“I have had people describe this event in the early days as the race with a warm inner glow. Sometimes it’s freezing conditions, but it’s the friendly people who make it a good time.” Claye Mace - August 2012
Event organiser Claye Mace has seen some confronting weather over the years, and saw Sundays race as just another chapter in the history of a iconic Tasmanian event. The competitors may have endured their fair share of rain, mud and wind, but these are the elements that make the sense of achievement satisfying as you tuck into a hot snag at the bbq post race, your clothes soaked to the bone.
In a unique format the race covers 36km of mountain biking (16km), Kayaking (11km) and cross country running (9km) with a break between each stage for participants to refuel and prep for the next discipline.
The race offered no clear favourite as previous winner Dan Hall had to give it a miss with a recently broken leg. This offered the opportunity for an intriguing battle between the bike specialists and strong kayakers to see who can perform best in their least favoured event, which turned out to be the final run.
Stephen Matthews (41.32) and Jordy Davis (42.08) had to set themselves up on the mainly downhill mountain bike leg through some of the best trails in the north of the state. The riding duo had a over an 8 minute lead over the first known paddlers Adrian Beard (50.26) and Thomas Mountney (1.05.56).
The 11k kayak down the North Esk river is always an adventure, with many twists and turns to make it as much a test of skill than a test of physical endurance. The weir’s made for some interesting drops with a few participants have to exit their vessel after an unsuccessful attempt at the drop. I was fortunate to witness a herd of cows hit a river crossing at full speed and almost colliding with a surprised paddler. Just another thing that the race threw at the keen racers. By the time the second leg was complete the leader board had changed with Jordy Davis, Adrian Beard and fastest kayaker Thomas Mountney (55.47) very close on overall time.
The start of the final 9km run could not come fast enough as runners huddled in horizontal rain, toeing the start line eager to get going. Hitting the wet and muddy paddocks made for slippery going as the race headed back towards the North Esk Memorial Hall and race finish. The final 70 metres of the run includes a creek crossing and super steep embankment to slow your sprint to the line, and give the spectators some amusing views as every runner had a different approach to tackling these difficult obstacles.
At the end of the day Adrian Beard (2.37.01) and Robyn Holmes (3.12.29) were crowned male and female champions of the day, with Jordy Davis (2.40.34) and Stephen Matthews (2.45.09) second and third in their first solo multisport race.
The top teams were:
1. Ulysse’s men - Ulysse Siaud / Richard Pearson / Brodie Nankervis (2.36.32)
2. Ben Lomond Water – Jodie Bush / John McCausland / Brad Gibbins (2.37.49)
3. Still There – Ian Ferrier / Phil Barratt / Cade Smith (2.38.39)
Full results can be found at Tamar Canoe Club