion gully on your right and then (after 400m) turn right to cross this gully to head N up onto a grassy track. Follow this grassy track for approx. 400m to reach a gate and a T-junction. Turn right to follow the 4WD track heading N for 600m until you reach a T-junction next to Caswell Drive. Turn right and after only 60m turn left to head under Caswell Drive. Follow this track as it heads straight for 70m before swinging right, climbs briefly, and then gradually descends S back towards Lake Burley Griffin, running parallel to Caswell Drive for a few kilometres (becomes the “Woodland Fire Trail”) before swinging left (E) and climbing gradually for 160m and then swinging left again (N) to climb a very steep short pitch. Continue along this Upper Woodland Track, taking the right hand (uphill) options at the next two forks in the track, eventually turning right when you hit the intersection with the main walking track on the N side of BM. Climb steeply up the cement track for several hundred metres, crossing over the Summit Trail, before taking a track to your left heading around the E side of the Mtn. This track swings right to climb up to meet Black Mtn Drive near Telstra Tower. Turn left and stick to the LHS of the road for only 60m or so before turning left to take a ST walking path for approx 350m which takes you down to the first Drink Station at the car park.
Just after the drink station (40m) turn left to take the path down towards the lookout platform but veer off to the right of the platform and downhill to take up a very faint track that becomes wider and more obvious after 100m or so and then becomes a rocky, steep FT that passes by the RHS of a water tank after 300m and drops steeply for another 150m before swinging left (N) to follow an undulating course along the East side of Blk Mtn. This finally descends to a large dirt road (Frith Road) which you follow right (downhill) for about 50 m before turning sharp right to take the road heading downhill for approx. 300m before turning left to climb through the gate and follow the dirt road that climbs up next to the electricity substation.
Just after the substation take care to veer off the road to the right to follow the embankment and follow the BNT single track that runs under the powerlines. After approx 300m the BNT drops off the embankment to the right to descend to Frith Rd. Cross straight across the road and over the low guard rail and then turn left to head through the Barry Dr. underpass on the LHS. After exiting the tunnel turn hard left at the BNT/Stop sign to take a ST heading uphill into the trees. Follow the BNT track all the way through to the RDBT at Fairfax St/Dryandra St Belconnen Way where the Second Drink station and a Course Marshal will provide assistance.
Continue straight across Fairfax St heading N to join a bike path and follow this as it climbs left and NW up the hill for approximately 700m before making sure that you make a hard right turn under the big powerlines to enter the access gate to O’Connor Ridge.
From here you will stay on the main fire trail always bearing left to stay near the road (Gungahlin Dr), which is comprised of about 400m of wide FT that narrows to another 600m of ST that passes by a dam and then starts to head W to reach a fence and gate near Ginninderra Dr.
Pass through the gate and continue heading East down the dirt road running parallel to Gungahlin Dr, which descends and 250m later passes a church and becomes Archibald St. Stay on the grass verge/footpath on the LHS of Archibald St for the next 840m (passing Buddhist Temple) until it dead-ends at a T-jn with Mouat St. Turn right to cross Archibald St and join the bike path, being careful after 180m to leave this path, turning left to cross the bitumen dead end and head to the pedestrian crossing/lights at Brigalow St (Course Marshal). After crossing continue left past the Lyneham Motor Inn and 60 m later turn right onto the bitumen bike path that runs along the RHS of the water canal. Follow this path for approx 650m before turning left at the end of the playing field (Blue and White sign; “Dickson shops 2K”) to cross the canal and join another bike path heading towards Lyneham High School. Take care crossing Goodwin St at the speed hump/ped. crossing. After 50m merge left to take the bike path towards Dickson shops (blue and white sign)
Scenario 1: Head Under Northbourne Ave
At this point, if the conditions are favourable, you will divert right across the grass to drop into the canal at a metal ladder just before Northbourne Ave (marker cones or arrows) in order to run under the two arms of the very busy Northbourne Ave and then exit the canal to the left at another metal ladder soon after the other side to re-join the bike path.
Scenario 2: Cross Northbourne Ave at pedestrian crossing lights
If conditions do not favour use of the canal (heavy rain prior to race) you will have to continue straight ahead on the bike path to cross Northbourne Ave at the lights and pedestrian crossing to continue along the bike path to Dickson.
Continue along the bike path to cross Challis St at the pedestrian crossing and then take care to cross Cowper St at the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights. Continue straight onto the bike path that runs between the canal and the houses and follow (without turns) this for approx. the next 1.3K to finish at the 3rd (final) transition area at the middle telephone pole (red tag 37387) in the grassy area on the west side of Majura Ave.
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Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100, leg 2
By Prachar Stegemann
Leg 2: end of Waldock St, Mount Taylor to Kirkpatrick St, Weston (next to RSPCA), 27.8 km
NOTE THIS COURSE WILL BE AMENDED FOR 2021 SOON. AMENDMENTS WILL APPEAR IN BOLD
NOTE: DUE TO CONSTRUCTION WORKS IN COOMBS, THIS PART OF THE COURSE HAS BEEN RE-ROUTED FOR 2020. PLEASE SEE NOTES IN BOLD, BELOW...
From the transition at the picnic table above the end of the car park at the end of Waldock St, following the small track along the fenceline parallel with the road, then veer left 45 degrees to a dirt path about 50m short of the gate. Continue straight ahead 80m later to cross Nth Taylor Fire Trail (FT) and head down into the gully on the narrow single track (ST). Cross the West Powerline FT and continue straight ahead (W) down onto the Old Kambah FT. After passing a dam on your right the trail swings left (S) and heads down to a climb-through gate. Continue straight to cross Colquhoun St and follow the dirt track on the LHS of the houses for about 150m before turning left onto a bitumen path which heads under Sulwood Dr.
Immediately after exiting the underpass turn right to follow a dirt track between the houses and the road. At the end of the house fences do not follow the fence line to the left but instead continue another 30m straight into a watercourse and then turn left to follow the grassy ST between the trees that runs parallel to Drakeford Dr. Turn right at the first footpath you come to head under Drakeford Dr. and upon exiting the tunnel continue straight ahead on the path that heads between the houses, taking care to cross Bacchus Cct and continuing straight until the path ends at Attiwell Cct.
Continue straight to follow the RHS verge of Attiwell Cct for approx. 250m before turning right at the T-jn onto Bacchus Cct and then immediately left into Lunn Pl. At the footpath 20m past the end of Lunn Pl take the faint ST at 10’o clock heading which merges with a footpath which leads up to a bus stop at Kambah Pool Rd.
Cross the road according to the marshal’s instructions and head straight up onto the footpath heading up the hill. After 80m turn right at the fence line to leave the path and head around a gate uphill (N) onto a dirt track. Turn right after approx. 300m (where the track flattens out near the houses) to climb through a wooden gate towards Mt Arawang. Follow the ST for 110m to climb through another wooden gate. Cross over the gravel road here and continue straight ahead on the Centenary Trail (CT) over a footbridge onto the Mt Arawang Summit Trail – the steepest section of this leg. Climb for 670m to the Mt Arawang summit trig, then follow the track downhill to your left, heading towards Cooleman Ridge and Mt Stromlo.
After descending through trees for 380m, continue straight ahead at the 4-way intersection, rejoining the CT along Cooleman Ridge.
Veer right (R) at the fork after 50m, continuing on the CT for another 450m, then turn L at the T-junction with the Guinness Fire Trail (FT), then R again after 90m at the CT sign onto a foot track in front of a water storage tank. You are now heading NW along the ridgeline of Cooleman Ridge. The track dips and after 600mcontinues straight at a 4-way intersection and through an open gate. 170m further on, cross straight over the Darrell Place FT, along side another larger water storage tank. The track rises and veers left at the fork after 170m, through a stand of trees and beyond, with sweeping vistas to the E across the Bullen Range to the Brindabellas, then following a lovely fast trail along the W of the ridgeline through woodland.
The course now departs the CT, turning L (heading downhill) at the 4-way intersection onto the Dam FT.
After descending for 300m, climb through the gate and turn R at the Cooleman Ridge Bicentennial National Trail (BNT), heading N. Climb through another gate after 620m, and immediately turn L onto a foot track heading W, keeping the fenceline to your left for a further 640m. Alongside a hourse on your left (the best situated house in Canberra?), rejoin the Cooleman Ridge BNT, heading L and continuing N-E. The CT rejoins your route as you continue to the W of a small (sometimes dry) dam, continuing for another 340 as you swing around the N end of Cooleman Ridge, crossing a set of horse logs to reach the intersection of Kathner St with Percy Crescent, Chapman.
Follow the track along the W side of Kathner St, which turns to the L. Keep the fence line on your left and after 130m turn left once again to head W towards the Mountains.
Stay ot the L at the fork, where the CT continues to the R. You will come to the 1st drink/aid station (approx. 10K elapsed) just before crossing the equestrian centre access road. Climb across the stile over the fence and follow the first track W along the fenceline to your L. After 450m, turn L onto the main dirt road, through an open gate, continuuing L at the next fork along the equestrian trail for another 890m before this trail turns to the N and starts climbing gently.
After climbing for 330m, turn R off the equestrian trail and away from the fenceline, more sharply uphill with pine trees on your right, and later on both sides. When you reach the T junction near the top of Narrabindah Hill, with the trig on your R (you do not have to visit this one!), turn L heading downhill with Telstra Tower and Black Mountain straight ahead of you. 60m later bear right to continue down towards the road, passing two metal climb-through gates that may or may not be open on the day. As the trail approaches Eucumbene Drive keep right along the fence line to reach a pedestrian stile that you will climb over. From here turn left (N) to follow the dirt path which becomes a small dirt ST that runs downhill alongside Eucumbene Dr to Cotter Rd.
Cross Cotter Rd according to the marshal’s instructions and enter a ST that soon merges with a larger track and 100m later passes the Canberra Bushfire Memorial where you take the bike path to your left, heading towards Mt Stromlo. After 350m or so the path climbs to a paved road at which you will briefly turn right and then immediately left onto a major dirt road heading uphill. After approx 500m continue straight at the road junction to continue climbing uphill towards Mt Stromlo. After another 400m or so the road enters the blue gums and then swings left to climb up to a track intersection. Turn right at this intersection to head another 500m as the road swings right to the N, climbing steadily to a T-junction with a view of the Stromlo MTB course tunnel where you will turn left (uphill, away from tunnel). This dirt road heads for approx 500m W and then SW to join Mt Stromlo Rd, where you turn right to follow the road all the way straight up to the top of the hill (no turns) and run a semi-circle around Mt Stromlo Trig before taking the white concrete footpath down heading W.
Continue down the path to a bare metal gate and turn left (S) to follow a steep descent down a dirt road that heads SW/W for a little over 400m before it reaches a T-junction where you will turn right onto a dirt road that soon swings further right to the North to run parallel with the ridgeline above. After 400m this road has a short climb and then descends (NNW) for approximately 300m to bring you to a major track intersection, where you will turn right (NE) onto the Forest Trail.
Follow the Forrest Trail winding around the base of Mt Stromlo for about 2.3km, avoiding all potential turn-offs, until you turn L onto the Carpark Trail, which then merges into the Ridge Trail, which takes you past the Stromlo Leisure Centre on your L, to a T-junction, where you turn L, then immediately R across the grass for 50m to a small opening in the fence leading to Dave McInnes Rd and the second drinks station. Cross this road and turn R onto another track on the other side which will bring you onto the disused section of Urriara Rd where you turn R and follow to the end.
Climb over the small metal barrier at the T-junction with Swallowtail Rd and follow the cycle lane then the gravel shoulder on the LHS of the road. Just before John Gorton Dr, take a hairpin L turn onto the cycle path which loops under John Gorton Drive and continues aorund the LHS of the pond. Turn L at the T-junction at the end of the pond and soon after turn R onto the Grasslands Track, which follows the contour of the Molonglo River down on your left, around the outer perimeter of Coombs.
MORE DETAILED MAPS FOR 2020 ONLY...
WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE FENCED-OFF SECTION (SEETHE PINK CIRCLE IN ABOVE MAP), THE TEMPORARY 2020 RE-ROUTE COMMENCES...
The new temporary route is intended for use in 2020 only. Please be clear that no one is to run inside the fenced off area OR on the road once you have reached that area.
Once the dirt track runs into the fenced off area in Coombs you turn right and climb up the grass embankment and immediately CROSS the road (Annabelle View) and MUST stay on the FOOTPATH-this includes crossing every street at white footpath ramps (not cutting corners). Any team or solo runner observed running on the road will immediately be disqualified from the event (AND their team), as running along the road could threaten the future of this race.
Follow the footpath and cross only at footpath ramps, following Annabelle View all the way around – this includes dropping down along the North side of a pond after crossing Madgwick St, and then turning left at the T-junction onto Harold White Ave - see detail next map.
Follow Harold White Ave until it turns hard right (South) and becomes Pearlman St. Follow Pearlman St footpath for approx. 140 m before crossing over at the pedestrian island to enter the path down to the dirt track heading North - see detail next map.
FROM 2021, WE ANTICIPATE RETURNING TO THE ORIGINAL COURSE..
Just before the concrete crossing of the Molonglo River, turn R onto a gravel track which immediately crosses a footbridge and climbs up a gravel slope. Turn R at the cycle path to follow the metal fence until it leads you out onto two fire trails heading uphill to the SE. Take the right hand (larger) fire trail, which takes you directly to the transition area about 30m NW of the bikepath/end of Fitzpatrick St, Weston intersection.
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Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100, leg 1
By Prachar Stegemann
Leg 1: Rond Terrace to Waldock St, Mount Taylor north side, 25.4 km
NOTE THIS COURSE HAS BEEN AMENDED FOR 2021. AMENDMENTS ARE IN BOLD
The start line is lakeside, in front of Rond Terrace on the North side of Lake Burley Griffin.
Follow the lakeside path (RG Menzies Walk) heading NW and then W towards, and then under Commonwealth Avenue Bridge (see detailed map, below).
Before Henry Rolland Park, cross Barrine Drive, and follow the cycle path up the ramp onto the pedestrian patway heading south across Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. Take the first R after the bridge onto the cycle path heading W alongside Flynn Dr.
This path passes Nara Peace Park (toilets) then swings to the right near the roundabout (RDBT) after which you immediately turn left to cross Alexandrina Dr to follow the bike path up towards Parliament House. This path crosses Forster Cres, passes under 2 roads and then becomes narrow and climbs more steeply.
On the way up the hill turn right at the first path junction and then right again when you reach Parliament House to follow the grassy path on the right-hand side (RHS) of the road. After approximately 200m turn right at the first road (Melbourne Ave) to stay on the RHS footpath, which crosses a bridge over the road and leads down to a pedestrian crossing/lights at State Circle.
After crossing State Circle follow the footpath uphill on the RHS of Melbourne Ave, taking care crossing Somers Cres, National Cct, Dominion Cct, Empire Cct, and then Gawler Cres at the traffic island (at the end of Canberra Girls Grammar School), and head across to the RHS footpath towards Red Hill. After approx. 150m cross Stonehaven Cres at the RDBT to join the grassy verge on the RHS of Red Hill Dr. and then 130m later turn right immediately after crossing the bridge to join a dirt single track (ST) which then merges with the wider Deakin Reserve Fire Trail. After approx. 1K turn left at the Rutidosis Track sign to climb through a metal fence and then 20m later turn right to head steeply up the C. Russell Track.
Turn left at the next T-jn to continue uphill on a gravel road and then 100m later turn left again at the saddle track intersection to head steeply uphill once again. After passing through a metal stile take care crossing Gowrie Dr, head up the stairs and again take care crossing Red Hill Dr, entering the steps and dirt ST heading steeply uphill, which soon opens up to a right hand turn at a T-jn heading towards a radio tower. At the Red Hill Lookout Bay turn right towards the power pole to once again cross Red Hill Dr and then turn immediately left to join the dirt ST, which heads past the water tank reservoir and soon turns right and briefly down before climbing again along the fence line towards Red Hill restaurant, with expansive views of the Woden Valley opening up to your right. This track levels out near the public toilet next to Red Hill restaurant (toilet & water available), descends to a 6-way track at a saddle and continues straight ahead, up a steep climb, becomes sealed and then flattens out.
Near the top of the final climb detour left onto 30m of dirt ST to touch Davidson trig and then re-join the main trail again 50m later. Continue straight at the bottom of a short, steep descent as the track flattens and widens and becomes dirt again and after 200m or so take care to continue straight ahead to re-join the flat bitumen path.
The path then drops steeply down to a climb-through metal fence. Turn right onto the main Hindmarsh Track, staying near the fenceline for only 200m before turning 10 o’clock downhill onto a wide track that veers left after 200m (pedestrian detour) and narrows to single track running just beneath Hindmarsh Drive. After another 150m take care to veer right off this ST following the ribbon to your right, keeping the retaining wall behind the houses to your right. This will lead you down to the First Drink Station and a pair of large drainpipes on your left. Crouch down to go through the RHS drainpipe tunnel that takes you under Hindmarsh Dr. for approx. 60m.
Immediately after exiting the tunnel, turn *RIGHT* to climb up the earth bank and then drop down to join the footpath on the East side of the O’Malley houses. Stay on this path, taking the path that stays to the left of the playground, climb the stairs and head approx. 100m until the first street (Keyar St), where you turn left – staying on the footpath – to head down back towards the bush. After about 100m this path turns right and approx. 80m later look out for a metal gate on your left opposite house numbers 10 and 12 (flag pole). Turn left through this gate to follow a wide track that takes you uphill for about 700m (do not take any side tracks) where you come out into a second open area and turn hard right (change from heading East to SW) at the junction with another main trail (Centenary Trail). Follow this downhill onto a lovely single track cruising back into the forest towards the southern end of the O’ Malley bushland, crossing a marshy area at the bottom and then starting a another climb heading SW.
After approx. 500m of steady gentle climb this track merges with a wider track from the left and 60m later you veer left (11 o’clock) onto a small access ST for 30m and turn left again at the T-jn (Equestrian sign) to head uphill. Follow this main track up the hill and then along the flat section above the houses in Isaacs for about 1.2K before entering the pines, taking care to stay on the left (higher) trail before turning hard left at the first equestrian sign then 40m later staying left at the fork to head very steeply uphill.
At the top of this steep pitch the track swings East while offering expansive views of the Woden Valley and beyond to the North, climbs gently to Sheaffe Trig and then follows the fence line along the ridge for approx. 1.2K.
Along the way you head down to a minor saddle, a small climb, and then descend to a major saddle where you merge with a wider road to continue heading uphill to your right. Just before the top of the climb take the right fork in the track to soon merge with the ridgeline track near the orange/white radio tower and then only 30m later turn right (downhill) onto a fire trail which heads down into the pines. After 400m or so this trail turns right and drops very steeply for about 300m before swinging hard right again along a gentle descent between the pines. Turn left (downhill) 300m later at the next intersection and follow this for only 100m before veering right to join 40m of dirt ST that cuts the corner to join another equestrian track heading right towards Shepherdson Pl.
After 200m turn left to take the sealed path uphill to pass under Yamba Dr. – approx. 50m later veer left uphill off this track at approx. 10’o clock heading to pass a wooden fence and continue straight through to a very rocky 200m stretch of track which swings left and downhill towards the houses at Farrer. Turn left onto the track behind the houses and after 500m or so take care to stay on the right, lowest, flat track (2 o’ clock heading) that stays closest to the houses. A bit over 500m later when the main track turns left you can cut the corner to the right following 80m of ST which then merges with another main track that heads roughly parallel to the Farrer houses. About 600m further on you should bear left at the fork in the track (equestrian sign) to head away from the houses. This track starts to descend past the RHS of the water reservoir and soon after turns left, heading straight towards Mt Taylor and downhill to cross some wooden equestrian stiles to arrive at the 2nd drink station on the eastern side of Athlon Dr. This is the largest and most dangerous road crossing of the race and you MUST obey the road marshals’ instructions as to when you can cross both double lane sections.
After crossing Athlon Dr you cross a bike path, go through a gate near a stile and continue directly uphill on the Torrens Houses fire trail (FT). A bit over 1K later (near the corner of the housing line on your right) turn left, uphill, at the Mrs Low’s FT sign to pass through a gate, and 70m later turn right before the tourist information board to head steeply uphill on the track that leads up Mt Taylor. This narrow track passes several lookout chairs that offer great views of the Tuggeranong Valley and the Brindabella Mountains before becoming stepped and steeper and then opens out to a wider road that soon turns right and climbs very steeply towards the radio tower. At the top of this steep climb veer right onto 60m of rocky ST that takes you to the Mt Taylor trig and then 60m back left to re-join the main FT heading North, which drops gently, turns to bitumen, and then drops very steeply, offering a dramatic view to the North. The road briefly turns back to dirt and temporarily flattens out before swinging left (West) and dropping steeply once again on a 100m bitumen section. Turn right (2’o clock) immediately at the end of this bitumen section onto a dirt track and 100m later bear right at the fork, continuing 90m to the Transition station just above the steps leading down to the Waldock St (dead end) car park.
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2014: David Shirley's Race Report
By Rathin Boulton
I didn’t really have a choice in entering this event. In 2011, I entered and didn’t finish, so was compelled, even required, to go back and finish what I’d started. With more training and weighing less, I was ready for another shot at it. So last Sunday, the 2ndof March, I dived into the water before sunrise and started a long day……
for those that just want the summary, I think this photo sums it all up.
Here is what was planned for the day: Leg 1 – Swim 1.5km
Started at 7am, it was light, but the sun hadn’t come over the hills east of the lake. We all started together (47 teams ranging from 4 to 12 members, mixed teams and 2 solos). A good swim, non-eventful really. It’s fresh water, so I only thought about sharks for about 10% rather than 50% of the time. The water was cool, but perfect in my wetsuit. Leif was there to cheer me out with encouragement and my gear for the next leg.
I brought my Dorado surf ski this time as it’s faster than the Mirage Sea Kayak (used in 2011). Had a good leg as I sat behind a lady in a K1 type boat most of the way who was going just the right pace for me to conserve some energy yet pretty fast, otherwise uneventful. Was passed by a few, but passed many.
Time: 52:18 (1:01:00 in 2011)
Transition time to Run: 1 min http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348274
Leg 3 – Run 7km
A relatively flat run considering the area it’s in – basically follows the lake shore. Magic views that time in the morning. Didn’t pass anyone, but passed by a few. It was hard having people run past you, but I had to remember that I’m a pretty average runner and it was just the beginning of a long day.
Time: 38:40 (58:32 in 2011)
Transition time to Bike: 1 min http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348298
Leg 4 – Bike 8km (technical)
This is all single track and very technical. Although it’s not long in distance this is the first use of the hills surrounding the lake. I had my same BMC Trailfox 01 – great bike, didn’t let me down once. I did manage to smash both knee caps into the head stem/handlebars when trying to get my feet out of the pedals while getting stuck in some tricky terrain, but I was certainly not the only person swearing out there. Passed a couple, got passed by a few.
Time: 47:36 (1:01:06 in 2011)
Transition time to Swim: 6 mins http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348316
Leg 5 – Swim 2.5km (long)
Jeez it’s hard getting into a wet wetsuit, but with two and a half kms in cool freshwater it’s worth it. You swim right past the dam wall, and I only breathe to my left, so I got a good view of it for a while. I replaced my limited thoughts of sharks with ‘what would happen of the dam wall broke?’ Didn’t get passed, passed a few.
Time: 48:45 (55:57 in 2011)
Transition time to Paddle: 3 mins http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348329
Leg 6 – Paddle 5.5km
The best part about this leg was that I didn’t get lost. Last time, I just figured I’d turn the corner and follow the other paddlers – I turned the corner and there were no paddlers to be seen!! This time I was 46 minutes in front of my 2011 time and there were paddlers everywhere. Passed and got passed by a couple.
Time: 36:17 (56:45 in 2011 – got lost and added 2km to the trip)
Transition time to Bike: 2 mins http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348342
Leg 7 – Bike 11km
Wow – looking at my time in comparison to 2011, the extra kms in my prep surely showed off. It’s a funny ride – wide open fields on farmers’ dirt roads and some parts just through the grass. A couple of times you have to climb over barbed wire fences with makeshift stairs made from milk crates tied together – a little wobbly, and certainly didn’t want to get that wrong wearing only thin tri pants!! Passed a few, didn’t get passed.
Time: 34:23 (44:17 in 2011)
Transition time to Run: 2 mins http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348355
Leg 8 – Run 12.5km
This is the leg that completely overwhelmed me in 2011 and marked the end of my race. I simply wasn’t prepared for how hard it was. Being that I am not designed to run up hills, this is a killer. It’s a 12.5km run with 562m of vertical. That’s like running the Balmoral Burn up Awaba Street over 8 times. For a leg that I had thought about and worried about for years, in only about first 100m from the start I screwed it up. I missed a turn off and was lost, adding about 1.2km to the leg. I found two other lost guys. We questioned each other about which way to go and what to do. We bitched and moaned about how hopeless the trail markers were until we saw them……then shut up and just got on with running. This year they made us cross the Thredbo River. Not wanting to run in wet shoes for two hours I chose to burn the time and take them off before wading through the water…some passed me just ploughing through the water. Even though I had trained for this hill, it still got me. I walked the steeps and ran the rest. I didn’t pass anyone, but was passed by many. Best news of the day – finished ahead of the cut off time!!
Time: 2:01:01 (2:27:38 in 2011)
Now in uncharted waters…..though a more appropriate saying would be “back in the bloody hills”. After surviving the vertical challenge of Leg 8, Leg 9 starts off with what is one of the two most mentally challenging parts of the day – more vertical in the form of 8km of up. No flattening off, no undulations, just up. And with no shade in the middle of the day, it was hot. It was mentally hard as I didn’t know when it was going to stop. I was on my own – couldn’t see anyone in front or behind. I knew the leg was 43km, was hoping to finish it in around 3 hours, but when I had only completed 8km after 45 mins I was worried. The up finally finishes at Rennix Gap 1600m above sea level. The tar road is then soon replaced by dirt roads for a massive downhill. It was natures air conditioning – shaded by trees and flying down more vertical decent than I’d just climbed – I was nice and cold by the bottom. Didn’t last long – the next climb was on loose, rocky, dirt roads that were steeper than the tar. Many times I was off my bike walking, only to realise my legs had had enough of that from leg 8, so back to pedalling. I passed many on this leg, as others were hurting/walking more than I was. Good feeling riding past those who ran past me in the last leg (although they were different team members). There was lots of talk of the cut off time for this leg and would we make it – everyone seemed to have different information. I knew this leg finished at lake level, so there had to be another big downhill. Knowing that pushed me up and over the last of the climbs before the fast, steep and free flowing roll to the bottom…so excited to see the water and Leif with my dry wetsuit!!!
Leg 10 – Swim 1.4km
It’s now nearly 5:30 in the afternoon. I’m so happy the bike is over and I can get in that cool water. My happiness soon turned to worry when my legs started cramping. I was so thankful for my wetsuit – just float my legs, don’t move them and the cramps would stay away. It worked and I made it to the end. A mouthful of Enduralytes after the swim made those the last cramps of the day. Smashed about 6 pieces of watermelon in transition, so refreshing and cleansing after drinking my fuel mix all day.
Transition time to Paddle: 8 mins http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348450
Leg 11 – Paddle 9.5 (long)
This was hard. The afternoon wind had arrived, whipping up some surface chop which was hitting us on an angle for most of the way (did you like how I said ‘us’…..as I still had company!!), so I was burning energy just balancing. It was certainly slow, but knowing there was only a run to go made it easier. I paddled with another guy for most of the leg. We chatted about the sun that was now behind the western mountains that I’d run and biked up and down, and how long ago it was that the sun was on the other side of the lake rising in the morning. That gave me some perspective of what a long day it had been so far. I’ve got to get a new ski – my bum goes numb in the seat, then my left leg, which is not good with a run to follow.
Leg 12 – Run 5km (flat)
What can I say…..all I wanted to do now was run the whole way without walking - and I did. It wasn’t fast. I was body tired. I always wonder what is the limiting factor – heart, lungs, legs/arms or your head. I felt like I was having a conversation with a third party when checking in on my legs, they surprisingly were up for it. My heart was ticking away in the low 140s and my head had nothing but the finishing line in it. So it was my lungs that set the pace. I kept looking at the mins/km on my watch and so wanted it to be less than 7mins/km….why I don’t know. I was passed by two, but happy with my 6:47/km. I watched the 0.1 of the kms tick by so knew when I was close. When I turned the last corner and saw the finish chute, expecting a wave of pure happiness to hit, I was quite caught by surprise when my first reaction was a welling up in my eyes. Instead of arms in the air with muscles flexed in victory, I was again surprised with the lightly clenched fists on my chest matching the emotion in my eyes – more of a quiet thank you to my body. Ok, with that done I crossed the line – ABSOLUTELY STOKED. My trusty mate Leif was there again, like he had been all day at every transition, to welcome me in. I can’t remember smiling with such joy from crossing a finish line like that before. Almost immediately they presented me with the 2nd place Solo Trophy – so wasn’t expecting that. You can choose how to remember it – there were three solo competitors signed up, one pulled out at registration and joined a team, two started and two finished, so I either came 2nd or last.
Time: 32:20 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/454348491
From the official race report:
Only two solo entrants toed the line at Kalkite Waters, joining the teams' start at 7 am. A small contingent they may have been, yet they provided – for the first occasion in the event's history – a 100% finish rate for the whole solo field. Graham Hammell from Gerringong, was originally entered with a mate as a team of two, yet when his friend was unable to attend, rather than withdrawing himself, Graham decided simply to step up to the next level and race the whole thing solo. His time of 11:13:03 was a sensational return for the courage, commitment and daring to take on this challenge: he even collected a new course record (for soloists) for the MTB1 course along the way. David Shirley of Castlecrag (NSW), is another who came and conquered on his second attempt, finishing in 12:47:12 after a steady and focussed race throughout. We salute both soloists – your cheerful demeanour and constant respect and appreciation for the efforts of all the course marshals and helpers along the way demonstrated both your humility and magnanimity, which combined with your sheer guts and determination gave us all tremendous inspiration and joy in your achievements.
Distance: 115.4km (Swim 5.4km, Paddle 24km, Run 25km & Bike 62km)
Race time: 12 hours 6 mins
Transition time: 40 mins
Average Heart rate for the 12 hours 46 mins: 143 bpm
Elevation Ascent: 1,957m
Elevation Descent: 1,950m
Thanks to my Danielle, Jasmine, Saskia & Bella who supported (put up with) me through all the training, the endless talking about, and the time away from home. A MASSIVE thanks to Leif who gave up his weekend to come help me achieve this. A thanks to Mark Rechner who was a backup in case Leif couldn’t make it.
Thanks to Stan, who, whether on the ride or not pushed me in training – what has Strava done to us?!!?
It’s a great event of camaraderie and support from the fellow competitors, helpers and course officials.
TICK – never again as a solo…….who’s up for a team? Bags not do leg 8 or 9.
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2013: Shannon Proffit Race Report
By Rathin Boulton
My friend told me about this race earlier in the year. And at the time it sounded like a really good idea to enter. I thought it looked like a lot of fun! He also said he would enter and we could do the race together. However as race day got closer his name failed to appear on the start list. Thankfully he ended up being one of my crew members for the day.
I had also roped my parents and a friend into being my support crew as my boyfriend was away that weekend for a work trip. I arrived in Canberra on Saturday morning from Brisbane.
We arrived at the swim start at 5am to pretty much an empty car park. After a few minutes more cars arrived and it felt a bit more like a race was about to start. I got into my wetsuit and walked over to the start area. I signed in and had a quick dip in the water before the race briefing started. As we were on the water’s edge my boyfriend came running up. He had flown down the night before to surprise me on race morning. It worked, I was super surprised. After a quick hug from him and a warning from the race director to watch out for snakes we were off.
I was really surprised to be leading the swim right from the start. It was great, I had my own little kayak escort. I took the swim pretty easy as I wasn’t quite sure how to pace myself for the big day ahead. Sighting was super easy as we were swimming directly towards the tower. It felt like I was heading towards the tower all day. I got out of the water and ran straight for my crew. They had everything laid out ready to go. I was hoping I would have had someone to follow early on in the bike as I had no idea where the bike went and what the course markings looked like. I had no dramas however finding the arrows marked on the ground. I made it to about the 4km mark before the first solo male came flying past me. Everyone who passed me during the day was really encouraging and super friendly.
I had no idea how tough the course was going to be. If I had of known I definitely would have spent some more time on my mountain bike in training. I really enjoyed the challenge of the bike legs. Pushing my bike up crazy steep hills, riding on loose gravel, lifting my bike over hundreds of gates, squeezing through tiny tunnels, looking for arrows and crosses along the way, dodging kangaroos and cows and of course just covering the distance of each leg.
I came into transition two still in the lead, but only just. After a quick change I was out on the run and heading up yet another hill. The scenery on the first run was really awesome. I felt like I was running in a foreign country. The weather was perfect all day. I ran the first run at my own pace not worrying about what was happening behind me. I knew Julie Quinn was a gun runner and that she would catch me pretty early in the run. She flew by me, and looked like she was doing it super easy, especially on the uphills. I thought I’d be doing a good job if I could limit the damage to about 10 minutes. So I was really surprised to see Julie just up ahead as I finished the first run.
After a quick banana sandwich I was heading into Lake Burley Griffin. I felt pretty good right from the start of the swim. I found it really interesting swimming point to point and was pretty excited to pass a couple of team swimmers along the way.
Out of the swim and I headed straight to my awesome crew. They did a great job all day of having what I wanted and needed ready. The second ride and run were really enjoyable. I found the second bike ride a little less technical than the first and the run was about the right length. I made sure I kept on top of my nutrition. I had a variety of gels, cliff shot bloks, mars bars, banana sandwiches, water, Gatorade and coke all during the course of the day.
The third swim went by really quickly and before I knew it I was off on the last bike ride of the day. I felt ok at the start of the ride and tried to set a decent pace for the first section. But as soon as I hit the hills I had nothing. I felt like I was going backwards. It was actually quite hilarious how bad I felt. I was actually laughing out loud at how much I was struggling. I was certain Julie would come past me at any moment. But I made it into the last transition of the day still in the lead. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the end as I felt completely out of energy and all I could mutter to my crew was, “coke, coke, I need coke”. But as soon as I started running I actually felt ok. Up a few hills, down a few hills, I kept ticking the km’s over and soon enough the finish line was in sight.
After 12 hours and 3 minutes I had finished. I had an absolutely awesome day and really enjoyed myself. A huge thankyou to the volunteers and the race organisers and to everyone who took part and of course my crew who looked after me all day.