Coast to Coast NZ Longest Day: World Multi-Sport Race

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Kathmandu Coast to Coast “longest day” was my first individual multi-sport event ever, but with a bit of AR experience, I thought it wasn’t too distant from achieving (6-month delay in getting this vid out). It was a 243km race from Kumara Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton on the East with an 18-hour cut off.

Growing up as a kiwi I always idolised Steve Gerney, and saw Coast as something that only the elite could attempt and finish. My aim was to prove to myself that this was bs and anyone can give this kind of thing a crack with the right focus and commitment (and mentorship – thanks @luke & @tim). The biggest challenge that lay ahead for me was the 33km mountain-pass run that leads onto a 70km white water kayak (I wasn’t wrong). Sydney is a great spot but very limited in relevant terrain training so yes I was shitting myself all the way up till race day.

The build-up:

The build-up wasn’t the best, getting pneumonia 5 months out from the race really stuffed my prep, not able to start training properly until late October/early November wasn’t ideal. Thanks to the help of @tim I was able to get some good momentum leading into the race. Unfortunately, in December I was hit on my road bike by a taxi, my bike was a write-off and I ended up with a couple back issues that resulted in solid physio sessions. I managed to get back on a borrowed bike and get some consistency in all the way up until the third week of Jan which again I fell sick, I decided to rest in the weeks leading into the coast as if I got worse I wouldn’t have a chance in starting, let alone finishing.

Race day:

  • I look across at my fellow competitors and notice a crowd of physical specimens, my thoughts quickly dawning on me that I could finish dead last. Happy with that, as long as I finish.  Then gun then goes off after a quick countdown, we race uphill a few kms to the bike transition, it is pissing down.
  • The 55km bike leg to the foot of the mountain pass was a bunch ride, our bunch made our way up to the chasing bunch passing a few other lots of riders, 2kms out from the transition, a rider comes off their bike after hitting a railway crossing at the wrong angle, he goes flying, taking out 4 riders behind him (me included). I come off hard, twisting in an awkward position and smashing my knee on the concrete, I don’t feel pain but do see the bunch and all other riders disappear into the distance (later I find out I have torn my medial meniscus).
  • I make it to the mountain run transition a little worse for wear, but happy to see my crew @tim, @stu, @dan. Switching shoes and throwing on my backpack I was out pretty quickly again, as I started to run, I felt a sharp pain in the same knee that took the hit in the crash…not good…after getting through the first section ok, my knee started to get excruciating then it locked up (a dislodged fragment from the tear, finding its way into my knee joint), for most of the run it was a struggle to even bend my knee to get over the many rocks, through the rivers and up the pass. This is adventure racing, I thought, at this point, it was about finishing the race, and having fun as the time I had in mind had quickly disappeared. 
  • After finishing the run, I moved quickly onto the bike transition that leads to the Kayak, my support crew, despite most of the lads hailing from Canterbury, cracking (mostly dry) jokes along the way in the transitions made it that much easier and the day a lot of fun. After finishing the bike leg my leg cramped up and I hit the ground as I attempted to run down to the kayak, thank god for stuey to help me stretch it out. 
  • Over the mountain pass, the rain had turned to blistering sun, I was a bit too preoccupied on the run to drink at all and a bit of dehydration set in, for the first half of the kayak I focused on hydrating as I had little energy to kayak at pace. At points, I thought it would be good to stop off for a quick dip. I pressed on thinking it would be nice to crack a beer open before dark. I came out once to pre
  • Final transition: I felt pretty good other than the knee, decided to enjoy the bike leg so I could finish fresh, 75km later (I actually went a little too far in the first section missing a turn, opps) I was happy to be at the finish line.

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What I learned:

  • Don’t crash
  • More hill training
  • Better nutrition, especially hydration throughout the race
  • Prepare and plan for things to go wrong as they likely will in such a long race. The better equipped you are, the faster and happier you finish.

Thanks to all that played a part, from my support crew @stu, @tim, & @dan, @sarah @kieran @nath and mostly my loving fiancee Casey putting up with all of sh*t leading into the race (there was a lot of it). 

 

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