Redbull Defiance conquered, 2 days and a total of 18+ hrs of racing over the massive mountains at Wanaka! That was damn tough, especially the hiking.
Day 1 started early with a bus and barge to the start line. 43km Mtb to begin, flat gravel road to start which then delivered some sharp pinches, creek crossings, sand riding, goat track hike a bike, nasty loose gravel speedy decents and some singletrack.
11km run to follow with a flat start we then headed up up and up to our abseil, lots of hiking and I wasn’t feeling great. Abseil was amazing.
5km paddle across Glendhu Bay should have been easy but with our steering not working it was hard going.
14km run along an undulating beautiful gravel path back to Wanaka to finish the day.
4th team at end of Day 1 and seriously wondering how we are going to back up another similar but longer day!
Day 2 started on the banks in Wanaka for our 20km lake then whitewater paddle down the Clutha. With our steering fixed we had a great paddle, the 2.5km run up to the clay bird shooting was an unwelcome surprise leg, in booties! Lou hit the clay bird 1st shot which was great as I wasn’t overly keen.
28km ride up the Criffel Range followed, having done all of this climb within Godzone I was excited for the long hard upward 1200m slog. Lou had a mechanical and a spectacular crash into a massive puddle at the start of this leg so we lost some ground. We dug deep and got ourselves back in the mix with the girls teams. The decent down was awesome, definitely my highlight of the race was this ride, I felt strong and enjoyed every pinch of vertical it delivered!
Finding ourselves surprisingly in 3rd position after the ride with 3 young NZ teams hot on our tail, we decided to stick to our own game plan as to get through this 29km run leg with 1848 metres of vertical was going to be tough going. With my weakness being vertical hiking and Lou carrying a dodgy knee from day 1 it was going to be epic and painful. Teamwork up the never ending winding, switchback road to the top came into play, both of us having a go at towing each other in our darker spots. 2 of the girls teams passed us up this climb, finally reaching Mt Alpha then the rocky sketchy decent before climbing again to Roys Peak. Now for the decent, 8km of decending along a grassy zig zag track was taxing on the body but we managed to run down with Lou’s knee surviving surprisingly ok.
The very young NZ girls team (they were 22), flew past us near the start of decent, we didn’t think we would see them again but knee troubles kicked in for them and passed them 1/2 way down. Arriving at bottom of hill we are surprised to see a sign that says 20km, ouch we still have 9km of flat running to go, surely not! We soldiered on trying to run, was more like a shuffle. Crossing the line after 11+ hrs on day 2 was the best feeling, we did it! 5th position for today’s epic journey!
Thanks Lou Carrington for being a great teammate, we worked together and achieved our goal of finishing! 5th overall in women’s and didn’t get short coursed which was fab! #hydratewithhydralyte Topgear Cycles