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Tortoise and the Hare

“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still” – Chinese Proverb

Last week Ross and I raced the Paddy Pallin Adventure Race in the Royal National Park.

We started far more prepared this time with bags packed, easily marking out our maps, contacting them and allowing time for a proper warm up.

Straight off the line was a running leg up the Honeymoon trail, which if anyone is familiar, can empathize with me as I tried running up 800m of stairs, surrounded by athletes.  Needless to say a fair amount of it was walked.

My left knee which I thought had finally recovered went straight back to its worse from our last training session. Admittedly the trail down to Karloo Pools didn’t help being a steep uneven descent, but we won’t be able to choose the terrain for GeoQuest either, so this has me nervous.

Both out of pain, and not wanting to cause further damage, I seriously considered pulling out of the race after my knee seized, but being a loop track there was no option for this.  In hindsight I’m grateful I didn’t, but it certainly had me anxious.

Riding for the most part is painless, besides the constant hills that make your legs burn. I still don’t feel I’m where I’d like to be in this, but with the busy period at work I can’t find any time to get in enough practice.

Limping back down honeymoon track we could hear the awards presentation, it was 1:40pm with the kayak transition point closing at 2pm.  With a sore knee and 800m of stairs I admitted to myself that we probably won’t finish this race, I was pretty disappointed. We pushed on and made it to the transition point with ONE MINUTE till they closed, so to my disbelief we grabbed a kayak and smashed out a quick 3km paddle in 16minutes. I’m so impressed with our form, especially for two people who have never been on a double kayak.

We crossed the line 5hrs and 17mins after we started, a considerably slow time, but with running not possible I’m stoked we even finished.

Recovery wise icing my knee after the race, that night and the following day seems to have releived any lingering pain. This might just get me through if we ice during transitions.   My Physio has also given me tape to apply myself during the race for extra support.

Our mentor from Team Scouts, Myall finished in an impressive 2hrs 13mins, and GeoQuest teammate Alex did it in 3hrs 54mins.

Overall I was deflated from the experience. Full of self doubt from my injury, and worried I won’t be ready for GeoQuest, still amoungst the bottom 10% of competitors, BUT then I realised: we are comparing ourselves to elite athletes. Just 8months ago I was an average, unfit person with no navigation, kayak or running experience who didn’t own a bike. My standard of a “normal” ride is now about 20km, which is in line for the goal I had set myself. A very achievable day hike would be at least 20km or 12km if I’m planning something leisurely. I’m confident in my ability to now take bearings and navigate, something I’ve always left in the hands of other people in the group.
GeoQuest was always my final goal, but I’m realising now that the journey is just as important as the destination.  I don’t necessarily feel ready for GeQuest, I do however believe this is as ready as I’ll ever be.

With 2 weeks to go till Raceday we’ve been riding a lot more. There have been no terrible stacks, but during a session out in Appin I coped a bike to the leg causing some very impressive bruising.


While getting my bike serviced at Chain Reaction in Cronulla I got the last of the repair kit, along with lessons on how to break a chain and replace links.  These guys have been really helpful!

We’ve also been out at the Kyle Bay hall doing paddling sessions to Tom Ugly’s Bridge (8km) and back.  It’s so accessible and the group have been so accommodating.

Evan has officially taken Roses spot on the team with Matto, Coutts and myself excited for GeoQuest happening in just TWO WEEKS time!  GeoPrep Update coming!

(1) Comment

  1. […] 9 days.  Ross ran a marathon last year, and raced with me in the Paddy Pallin AR (read about it here). Ross’s sense of humor and calm demeanor will be a real asset to the team through both the […]

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