Enjoy Steve Hanley's photo essay on his "32 Flavours" team's journey to win the T4 Mixed category of the 2017 edition.
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.
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.
For participants, helpers, supporters and onlookers, the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic is a stage on which shines our better nature: a day of epic competition; intense personal battles; of inner and outer struggle; of physical, emotional and mental triumphs; of selfless sacrifices; unexpected challenges, underlying exuberance and – ultimately – unmitigated exhilaration. It is the spirit of life laid bare, grasped, embraced and celebrated.
To quote from last year’s race report: “The race among the Solo Males proved to be an epic …It was the first paddle leg however, that revealed the most crucial factor in the ultimate contest – the superior paddling power of defending champion Tim Boote… Tim drew away from Klayten Smith in the final paddle leg to win in the end by a convincing 7 minutes. Both smashed the course record which Tim had set only the year before, his new mark now standing at 9:41:17.”
For this year’s report, I was tempted to cut and paste from 2016, amending only a few crucial details: just as it was Tim’s superior paddling which won the race last year, so it was Klayten’s much improved paddling – coupled with his already superb prowess in other disciplines – which earned him a famous victory in 2017. En route though, an unparalleled drama unfolded. Inspiration is a powerful force: in the true spirit of transcendence, it is possible that without Tim’s superlative performance last year, Klayten might not have had such a lofty goal to inspire him to discover just what he is capable of. Tim collected a new leg record for solo athletes of 32:34 for the challenging 1st mountain bike and was clearly in rare form. His finish time of 9:30:28 eclipsed his own course record (again) by 11 minutes, racing dauntlessly to the very finish line, never faltering in his lion-hearted purpose. Yet Klayten was today racing in another, even more rarefied realm: his 9:21:37 setting a stratospheric standard for this event. Almost collapsing upon crossing the finish line, Klayten’s face and whole being were witness to a supreme offering of body, life-energy, mind, heart and soul to a higher goal. We were privileged to witness such a contest unfold throughout an engrossing day; an inspiring and thrilling master class of athleticism, courage, dedication, discipline, sacrifice and soaring aspiration from two Himalayan athletes.
Tom Brazier and Paul Cuthbert are among Australia’s top ultra-distance trail runners, both having previously won the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra. Notwithstanding some previous experience with adventure racing, both were entering uncharted territory by even contemplating this event: to finish 3rd and 4th in the Solo category was an outstanding day out from each of these champions. The ebullient Geoff Breese from Wagga Wagga, owner of the Over 50’s course record for Canberra’s Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon, ventured to Jindabyne for the first time and had a superb race, finishing in 12:25:26, tussling with age group course record-holder Jon Schol throughout until Jon was forced to withdraw at Creel Bay. The other soloist, Matthew Sheather, found himself suffering from the cold and wisely withdrew from the fray after the second paddle leg: an experience he plans to build on in preparation for another campaign to this race next year.
The only overall teams course record to be set this year was a wondrous 11:52:39 by the “Go Go Girls Over 60” – the indefatigable team of Sue Archer along with sisters Helen, Jean and Peggy Douglass. Precisely 10 years after they dazzled Jindabyne with their “Go Go Girls 50+” record in 2007, these sprightly girls staged another world-class display to leave us at once humbled and speechless. We eagerly await their return for many years more!
With each passing year, the individual leg records become more and more difficult to better, yet 2017 saw some outstanding efforts that accomplished just that: Ryan Cross blitzing the 1st run leg in 25:04; Zoe Cuthbert beating almost all of the men on the technical 1st MTB course in 33:36; and Vanessa Knee burning up the 2nd MTB route in 29:02. Special mention to Tom Fisher, who missed the MTB2 record of 24:27, by a mere one second.
The Jindabyne ensemble of “Splash, Dash, Crash and Smash” (Katrina Nicholl, Sue Machin, Vanessa Knee and Cath Bylett) took out the T4 Female category in 11:00:06 – hopefully next year they can shave off that extra 7 seconds to come home in under 11 hours. Next all-female team of 4 was “Girl power” (Nicolee Martin, Susie Sprague, Claire Edwards and Litsa Polygerinos) in 11:17:07.
Leading the field throughout the day was an enthralling and – at least for us spectators, highly entertaining – duel between two T4 Open teams: the foursome of David Peedom, Rohan Essex, David and Andrew Griffin of “Once were Intact” battling with the pair of “Fish and the Cro” – Ryan Cross and Brad Fisher. The lead swapped repeatedly throughout the day, though “Fish and the Cro” would seem to have an unassailable lead at Creel Bay of 5 minutes with only 2 legs remaining … yet the final paddle leg has proven the Waterloo of many a campaign, with this year no exception. “Once were Intact” seized their opportunity to press home and take line honours in 8:20:32 ahead of “Fish and the Cro” in 8:29:46 and another impressive pairing of “TRI-X Performance” (Tom Fisher and John Morton) in 8:58:55.
The latest incarnation of Steve Hanley’s “32 Flavours”, teaming with daughter-father combo of Millie and Ron Brent, cruised home to take out the T4 Mixed category in 10:18:02; from 2nd placed “NFR” (Jenna Chiffey, Dan Smith, Tristyn Lowe and Simon Plum) in 10:30:28; while completing the podium in this category were “Must Have Fun” (Katie Binstock, Joe Andrews, Emma Johnson and Rebecca Thomson) in 10:35:18 – notably a team in which females completed 9 of the 12 legs.
“Aviator’s Beach Club” – one of the famous team names returning to this epic event – comprising Dave Hayes, Shane Lund, Andrew Thomas, Richard Palmer, Sean Davis and Peter Hansen, took out the T12 Open category in an impressive 9:15:58, after an enthralling day’s racing with 3 other teams: “Knerds” (Julie, Miles & Chris Waring, Andrew Garvie, & Howard Roby) finished in 9:28:43; while 3rd place ended up as almost a sprint finish between “United Nations 3” (Jacques Lepron, Jonathan Schaffer, Chris Buchanan, Christian de la Rica & David Roberts) in 9:35:02 from “Geese” (Elise Stewart, Greg Dolgopolov, Michael Hotchkiss, Rob Watson & David Griffith) who just missed out on the podium with a 4th placed 9:35:20.
The T12 Mixed category was won by “South Coasters” (Jana Kuznik, Mark & Julie Moore, Mike, McKenzie, Paul, Clayton & Beck O’Brien) in 9:46:59; 2nd place went to “Stuffed Toys and Stuffed Parents” (Gary Rolfe, Mark McDonald, Amanda & Matt Koerber, Rob Hayes, Danielle Winslow, David Simpfendorfer, Melanie Simpson & Janet Street) in 10:20:36; and 3rd place to “Kaos” (Cassia, Saul & Pia Cunningham, Mike & Jesse Dunlop, Zoe & Ella Cuthbert and Adrienne Nicotra) in 11:15:01.
Our award for best team name this year goes to “The Abominable Slow-Men” :-)
Immense gratitude to Les Threlfo and his tireless team from the Jindabyne Volunteer Marine Rescue, who had to step up when the National Parks barge broke down mid-ferry service to and from Creel Bay, coinciding with the onset of the storm; Rohan Kennedy the medic; Paul Gardiner of Rolling Ground for sweeping all 3 MTB legs; Soren, Tim & Matt for paddle support on the 3 swim courses; June Weston for graciously allowing us to ride across her land; to Andrew Miller and the staff of Kosciuszko National Park; staff of Snowy Hydro, Showy Monaro Shire Council, NSW RMS, Queanbeyan Police, and volunteer helpers from the Sri Chinmoy Centres of Chicago, Ulaanbaatar, Christchurch, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Shepparton and Canberra.