2011 was the beginning of a volunteer role at an event called the Mark Webber Challenge. Set in Tasmania, this adventure race sparked a love for Tasmania and adventurous sporty behaviour…
In 2012 I returned, with these amazing experiences…
Early morning at the country club to collect boxes. Teams a little confused so some boxes at the front door and some in the valet parking area where they were meant to be. Watched the competitors start and then took off for the first transition area in Cataract Gorge. It was very picturesque. Got the boxes set up then Nix and I took a sneaky hike up the hill… Could see walking trails all along the river, looked amazing, would love to run along there. Could also see the camera guys in position for when the competitors had to raft down the rapids.
Next stop was at the end of the mountain bike leg then they took of on kayaks. We had the bike trucks and Nikki and I on boxes. Air traffic control required to get boxes and bikes to their next destination in time, the team worked awesomely together and only 2 or 3 teams were waiting on gear. A stop near a river Dead Mans Hollow, the scenery was spectacular. Near the TA hot and dusty, down at the look out a refreshing breeze cooled skinks as they sunned themselves.
Back to the country club to unload and get ready for the next day.
Prickly Cactus and margaritas for dinner.
Early start and drive to Ben Lamond, green pretty countryside, sheep one side, cotton on the other. Gorgeous blue skies. Joined by the chopper today.
Departed here and followed the teams on mountain bikes up to Jacobs ladder… Unbelievable! Can’t believe those guys rode up there, it was scary enough in a car. Rugged rock mountains as high as the sky. Relentless for the competitors. Then when they arrived at the top in the ski village, a hike to one peak back down and over the other side to get back on the bike and back down to where we started from this morning.
Chatted away to a competitor who was injured during the rafting yesterday. He got his foot stuck under a rock and tore it quite badly, he thinks maybe a fracture. Worse though, he was worried for his life as he nearly didn’t come back up for air!
Now sitting in the field under a tree chatting with spare competition from team 106 and enjoying a gentle breeze and something that says it is tuna on the packet.
Up with sparrows again and off to the dust bowl that was transition area 1, Upper Scamander, near the river. Hot hot hot and very dusty. Boxes and bikes galore… then waiting. One chap was really ill with gastro/heat stroke, kept an eye on him. The river was beautiful, apparently the source of the towns drinking water. Took a drive to get supplies from the next TA was told it was 15 minutes up the road… Err no. More than one hour later I was fretting a bit and not sure where I was going. Stopped to inspect my notes, then discovered a goat had come over to inspect me!! Up the road, turned around again and flagged down John and team 5 for help. Whilst we were talking through our car windows Mark Webber flew through the middle on his bike! Lucky there was enough room!
At St Mary’s Ben finally got through on the phone and was kind enough to direct me back to where they were, no supplies gathered, handed back the car and packed up the boxes and back to base!
Mooched around at the finish line, helped with bike racks, lay on the grass for a bit, then went for a 4 km run with Muz. Back to the hotel to wash the grime away and head to the “drawing room” for gin and tonics, dinner and daily briefing. We ended up out on the deck and it was quite pleasant.
Joined G and Al for brekky this morning, spot of scrambled eggs.
Nix and I swapped vans so she could get fuel and I could follow Steve and not get lost.
Stopped in St Helen’s for an awesome coffee at Coffee Away, I’m so excited by some of the obscure and awesome places we’ve found in remote parts of Tassie.
Down to the beach at Binalong Bay, it was stunning. Amazing blue water, pristine white sands. We had to lug the gear boxes halfway down the beach, it was hard work but great! Just got them sorted when the first teams rolled in, everyone close together so it was really exciting. A few spectators too which was nice. Packed back up and along to Dora Point. Another dust bowl. Here for the day, box b’s out, swap to box a, keep them all out because they forgot stuff in box b. It’s very windy here, have to keep chasing scattered box b’s.
All wrapped up and time for the big road trip to Ho’bart, formed a convoy with bike boys, TG and Ben.
Made it finally through smokey air and greeted with a kerfuffle at the hotel re storing the boxes. Ended up leaving them in the loading dock. Went out for dinner with a few of the vollies down at Salamanca. Got a surprise that we had an extra vollie in our room too, 3 was a bit crowded in the small and ordinary accomm of mid city “quality” hotel!! She got up at 5 and left anyway, which took another hour off the sleep tally for the night… Think we managed 5 😦
Final day! Bittersweet. So tired yet sad it is coming to an end.
Up early to pack up the boxes, did a recce to check out the transition area but way too early. So went to Daci and Daci French patisserie for brekky – such an awesome place… Refrained from patisseries for brekky and had toast and avocado.
Then to drop off boxes and then to drop off me to do the adventure run. Did a warm up on an exercise bike and group led session and took off with Muz and Cav. Cav left us for dust and I left Muz 2 minutes behind me for the whole run. All in all 6.5 km in 36 minutes was quite satisfactory for me!
Nikki came back for me later with the boxes and took them back to the hotel loading dock.
Off to our hotel, the Grand Chancellor, the first decent one! Grabbed some champers and wine and got geared up to go out for the night. Boycotting the official after party, we went to the Drunken Admiral which was awesome, 5 of us; Ryan, Nikki, Ben, Cav and I. Very silly very fun night, we stopped at Cargo bar for a while, tried to go to the whiskey bar but it was closed and then went to Isobar to join the after party of the official after party and danced until 3 in the morning when a very sensible Nikki decided the two of us should go home.
A bit tired and dusty today but not too hung over, well Nikki is a bit.
Out of the hotel had to go back to the casino to pick up the boxes for the final time and deliver the vans to the Octagon office. Perfect really as we had arranged to meet with Ben and Tom from the bike shop for coffee, it’s just across the road from Octagon!
Coffee and bacon sandwiches and we were feeling better. Ferry to Mona, much too short a nap, Moo Brew beer tasting and a quick run through the museum then dinner in our outstanding pavilion accommodation!
Planning on a movie and early night tonight!
Following the event I took a few days with a couple of friends to see some more of Tasmania. Popped into Chado, a nice tea cafe to plan out the day. Perilous driving in a tiny car up an icy mountain to Cradle Mountain Lodge – it started snowing!!
Spent a glorious day hiking around a snow sprinkled Dove Lake then curled up in front of an open fire with scones… a little later, some port.
A less hairy drive back down to Hobart and a bit of hiking around Mount Wellington. The weather was hot, the Pinnacle Hike was challenging and the views at the top rewarding.
Sad to say goodbye to the Apple Isle… I’ll be back again soon!