The bush is at its most content after refreshing rains. The very air is succulent, the soil gentle and trees seemingly in bliss.
Cool, overcast skies and only a slight breeze on the reservoir conspired with nurturing Nature to offer the best possible conditions for fast times and the enjoyment of this challenging course.
This was a day for course records. In all, 16 records fell – for individual legs or overall times in the various categories.
Al Boyle from Wollongong, who already held the fastest time for the Short Course mountain bike leg, set a new outright fastest time for the Short Course of 1:36:12, winning his race by 8 minutes from Stephen Richardson – and defeating even the teams in the process. In winning the women's event in the Short Course, Trinette Bagnall narrowly missed the overall record, but managed to set new fastest times for both the paddle (36:16) and the second run legs (20:10). Craig Kentwell and Tess Williams set new benchmark times for the Men and Women Over 50s, of 1:51:49 and 2:22:4 respectively.
Among the Short Course teams, Andrew Digan (28:12) and Tracy Liang (32:58) both took advantage of the cool, calm water to post new best times for the 5 km paddle leg, while the "Has Beens" (Graeme Finney, Andre Digan and Ben Healy) posted a new record for the All-Male Team (1:45:44). Matthew Makeham and Kelly Rowley ("xstream team") took home the trophies for 1st Mixed Team with their solid time of 1:56:31.
Steven Hanley (left) relied on an express paddle leg (48:52) and very fine mountain bike skills for an impressive victory in the Long Course, his first at this race – his time of 3:48:04 one of the best all-time. Ray Neill and Gary Rolfe also finished in under the magical 4 hours. Danielle Winslow might have lost her paddle course record to Kym O'Halloran (51:41), but her consistency throughout saw her winning in the outstanding time of 4:06:30. Peter Fogarty was first in the Male 50+ with 4:18:04 in his first attempt at the course.
David Simpfendorfer rode the ride of the day, setting a new course record of 1:36:12 for the punishing and somewhat infamous hilly ride, in the process helping his team-mate Paul Ledbrook (Team "Davo and Paul") to a new All-Male Team record of 3:17:11. In the Mixed Team division, Lizzie Writh set new best times for both run legs (24:26 and 25:59 respectively); while Roslyn Hickson set an astonishing new time for the Long Course paddle leg of 49:49.
Sincere gratitude to the members of the Queanbeyan SES, who every year provide safety and communications support throughout the paddle and mountain bike legs of this event. Our thanks also to the staff at Googong and the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services for their kind assistance in the staging of this event.
Full results by category and a photo album are now published. You can see Steve Hanley's race report on his website.