Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Adventure Quest Africa 2002

 

 

Home
IAR News Page
Free Fitness Analysis
Business Opportunities
Team
Team Sea Clean
Race_Schedule
Sponsors
Media Copies
Race Reports
Photographs
Training
Links

Team Managers Report

Sunday 7th July

 Arrived in a wet Capetown to be met by Grant, who along with his wife Julia and myself were to be the support team for the race. They were very excited by the prospect, now that the time for the race was fast approaching.

 

Monday 8th July

Day started off fine, the plan was to buy some equipment boxes for the team and also to go up Table Mountain. Clouds began to form so we headed off quickly up the mountain. Quite spectacular, we wandered around a bit taking in the views of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, together with the City.

The night was quite stormy.

 

Tuesday 9th July 

Another shopping trip, this time for a fleece and New Balance shoes. The afternoon was spent gathering together the various items of support equipment for loading onto Grants Landrover.

 

Wednesday 10th July

 Departure day for everyone, with Andy Leaving San Francisco to meet up with Jody in Atlanta and also Kristel who was traveling from Guatemala, for their onward trip via Capetown to Port Elizabeth. Primus in the meantime was leaving Bristol to travel via London and Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The support crew had an easier journey following the Famous Garden route along the southern coast of Africa to Port Elizabeth.

The Journey took most of the day and we arrived at Pine Lodge in the early evening. Port Elizabeth had been struck by hurricane force winds the previous night and many trees and buildings had been damaged. Electricity was still out in parts of the town.

 

Thursday 11th July

A bright sunny day. First stop a marine supplier to purchase mini-flares, and then it was off to the airport to Meet Primus, who was due to arrive first and also pick up a hire car. Primus missed his connection in Johannesburg, so we awaited the arrival of the three others via Capetown. We contacted Capetown to check they had made their connection, but thier flight from Atlanta had not landed. We were surprised when all four members arrived on the plane from Johannesburg, apparently the Capetown flight was diverted due to storms.  Grant had rented a lockup near the airport, so we transported all the luggage there and assembled to bikes, which were fastened to rack at the back of the Defender. We then loaded up and when shopping for food and last minute bits of equipment. Finally we all returned to Pine lodge, then went out together for a team meal in order to get to know one another.

 

 Friday 12th July

 Checked out of Pine lodge and stopped at a couple of shops on way through Port Elizabeth before heading into the Interior and our destination Mountain Zebra Park near Cradock. The drive was quite uneventful apart from a long section of road works. The countryside became more mountainous and colder as we approached Cradock. The park where the race started and finished, was down a gravel road and home to Mountain Zebra and Black Rhinos. We checked in and then started the serious business of sorting out equipment for the race and getting our last good nights sleep, we had reserved two lodges so we all had a bed. We ate in the restaurant and were made welcome by the few South African teams that had arrived earlier.

 

Saturday 13th July  - Race Registration and Briefing

 

The first task in the morning was to move into one lodge, which meant the support team would be sleeping on the floor. The team continued sorting their equipment and packing food into suitably sized zip locks. I collected registration forms and completed them. The compulsory equipment was checked and the whole team were talked through the procedures to be used during the rope sections. The race briefing commenced at 1600 hours.  This year’s race was the first where International teams were competing; unfortunately the Columbian team withdrew before the start leaving only a Brazilian team and us to carry the International banner. A detailed explanation was given on how to negotiate the Fish River during the kayak stage, there was some concern voiced regarding the lack of rescue teams during this section. The start was announced for 0400 the following morning. The team returned to our lodge where Primus and Kristel set about marking up the maps, whilst Jody and Andy checked over the equipment for the first two legs, trekking and mountain biking. Grant and Julia concentrated on packing support equipment ready for departure the next day. We had a break for dinner after which I started to recheck the maps prior to Grant and Julia encasing them in Fablon. Before settling down to sleep packs were made ready for the start. The team was set to go.

 

 Sunday 14th July   Race Start 0400

 

After an early morning call the team breakfasted and made their way down to the campsite where the starting gate for the 25K run/trek loop through the National Park. A run was not what the team wanted as we had planned a slow start; however there was a dark zone for stage 3 - 80+ Kilometres away thus a fast start was required. The Athletes disappeared into the dark and the support team returned to continue packing the Landrover, prior to returning with the mountain bikes for the 67K bike leg to the Fish River. Team Edge was first into transition with a 25 min lead. Our team arrived at 0633 an hour behind the leaders having made an elementary mistake of following another team in the wrong direction. The first transition went well and the quartet set off for a steep short climb followed by a downhill section then an undulating track to the Great Fish River.

We made our way by Landrover to T2 using main road and eventually turning onto a dirt road to the launching point for the Kayaks, these we inflated and left by the river, before setting up our transition layout further up the road.

The Leading team Edge passed through at 1115 with nearly an hours lead as the afternoon wore on Brazil Telecom passed through in 16th Place having been last at T1. The concern now was the impending dark zone for the next 50K water leg. The rules stated any equipment could be carried in the Crocs, so I suggested to some teams to take their mountain bikes, then land when darkness fell and carry the crocs on bikes. Most support members laughed this off, Howe ever I was not alone in these thoughts as other racers came up with the same idea, Team Fear  worked out a method and were the only team to actually load their bikes onto the crocs.

Our team arrived in transition at 1619, in 19th Position concerned that the oncoming dark zone would hold them up for twelve hours, they had suffered numerous punctures due to thorns. I explained my plan to Primus and went to show him another team preparing. A group of three teams were also working together building a trailer from bike racks and spares. Carrying a croc whilst cycling is no mean feat but Primus and  “Ironman” Andy were up for the task.

Whilst the team ate, Grant and myself deflated the crocs, folded them and prepared makeshift harnesses. Zirk the race director arrived and advised that we could not use the main road and also stating we would incur a 5-hour penalty upon arrival at PC3. We accepted this and Primus and Andy were strapped to the crocs, carrying lightened packs on their chests. The two girls, Kristel and Jody had the paddles taped to their bikes. It was quite a sight watching the heavy loaded team cycle off into the darkness, after a false start to fix a puncture.

We quickly broke camp and headed for PC3 where the rules only allowed us to take gear from the water stage from the team, we were not allowed to hand over any equipment or supplies.

 

Monday 14th Jul – Special task, Trek & 50K Mountain Bike

 

We arrived outside Cradock and catnapped in the support vehicle awaiting the team’s arrival. They arrived at 0426, back in the race in 12th Place. They slept in their emergency shelter and emerged in the cool of the morning whilst being filmed by the camera crew. Jody at one stage burst from the shelter fighting for breath, I was not allowed to assist her, but Kristel soon came to her assistance. It seemed that Jody’s cold/flue was getting worse as she was finding it difficult to breathe.

We left the team in order to make our way to Transition 3, a picnic area alongside the road. This was going to be a wet transition we set up under the shelter of a tree and opened the awning attached to the Defender’s roof-rack to provide some protection. The team boxes and chairs were laid out and Julia started heating water for hot drinks. The team walked in at 1045 and after a quick change and a hot meal set off on the long ride to Kommando Ridge nature reserve.

Once again we broke camp and set off down the track to leapfrog the team. We passed by the team, just as the song “ I want to ride my bicycle” was playing on the radio, the last think in their minds. We continued on to set up a new camp by the lake in the nature reserve. This was to be our base for the next two transitions, the first a 25K trek around the dam including a 1 K swim, then back again to Mountain bikes for a mainly uphill 40K bike ride.

The sun came out and the team seemed to be taking a long time for this leg, we had a report that they were seen sunbathing beside the road, perhaps drying out their clothes. They eventually arrived having dropped to 17th at 1730, and Jody was suffering. We consulted the medics who thought she might be developing bronchial pneumonia, she did not wish to let the team, so the decision was made to rest overnight, after eating she was prescribed some medicine to help her sleep.

 

 Tuesday 15th July – 25K Trek and Swim plus 40K Mountain bike

   

The morning dawned crisp and cold with sleet in the air. The team rested well despite the cold –2C and Jody seemed much better in the morning. The next question was would they make the halfway cut-off, we were informed that if the team missed the cut-off we would have to transport them some 90K by road, as there was no room in the Landrover, I would need to collect my hire car from Cradock. There was also the question on how Jody would fare following a swim in the cold water. I managed to get a lift back to Mountain Zebra in one of the Drifter vehicles, Along with a  Brazilian team member, whose team had abandoned the race following an injury to the girl in their team.

I returned at about 1400, having collected new Duracell batteries to replace local ones which lasted all of five minutes, to find the team already in transition 20th Place and preparing for the mountain bike leg racing to get to the cut-off set at 1800.

The team set off, last in the field, however a number of teams ahead were unranked due to missing team members. The scenery on the way to the next transition was fantastic with rugged mountains tinged with snow. T6 at the top of a pass proved to be the coldest transition 0—2C plus wind-chill, only one other support vehicle was there Power Bar awaiting their incomplete team and they provided us and the marshals with a hot drink and further filled a thermos to wait for our team.

At 2051 our team arrived, tired and cold, Jody absolutely exhausted, in 17th Place. The guys piled into the car and Landrover for warmth, whilst Grant strapped the bikes to the rack, and then we were off for the long drive to transition 8 to continue the short course. We drove past transition 7 where the bulk of the teams were set up, before arriving at a junction, near a bridge, marking the start of the next kayak leg.  We set camp at 0113 (12th Place) near the edge of a graveyard. The leading team had already passed through and team Drifter we due to depart in the early hours. The third place team was expected to arrive during the night. Teams doing the short course had to wait until the third place team had past. We inflated the crocs and settled down for the night.

 

Wednesday 16th Jul  - 25K paddle and 65K mountain bike

 

Woke up to a damp morning, no teams had arrived overnight, Andy was coming down with a cold, by 0800 the race director ruled that teams doing the shortened course could restart at 0930. I made a quick dash by car into Cradock to collect medicines for Andy, together with bread and instant noodles, arriving back in time to break camp. Another pleasant drive to the next transition area, following the river and skirting around hillsides, including passing through a small tunnel before descending past a dam, we did briefly spot two teams on the river but could not identify them. We parked on the side of the road and spread out clothes to dry. Grant carried out some maintenance on the bikes and we checked all lights were in working order with new batteries. The forecast was for snow and strong winds. The team arrived at 1430 in joint 11th place. Everyone was in good spirits including Primus who had taken a swim passing close to some trees. A group of incomplete teams had formed together a “big team” so the transition was quite busy. The next leg was to prove the most challenging both for the competitors and the support teams. The bikes where back in A1 condition and the happy team set out, knowing that they were using bikes for the last time.

We had been advised that the track to the next transition via a mountain pass,  was rutted, and slippery one vehicle had already been rolled, I was a little concerned as I was driving a little Fiat, following the Landrover.  I stopped and checked the ground clearance and when we came to a ford I paused before entering the water the bumper making a perfect bow wave to keep the exhaust clear. The track was quite tricky in places however, there are similar roads in Cyprus and the Fiat coped well. There was still snow on the mountainsides.

 

Eventually we arrived in the darkness at the final transition and set up a tent for the team. It was a cold and windy spot and there had been snow lying earlier in the day. The team had expected to arrive in six hours, so as the expected time of their arrival approached Julia started preparing toasted sandwiches, a firm favourite of the team. The ETA came and went. The first couple of teams had passed through then no one. Other support teams arrived but now sign of any teams. We decided to get some sleep, I kept watch at first then Julia took over and I caught a couple of hours rest in one of the teams sleeping bags, as they had taken my dry one with them.

 

Thursday 17th July – the final 17K trek

 

A damp an overcast dawn, still no news, then the support team of World of Endurance arrived, with only one support vehicle, the other having skidded of the mountain track down a bank and damaged its wheel, the surviving vehicle had a near miss when its trailer jack-knifed.  This brought the tally of damaged vehicles to four, One Mazda totalled, another Mazda stood on by a Kudu with third wrecking its gearbox. The “big team” arrived with some news that our team had been seen making a right turn the previous evening, where other teams turned left. Conditions were bad on the mountain and teams had found shelter in lodges.

 

Our concern was now mounting, the film crew set off to see if they could spot them or team Kinetic, who had been in third place but were presumed lost. Eventually in the late morning the lost sheep returned. They had quite an adventure unable to find a checkpoint due to low cloud they opted to stay on the mountain an got into their emergency shelter in order to survive, this worked fine until the girls began to fall asleep and the temperatures dropped. They then walked on a bit to warm up before setting up shelter again. They did briefly meet Kinetic.  They set up shelter three times and on the third time they were getting so cold they got into two sleeping bags (wet) to share what little warmth their bodies generated. In the morning they discovered they were 600 metres from the PC who’s weak flashing light they had been unable to see.

 

Andy was particularly cold from his experience showing signs of hypothermia, so he was placed in a dry sleeping bag and warmed with hot water bottles and warm drinks. Kristel and Jody also spent some time warming up in my car. The biggest problem the team had to face for the final trek was the lack of dry clothes, however by swapping clothing around everyone was able to set of dry.  Julia cooked mountains of toasted sandwiches, which had been kept fresh in the naturally cold conditions.

 

Refreshed, warm and fed the team set off for the last time following the valley and eventually climbing of a mountain ridge into Mountain Zebra Reserve.

 

We broke camp for the last time and headed back to the starting point where there was a promise of hot bath, we took these before the team arrived. At 1800 we moved our vehicles down to light up the finish line, praying that the team had got over the ridge in daylight in order to find the steps over the electric fence. At 1915 the team, which a week earlier had been strangers, arrived as the best of friends. Following a TV interview there was a race for the bath and dinner

 

The final result was as follows: -

1.Team Edge-First Ascent - Michelle Lombardi, John Collins,

                                             Mark Collins, Phillip Swanepoel;

2.      Team Drifter      - Hano Otto, Sonja Otto, NeillBradford,                                                                                        Derek Bezuidenhout;

3.      Team 180ª Arnica Active           -Xavier Scheepers, Kirsty Burrows,

                                                            Des Searle, Mark Moir;                                                                                                                                                                     

4.    Team Energy    -Trevor Ball, Eugene Nel, Cara Lee ,RichardSutton;

5.      Team Subaru          -Richard Starr, Cathy Price,Warren Price, Paul Hatfield;

6.      Team Jabberwock  -Erica Terblanche, Brian Clark, Kobus van Zyl,

                                            Riaan Bredenkamp;

7.      Team Kinetic-Transcor    -Stephan Muller, Heidi Muller, Ziggi Mengerssen,    Piers Pirow

8.      World Of Endurance     -Paul Mitchell, Heather Gras, Clint Bentley, Willie Kotzee;

9.      Team Rocky                    -Max Cluer, Rebecca Stamp, Sakkie Meyer, Paul Lancaster;

10.  Team 8 Seconds              - Alex Harris, Tim Osran, Elton Holland, Dominique le Roux;

 

Quest Shortened Course Finishers:

1.      Team Ngwenya Glass Swaziland  -Richard Shannon, Igna le Roux, Christo Snyman,   Andre Visser

2.      Team International Adventurers   -Primus Lambert (UK),

                                                                   Kristel Dorion (Guatemala),

       Jody Le Par (USA), Andy Tubbs (USA)

       David Ogden (Team Manager)

 

Unranked Full Course:

1.      Team Beeld         -Sharon Laws, Matthew Warner-Smith, Arnold de Swardt;

  Unranked Shortened Course:

1.      Team Hydro Gear          -Chris von Klemperer, Natasja James, Chester Foster;

2.      Team Linden Cycles      -Jeremy Green; Hugh Cole; Nicky Wolff;

3.      Team Power Bar             -Debbie Leibnitz; Greg Jensen;

  Withdrawals:

1.      Brasil Telecom-Oskalunga, Brazil

2.      Team Group 6 Security

3.      Team Karrimor

4.      Team K-Way

5.      Team Hexal Natural

6.       Team FEAR Namibia

 

Friday 18th July

 

The prizegiving commenced at 1000 am with the final team crossing the line during the ceremony.

 The team enjoyed meeting and racing with the local African teams who were friendly throughout the race. We hope we have left our mark on South African racing by raising the profile of support teams 

The winning team Edge is certainly a contender for top honours in the World Series. 

We plan to return next year hoping that the race will be held in warmer conditions rather that the worst storms for 70 years. 

Before we left we drove around the park looking for the elusive Mountain Zebra, Kristel, Grant and Julia were lucky to spot some.

 

Saturday 19th July

 

The team returned to Port Elizabeth and Primus, Andy and myself commenced our travel home. Kristel and Jody had an extra day to wait and were making plans to go to a nearby surfing championship. Grant and Julia were due to set off on a well earned weeks holiday further along the coast.