Saturday 14 May 2022

Raid 100 Risk vs Reward

Team Tri Adventure Mountain Designs

Team Tri Adventure Mountain Designs

Did you watch the Live Tracking at the Raid 100? Did you imagine what teams were thinking out there? I was thinking, ‘what was I thinking’, by even imagining that I could step up and race Raid 100 in the premier mixed category in the 100hr
Raid 100.

This is the Mountain Designs Wild Women Blog, but as we had two ‘Wild Women’ in the team and the support of Mountain Designs, I think it more than appropriate to share this experience.

Team Triadventure Mountain Designs were ranked number 2, so I must admit I was asking myself lots of questions in my head like, am I good enough? Will I be able to keep up? How much am I going to have to suffer?

Anyway, so rather than just write up a race report about each leg of the course we thought about giving you an insight into some of the decisions that take place out there amongst a team racing at this level, as the dots and the live coverage feeds only tell some of the story…… here we go!

Do you think a quick game of Volleyball will help settle the nerves??

Risk vs Reward – Navigation – by Dave Schloss

Wow, having toed the line of many rogaines over the years, I have never been daunted like I was in the lead up to the Raid 100.  Justified, with some of our usual teammates and competitors opting to sit this one out, due to the huge demands placed on the mental side of which controls to get or to drop.  My normal approach to a rogaine is just go HARD and try to clear the course.  Then you do not have to think too much.  So, will this approach lend itself to the Raid 100???  

Dave Schloss

Maps in hand and going through course notes, there were a number of cut-offs that needed to be made.  Then you add in sleep strategy, OMG, give me another beer, this is going to take some thinking.  We worked our way through the course notes and at certain stages worked out where we needed to be when and then worked backwards. 

Our first glimpse at the maps

I have never been one to calculate how many points/controls need to be punched per hour.  As a team we looked at which legs carried the most points and looked at the most economical ways of seeking these points.  When we put the maps down for the night prior to the race, with our gear packed, we thought we had a pretty good route laid out ahead of us.  (Editor’s note:  after about 50 or so scenarios….) We included sleep but had options of possibly pushing through nights if we needed to the get to the next cut-off whilst gaining the maximum points.  Although, there were 2 legs that we hadn’t finalised based on timing and well, wonder what the other teams were planning???

Sloshy looks at the maps and explores options

Half way through map mark up - we are all part of the decisions 

Leg 1 Trek - Paddle.  This was one such leg.  There were so many options.  When to trek?  When to paddle north?  When to paddle south? Best time of day to travel north and best time of day to travel south? This is all in the name of finding those orange and white flags.  We went through a number of options; (Editor’s note: yes, the editor went to bed with a sore head after the 50th…) in fact, this was the leg that we spent the most amount of course planning on.  Tides, water flow, amount of water in the estuaries all contributing factors.  We only decided our final route choice after we got off the bus when setting up the kayaks.  Was it successful?  Well, we cleared the course, had a good trek in the middle of two long paddles and we finished with enough time to clear the mountain bike, leg 2.  So yes, success! 

Beach start! Run 3k to Kayaks - Team Tri Adventure Mountain Designs Number 2

Leg 2 had some bail out options to make it to the cut-off but with great travel, the only thing that nearly brought us undone was a terribly timed flat.  Finally sorted, we were on track, back to the bus, fed and trying to sleep.  So, we had cleared the course so far!  Things for me at this point were great and somewhat normal. 

Leg 3 was a trek around Washpool NP.  There were a series of ‘out and backs’ and going with the majority on this we moved well and were on track.  Towards the end of this leg, there were a couple of CPs that were an hour out and back.  We finally started to think strategically.  We had a lot of course to go, a long mountain bike to do next and another cut-off at the end of this.  Shall we push through the night and get them all, or consolidate our position, drop some of these long out and backs on the whim that our competitors would also drop these?  Chipesti (also cleared the course) decided not to, but they were moving a fair bit quicker than us at this point.  So - good on them!  We decided to stick with our plan.   We thought we made a great decision until we hit a CP that did not have the best description of which we lost an hour searching for it and was joined by many other teams including Chipesti.  Damn…..not happy Jan! (No pun intended 😊).  Throughout the next few legs, due to cut-offs we started to drop CPs.  Not large values but due to some strict cut-offs we needed to be not so greedy.

These were the most spectacular CP's on this leg! A reminder of Girraween Raid 100 - 1 - Leg 1

Sloshy and Liz - Searching for the CP 

Got it - we all must punch our wrist bands

Leg 4,5 Bike Trek, Packraft. All were no-brainers as far as what CPs to get and what to drop given our timing.  The trek in the middle of the packraft - well, we hadn’t even marked the map on this one.  We would wait and see how fast travel was and how long we had on this leg, knowing the end of the next packraft had a time cut off.  Looking at the trek when walking up the rather large hill, we decided to go in an anti-clockwise direction trying to hit the easy navigation in the dark, as it was only 7pm with a long night ahead.  All things were going well, including a sleep and an off track down a long ridge to CP68.  We decided to miss one planned CP (CP75) in a watercourse due to the course notes description and the fact that it was down in a creek with a lot of vertical loss and was not a good travel option to the next CP. As it would mean a long climb back out, only to return to the same creek.  In fact, we attacked this next CP (CP74), got turned around by the twisting creek, thought we found the CP, only to not and then decided to bail out due to timing.  Looking back at the tracker, we walked straight over it!!  This was our only blemish of the entire race.  If this was any event other than a rogaine, we would have spent more time trying to find it!

Our route on the trek - anticlockwise -  we opted not to try for 75, then could not find 74!

Leg 6 & 7 After t

he packraft, we had a mountain bike, trek and paddle to go.  We were always getting all the CPs on the last paddle as it was more of a linear nature.  So, this leaves the Mtb and trek.  It was pouring rain, and we needed a sleep.  Again, we had not decided our course on these 2 legs until we there.  The trek had more points than the mountain bike, once committed had no bail out option.  If the mountain bike leg was muddy it would be very slow.  So, we made the decision to consolidate our position and do the trek with a short road ride to the paddle.

Our Course - 84, 82 back to Bike Drop - Sleep - 83, 86, 87, 88, 85

Looking back, did we make the correct decisions in each leg?  Well, we finished second, so yes!  Regarding the last mountain bike and trek legs.  Maybe we should have taken a chance on riding as it was quicker than everyone thought.  Buy hey, that’s racing and as a navigator, there are always areas to improve.  Hence why we keep coming back for more!

Risk vs reward – SLEEP (by Elizabeth Dornom)

Throughout any adventure race, one is making decisions constantly, so a race as long as Raid 100 means these decisions are multiplied. Should I eat this lovely fruit cup now, early in the leg as it is heavy so I don’t have to keep carrying it, or do I save it for later in the leg when I am more fatigued and will savour it more. Do I eat this vegemite croissant now because it is exactly what my taste buds are craving for, or do I throw it away because I saw a bit of mould on it (P.S. I totally ate it). 

Elizabeth Dornom

But I want to concentrate on the sleep decisions that took place during the race, so I will leave the nutrition part up to Glenn and you can read about that a bit later!

Liz - making the most of the opportunity to rest before the restart 

The first night, this decision was almost made for us.  Given there was effectively a race restart at 7am on day 2 after the bus, we decided to approach the first 2 stages as a separate race with a cut-off of 3am and go for every checkpoint.  When we were dealing with a few flats on Sloshy’s bike at about 2am at the furthest point in the state forest I was reassessing this.  But yes, I believe this risk paid off as we made the cut-off with 30 mins to spare (in the end this would be our most luxurious cut-off that we did make!!!)  We certainly got less sleep and were less organized on the bus than some other teams but we figured you don’t normally sleep on the first night anyway, so see how it played out.

Kim and Liz - rest relax and refuel before the restart

Night 2 slept on the side of the road after the bicentennial track on stage 4.  Decisions over when, where and how much sleep were talked about for a while prior to this leg.  In the end it was a good decision, although perhaps 2 hours was too long as we were all pretty cold when the alarm went off.  We would take that on board for the next sleep. 

Night 3 we decided to sleep early – probably lying down around midnight for a 90 min kip.  The risk was we were bedding down well before the usual witching hours of 2am till 4am however the reward was we were actually quite refreshed for the early hours of the morning and our navigation was on point.

A team sleeps under a tarp - we did not have this luxury but those little orange bivvies are awesome!

Night 4 - the last night. Do we sleep, do we push through?  I would count this as our most effective sleep strategy, we had all seemed to get the sleepy staggers around the same time and so being close-ish to the TA we ended up in a dry horse shed lying on a questionably stained piece of carpet at about 11pm.  90mins later we were up and moving a darn lot faster than we were before the sleep.  It also meant we were able to push through and stay awake for the long paddle to the finish without falling asleep on the ever enticing long & wide river paddle.

Risk vs reward – GEAR (by Kim Beckinsale)

In every adventure race we have a mandatory gear list, however this, in reality, is the bare minimum gear list that you require if things go pear-shaped.  When I race I am always happy to carry a bit extra so that I am prepared in any situation, however when racing at the pointy end of the field many of these gear decisions are made by the team and based on discipline, leg / stage length, time of day and anticipated weather conditions. So much time before a race is spent gear selecting, sorting and shuffling, then when you get the maps and logistics, you sort and shuffle again and then as a team you check that you have everything where it needs to be! Then while you are out there it is about using the gear when you need it… point in carrying something if you are not going to use it!  Yes, it may mean you have to slow / stop but is the risk or slowing worth it???

Gear sorting - where it all begins - the calm before the storm

Day 1 – Stage 1 Paddle / Trek / Paddle – Glenn and Sloshy carried our mandatory gear for the 11k trek on this stage, I only carried a whistle and a water bottle and shoved food in my pockets. The strategy was for Liz and I to go light – risk was worth the reward as we nailed the trek 😊

Leg 1 - Run to Kayaks - Kim ,Liz and the team go light....because we were allowed!

We had decided to clear the paddle course and after the trek we still had more than 40k of paddling to go, I was cool earlier whilst paddling but warm from running.. I discussed putting on my jacket for the rest of the paddle – risk was that I would be too hot and have to take it off again or paddle slower to avoid overheating.  I took the chance and the reward was I was not freezing for the rest of the paddle, did not overheat and did not loose too much energy trying to stay warm. I was stuffed at the end of that stage, but who wouldn’t be after over 50k of paddling. So, we had cleared the first stage.

Leg 1 - Coasteer - Kim, Liz, Sloshy, Glenn

Day 1 Stage 2 MTB – When getting our gear sorted, we divided up the bike spares so that we were not all carrying tools, tubes etc. So, basically Liz and I gave our stuff to Glen and Sloshy to carry. We were at the furthest point out on the bike course when Sloshy’s tyre went flat, Sloshy tried some gas, but the air was still escaping through the valve. Time was ticking away as we had a 3am cut off, so, as a team we worked together helping make the change as quickly as possible. The first tube did not work, so we had to use a second and last tube?? What??? We only had 2 tubes with us…. we knew that team 3 points of contact were just up the road, should we ask if they can lend us a spare….just in case??? Definitely worth the risk! We were thankful that the tube held air for the remainder of the leg, we did not need to use the borrowed tube and we made the 3am cut off with just 20 mins to spare and had cleared the course at this point! Thanks to Nicole from 3points of Contact for the spare tube😊

Day 2 Stage 3 Trek – To tow or not tow that is the question!!! Right from the get go I was suffering! I was trying really hard, my head was spinning - should I say something???? So, I politely mentioned….’someone might need to tow me’. The response from the team at the time was not yeah sure – so the strategy applied by the team was to ‘carry my gear’ so I just had my pack and water. The team did not want to take the risk of towing too early, I could not keep up and felt like I was dragging the chain for the entire trek, out the back door like a poor little lost sheep ready to be pounced on by a fox or a dingo!  Liz, towed me for the last few hours…. I don’t think anyone knows how close I was to rock bottom at this stage, but I know the risk was worth it.

Trekking poles - worth their weight in gold - a must for expedition length AR

Day 2 &3 Stage 4 MTB – Guess what??? We carried extra tubes and spare batteries for lights - you don’t want to get caught out in the dark.  😊

Day 3 & 4 Stage 5 Packraft / Trek / Packraft - There was a lot of strategy in this leg and it was difficult to calculate exactly where we would get to given dark zones in place and time available. However, this leg was the make or break for may teams and gear selection and equipment definitely made a difference. Should we carry a battery-operated pump / rely on the air bag – well I know now that this bit of kit is worth its weight in gold….it took less than 2 mins to fully inflate the raft. Throw bags were used to rescue gear and equipment, yes mandatory gear and always carried, but now the importance of having a throw bag accessible at all times was very, very clear!  Reminder to always pack and repack your throw bag before use, so it is ready for rescue – as you don’t need it until you do!  Liz and Glenn had to use the rope to try to release their raft from a strainer in the first 10 mins of the first packraft….if we didn’t have the gear and the knowledge of just how to use it, this could have been the end of our race and lives at risk.

Kim's Blue Alpacka Raft - So much gear! Dry Bags, Map Cases, Throw Bags, Jackets, Thermals.....

Dry Bags -  You can never have too many dry bags…. even better if you can clip them onto the raft – it might be heavy but you may just need your gear when / if things go pear-shaped. We finished the first section of the rafting right on the 6pm cut off, stars were shining so we laid our gear on the raft to dry, bummer for us when we finished the trek it was bucketing down with rain - our paddle gear soaked! No reward there - but we survived and just had to paddle hard to stay warm!

Map Case - yep definitely worth the extra time it takes to put the maps inside for paddle legs, better than losing the map altogether.

Day 4 & 5 Stage 6 MTB Trek MTB – As you can imagine in a race like this, you get a bit of chafing, sore feet, sore butt and sore everything. The risk of carrying some extra items and having that extra weight can help keep you and the team moving forward, so well worth their weight in gold – I carried a tube of Bepanthen, sunscreen and hand sanitiser, Liz carried Zinc, and Glenn carried a huge tub of Sudo Cream - GOLD!

Teams had access to bike boxes at every TA and either Box A, Box B or Paddle bag 

Day 5 Stage 7 Paddle to the finish – I took the risk of starting the paddle warm, so wore thermal top, long neoprene pants and gloves…. easier to take off layers than risk loss of energy trying to keep warm, also better sun protection and less risk of sunburn. Being toasty warm can make you want to fall asleep, but nothing that a bit of singing out loud can’t fix!

Risk vs reward – Nutrition (by Glenn Wilkinson)

Nutrition is always something to work on and look at ways to improve on, personally I was looking forward to seeing what others packed and how much people ate in an event such as this.

For Raid 100 we decided to pack 10hr food bags to distribute through the TA boxes for the race. This equated to approximately 2000 calories per bag. Day 1 and 2 worked out pretty well, we had regular team reminders to eat and drink which makes staying on top of energy loss a lot easier for everyone. As time progressed and disciplines changed, eating at regular intervals wasn't as easy, especially during paddle legs or whilst running!  A big take away for me during this race was food variety. By Day 3, the treats and sugar snacks started to harvest ulcers on the tongue and the thought of another Clif bar wasn’t so appealing. Thankfully Liz was like a walking vending machine and kept producing an array of gems like beef jerky, dried mango, licorice, and Byron Bay shortbread cookies. Another treat of special mention was Neil's sausages he was cooking up at the packraft/trek transition at CP60, what a man! We devoured a whole bunch of them while climbing a mountain and morale had never been so high! 

Given the lengths of some legs we all made a conscious effort to keep weight in our packs as low as possible, this meant relying on fresh water on the course and calculating the correct food quantities before we set off on each leg. This could have gone horribly wrong if our planning was not accurate, however, between the team we managed both food and water very well and yes, we did carry coke on every leg.  We topped up water from streams on numerous occasions and treated the water just to be sure it was clean enough to drink.  So, you should always pack and carry water purification tablets.

You can put hours and hours into planning food for events, but at the end of the day you need to pack what you think you want to eat, pack enough calories to get you through each leg and then when you are sick of your own food or can’t eat the entire lot, share it amongst your team as sometimes your most favourite food from a previous event can taste terrible the next time. 

So there you have it a bit of an insight of what happened out on course in terms of thinking….risk vs reward for team number 2 Tri Adventure Mountain Designs 2nd Place Raid 100 2022

The finish line of Raid 100 - Tri Adventure Mountain Designs - 2nd Overall

Next up….. Geoquest AR for the Mountain Designs Wild Women….hope to see you there!

Need some gear for you’re your next race…..well check out all of the gear at Mountain Designs online. 

Mountain Designs supporting Adventure Racing in Australia for over 20 years!

Thanks to Liam St Pierre for another Raid 100 

Liam - Raid 100 Race Director 

Thanks to all of the volunteers for your time and enthusiasm...where we would we all be with out you at the TAs , especially Jan for also editing our story, Greg, Michele and Mitchell Krome, Fiona and Richard Crossley and Heather Fearby for just being out there to make us smile!

Jan relaxes with Keith before map hand out!

Michele & Fiona at final TA - sending Andrew and Wendy off on the final kayak!

Finally congratulations to all of the Tri Adventure members in who were out there for finishing Raid 100, no easy feat, even for the adventurous!

Tri Adventure Girls 1 & 2 ( aka MD Wild Women)
The Brork Life
Sunshine Unicycles
Idodopes Redemption

Tri Adventure Girls - Amie, Cass, Eibhlin and Ali - aka Mountain Designs Wild Women

Team The Brork Life - Nathan, Kelsey, Stu, Mitch

Sunshine Unicycles - Andrew & Wendy

Isodopes Redemption - Ian and AP


1 comment:

  1. Kim, thanks for the race blog. I think this type of report is very helpful for those beginning or moving up in the sport. In the past the top teams seemed to want to keep their secrets to themselves. I believe your approach is more beneficial to the sport overall. I did have a couple of questions about gear. There appeared to be a number of different pack raft designs, bike box designs and so on. Any specific comments on gear selection would be helpful to all. Also, some specific comments/hints on navigation (good and bad !) would be of interest to many.