Its been a crazy 6 weeks!! I raced the Yurribrilla Ultra on the 23rd September POST HERE. A few days after that Jane and I opened the BCR Trail Shop. Its been pretty busy and a little hectic getting that up and running, but very exciting. Right around that time I got a cold and little Isabella was not sleeping very well, so I was getting pretty beat down and tired. This was nothing compared to the beat down I was about to get! I knew as soon as I heard about the 60km being added to the Waihi Xterra Challenge I would
be on the start line. It was a 5am start and as expected Dennis de Monchy took off. I was happy to ease into it and start out at a relaxed pace. About 2.5hrs in I caught sight of Dennis and a while later was running with him. Still feeling relaxed and running easy at 30k a monkey suddenly jumped on my back and I was reduced to a grovel. I am not sure what it was- I am guessing just being sick and tired in the lead up caught up on me?? For the next 10km anything that looked like a hill was being walked, but I was still able to run the down hills at a good pace. At 40km we returned to the start/finish area and headed out for a final 20km with about 500 other runners doing shorter distance races. By now is was pissing rain and the trails were a mess. I knew the race was over as it would be hard to make up the 3-4 mins Dennis had on me with so much traffic on the trail. I tried to enjoy the race as best I could, walking a large section of uphill, but loving the downs. Dennis ran a great race and really deserved the win! He finished in 7hr03 and I in 7hr09, with Darren Blackwell in 3rd.
So less than a week after that I was hanging out at home working and looking after Bella, with about 10cm of snow on the ground outside and the phone rings. To paraphrase it went along the lines of “Hi Grant, Ian Edmond here, how would you like to go to Brazil, in 10 days….” If you haven’t heard of Ian, he is kind of a big deal! 1995 C2C champ and adventure racing bad ass. His wife Nora, who is from Brazil, was contacted about putting together a team for the Rocky Man adventure race. Rocky Man is a team relay race with surfing, Mt biking, Stand Up Paddle Board, Mt running, paragliding, a team outrigger canoe and team run!! The team’s runner, Baz Smith from Queenstown, was injured, so totally out of the blue I got a late call up! So after about 35hrs of travel I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hot and very tired. I was met by a very “excited” Ian and met the team- the lovely Nora our manager (aka baby sitter), stand up paddle boarder world champ Annabel Anderson and rad man Mike Stewart- our surfer and para-glider from Queenstown. We did some practise in the outrigger canoe- turns out I suck at this and tried to rest, while trying to max out my limited time in Brazil.
It was a mixed bag of racing- there were little to no waves, the mountain bike was all on the road, the SUP was a bit of a drag race, my 32km, 1500mD+ run was mostly on the road, but what trails there were, were super fun and the paraglide take off sounded pretty lose! The logistics for this race are insane and I could not believe how well the race was run. Rio makes for such a crazy setting to this kind of race and it was a great experience. My run started with a flat 2-3km on the road and people took it out very hard! I sat back, but even being conservative I was over heated and cooked within 30mins… I backed it off and tried to relax on the rolling road section and once we hit some single track and got back into it and started picking people off. I passed about 5 people in the 2nd half of the race, finishing 7th in about 3hr11, but had lost a lot of time on those in front of me… We had a few hours and then had the canoe, conditions were rough about 3 teams had their boat filled with water and had to be rescued I was bailing water a lot and feeling like shit. After 6 laps, bumping into other boats and waves crashing over the boat we hit the beach running. I am not sure in what position we were after the paddle, maybe 5-6th, but within 2mins we passed a team and continued to pass teams the whole run. We SMASHED the run! It was a pretty cool feeling to pick off teams like this, but it wasn’t enough, as we finished 6th over all. What a day! We returned to the hotel, cleaned up and I packed my bags and was off to the airport at 3am the next morning and endured 30+hrs travel home. Have to say a huge Thank You to Ian and Nora for the late call up and for the 2 of them for taking such great care of the team in Brazil and to team mates Mike and Annabel, as well as Carolina our guide in the canoe!
Between Waihi and Rio was the Sumner Running Club yearly awards dinner. I have hardly worn my SRC singlet this year but headed along to catch up with friends. I was totally blown away to receive the Bob Boland Cup for best senior performance. I was really blown away by this and very very humbled- a real honour.
Next up is the Kepler. It will be a great day on the trails and I will be lining up with no expectations. It has been a long year of racing. I was feeling very positive about the Kepler after Waihi, but after the huge travel and extra race in Brazil I will just take it as it comes. I am sure this last year has made me a lot stronger than what I was a year ago and my training the last 6 months has been as good and as smart as I have ever trained the question is how well I can rest and recover.
Looking past Kepler I think I am going to scrape all racing for early 2013, we will see I guess.