Rapid Ascent are the people to follow if you have any interest in mountain biking or multi-sport events in Australia, with John Jacoby at the helm you can be guaranteed primo organisation and a significant ‘suffer’ factor. This year is the first year we have been graced by an Anaconda Adventure Race in Noosa and I can only hope they are here to stay. The Anaconda Noosa event is part of a three race series with the second race scheduled 3-4th November in Augusta (WA) and the final race at Lorne (Vic) 8-9th December.
The Anaconda Adventure Races (AR) comprise an ocean swim, ocean/flat water paddle, trail run and a mountain bike leg of varying distances and can be undertaken as an individual or as a team (2-4 persons). If you are not so keen on the full distance or just starting out, the Rapid Ascent AR weekend does include an Anaconda Mini (an abbreviated version of the Anaconda AR) and an Anaconda Junior (5-13 years). These events are run on the Saturday with the main Anaconda AR event on the Sunday and, from what I saw in Noosa, the Mini and the Junior events were equally well received and attended as the main Anaconda AR.
When I heard the Anaconda AR was moving from the Gold Coast to Noosa I had a mini flash back to 2006 and my very first Anaconda AR. In 2006, Rapid Ascent was infantile and I was contacted to race the MTB leg on a female team called ‘Forgiones Angels’ in WA, the team aim was to win the female category and take out the fastest female on each individual leg, and that we did! It is only natural that I try and replicate this female force at Anaconda Noosa by selecting a team of strong local girls to give the guys a shake up, and that we did!
Our team (Local Girls) comprised Jean Harris (swim), Nicci Chapman (paddle), Leslie Saunders-Webb (trail run) and myself (MTB) under the watchful eye of superstar manager/support guy Andy Davison. We knew we were a strong team but it wasn’t until Jean finished her 1.9km swim leg in 3rd place overall (26.05 minutes), a mere 2 minutes behind the fastest male Steve Pullen, that we realised just how strong. Jean transitioned to Nicci who was tasked with a 6km paddle that included crossing the infamous Noosa Bar, I understand she was cursing her boat selection as many of the other competitors had much lighter vehicles but after hearing one competitor ‘snapped his boat’ crossing the bar we decided it was better to be safe. Nicci transitioned to me and the 35km MTB leg that started with a mental bike path sprint before hitting the trails just outside Tewantin, fortunately for Rapid Ascent we have seen nothing but sun for the last 3-4 weeks in Noosa so the trails were exceptionally dry and fast. The MTB course was amazing and somewhat tougher than I expected with a combination of bike path, fire road and bitumen linking some awesome and completely unfamiliar local trails. I heard several riders ‘got lost’ on course but so far as I could see there was no ambiguity in the course marking, follow the pink tape and the massive arrows!
I transitioned to Leslie who was tasked with a 14km trail run, at this transition we were placed 4th overall, only 7 minutes off the lead male and with a nice 6 minute buffer to the next team. Leslie finished her run leg in a spanking time and honestly could not stop talking about how ‘beautiful’ the run course was, how much she liked running with Novak Thompson (a real AR legend) and how she had a close but friendly encounter with 2 large breed dogs on the trail. I felt a little ‘boring’ as, apart from the amazing MTB single trail riding experience that is hard to describe to a runner, all I had to report from the MTB leg was an OTB into a mud hole. I elected not to focus on my mud hole experience as Leslie was genuinely concerned that I had fallen off my bike and had a small patch of blood on my arm. Got to love runners!
Nicci was then back in the ski for a short river paddle as Andy literally threw Leslie and I in the car to meet Jean at the start of the final leg, the 1km team beach run.
Team Local Girls crossed the line first 4 person team, ahead of all the mixed and male teams, and in 7th place overall. We claimed the fastest 1.9 swim leg (jean: 26.05 minutes, 2 minutes behind the fastest male) and the fastest MTB (Naomi: 1:29, 5 minutes behind the fastest male). In the individual category, the male event was won by Braden Currie and the female event won by Deanne Blegg.
For a complete schedule of results check out: Multisport Australia