For those of you wanting to read about daring exploits and dramatic tales of human endurance I would suggest the report from the foot entrants would be far more enthralling. This is a tale of moderate ambition and riding far from the edge. [Jeff says: as a team endurance sport, individuals within the same team will experience a given race differently: maybe one as a nice adventure involving some physical activity, and the other as a desperate feat of human endurance. The latter can give some satisfaction, after a sufficient period of physical and emotional recovery (I’m okay now thanks). Anyhow, back to Ken telling his story…]
The genesis of the “dream team” was a discussion I had with Jeff at an orienteering event along the lines of let’s go for a ride, the metrogaine might be fun. Jeff mentioned he had previously set an event in the area and knew the area pretty well. This knowledge and Jeff’s navigational skills would certainly compensate for my renowned ability to make navigation mistakes whilst under pressure.
During the planning stages, the ground rules for the team were gradually defined. Firstly, we were here to have fun; secondly, I wanted to explore the Eastern shore a bit as I had only ever been there briefly; and finally, we weren’t going to try and keep up with some of the super fit-looking teams pouring over their maps.
Following rule one meant the Meehan Ranges were out - way too many contour lines to count without taking my shoes off. Rule two meant going north to look around Shag Bay and then meandering south before returning along the shore sight-seeing. The third rule proved to be easy to follow as all the seriously fit riders were seen to head off to the Meehan ranges.
With what seemed a comfortable course planned, we were set.
The event went as hoped and planned once we recovered from the early shocks of riding up to 105 at the top of the hill behind Lindisfarne and pushing the bikes up a savagely steep track to control 20. After these heart starters we were pleased that we had not been ambitious, and that these would be the worst of the hills for the day. The Shag Bay loop was nice old school mountain biking, with Jeff’s navigational prowess saving me from riding off the map.
Travelling south inland behind Lindisfarne from control 83 to 63 tested my navigation. I was again rescued by Jeff politely redirecting me. After control 63 the event took on a much more metropolitan feel as we threaded our way through suburbs and bush parks to the very southern end of the map.
On the way home, we picked up the controls along the shore with mercifully little climb. With the help of the sea breeze, we returned to the hash house much faster than expected enabling us to pick up to two more 10-point controls and still finish comfortably with time to spare.
As scribe, I made mistakes in the answers for two controls, but we finished well satisfied with our completed planned route and weren’t too exhausted to not enjoy the wonderful late lunch supplied by Darryn and his helpers.
As other teams returned, we heard tales of woe from the Meehan Ranges and felt thoroughly justified in avoiding them and not breaking our first rule: to enjoy the event.
To be the winning team was a surprise and the icing on the cake of a wonderful day. The Hobart weather was perfect, and the event, map and organisation were all fabulous.
Many thanks to all the organisers and also to Jeff for keeping us (well, me) on track.
By the accidental winners -By Ken McLean with help from Jeff Dunn