Monday, January 24, 2011

SAFRA AvVentura 2011 Race Report

We finished this year! We also cheated by doing the Sprint category so instead of a 50 over km adventure race, this year it was a more 'manageable' 35km. We still had our asses kicked despite that.

5am in the morning, I was awake and raring to go. Picked Rich up and raced down to SAFRA Yishun to make the 6.30am registration deadline. Of course the recommended car park is completely packed and after circling it twice we decided to park slightly further out and leg it to the registration desk.

After registration, I spent the next hour before the actual race start peeing a lot. Just because I had absolutely no intention of having to find a spot in the jungle to 'go'. Some half-hearted stretches and then a lot of sitting around. I have no idea why I thought that just because I signed up for the Sprint that it'd be a piece of cake and I'd breeze through it. Famous last words they were.

So the race starts off with us running off. I don't like running that much, but same as last year, running with a backpack stuffed with your harness, a bunch of slings, carabiners, a figure of 8 and 2 litres of water is very much worse. The water sloshing around in the bladder and just the sheer weight of the entire backpack just slows you down so much. Not that I was all that speedy to begin with.

The run surprisingly didn't last as long as I expected it to be and pretty soon we were on our bikes. Correction, one of us was on a bike and the other would be on foot. Of all the things I can't stand, I would say the team biathlon is the most annoying. That being said, Rich and I were better at it than we were last year, considering I did all the biking and he did all the running last year (poor thing!). This year at least Rich had some time on his bike.

So the bulk of the race was a biathlon. The other bulk was just cycling around from one checkpoint to another. The 'mystery' test in between involved getting 2 chopsticks into a mineral water bottle - we got one chopstick in each, thank you very much. Somewhere mid-way Rich and I lost our way and had to back track. I want to say that's why we didn't win, but really I think we sucked because we were so darn unfit.

There was a lot of lugging the mountain bike up and down slippery slopes and after falling into mud, slipping and sliding into streams, I was just covered in mud and looked like a walking disaster. Side note - I've no idea how I always end up being the dirtiest person in a race. Rich claims it's because everyone gets dirty up to their knees, but because I'm a shortie, I'm pretty much covered everywhere else. Geeez, thanks. Can't say too many bad things about Rich though because he was a real sweetie and did a lot of the bike hoisting for moi. I always think I'm a bit hard, but really, I'm just weak when it comes to bikes and slippery slopes. I can only deal with one at a time!

Whilst we were in the army camp (these adventure races organised by SAFRA usually take place within an army camp) the water skills leg was donning a life vest and swimming in the sea. Rich was not pleased although he did pretty well for someone who really didn't like swimming. I was fine with the swimming, only I'd have preferred doing it without a life vest and without all my clothes and shoes on! The good part about this was I looked considerably cleaner after the swim. The bad was the squidgy-wet-shoe feeling and the knowledge that I'd have to spend the rest of the race with these shoes on.

After cycling around for a bit, by which point I was pretty much over the whole race, we dumped our bikes and it was time to run back to SAFRA Yishun for the climb skills leg. Because Rich is essentially twice my weight, there was no way I was every going to belay him, which meant I had to do everything. First I climbed the wall, which wasn't too bad except for some guy who decided to climb out of his lane into mine and seemed to be aiming to stick his head up my ass (pleasant picture, huh?); and the wall having some overhang. Not some massive overhang, but enough to cause that burn in my forearms. Which is all fine and grand if that was the only 'test' in the climb skills but no, the sadists followed that up with a 25m rope ladder climb from hell. So first off I've never climbed a rope ladder so I was at a loss to start. Finally, after I got started I realised it was just going to go downhill from then on. My arms by then were burning up about a tenth way through and I just wanted the race to end. After what felt like a never-ending climb (I did beat a guy who started before me - woo hoo, small victories!), I was done.

Somehow Rich decided it was a good idea to finish strong and run to the end, which I quite stubbornly refused. Not because I didn't want to, but because my legs had by then just stopped working. So we finished the race strong-ish, me with some weird half-run/walk and Rich running through.

After washing the mud off me yesterday I realised that I have more bruises that I've ever had in my life and strange scratches all down my leg. Sexy. Everything that could ache, aches and I think my feet are just swollen from all the mucking around. I am, however, happy that we finished! 3rd last and all!

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