Just back from a very cool weekend camped out on the rugby fields of Tuai, inland from Wairoa. Gateway to Lake Waikaremoana and some spectacular examples of the wild NZ back country landscapes that make our little corner of the world so special.
As nice of a getaway as it was, there was a purpose to the trip, as we towed the line at the reformed Lake Waikaremoana Challenge. A spectacular, and very testing 2 day multisport race attracting some of NZ's best talent. We were there to take on the teams category, full of assorted legends and Olympions; and partnered up with Nick Hirschfeld, and Andrew Newick. We enjoyed some fierce competition balanced with the great camraderie and spirit that these events generate.
In the final washup we finished second to "Busch roofing." A team comprising argueably NZ's best open water paddler Dan Busch, and the amazing pig hunting/beard growing/dairy farming/mtn running phenomenon that is Sjors Corporaal. Unfortunately for us their "weak" link was anything but, as Karen Hanlen proceeded to outride the majority of male competitors on the MTB legs. Cycle Obsession was a close 3rd (Raewyn Morrison, Mike Walker, and Phil Costley). Highlights of the weekend? Too many to list, but they included...
- Managing to smash Stage 1, breaking away from the start, and evidently getting Dougal worried that I might be racing individually (best compliment of the weekend).
- An epic and very loose pursuit of Karen on the stage 4 MTB leg - 6km of gravel and steep rutted 4WD with 370m of elevation loss. High adrenaline knocked it out in a white knuckle 10min.
- Seeing Nick H pull out some fantastic run legs. Can't wait to see what he does at Kepler.
- Nic smashing the first MTB for us on day 2 and continuing on to easily win the one-day multisport race.
- Semi-sleepless nights waiting for our tents to collapse in the wind
- Sam Clarks spectacularly entusiastic support crewing. Including beating his athletes out of transition, and full frontal bear hugs of incoming paddlers. Quite the spectacle.
- The evening entertainment featuring great kai, an Opera Singing MC, local kapa haka group, and a rather fearsome Haka on the final night. Certainly memorable.