Just a quick update back from GeoQuest. If there were any doubts that this race is the premier AR on the Australian calendar, they were resoundingly quashed with the 2016 event. Geocentric Outdoors have their event organisation dialed to a tee. Two sets of maps, new control flags that reflected in the dark, a genuine ropes activity where we didn’t need to provide additional equipment and excellent support crew notes were some of the small touches that make this race special. I was lucky enough to be invited back by Dean to race with Quality Nude Time again after our fourth place success from last year. We were joined by long time training friend (but first time team mate) Luke Goodfellow along with Justin Whitley, who although relative new to AR is strong enough to mix it with the best athletes on the course.
A look at the team list suggested one of the most competitive fields at Geo to date, which was borne out with Adventure Junkies taking a well deserved win in a record finishing time on what most would agree was not the easiest Geo course ever. Given the relative strengths of our team and the fact that my ankle looked like bald puffer fish a week before the race care of a training accident, we were stoked to sneak in with our goal of a top 10 finish.
All told we had a very uneventful race. We got off to a slow start with me opting to paddle a total of 15km in lieu of running to any of the mega split check points. This turned out to be a mistake as the ankle ultimately held up really well and paddling was slower than our top theoretical pace due to tidal influences and having to pick our way through oyster leases to a number of the controls. However from a slow start we steadily picked our way through the field, navigating consistently and working well as a team. Highlights from the course for me were the abseil, stumbling across the Punchbowl Falls from upstream when were expecting a small water hole, Kimberley’s support crew garlic quiche slice, having the legs to race the last trek, bike and paddle hard and finishing in daylight. Lowlights were missing the traditional ocean paddle start, being frozen to the bone portaging our skis at the end of the second paddle from Wauchope, a sleepy and disjointed road ride on stage 8 and the slow start which really does set up the rest of your race.
Rather than a CP by CP description of our race, I’ll leave it with a selection of photos from the course. Our route from the trackers can be found here (54km of running, 56km of kayaking/portaging and 116km of MTB), and scans of the race maps posted here.