Kathmandu 24 Hour Adventure Race
12th & 13th November, Jervis Bay
“Team Survivors 2” – Paul Humphreys & Brett Clarke
Early in September, 6 of us from Sydney Survivors decided to enter the Kathmandu 24 Hour Adventure Race. Though none of us had entered a race like it before, as pretty fit guys we thought ‘no worries’, it would be an amazing challenge. In teams of 2 we would spend up to 24 hours navigating a course with kayaking, running, mountain biking, snorkeling and rogaine legs.
We did lots of race preparation by reading previous race diaries and looking at photos from other events to get an idea of what to expect. Without any suitable biking equipment Brett and I headed to The Bike Shed Mortdale and walked out with 2 Merida 120 bikes and a whole pile of goodies to go with them.
On the Friday before race day we headed south to the bike drop-off at Myola Boat Ramp then onto the race HQ at Huskisson to register and get all our maps event instructions. We then headed to a mate’s beach house which was to be our team’s HQ for the weekend for some intense preparation and study. Our support crew helped us go over the maps, plot courses, strategise and pack our team crates to ensure the right gear was dropped off exactly where we needed it.
With not a lot of sleep as a result of both nerves and adrenalin we were up early for a light breakfast and at race HQ at 07:30. A bus took the competitors down to St Georges Basin for the start of the first leg – a kayak across the Basin. After a couple of checkpoints we hit Hyams beach and had a cross country run to Point Perpendicular. Unfortunately a bit of distraction kicked in here when we met up with one of the other Sydney Survivors teams and together we missed the next checkpoint right on the side of the track. So after a 30 minute side trip to go back and get the checkpoint, we hit Point Perpendicular and kayaked again across Jervis Bay to Huskisson.
Starting the snorkeling leg at 13:13 we had to navigate around 8 buoys, and dive down at each one to get a code. This was probably the most enjoyable leg of the whole race as our friends and support crew had met up with us to cheers us all on.
Back in the kayaks we paddled against the tide up Currambene Creek to Myola Boat Ramp to get on our bikes. We pulled into Myola at 15:04 very tired but spurred on by again seeing our support crew who had lots of words of encouragement. A quick change into our TBSM jerseys and knicks and a top-up of supplies we were grateful our careful planning had paid off when everything we needed was in the team crate at the right location.
Knowing this would be one of our strongest legs, we jumped on our bikes somewhat refreshed and cleaner. Things were going great and we were making good time navigating the single track and fire trails but after climbing one of the bigger hills we realised we had missed a checkpoint at the bottom of the hill, so with a quick grumble we hit a very fast descent back down to the checkpoint. We were still making great time but then with a huge crack of thunder the storm hit; fortunately it didn’t last very long and managed to cool things down a bit.
Now located not far from Nowra we reached the start of the Rogaine leg at 17:21, got new maps and parked our bikes. We didn’t get off to a great start; taking the obvious route we headed for the closet point ‘A’ but after spending 45 minutes in thick razor grass we couldn’t locate the marker. With our legs cut up, bleeding and covered in leeches we conceded and headed to the next markers, the rest of which were all more easily located and (although ‘D’ was located in another creek bed full of Razor grass but we were lucky enough to stumble across it due to the direction we were headed in while other groups spent a long time trying to find it).
With the sun setting out come the headlamps and we ran back to the Rogaine area to switch to our bikes for the MTB orienteering. This leg was pretty straight forward but involved some reasonable kilometers and while most of the check points were double ups from the previous Rogaine, everything looks very different in the dark. The biggest obstacle was dragging our bikes through the swamp at marker ‘D’ and we definitely should have taken the advice of getting a map board – we’ll know for next time.
We made it back to the Rogaine area 01:01 to start the long final leg to the finish line. With fatigue setting and it being pitch black, it was slow-going navigating back to the boat ramp – not wanting to make any mistakes every turn was double checked.
Finally back at the boat ramp (03:09) we had to strap our bikes onto our kayak and paddle them down river before riding them to the finish line. Luckily the tide was in our favor and we pretty much just guided the kayak downstream. Knowing the finish was in sight, with bikes covered in mud and unable to get all the gears, we peddled our hearts out through the streets of Huskisson, crossing the finish line at 04:09.
Start 09:15, Finish 04:09 – Total Race time 18 hours 54 minutes.
Check points gained: 43, Checkpoints missed: 2 – Total penalty: 2 hours, Adjusted Race time: 20:54
Distances (approx): MTB 54km, Running 37km, Kayaking 21km
Huge thanks must go to Aaron at The Bike Shed Mortdale for his generous support, Sydney Survivors for training us and of course our wives for putting up with our hours of preparation and training.