Culminator 2013 race reports

Race Director Race Report – The Culminator

From a race directors view point, the day started with the first team arriving at 5am, which was 30mins before I expected anyone. Then, due to road works on the highway, the last team didnt arrive till well after map handout. It was a lot of planning and this would have put many teams on the back foot.

Well we sounded the hooter and it was a surprise to us how many teams went for the single track to head to the CP’s on the eastern side. This caused a short backlog which was made worse by half the field turning down an unmarked track even though it was clear you should cross a creek before making a turn. I guess the heat of the moment one team turns and the rest follow. We expected the majority of teams to head out to the road.

Well everyone is gone for about a minute when Jonny Bravo and Olga come back with a broken bike and with a little encouragement they went out to attempt the first leg sharing a bike.

Team Misfits and Mayhem turn up back at HQ and one poor fellow decided to rub all his skin off on the road and didnt want to play anymore. Their day was done and they headed home.
We set-up the bike polo and our daughters came up with the running donkey tail challenge, so we set that up and assigned a points valve.

10am we had our first customers for polo. They got around and were smiling and the ex-soccer player nabbed one of sprinters easily, so we knew the challenges were achievable.
We had a steady stream through these challenges until we blew the hooter for leg 2 the Trek/Paddle.
I jumped in the ute to go pump up the tyre tubes which you would later curse in the Noodle challenge. Ray was out on course with Sherrin getting Photo’s.
I checked in at the kayak and everything was ready the first teams came through informing us that CP 56 was not there.

A quick check with Ray to confirm that it had not been hung and a race back to HQ to grab the marker and punch and get out to hang it. Got there just as 2 teams were coming out of the area probably cursing me under their breath. Sorry about that one everyone that went to it, there was tape there and we did credit everyone that went there.

Back to HQ to set up the dreaded Noodle challenge, in hind sight this would have been a lot more fun without the tubes as they caused bottle necks.
Most teams got back for the start of the last leg and a lot of teams cleared the course on this last leg which was fantastic.

All finished and munching down on the sausages swapping war stories. Always my favorite part of the day! I think the record was 5 x sausages, bread and sauce. Presentation over, packed up and home by 5:30pm. Up early Sunday to unpack and clean and put gear away.

Kim and Jan from TriAdventure are out on course collecting controls. Thanks Girls

I meet Leo from Team MD and we spent 4hrs collecting all the Bike/Trek controls, while Ray is out getting the paddle controls.
Your comments on the race have been very kind with a few teams commenting that it was the best race they had ever done.
Thanks all for supporting us this year and we will keep striving to bring you interesting courses with quality maps.
Thanks to our families, Kim, Jan, Jane and Leo for your support.

Team “What has 4 legs and 4 eyes” Race Report – The Culminator

It’s a week out and although I have emailed back after hearing someone was looking for a teammate, I have resigned myself to not participating. As such I had decided to volunteer if they needed and alternatively I guess it was going to be a weekend home with the kids.

Then … after the women’s race, I received a call from Trevor after responding to him too that I was looking for a teammate as well. He mentioned that he would get on to his friend and on Tuesday night I got a call from Louise. At this stage all I knew about her was that she was the voice on the other end of the phone (or so she claimed).

She got on to Jane and soon we were registering to take Jane’s entry – saving some money for her. I thought that ‘Better late than never’ or ‘Just in time’ would have been a suitable name given this was all done on Wednesday … yes … leaving us plenty of time to prepare (hmmmm).

After much debate (eer … ahem), I decide to submit a new team name “What has 4 legs and 4 eyes”. I have no idea where it came from but Louise seemed happy enough with the name (if you can tell emotions through sms).

Many SMS’s later and we were finally heading down the coast.

Challenge 1: Get through the traffic jam at Beenleigh north: Success
Challenge 2: Get the information without my teammate: Success
Challenge 3: Make decisions on which trek to take: Bahahaha
Challenge 4: Meet my teammate – FINALLY success
Challenge 5: Go to race briefing: Partial fail
Challenge 6: Hand in form so we could have our ‘dibber-dobber’ to start the race: Phew – remembered
Challenge 7: Ignore 90% of our planned route and make a new one on course: SUCCESS!!!!!

And we’re off…. we race to the queue at the single track and eventually decide to turn our bikes around and head for the road. The road appeared to be a much better option with an open bitumen road in front of us. We soon had caught up to a few others that had taken the road and quickly found the first checkpoint (CP20). We then headed off to head up the hills in a clockwise direction. Checkpoint 21 remained elusive to us. The map showing the joins of track together with the multiple tracks that joined the main track made finding it difficult. We then found the intersection we believe was right but after a 1 minute look we decided we were wasting time for 20 points and could spend our time better continuing along the way. CP 22 was quickly located by Louise while I waited at the bikes on top of the hill. At this point we decided to ditch CP 30 as we were not convinced it was going to be an easy ride … by this stage we both agreed mountain bikes were NOT our strength unless it involved gradual downhill. So off to the TA we headed collecting CP 23 along the way.

Upon arrival at the TA we perched our bikes against the signpost and re-evaluated our trek leg. Initially this consisted of 70, 25, 62 and 55. We decided however that we were way behind schedule for the bonus 100 points and quickly agreed to ditch 62 and 55. In addition to this, we decided to get 25 and then head via 70. My theory behind this was that it was going to be easier to navigate from the main track and heading right before we reached the uphill than randomly working out where to start navigating down (from near CP 23). We soon were in the creek and although trekking was slow, we were on target with our new timing target Louise set. She was our timekeeper and kept me going by setting timeframes on us to complete sections before ‘bail out’.

CP 70 was done and a nice easy trek up the hill back to the bikes. From here we determined we had to ‘high tail’ it back to HQ. As we are not strong riders we knew this was going to take a while. So we headed directly to CP 51. This involved some flying down hills and downhill hike-a-bike. Yes – we both found that really steep short downhill before CP 51 was tough. My teammate even tried sliding on her ass one approach (lol).

We passed a team near the split from 33 to 34. We asked them if the track to the right was to CP 33. Upon confirmation we scooted off to the left. This brought some peculiar looks from them but I think they soon realised why we skipped it when they saw just how speedy we weren’t.

Soon we were back at HQ and off to try our hand at bike polo (which my friend thinks looks more like golf). This proved to be a challenge for us. Not so much for the ‘keep on moving’ rule but more so the fact that we both suck at hitting balls out of ruts with a golf club. I persevered with using my right-handed club left-handed and Louise kept at actually moving the ball for us! Soon we had our ball nicely wedged between the horse jump and the ‘lane divider’. This meant a guaranteed penalty but luckily I managed to actually connect with the ball before the foot went down. The 2nd half of this challenge proved much quicker and we were finally off the bike – dead legs and all.

By this stage the 2nd leg was open but we were not done. Nope nope nope … we still had to chase some donkeys down the race! A few goes later we got finally caught 2 of them and stripped them of their pride and joy … oh okay then just their red tails!

Bikes away and off for section 2 we headed. We had decided to ditch the random trek components and head straight for the kayaks, picking the tunnel ones up along the way. The tunnels proved to be a bit of fun even with the bats that kept flying into my face. Upon getting out of the last tunnel (the long one) we had to take a moment to reassess where we were. We quickly knew where we were but could not work out the mandatory trek to the kayaks, especially after watching about 4 times go racing down the road – which we knew was incorrect. Because by this time it was 12:00 we decided that it would only give us half an hour on the water and we both knew just how heavy those kayaks are to carry. As such, we decided to pike on the kayak and start heading back to HQ and pick up the other trek CPs along the way. The theory behind this was to give us plenty of time to rehydrate/EAT before the final leg and ensure we got that all important 100 pointer!

Soon picked up CP 56 (which apparently had gone AWOL earlier); we snuck out of the bush and watching another team miss it. They were about 10m too early into the bush. I was surprised they did not see us get it as we were a little too noisy at this point. After a few moments we had decided to not get the 70 point CP (I think it was that much) and head for the one other CP before heading back. We ran into another team at this CP which helped when it came to finding it. The other team appeared to have hit their wall so we tried to lift their spirits a little. We all know what it is like when you hit one of those walls and I think the only reason we hadn’t too bad was because we knew we had plenty of time for lunch.

12.30 and we were back. Lucky for us they had just started cooking up some sausages so we got to chow down on them. We soon saw another team just coming back from their first trek leg and they looked tired. Louise went off to clean her bike so we could pack them up. I repacked my bag –dropping everything that seemed possible. Once we were done with this we had a quick chat to the team that had come in (from stage 1) and gave them our advice but that it was up to them what they did. It appeared they decided to take our advice and do the bonus 150 points that were available at HQ together with being around for the 100 bonus points for being ready for stage 3. Eventually Ray and co came back from the kayaks and were not only surprised to see us there but probably even more surprised to later find out that we had been there for ages already by this stage.

I thoroughly enjoyed my break at HQ and it gave my teammate and I a chance to chat. I don’t recall anything we talked about but I am sure there was something of substance (or maybe not).

100 point bonus down and 2nd in line for the ‘noodle’ – we were keen to go. Although we did not finish the noodle task due to a technicality, what we did do was a lot of fun. But lets’ face it, we were all happy to take the 200 points for a short queue.

Once unhooked and having our packs back on, we headed for the trails. Deciding to keep to our own game plan, we decided to ensure we did the 300 pointer and get it right! Soon we had joined up with another team as we were both trekking about the same pace and kept following each other. 2 of the 3 down and well on our way to the 3rd we soon saw Kim and her teammate heading through the bush. Oops … the one thing I have learnt from the few races I have done is to NOT follow other people! But hey, when the option is there … what can I say? Soon we had veered off the track and headed to where they were. I did question the fact that we were heading too south but by this stage did not know how to backtrack as I did not know at what point we started heading too south.

Once we linked up at a track again we worked out where we were and what we had done wrong (not that this was of value) and decided to reorder our race. Off to CP 66 (?) we went once we worked out which way to head and then on up the track. After a bit of a face plant on my behalf (or should I call it face-slide) we had another CP and had to decide whether or not to go for the 70 pointer before heading back to get the last one for the 300 pointer. I was concerned about time; part of this because I kept forgetting the maps’ scale had changed AND part because well that’s what happens when you are getting tired!

Louise again pulled through and put a timeframe on how long we had to get the CP before ‘bail out option’ was to be applied. She was awesome because the amount of time she gave was pretty much SPOT ON! We quickly had that one and were on our way back to the other one. The bonus of this return was that we knew exactly where to start navigating North / North-West from and knew what we were looking for. We soon had picked the original track back up and found the 3rd clue. Armed with the answer we took off back to HQ. This was an easy trek back as it was on well-formed tracks and only had 1 little uphill on the fire-trail that we walked.

Back at HQ we unlocked the toolbox, got our 300 bonus points, got the finish punch and queued up for results. A few high fives at our success of 3rd place and we were smiling. ESPECIALLY because we did not even have to tidy up anything … after all, the bikes were already away! Our results given and a little extra information informed us that we had done better than expected. That’s right … we came 2nd (in our category obviously)!!! Yes, you heard … SECOND!!! A few more high fives and a few other teams joining in our excitement! No need for presentation – we KNEW we had achieved an awesome 2nd place!! Woo woo!!

After another lunch and some much needed soft drink we headed off to get cleaned up and Louise went to spend some money. After spending a whole lot of money on racing gear, we then found out that we had won a voucher as our prize. We split the prize money, said our goodbyes and headed home.

A nice quick drive home (I love Nerang because it is less than an hour home); a long shower and finally some R&R time!

Gary + Ray: Thank you for the awesome adventure you took us on this year.
Louise: Thank you for the late team-up with me.
Everyone else: Thank you for racing so we had something to race in
All the other females: Thank you for being in ‘mixed’ teams giving Louise and I the opportunity of a 2nd place!!!!

Although I sound like it was all about the place, I can definitely say it is not. I loved the race and I appreciated everyone that made me laugh; joke and keep moving! 2 stacks; a belting from the golf club on my bike and a hell of a lot of scratches later I am ready to say that I am a fully fledged addict! Just training is a little lacking – can someone train on my behalf and let my body reap the rewards? Do they make special soap for that yet?

Looking forward to the next instalment of adventures you bring. Would love to hear if you are still planning a ‘Night on the glitter strip’ because I am definitely hoping to do it! After all, City Raid is where it all started for me!

Suwati (Team: What has 4 legs and 4 eyes)

Team “Sunshine Unicycles” Race Report – The Culminator

The morning of the Culminator saw us up at 2.30am to get to the Gold Coast and HQ by 6am, plenty of time to sort out our gear, collect maps and work out a game plan. The day started well with the best contacting I have ever done, we contacted all our maps – I wanted maps as I’m feeling much more confident in my navigation after an adventure racing skills weekend with Kim and Jan from TriAdventure. Having a map and understanding it meant that I felt like I was really part of a team and not just the old ball and chain. The maps were fabulous – accurate and easy to read – the cp descriptions were in quite a small font so the stick on reading lenses were a necessity.
The hooter sounded and as usual we were at the back of the pack (I don’t like crowds and will avoid them even if it means heading out the gate last – much to Andrew’s despair). We had planned to head out on the single track but it appeared that 95% of the field had the same thought seeing the bottle neck we completely changed our plan and headed out on the sealed road. On our way to the foot rogaine we collected checkpoints 20,21,22,30 and 23. We dropped our bikes and headed out to Cps 55 and 54 with no problem apart from overshooting 54 and having to come back to it. We then tried for cp 62…this did not go well and we ended up in a patch of wait-a-while so thick that we must have resembled a couple of flies stuck on fly paper! We gave it up as a bad job and Andrew did his best to get me to run all the way back to the bikes. I’m not much of a runner and this was evidenced by Garys’ father-in-law who mentioned that I looked pretty stuffed and it was still early in the day, I always tend to struggle early in races but come good in the later stages. Back on the bikes and we collected 51 and 31 on the way to HQ, we opted to skip 33 even though we rode close by it – we knew we were cutting it fine to get back to HQ before the cut-off…we got back with about 4 mins to spare.
The hooter sounded again, we head straight for 56 and were quickly joined by a multitude of others and soon resembled an SES search and rescue operation – no luck. From here we headed to the tunnels/drains for some easy points and off to the kayaks. Andrew and I both had our homemade seats for the red tubs from hell and cruised around the cps leaving out 76,73 and 83. This time we arrived back at HQ with about 20mins to spare so we used this time to complete the challenges with Andrew having to put in two flat-out sprints to catch a streamer – the girls were still fast despite how many sprints they had already done! Andrew and I found the bike polo to be a simple task and finished this in short order, I suspect the skills we have learned as unicyclists were an advantage for this challenge.
For the final trek leg we underestimated our abilities and overestimated the distances and time frame, if we had planned our route better we should have been able to clear this part of the course, hindsight is 20/20 as they say. We particularly enjoyed this part of the course and did our best nav to date bush bashing from point to point. Our route plan meant that we skipped 80 & 82 and got back to HQ and open the lock box with 30mins to spare, plenty of time for Andrew to get into those sausages!
We certainly didn’t run the most strategic race and made plenty of errors but as always Andrew and I really enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait for the next Ridgeline Adventure.


Team “Team Explore” Race Report – The Culminator

A quick dash to the front of the pack I was lucky to hit the single track first and clear the bog hole that I’m sure turned into a festering pit of slop if you were unlucky to be at the back. We were off with my first time partner Alan close behind we hit the first control with no problems and followed the Nerang forest in an anticlockwise direction. There were a few teams with us heading to the 2nd Cp as Leaping Leo and Kim kept climbing we traversed a single track to pick up the CP. Back up on the main ridgeline we picked up the rest of the Cps with a hike a bike hill thrown in for good measure. Note: never ride near Paddy if you want to be going stealth mode. We hit the trek leg running down a perfect spur into CP 70 and then to CP 25. Keeping out of the creek earnt us a bonus of passing Steven and John who were following the creek line. From CP 54 to 53 I decided to traverse around to save Alan’s legs a little and unfortunately hit a wall of wait a while pushing us down but not too far off course. Final trek Cp done and back to the bikes. We knew time was tight but as Alan says “it’s a challenge”. With that thought we pushed hard to pick up the rest of the Cps. After a small get off on the single trail we followed an awesome downhill track pulling a few cross ups, a couple of nak naks and one back flip for good measure we hit the main trail with about 6 minutes to spare. I rode straight past CP 20 opting not to lose the HQ 100 point bonus for the sake of 20 points. We arrived at HQ with 2 minutes to spare. PHEW!. Looking at the line up for the challenge we headed straight for the next trek leg picking up 2 of the CPs before hitting the Bat tunnels which was really cool. I wonder who first investigated the tunnels! Alan and I hit the kayak leg just behind Howy and Justin, once we hit the southernmost Cp we decided to push hard trying to drop the other teams that were close behind us, which payed off yet will still weren’t going to gamble our good fortune and dropped the last eastern most Cp. Then it was back on foot with just enough time bearing no mistakes to pick up CP 56 and head to HQ for the 2 challenges arriving 5 minutes before the 100 point bonus cut off Thank fully our timing payed off as most of the teams had decide to complete the challenges at HQ early in the day and there was no one on them. My polo playing days are short as Alan showed some style with a MTB, a tennis ball and a golf club slicing and dicing the ball around the paddock. The hooter went for the final trek leg and noodle challenge. As I dropped into the 2nd control which was a clue I turned to Alan for the pen but he had disappeared, so with some quiet yelling I finally heard him about 50 meters away going in another direction. I must have had my head in the map and not kept an eye on him. With no other issues and just a couple of Cps to go I made a bold decision to cut through the green (green is never to be seen in orienteering terms). Thank fully it paid off with only a small amount of lantana to go through. With the Trek leg swept we headed for HQ and the noodle. The noodle is a course made of rope which intertwines around trees logs and a car tube. It was a long wait before we got our turn. We made it through with just 19 seconds to spare before the 3.30pm cut off time. With a quick sprint up the hill what had be a great day was now all but over except for the cleanup. Thanks to Gary, Ray and all the Ridgeline crew for a memorable race. Thanks to all who we raced with and met throughout the day, it was great racing next to you.
PS: The nak nak and back flip is BS

Paul Elby