Magnetic Island Adventureton should be called the ‘Sufferthon’ This was my feeling at the halfway point of the final run when goose bumps appeared all over my body-the bodies response to elevated core temperatures in an attempt to raise the skins surface area to cool down.
The race started at 7am to a revised paddle leg due to safety concerns with the wind up around 25 knotts-45km/h, even with the change we enjoyed a fun down wind section before moving into the lee of the Island and out of the prevailing winds before our turn around at West point 13km away. I arrived at West point with well known paddler Matt O’Geary feeling good and moving fast however Multisport Specialist and 2012 Adventurethon winner Jarod Kohlar of Peak Adventure was hot on our heels only 100m back.
Jarod worked the up wind leg and joined us with about 10km left to paddle, from there it was a game of ‘Ducks and Drakes’ as to whom was going to take the lead and who would wash ride- the later becoming more and more difficult as we rounded the point and the water became more bumpy.
In the end we arrived at the paddle finish together with Jarod steeling a quick exit to claim line honors for the leg. Quickly into our cycle kit and out on the 30km Mountain bike stage I was feeling good and took the lead on the 2km beach section before Jarod re gained it on the soft sand exit off the beach which left me wondering if the larger wheels of his 29er helped with the soft sand crossing.
200m up the road was all I needed to be in order to regain the lead of the race so I set about keeping a rhythm that worked for me, experience telling me to bide my time.
The ride is a combination of beach, road, fire trail and some single track riding, winding and exploring the island. The hike a bike section over the backbone of the Island from Nelly Bay to Horseshoe Bay was rugged and for me at least a highlight as I was feeling strong on the bike carry, perhaps from all my CrossFit training and found myself closing on Jarod. The day before the race I helped carry 80liters of water to the top and knew what I was in for.
Once over on the Northside of the Island snaking through the network of single track linked by tarmac and dirt road sections I could see Jarod at each open section and It was a really nice feeling to be keeping pace with Australias best Multisporter.
We were soon on a 7km out and back ‘Ultra Extention’ to Radical Bay appropriately named possibly not for the ‘Radness’ of the actual bay but the condition of the road in! Tarmac strewn with crater sized pot holes reminiscent of a Bagdad backroad.
At the turn around point in Radical Bay we were to complete a 4km run for which I had carried my shoes in my pack for, but as we approached the transition point the official turned us around. The run had been cancelled. To my relief we were to continue this cycling battle till the final 18km run would most likely see the skinny legs of Kohlar dissapear ahead.
I think it was a good call to miss the extra run as the modified race fastest legs broke down to 1hr 38min Paddle, 1hr 25min ride and 1hr 45min run a pretty even contest.
In the closing stages of the ride I found Jarods wheel and as we hit the longer of the two beach sections I forged ahead ever so slightly with the dogged Kohlar never far behind.
As we hit the beach on the final approach to Transition Jarod was on me like a seagull on a chip! and we landed on the Jetty TA locked together some 3hrs into this race.
It wasn’t long into the 18km run that both JK and I were feeling the intense heat of North Queenland. I was amazed to be keeping pace with Jarod at the 5km mark and even momentarily thought If Jarod is cooked from the heat I could get an up set here!
That idea came and left almost as fast when I suddenly noticed goose bumps and hairs standing on end all over my body. A tell tail sign of elevated core temps. At the last row of houses before entering the bush I ducked away to find a hose and attempted to cool myself down.
I was soon on the long climb up and over the backbone trail from Nelly Bay to Arcadia about 6km of breathless, heat soaked tropical jungle track. I had to strip my race top off in an attempt to stay cool at the risk of more exposure to the sun. Finally I popped out at Arcadia and the coastal breeze started to cool me from a boil to a simmer.
It was at the coast that local Mutisport ace Sam Steadman 2nd in 2012 passed me looking fast and making up big ground after a 20min deficit in the paddle.
From this point on it was survival for me and I was happy floating along the coastal roads in my superb Hoka One One Trail shoes.
In the end Jarod Kohlar survived to the line In 4hrs52min from Sam Steadman 4hrs55min and I wandered in at 5hrs5min
A great event well worth putting on your to do list even as a relay event. Accomodation options are many and the transport is as easy as a flight to Townsville, cab to ferry $20 and a 20min ferry ride $16. Just fly Virgin as our JetStar flight was cancelled on the Sunday with 5hrs notice.
Joel Savage is the creator of the Adventurethon and brings to Mutisport a fresh and passionate approach that filters down through his brilliant volunteers and amazingly helpful North Queensland Multisport community.
Give this event a try in 2014 you wont be disappointed. Just wear a white hat not a black one!