Bikes unloaded, maps collected, it was down to course planning. Alex & I decided to tackle the southern part of the course (lots of high points there) and the west side of the northern section and if we had any remaining time, collect a few checkpoints on the way to the finish. Always the optimists!
9am start time approached and everyone assembled eager to get moving to warm up.
After taking a leisurely start and grabbing a few close checkpoints it was off to the southern side. Remember that wind I mentioned, well it wasn't a tailwind! Cycling uphill against the wind is hard work, especially when our fitness levels are a bit low (realistically very low). We were grateful to hit the forested areas escaping the wind.
We had a great time cycling in the forest. Our only mishap was Alex's bike chain broke. Luckily he had the tools to fix it and I scored a 10min rest. The first half of the event saw us clear the southern side without any navigation issues. We even managed to take some silly photos whilst having a fair bit of fun.
Then it was back out into the open areas. That wind still seems to be against us!!!!
On getting back to the northern side of the course we realised our planning was probably over ambitious for our current fitness levels. By now I was walking some uphills (and they weren't steep) as I could walk them faster than cycling - I know, very sad. We decided to grab CP70, worth 100 points and a few smaller points before heading back. Of course it's when we're totally stuffed and just want it all to end that we make our only mistake of the event. We were looking for CP55. We went flying along the road, and down the hill, before we realised we'd gone too far. So back uphill we go. Not sure where we were looking when we went past the flag. It was there for the world to see.
After collecting CP69 we estimated we still had at least 8kms of cycling left and only about 50mins to do it in. This sounds easy and normally would be but I was totally exhausted and started thinking that for the first time ever we may not get back in time. After an initial uphill segment, yet again walked, I was relieved to find the rest of the track back was wide, smooth and mostly flat or downhill. Collecting a few more CPs on route these last kms in the pineforest were once again enjoyed immensely and we arrived back with 8mins to spare and a huge smile on our faces.
Thanks to the organisers for a great event. We had a fantastic day out.