No Frills. No Fuss. Montagu Edition AR

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Team Songlines Search For The Right Song, and the Right Lines

Press Release / 28.06.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Team Songlines
Team Songlines / © Devin Trull and Zach Zinn

As Team Songlines, we often like to have a theme song for every adventure race we do. “Forever Young” seemed an appropriate pick for the latest  outing - a 36 hour race, part of the A1 South Africa Series, set in the beautiful Montagu area of the Western Cape and organised by the No Frills No Fuss team.

“Young” because the team included two new recruits, Damon Stamp and Bianca Haw, both under 25 and full of youthful optimism. And also, because as team navigator Lance Kime put it, “we got schooled on navigation”.

Pre race, Team Songlines regulars Lance Kime and Kelvin Trautman tried to rid any expectations the youngsters might have of cake walking their way around Montagu.  Race Director Robert Le Brun's (aka "Brundle") previous route setting escapades had earned him a reputation for turning the staunchest optimists into bumbling pessimists.

That said, it came as a pleasant surprise as on race day both leading teams cruised under the expected times for the first 4 legs of the race - that was until leg 5, but more on that later.

Early on Friday morning teams stood shivering in the meek mid winter sunshine listening to the organisers divulge the course details - up to this point, no-one knew where the start of the race would be or what leg 1 would involve. “OK, so in 5 minutes you will be shuttled to the Breede River from where you will pick up your kayaks and paddle two and hours down river” said Race Organiser Brundle. 

So an hour later, Leg 1 began on a beautifully clear and still Breede River. After a few bony rapids and portages, the seasoned paddlers in Team Songlines and Team Merrell Adventure Addicts opened up a gap on Team Jabberwock Adventure Racing and the rest of the field.

Songlines and Merrell then remained together through legs 2 and 3, which included some entertaining hike-a-bike, free-riding sections and a spectacular sunset scramble over the Langeberg ridge. This neutral zone was bound to come to an end and the first real move of the race came near the end of Leg 4, a 6.5 hour bike, where Merrell used the rolling hills leading into the infamous Ouberg Pass to stage their attack. “Whether the attack itself, or the subsequent roadside picnic was their master plan is up for discussion, but either way it seemed to work”, quipped Lance, as Songlines managed to drop Merrell on the Pass only to miss the turnoff to the final transition at Ouberg’s high point.

Starting the final (estimated 10 hour) trek just before midnight meant that there was still plenty of racing to come. Lance redeemed himself with some terrific tiger lines to the next two checkpoints, which saw Songlines erase the hour lost earlier in the night and pass Merrell heading into the fateful search for CP8.

“By the time the sun rose on Saturday, Team Songlines had successfully, but rather unfortunately, explored every canyon on the west side of the spectacular "Spaarkloof” in search for CP 8,” said Damon Stamp. It was during this night time mis-navigation that Bianca repeatedly claimed she could see the ruins they were looking for - “somehow the rocks kept turning into ruins every time the team shone their lights on them” she said. The final 6 hours to the finish allowed the team to appreciate the amazing area they had been through overnight and discuss in great depth their dislike for the south-facing slopes of the mountains surrounding Montagu.

At the finish line - a quintessential garden oak tree on a picturesque local farm - Team Merrell crossed in 26.5 hours taking their second win of the A1 South Africa series with Songlines, Jabberwock and Parallel all finishing the full course, in that order.

The race was a fantastic inaugural event for the No Frills No Fuss team. “Race Director Robert “Brundle” Le Brun has seemingly found a great balance between challenging some of the most experienced teams in the country and guiding newcomers into the sport and we look forward to entering his future instalments.” Said Lance.

Songlines, who are lying second in both the A1 and Adventure Racing World Series - Africa Series, now looks forward to a break from racing over winter before the next event in August.

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