Saturday, 25 February 2017

Gone Nuts 101 Support Crew

Some things are nuts ...

This is a nut - at Stanley

This is another nut ... At Stanley

And this is a bunch of nuts (what is the correct name for a bunch of nuts - a handful?) - again at Stanley.

Very early at Stanley.

Yep, this was the big weekend with Kim entering her first 100km foot race, you know - the one she definitely decided there was no way she was going to enter.

So I was up here support crewing ...

I mean support crewing ...

The Gone Nuts race appeared to be brutal (at least that's what it looked like on the competitors faces), but it wasn't the brute force of the course, it wasn't the distance, the running in the dark, the unplanned waist high water crossing, the constant climbing and descending, or the flies or the heat, or the blisters that ended Kim's race.

OK they were contributors, but it seemed to me that caused her to leave the race (an awesome 80kms in, I might add) was that at every checkpoint her track seemed to be showing that this was not in fact a 101km race, but it was looking more like a 106 to 108km race ... and those extra kilometres seemed to play with her mind.

At the 25km checkpoint, Kim had done close to 26kms, at the 50km checkpint Kim had run 53kms and at the 75kms checkpoint she had run 80kms and those extra kms, and not knowing how long the next leg was, and heading into the dark, and thirteen hours or running all led to her pulling the pin at 80kms.

I still can't get my head over the idea of running 80kms in a single day (I'm typing this in a hotel in New Zealand where I'm about to send 3 DAYS cycling just 82kms and I think that's hard).

What really blows me away though, is that on the drive back to our hotel in Wynyard she wasn't a puddle of deadness, but rather she was sitting in the car noting down a bus registration number (just to check out why it was parked on the side of the road for work), the next day she was walking up and down stairs, and within a week she was already booked into the cockle creek adventure run (marathon distance) for her birthday and the Surf Coast 100km in September.

Just frickin' awesome.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Low Rocky Point Track - The Jetty

We were expecting James and Rhys to come in some time on the seventh to do some work on the jetty, and as they were bringing in fresh meat, chips and cold beers that we'd left with them in Strahan, we were all very keen to see them arrive.

There seemed to be unanimous agreement around our morning discussion in the hut that we should head down to the jetty around 11am to see if they (and our food) had arrived.

So just after 11am, I told the guys it was probably time to head down to the jetty and wandered out and pulled on my smelly, wet gear one last time.

It was as I was lacing up my shoes that I realised that there had been no other movement in the hut, and soon after this I think it dawned on me that [erhaps when there'd been agreement that 'we' should go down to the jetty, there were three people in the hut thinking "you" and only one of us thinking "us".

So off I went by myself, to wander down the last unexplored section of track - the bit out to the jetty which we had previously shuttled past on the runabout.

There was a reason why this section of track wasn't used.  A reason I discovered as I disappeared waist deep into mud and sludge in a very overgrown section of track ...

But it was only a short section, and while it felt forever it in fact took less than ten minutes to find my way down to the jetty ...

The very unrepaired and very deserted (as in no rangers and no beers) jetty ...

I hung around for around an hour hoping and praying that the rangers would turn up (mainly so I didn't have to head back up that track) but they didn't, so I trudged my way back through the mud to tell everyone that we had at least one last pasta lunch to get through before food salvation arrived.

The rangers did turn up that afternoon, and Bob heard them hammering and banging away, so Tony, Tyrone and I headed down the track one last time to see if we could help out ...

Turns out that many hands make light work, and a few hours later we had a new jetty in place ...


And after.

And more importantly the beer and BBQ going ...

And that was our trip done.

The next day we packed up at Frog Lodge, did one last shuffle of bikes and gear down to the boat and by late morning we were sitting in Strahan drinking latte's and eating cake ...

One last sunrise 

The end ... 

... well it would be, if on the way back we hadn't heard about another remote track that needed to be ridden ...

Let's hope that turns up here in a few months time.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Low Rocky Point Track - The Return to Frog Lodge

For most of you, the detailed story of the return trip would just be boring, but for us at that moment when we turned around, well we were only half way through the trip and we knew that we now had three days of retracing all the track we had ridden to date, and even then we'd now get back to the hut a day early, so would be stuck there two nights waiting our boat ride back to civilisation.

Looking at our small camp as we came back to the river

Why, you might ask, if we had a spare day, did we turn around?

The answer's both simple and complex.

We were all tired, and in an exploratory trip like this we were all trying to balance the risks and the rewards of carrying on in a very uncertain environment.

If we'd known all the unknowns at the time, we may have done things differently and we may have gotten to the coast.

If, for example, we'd known about the ford south of the Wanderer River when we'd first got there, we may have just crossed there straight after lunch, and maybe pushed on for a long day south (another 4 or 5 hours) to Wart Hill Camp.

If we'd done that, we could have walked out to the coast for the day, even camped there the night, and (most probably) still had time to make it back for our lift out.

If only we'd known.

But we didn't know, so we made the decision we did.

As it turned out, the bad weather forecast never really showed up (except a lot of rain the following afternoon) and in fact we had quite hot, clear conditions for the next two days (when we also discovered how lucky we'd been with the cooler weather and lack of march flies to that point).

The riding also seemed to be a lot easier and more fun on the way back (although our travel speed didn't seem to improve greatly) and we definitely all agreed that if we did it again (albeit there was only one of us (me) even considering coming back here again) the smart plan would be to get dropped in down south at Copper Creek or Veridian Point and ride out towards Birch's Inlet (after spending a few days exploring the coast).  We all agreed it would be wise to get dropped north of Lewis River (so not at Elliot Bay) given we didn't know whether the Lewis could be crossed or not.

There was so much fun and good riding over those three days, and I'd love to share the tales in full, but some things you just have to be there for, so instead here's a bunch of photos of our travels back North ...

Leaving the Wanderer River, heading back north

It is a track.

Did I say easier?
Back at the airstrip

Preparing for take off ...

 I should so put a strava sprint section on the airstrip ...

Hedading back down to the Conder River

A rut.

Breakfast by the river - notice the handeless spoon.
I'd like to say I'm hardcore on the weight, but truth is it fell apart.

Rusty chains

That's not a rut, this is a rut.

Moments of joy

Having some fun.

Fish for dinner?

You don't see many rambler selfies!

More riding joy on a sunny day.

The last mile ...

I think we were all ready to be off the track by the time we pulled into Frog Lodge, and it was a joy to pull out some of the beers we'd left there, which alongside some nut mix I'd carried all the way down and all the way back, made for a very fitting end to our ride.

We didn't get back completely unscathed: Bob was feeling a bit sensitive and sore on the last days riding and Tyrone was reduced to a single gear after his derailleur packed it in, but with that said, we were lucky to come out as unscathed as we did.

We had two nights to kill here, so lots of time was spent cleaning and drying gear and just wandering around taking photos and chatting.

The old aviaries

And that would be the end, if there weren't a jetty to be built which I'll polish off in the last post.