As expect it was damn hard to wake up this morning. Luckily the startline was only 1km from the hotel so a very short bus ride to it. Today was simple but long. 30 km Mountain bike then 29km run then 3km orienteering run.
The mountain bike start in order of current overall position and each team 10 seconds apart.
We pushed hard from the start and caught Thule quickly within 2km then soon we were in the hill climb, a solid 50min climb drawed our team closer to team Purao. Eventually we caught them on a knarley downhill trail but it was too difficult to get past. Instead we rode fiercely with them until the end of the leg.
Now began the long long run, we took a lot of water so the packs were quite heavy too. Straight up stairs! We paced well from the beginning and allowed Team Purao to pull away. After a long descent we then climbed over another huge bush saddle and again descended steep slippery trail. It appeared that Team Thule had caught us about 17km in when Sam Clark came up behind us in the descent. However he pulled back when he realised his team wasn’t with him and I didn’t them again. The run gradient became easier on the road for about 5km and me and Hamish took this opportunity to raise the pace, I think we gained a lot of time in doing so. Finally one more big climb and then we descended into the main city from the bush.
Quickly fitting out harnesses and computing GPS coordinates into devices we were off onto the final few km of running through the main streets ‘orienteering’. We managed to nail each checkpoint and on the 2nd to last point we had to clip into a rope zipline across the river.
To my surprise we found Team Purao (1st place) there halfway across the ropes. We moved quickly and sprinted after them finishing not far behind them.
In the overall standings we were in third after day 3 and 15mins behind second. The anticipation was high on how far back Thule were, and whether or not we might actually get 2nd overall!
5mins…. 10mins… And suddenly they arrived! With 4mins spare. So we finish after 4 days with 3rd overall.
Super proud of the team and some thrilling racing up the front.
Just 2 weeks in NZ and then we are back together for more. Time to quickly recover.