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Short-coursed but not short changed

Thursday 2nd March 2017

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GODZone media caught up with a few of the teams who were short coursed at midnight last night at Half Way Bay, and took a moment to ask them about their Chapter 6.

By Annabelle Latz
Paul Ayres has a simple message to fellow GODZone competitors who had a race this week that didn’t quite go to plan.
“Don’t give up, be mentally strong because that is all that matters. And look after each other,” he said.
He and fellow team mate Grant Hildred from NZ Natural Formulas (48) reached the finish line at Frankton Beach in just kayak.
They had been racing as a pair since the end of Mt Crichton; their two team mates Tony Brownrigg and Kathryn Lydiard had to pull out due to exhaustion.
And at midnight yesterday they were short-coursed after the mountain bike stage at Half Way Bay, meaning they missed the final trek, and instead stayed at Halfway Bay last night and caught a barge to Kingston this morning for the final kayak leg.
Despite being a team of two, they were still determined to reach the finish line.
It was tears and smiles, hugs and handshakes when they got out of their kayak, and the expression on their faces said it all.
“I saw it coming to be honest, and that ride last night was just awesome,” smiled team mate Grant.
This is Grant’s third GODZone, but he has yet to complete one in its entirety.
He was sure he’ll be back to complete unfinished business.
Paul was struggling early on in the race too due to a leg injury, but was determined to keep going .
“My body was telling me to stop, but I didn’t want to stop, I wanted to finish for Grant,” he said.
Hard’n up (33) has trooped down from both ends of the North Island, and team mate Michele Gillespie admitted they were pretty gutted to be short –coursed.
“But it was just one of those things,” she said.
Michele, who competed in the Pursuit race last year, said it was slow going a fair way through the race, due to the novice nature of some of the team, and a bit of a lack of technical practice from all.
But what they lacked in those elements, they made up for in humour and team spirit.
“Hard’n up Princess was used a lot!” said Michele, whether it be on top of Mt Crichton or bashing through bush.
Geoff McCarthy was brand new to Adventure Racing, and aside from a bit of hill fitness work at home in Wellington, and four training weekends up in Auckland with his team mates, he was on the start line with a clean slate.
“The course was a lot of pushing the bike for me!” he laughed.
He was freaked out at the top of the first big climb Mt Crichton, but after that he never looked back.
This was the fourth GODZone for Mike Rait, and said each race just makes you get tougher.
But he said you also learn more about gauging your team mates’ abilities, and making sure it’s enjoyable.
“We do our best with the conditions we have. We just had to take our time,” he said.
Brett Shields joined the team because he was “gently encouraged” by workmates Michele and Mike.
He had a great time, and agreed that the team name was well utilised throughout the course.
All women’s team T.F. BUNDY (51) from Central Otago had a great venture this week, exploring their own yard and ‘just enjoying doing it,” as team mate Jan McFadzien said.
“We weren’t worried about being short-coursed,” she said at the finish line this evening.
As a team, they loved the treks and all the water activities, but Jan admitted she didn’t love the mountain biking so much!
With regards to pushing hard to make all the cut offs to avoid the short course, Jan said this way of racing wasn’t really part of their game plan.
“We haven’t been worried about anything, we’ve just gone with the flow,” she said with a smile.
Team LIC (44) had a slow race from the get go, due to team mate Jason Mouat injuring his shoulder just four hours into the race when he fell from his mountain bike.
“I was seeing medics all the time. My highlight of the race was on night two, when I came back from being checked and my team had cooked me a hot dinner!” he laughed.
They were caught on the two Dark Zones before the rafting and after the first kayak, which slowed things down and was a factor in them being short coursed last night.
Christine Couldrey said the team spirit was still great though, and they all had a great adventure.
“Being on the top of Mt Crichton was a big highlight,” she said.
The Otago Minions (14) described their race as long and tiring, but still amazing. The discomfort of the constant wet feet was overridden by the awesomeness of the views and variety of landscapes within the race.
Nathan White said clusters of teams would stick together, which has formed great friendships.
An ankle injury and missing a check point were factors for their slower pace.
But team sprit stayed high throughout.
“We had a good ol’ laugh the whole way around,” he said.
Nathan said the team knew the cut off time was approaching, and they pushed as hard over Mt Crichton as they could, but were still one and a half hours too late.
“But you don’t come into this race thinking it’s going to be easy, and if it was, I’d be disappointed,” he said.
Race Director Warren Bates said the atmosphere on the finish line from the competitors has been amazing, even for the teams who were short-coursed.
He said a few people were so close, but so far, and acknowledged they may have been feeling a bit low as they finished.
“But the sunshine and a big crowd to greet them would have created a mind change. Everybody is immensely proud, no one was in a grump or upset, it’s all been really positive,” said Warren.