High & Dry But Firmly In The Deep End

Oh dear….what the HELL did I just let myself in for?

Did I really think about the consequences of saying ‘yes’ without giving full thought as to the repercussions of what just rolled off my tongue less than a month out from an event like this?

I think I may have firmly thrown myself in the deep in on this one, the exception being that for most of it I’ll be high and dry and I really should have dedicated a minimum of six months to a proper preparation.

It was never officially in the plan to do Red Bull Defiance, the gruelling two day, two person teams multi sport race around Lake Wanaka, but when you drop a couple of loose words into conversation that you’d ‘be up for it’ you have to be careful what you wish for.

Sure enough the phone started ringing to see if I’d fill in for an injured half of a team.

‘Yes’ seemed to roll off the tongue before a deluge of a few ‘oh shit’ moments started running through my mind as the reality of what I was committing to began to sink in.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I spend a fair bit of time running and riding around the hills of Lake Wanaka, the Southern Lakes and Central Otago when I’m at home, often with some of the best in the adventure racing and multisport business, but it’s a very different proposition going from some fun in the hills with your mates to lining up on a start line of a multi discipline, multi day event.

Call it respect for the craft of others and respect for how others ply their trade –  but multisport is no joke and these are some of the baddest hard-asses you’ll ever come across.

Racing back to back over two days and with one of the harshest run courses you’ll come across, there’s a reason they called this one ‘Defiance’. It’s more than likely that one half of your team will be suffering at some point and teams racing is vastly different to making it from the start to the finish under your own steam.

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But when the opportunity arises to step out of your comfort zone and get down and dirty in the hurt locker, it’s hard to say no. I’m stepping into the unknown and it will be as much about doing and experiencing as it will be finishing.

Managing the highs and lows of a team dynamic, avoiding costly and frustrating mechanicals and operating in a state of physical deterioration is just the challenge that has been needed to spice up the month of January.

To think two years ago that I’d be even contemplating doing something like this on a knee that has had 9x surgeries and countless injuries is testimony to the benefits of regenerative medicine and rehab.

Stay tuned for some of the logistics and preparation that go into preparing for an event like this, i’ll be putting the best of my planning experience to work on this one to ensure we hit the start line in the best possible shape to make it from the start to the finish on January 21 & 22.

 

World of Adventure Sports – Accidental Forks in the Road/Faroe Islands

PREMIERES TONIGHT

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It was a series of accidental forks in the road that led me to landing on the remote archipelago of the Faroe Islands in the middle of the North Atlantic for the latest episode of World of Adventure Sports.

Like many good adventures I had little to no idea of what I was going to be in for.

Leaving Queenstown airport on a June afternoon in a snow storm lugging an inflatable paddle board, hiking gear and a smattering of cold weather kit I embarked on a 40+ hour flying marathon to make it to the Faroes.cliff

First inhabited by Irish Monks a thousand years ago, it’s harsh landscape has shaped it’s people and it’s cultures. A culture of survival amongst the elements in order to stay alive and to provide.

Towering fjords, jagged sea cliffs and cascading waterfalls permeate the landscape in every direction. Faroese sheep skip about the steep hills in the land where folklore say that ‘you only fall once’.

The relationship between its people and it’s landscape is one of functionality. The ocean being a body that takes as much as it gives highlighted by the many men whose lives are lost at sea every year in pursuit of reaping the bounty of the ocean in order to provide.

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As the peaks of the mountains emerge through the ever present clouds that shroud the islands, it’s a landscape that beckons you to explore. Such has been the functional existence of this place that hiking and recreating are only just starting to be discovered as a way of bringing tourism to these forgotten lands of the North Sea.

We went in pursuit to explore, what we discovered was a raw bounty of recreation waiting be hiked, paddled and rappelled that had us itching to come back for more.