Team Dutch Direction at the Czech Adventure Race
Dutch Direction (Mike Fafieanie, Jacco Pereboom, Jop Hage, Nicole Clerx)
On the start line we’re super motivated to race hard and to prove unlucky bib number 13 wrong! We sprinted away and reached the first CP as the second team, which boosted our motivation for the remaining bit of the first stage. Mike’s skilful navigation lead us through forests, fields and lots of thorny bushes but also efficiently reaches all CP’s.
Half an hour earlier than planned we mounted our bikes for the first MTB stage which is full of elevation gain, going strong! Halfway through this stage Nicole did the first special task which was an “descend/ascend”, and despite the queue to enter the cave we’re able to leave again relatively quickly.
Canoeing is not our greatest strength, but luckily we are very efficient at walking/dragging the canoes around all the dams, resulting in constant leapfrogging with the two nearby teams! The low water level significantly complicated the paddling in the dark, but we moored the canoes just after midnight and quickly set off into the dark for the first long trekking stage.
Damp shoes and the first appearances of sleep monsters fortunately didn’t spoil the fun, as we successfully stayed awake by asking each other our own pub quiz questions, and straight after sunrise we found even more morale and the pace went up again.
After a reasonably efficient transition at TA2 we jumped on our bikes to the first CP in this MTB stage, which is our second special task: climbing! Without any major issues we conquered the four climbing routes, and quickly remounted our bikes to reach the remaining CP’s of the stage. Our choice of route in the last part (a steep hiking path along a river) was for sure scenic and a fun mountain biking trail, but likely not the fastest…
The trekking stage that followed was relatively short but again with lots of elevation gain, although the daylight kept us awake and we enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. At the last two CP’s we struggled finding the checkpoint, but in the end we reached the TA with a full card, exactly 3 minutes before it started raining.
We decided to make a virtue of necessity and to get some sleep, and after a short deliberation after our first nap we decided to sit (sleep) out the heavy rain a bit longer, with the result that we cycled away from the TA in the dark exactly 3 minutes before the deadline.
The route in the next night MTB stage very much enabled our turbo mode, so we quickly covered a lot of ground. The last special task (ascent/descent for all team members) was cancelled, but we were still a bit short of time to meet the final deadline. After a dazzlingly efficient orientation stage and a lightning fast last transition we jumped on our bikes with only 1 minute to go before the last race deadline at 8 AM - timing!
Unfortunately not all our (rain)clothing made it into our bags in the hurry, and extremely sticky mud made for a difficult start, and gradually the setbacks piled up (flat tire, extreme fatigue/nausea, more mud, unfindable CP’s, more nausea...).
At 3 PM we stopped to make an action plan with some further cut-off times to keep the race fun for ourselves, and to ensure that we could at least reach the finish around 8 PM - with or without all the CP’s. In the end we had to skip the last 3 CP’s, but after 59 hours of racing our timing is still on point: when we ride into the finish area we’re warmly welcomed by loud applause from all teams who are on their way to the beer relay at that very moment. Very tired but extremely satisfied after having made the most of our race we hand in our race bib and CP-card, what an adventure!