Saturday-Sunday 5-6 March 2016: Cbr100Challenge – L/E. A wander around the Cbr100Challenge 100km route, dragging myself across the finish line around 24hrs after the start. Doing it for Beryl Women’s Shelter. PLEASE DONATE! I also need support crew (to bring me the 5 food groups of salt, fat, sugar, caffeine and chocolate in the form of pizza and Maccas) and walkers to pace me. Please contact me if you can assist.
I drove to the AWM car park opposite Campbell High, wondering if I could drive home after the event.
Distance: 101.7km | Climb: 2095m | Time: 8.00am-6.22am (22hrs 19mins 44secs according to the timing system), including a few breaks | Grading: L/E; H(13++)
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Let’s not lose sight of what this was all about – recognising the residents of Beryl Women’s Shelter and showing that they are respected and loved, and also raising much needed funds for their recovery from domestic violence.
HUGE thanks to my family, bushwalking friends, Eternity church friends and others (some unknown to me) for raising nearly $5,000. And to those who walked with me as pacers and kept me going, and to support crew for having absolutely everything I could have wanted available. There were even friends praying for my sole!
The Cbr100Challenge attracted more than 1000 starters in its second year and, building on 2015, did a fantastic job in organisation, facilities and route marking. Hats of to Kim and her crew.
A massed, self-ceded, start of the 100km and 25km runners and walkers. Caught up with the fabulous young people in the Eternity church team walking for STEPS (a youth mental health program). Plenty of ifs and butts as the crowd was worked through.
I met Tom, my first pacer, down by the lake, as I think the rules implied only pacers for 100km runners from the later checkpoints. I admitted my breach to Kim, the event director when she presented the finisher’s token, but she allowed me to keep it.
The temperature topped 34ºC in the afternoon, so we agreed to keep up a good pace in the cooler morning. Tom certainly kept me at it and we were doing over 6km/hr when he left to continue his full day at Scrivener Dam. Water station 1 at Red Hill was a quick gulp of a cup electrolyte. Thanks to my dear wife for taking all the phone calls and converting them into tweets.
Wonderful reception at Check point 1 near the rock garden – 2 volunteers with large rose watering cans offering a generous sprinkle or two. And yummy water melon and bananas and other things. My timing split here was 3hrs 22 mins for the 20.8km, so Tom had pushed us along at 6.2km/hr. Tar mate.
Starting to get warm through the dull western side of the arboretum as I continued on alone. A pause in the Cork Oak plantation with another competitor to have a bite of morning tea.
Then through Glenloch Interchange and up the side of Caswell Drive, then NE and a steady climb south towards Black Mountain. At 2pm, about 20m shy of the top of Black Mountain, I came unstuck. It was a bit warm and cramps in both legs collapsed me to the side of the path. A handy tree to get my legs up and pushing. But I lay there, hoping perhaps to die and ready to give up. People passing by offered to help. Eventually I staggered to the top and met the wonderful Chris F who emptied buckets of water over me. A real sole and soul reviver!
The plan was to push on a bit and as we continued and thanks to Chris’s water, I got a second wind. I’d filled my water bladder with electrolyte to replace sweated body salts, but it gets a bit sickly sweet. So I drank all of Chris’s water and thought (unwisely) it would be wise to get her to go into the botanic gardens cafe to get more, whilst I pressed on. It was more than the 200m down that I thought it was and poor Chris had to chase me to UC to deliver that water. But strangely, knowing she was after me, induced a third wind.
A brief stop at Gossan Hill because my wise wife advised that I was not getting enough energy. In the heat one doesn’t feel like eating, so I had an energy gel. So sickly sweet, but does the trick.
A great surprise call from Quentin and I met him in College St near UC. He had water for a shower and drinking! Chris arrived with more. So we wandered on through the John Knight Memorial Park, where Chris returned home. Q departed soon after at Water Station 3. Huge thanks folks!
The sign here said 9.5km to Hall, so some negotiation with Cynth the pizza girl. Stupid phone went into some sort of headphone mode so that I couldn’t hear calls except through them or on speaker. Still a quickish plod up to Hall, passing the George Harcourt Inn and memories of a schooner of Coke a few weeks ago.
Wonderful reception at Hall, with Cynth and Mike there. Chairs! And Cynth had everything one could wish for – 2 pizzas (couldn’t eat much), cans of cold Coke + a six-pack of smaller cans, basins, towels, seemingly 100 litres of water, and a bright smile. My feet were good, so didn’t change socks or anything. A surprise return by Q, bringing ice-creams for us all. Changed into night gear – hi-vis vest, headlight, pyjamas. The timing split here was 11hrs 17mins, so my pacers had helped me to 4.8km/hr, not too shabby for the hot day.
Mike and I left Hall at 7.45pm and he kept us going across the northern Centenary Trail. A great pacer, steady, calm, appreciated that I didn’t want to talk too much. Still quite warm, with the temperature in the 20s. A pause at the northern campsite (where a group of young people were camping – the hammock looked inviting) at an extra water point put in because of the heat. The lights of far north Canberra could be appreciated, but not by me then. But the joy of this leg was a tiny bird, no doubt blinded by our headlights, sitting on a wattle branch not a metre from us on the side of the track.
I was getting hazy with timings, just wanting to finish within the 29 hour cut-off and not fully appreciating what my pacers were doing for me. Some phone negotiations with Mac the next pacer and Alison, the Maccas girl.
Mac joined us at the roundabout of Gundaroo Rd and Duke Rd and we powered in to Checkpoint 3. A sit for a while, felt sick, had to get going again. Mike left us here and Alison rang from Gungahlin, but I just had to get back on my feet. Timing split here was 73.3km in 15hrs 51mins, so overall 4.6km/kh. Better than I had hoped.
Mac’s job was to get me home and I guess from here I believed we could do it. Still worried about the 29 hr cut-off. But Mac’s another calm character and it was so good to just follow along. Mulligans Flat was thankfully still flat and, after leaving the far gate and a little up to the border with Goorooyarroo NR, generally flat and down to Water Station 4. I was a bit weary and sat too long here till I felt sick, so had to get going.
Under the Federal Highway and up across the northern knoll of Mt Majura. It was just one foot after the other behind Mac. From my various recces I’d remembered this as the second last major climb, but there were plenty of significant smaller ones to come.
So down to Checkpoint 4, where our timing split was 19hrs 17mins for 88km, giving an overall average of 4.5km/hr. My GPSr had been beeping low battery at me and, being a forgetful old codger, I’d neglected to pull spare batteries from my bag at Hall. Many thanks to the medic guy at checkpoint 4 who produced a pair of AAs.
I knew ‘The Wall’ was ahead, then the final climb to Mt Ainslie. ‘The Wall’ was a real bugger, a heart-sapping 135m climb over 700m took me 17mins. But Mac got me up it.
Down the Casuraina Trail, through the Majura-Ainslie saddle and the extra water station, a long haul in the moonlight east of Ainslie, then the final climb to the top. Nearly all over bar the shouting.
A trot down the hill under the just-dawning eastern sky and so across the finish line.
After a little recovery (thanks for the coffee Kim!), thanks and good-bye to Mac. I even managed to drive home.
Thanks to everyone involved – donors, pacers, support crew, concerned family and friends. Never again!
6 walkers/pacers – Mike B, Tom C, Chris F, Mac K, Quentin M, me. 3 support crew – Cynthia C, Quentin M, Alison N.