Team ozwinereview.com - From left to right - Andrew Graham (me), Tsalina Phang, Luke Su, Andrew O'Brien. In background you can also see our racing skis - Force Field & Big Blue
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Whilst not wading through wine samples of verticals of classified growths (A daily occurrence :)), I manage to sneak in a bit of sport. One of my sports of choice is Adventure Racing - a foolhardy pursuit, involving multiple disciplines and often spread over several days, further heightened by the challenges of navigation, through wild environs & in increasingly remote places.
Its been called the greatest sport on earth (though every sport seems to claim that tag) and suffice to say I'm a believer...
So anyway, the June long weekend annually hosts one of the biggest (& most challenging) events on the Australian Adventure Racing Calendar - The Mountain Designs Geoquest 48hr race. Set in a different location every year (usually somewhere on the NSW North Coast), it pits teams of 4 against the elements for 48 nonstop hours (though the winners come in closer to 30 hours), combining mountain biking, running/trekking & kayaking plus assorted random disciplines (this year it is rafting - including building the raft) & all with intensive navigation required.
In 2009 the race is based in Forster, on the NSW mid north coast, with teams expected to make their way to the beautiful Barrington Tops during the race, but with skant other details given until maps are handed out 15 hrs before the race starts. The race is supported, with each team having a small posse of support crew to help both transport gear from transition to transition & also to facilitate the removal of wet booties at 4am at some random transition point in the middle of the bush. Outside of transitions however, teams are absolutely on their own, guided only by a topographical map and a compass.
Practising Raft Building (and we are still afloat!).
Racing Geoquest has become a semi annual event for our group of friends, with a few of my teammates this year notching up their third time around in one capacity or another. Three of us have raced together before and have good results before, with a second placing in the Red Yeti 36hr Race a few years ago, but otherwise this will be our first Geoquest with this lineup.
Suffice to say we are under no illusions as to how well we will go, but are keen to crack the 45 hours mark and come in feeling good.
As you can imagine, Adventure Racing is an obscenely expensive sport, with an entry cost of hundreds of dollars a person, coupled with the stupid amounts of high tech ultra light gear, bikes, lights, jackets, kayaks & liquid food required. In this fashion, many teams get corporate sponsorships to help pay for (at least) the entry costs, or approach appropriate companies to access reduced prices on gear & nutrition.
This year our team is sponsored by me, or at least ozwinereview.com. In return for the naming rights for the team, I negotiated to give the team Stickers. They asked for money, tubs of Heed & new Linebreaks and I explained to them that they would only get 'good' items if we started winning and/or if the website was rebuilt into an online gambling site. Luckily the stickers look really good so the team is happy (or at least they have no better option at this stage).
So this weekend (race starts early am Sat 6th June, finishes Monday 8th June) if you have a quiet moment, do check out the Geoquest website and follow the prompts to the live site (I'll post the live site URL later in the week) so you can watch our progress through the race, read the live commentary & check out the pictures.
As the late Big Kev would say, I'm Excited.
Our team bio pic incorporating half of the awesome sticker design
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