2 Fitta Bodies teams complete another gruelling AROC adventure race
In Canberra last weekend on the 28th Nov was the 2nd out of 4 events in the adventure racing season for AROC sport.
I competed with my regular team of Matt and Frank. My mate Jack competed with my client Scott and their friend Patrick, but didn’t race under the Fitta Bodies name. We also had 3 new adventurers try it out for the first time.
Darrin, Adam and Jason formed the second Fitta Bodies team and decided to give it a try after many months of me convincing them they would enjoy it.
I always say that once you do one, you will be hooked, it is just making that commitment to giving it a try and realising it is not as competitive and scary as you think.
So, with quite a few of you giving it some interest, I have decided to write an in depth description of what this last race entailed. Bear in mind, this was quite a tough race, one of the hardest ones I have done and all 3 of the guys are hanging to do the next race, so that tells you something.
The race can be as competitive as you like, some people are there for fun, others are there to win it, others are there for the achievement of finishing it. Either way, you’ll have a blast!
There were 127 team in the classic race. My team finished in 44th place in 5hrs 20 mins and Darrin’s team finished in 104th place in 6hrs and 7 mins. I think the organisers underestimated the distances so the kayaking leg was cut short for a lot of people and even eliminated entirely for the tail end of the group. We did the entire kayaking leg, but Darrin’s team missed out on the kayak leg altogether, which was a shame because that was the leg they were looking forward to. That leg took us just over an hour, so you can see why it was taken out for the late finishers.
So, here is how the race went from start to finish. Bear with me, I could waffle on for a while, but it was a long race and I want to go into detail so you know exactly what to expect when you do your first race…
Each team consists of 3 people and you must stay within 100m of each other for the whole race.
Firstly we dropped our bikes off at a remote location and then drove about 20 mins to the race headquarters which is also the finish line. We register and are given our race pack which includes our maps and control cards. A timing stick is strapped to our wrist which must be checked in at each transition area throughout the race. We spent about an hour preparing our maps with highlighters marking out the trails that we are going to take to get to the checkpoints. Maps are placed in a waterproof map case, control cards are placed on lanyards around our necks, any other paperwork is covered in clear contact. We put on our race bibs and listen to the race briefing incase there are any changes to plans.
We all board buses and are taken back to the suburb where our bikes are, but not right where the bikes are.
The race starts and everyone runs up and over a huge hill. Maybe you could call it a mountain.
Over the other side of the mountain are people with maps. Each team collects a map. The map is of the area we are now in and you need to collect 100 points. Checkpoints are marked on the map with point values beside them, so we establish where we are based on landmarks and head off for our check points. Each checkpoint is punched onto the control card around your neck. 1 control card per team. We collect our 100 points and then establish where we are on our map that we marked out before the race and head to transition area 1. We hand in our 100 point control card, punch the timing stick and get on our bikes.
We ride via the first 4 checkpoints (all marked on your map) to Mount Stromlo where we ride to the top. Collect checkpoint 5 and ride the marked single tracks to Transition area 2 via checkpoint 6. Mt Stromlo has some of the best mountain biking single tracks in Australia, so this was a blast!!! You don’t need your map here as the track is marked with pink tape, so you can just enjoy the ride!
We punch in at TA2, leave our bikes and start running. We are now using a smaller map that is zoomed in for just the immediate area we are in. It leads us to checkpoint 7. At CP7, it shows the location of CP8, mark it on your map and off you go. Here you find the location of CP9 and so on with each CP showing the location of the next CP. All CP’s are also punched on the control card around your neck.
Head back to TA3 which is in the same location as TA2, so you are right back where your bikes are. Punch your timing stick and we’re away on the bikes again. We now need to find the location of CP15, but it is not marked on the map. It has co-ordinates for a single track location, but we don’t know how to use co-ordinates, so we find the only single track on the map in the direction we should be heading and go for it. We start to get nervous as we near the end of the single track with no CP, but it was right at the end, so we are filled with relief. We now know where we are and there are no more surprises, so we can follow our prepared maps to CP16 and CP17.
After CP16, we hit the open roads. Good bye dirt tracks, we’re in the streets of Canberra and riding their awesome urban bike tracks. We get to the edge of Lake Burley Griffin and punch in at TA4. We leave our bikes and get told that the swimming leg after the kayak has been called off. Thankfully because the wind was howling and the water was super choppy.
We board our kayaks and paddle to CP18 and CP19. We then paddle to a peninsular where there is the Canberra museum. We leave our kayak and use a google earth map to navigate around the area to collect CP’s 20, 21, 22 and 23. They are not punches, but they are answers to the questions located in various places in the area. We get back on the kayak and paddle via CP24 which was supposed to be where we leave the kayak and swim back to the mainland, but as mentioned, the swim was called off, so we paddle back to our bikes.
As time progressed, the kayak leg was shortened for other people to be only a substitue for the swimming leg and then as time progressed further, the kayak leg was called off altogether.
We punched in at TA5 and cycled to the finish line via CP25, which again was a qestion to answer about a landmark.
The finish line was in a park in the city, so the race finished by cycling briefly through the city streets.
What an awesome race. One of the more technical races, but so much fun. It was a really hot day, so we went through a lot of water, but there was a fill up station at Mt Stromlo. A lot of the races are not as technical as this one ie. you will usually be able to mark out your entire course on your map prior to the race start. But, it is awesome to have these surprises to keep you on your toes!
So, who’s in for the next one?
Tags: adventure racing