Saturday, 18 March 2017

Welcome to the first edition of the Mountain Designs Wild Women blog.

Hopefully this page will share some our adventure racing and multisport experiences and inspire more women to have the confidence to challenge themselves to take that next step towards creating a healthier, happier lifestyle full of fun and adventure. The reason I think this, is because this is exactly what being a part of the adventure racing and multisport community has done for me.

Mountain Designs have been supporting Adventure Racing in Australia since the first ever Geoquest back in 2002, and to me this is still the most iconic event in Australia. As last year was my 10th year at this event, I decided it was time for me to captain a team and have the opportunity to be the lead navigator at GEOQUEST.  Subsequently I have put together a team of tough strong women who will be keen to share the journey. After finishing Godzone last year, I discussed my idea with Alina Mc Master (who used race with her husband Tom Landon-Smith in AROC Mountain Designs….winning GEOQUEST in 2003, 2004, 2005 and the first XPD in 2005 and then then 2007) and invited her to join the team....she accepted with Tom and the kids also coming on-board as support crew, so what an opportunity for the team to get to race with Alina!

 Check out the latest online Mountain Designs specials here!
Also at GODZONE, and finishing the full course, were Cass Kimlin and Gina Dunsdon racing for Team Tri Adventure, so little did they know at the time that I had hatched a plan of putting this team together. Gina and Cass have been training with us and the Tri Adventure group regularly and now both have successfully completed so many adventure races as well as two XPD’s, but never the full Geoquest. Gina and I raced 4 of the Wild Women Races together with 3 victories and in 2016 she teamed up with Cass to win event that Tri Adventure hosted in Pomona with me as one of the Race Directors.
So I suppose when coming up with a name for the team that encompassed little of everyone we decided on Wild Women and though wouldn’t it be great to be Mountain Designs Wild Women, as they have sponsored me for the past 7 years and Alina Mc Master in the past. So a little seed was planted and now it has started to grow.
Red Bull Defiance
I lined Cass Kimlin up to compete under the name of Mountain Designs Wild Women at the Red Bull Defiance in Wanaka, this was our first event under the new team name and what an event it was to kick-start the year!  Although not a navigational race, it was extremely challenging and so spectacular, you just wanted to almost stay out there longer, even though at times it was snowing and absolutely freezing. Cass was backing up from XPD Shoalhaven so I was so impressed with her ability to tough this one out and still finish supper keen for more and more! We finished 5th place in the Elite Womens category, against a very tough field of Kiwi women and certainly would love to go back and have another go if the opportunity arises.
For more information on the #RBDefiance visit  Red Bull Defiance
Entries for the 2018 RBD opened on the 16th March, so get in early for a discounted entry.
Cass & Kim ready for some snow at the Red Bull Defiance
Adventure 1 Series
While we were in NZ we heard about the Adventure 1 Series – an all Australian Adventure Racing series including X-Marathon, Geoquest, Hells Bells and Wildside….it got me thinking why not encourage the team to do all the events in the series….even though as an all-women’s team we are not eligible for prizemoney! Each team can have up have up to 6 team mates in the series so this was exciting as now there was room for two more women to make up the team Funnily enough when just back from NZ we heard from Ali Wright contacting us as she wanted to get back into a bit of AR, as she was super keen, I quickly lined her up for Hells Bells, Wildside and also the Rogue Raid. Unfortunately, we could not all commit to the X-Marathon, but got to do some dot watching whist heading to our first Rogaine of the season.
For more information about the adventure 1 series visit:- ADVENTURE 1
Weir are we 8hr Upside-down Rogaine
Rogaines are great preparation and practice for adventure racing and a fantastic sport in itself, so this one was upside-down, which means we start at night and finish in the morning……a little bit like nightclubbing in the bush! It certainly feels a bit like it when you see all the AY-UP head torches out there bouncing around like disco lights in the distance and when you pass people you know out on the course … may even do a little dance!.

Map Preparation for the Upside Down Rogaine
Anyway this event was interesting as we had two maps with two different scales with the 1:20 000 map being the main map and a 1:10 000 orienteering map. The orienteering map had many checkpoints marked on it worth lots of points so we planned a route that took in all of those controls as there was a definite points advantage. Cass and I worked well as a team out on the course. She must have had a bit of fun just watching me trip, fall or slide on my backside down a few steep slopes…..but I was just loving it! I definitely made a few speed errors and Cass was always there on the map ready to question my mistake…..the bonus of having two sets of maps!

Rogaine Map 1
As the event progressed, after a little bit of funky stuff happening around control 74, we headed to 75, 30 and back past HQ.  The plan worked well as we cleared pretty much every control on the north side of the map except 37 and decided 40 was only worth it if doing the loop! We did not think it was possible for us to clear the course, so we headed back near the HH to collect some extra controls on the other side of the map.

Rogaine Map 2 - Orienteering

After nailing control 104, we thought wow, that was not that hard…..but the Lantana bash that followed rivalled a few earlier ones out of 103 and into 100! Maybe 100 is code for LANTANA??? We finally found the marked fence then the track, but then the track disappeared, so we travelled along the creek ( somehow missing the track that took us to 52) to 42 ended up getting 52 and 49 as well, finishing with about 8 minutes to go. So we think we travelled over 30k and gained 1930points, which placed us 1st place Women and 3rd place overall.....we were pretty stoked with that result!
For more information about Rogaining visit:- Qld Rogaine Association
Cass & Kim - 1st Place Women's Team - 8 Hr Upside Down Rogaine
Paddy Pallin Adventure Race & Training
Lining up for the first Adventure Race of the season is always exciting as you just never know who is going to come out of the woodwork. As the navigation in the event is mostly on tracks it is always a very fast and furious race, as it is very easy to be seen and be followed by other teams, making the challenge more about getting in and out of CP’s fast. Cass and I decided to share the navigation, so I took the foot legs and Cass the bike. Why???? Well this race is also about putting skills to the test, and I do get the opportunity to do plenty of MTBO but Cass doesn’t, so thus challenging Cass that little bit more! Another reason is that rarely, when racing in a mixed team, am I ever asked if I want to navigate, or provided with that opportunity (unless there is a split). So, providing opportunities for team mates to navigate in race situations, does build a better team.
The event map and our course planning
The event was divided into 6 short legs – Trek, MTB, Trek, MTB, Paddle, MTB. The first trek was Rogaine style so we elected DCABFEG…..we made it to the first CP ahead of the field who opted for the road ….meaning our shorter off track route choice paid off. The most challenging CP was A, however we quickly realised the tracks were vague / missing so planed an alternate attack point which again proved successful. On the first bike we overshot our turn off a few times, but quickly noticed and backtracked. I was in a mad rush to catch the field and our competitors (Tri Adventure Vintage – Jan & Shan) and had a stack in a culvert, however somehow I managed to jump off the bike and land quite gracefully – meaning I was not hurt. We headed out on the next trek with and again chose a cross county route from CP 6-7 and think this really-made up some time, and we were travelling with Pete & Amy who were leading the mixed category. (The all-male teams were on a different course). Cass was not 100% but we managed to still get through with some smart choices and before long were back on the bikes. I was giving Cass a little push while she was looking at the map as this allowed her to concentrate and us to go faster……arriving at the Paddle TA ahead of Pete & Amy. The paddle was short, but quite fun….a bit of mud and the CP’s were a bit challenging as they were zip tied to overhanging trees, making you have to stand up in the boat to get them! The paddle was over in a flash and soon we were riding back home through the finish arch after collecting 2 CP’s on the way. Mountain Designs Wild Women finished 2nd overall, ahead of the first mixed team and not too far behind the ALL MALE outright winners, who were actually on a slightly different course.

For more information about Maximum Adventure events visit:- Max Adventure
Ocean Ski Practice - Changing positions in deep water off Boiling Pot
Gina, Cass and I backed up Sunday morning with an Ocean Paddle as did Amy and Jan. We are just getting in some ocean paddling while the conditions are favourable for practicing capsizing and deep water change overs. Why? #GeoquestAR usually commences with a long ocean paddle and conditions along the NSW coast near Sawtell and Coffs Harbour can be quite challenging…….so we are just making sure we are testing our skills in training so racing will be fun!
For more information about Australia's Premier Adventure Race visit:- Geoquest

Written by Kim Beckinsale

No comments:

Post a Comment