After five days of mountain biking, pack rafting, trekking, and navigating, Nathan Fa’avae, Chris Forne, Sophie Hart, and Stu Lynch of team Avaya have their sights set on theGODZone Rotorua finish line.
The leading adventure racing world champions completed a 88km trekking stage through the Kaimanawa ranges, southeast of Taupo, in a little over 48 hours this morning.
At the GODZone transition at Waikoko Valley Camp, team captain Nathan Fa’avae said the native bush trek was incredible and a fantastic route to experience.
“ It’s as good as it gets as far as hiking goes. I was really enjoying it, but tough to have as part of a stand-alone event like this. Chris did all our navigation, and he did not have any issues with that, so we moved efficiently, but it took us a long time because it was a long way.”
“We had perfect timing for our first sleep when we got off the river deciding to hike up to a hut and got four-hours. We did the same again this morning with another four hours just before daybreak. Now we want to maximise the daylight and push it to get as far through the course as possible. We will probably sleep again at some stage between now and the end of the course –pushing on without sleep, then you start making mistakes, and so it helps us to race with a bit more intensity,” said Fa’avae.
Team Avaya navigator Chris Forne said there were a few surprises on the 88km trekking stage to contend with.
“Initially we were travelling through tracked beech forest for about the first two thirds. But then there was a large section of untracked terrain that I found a little concerning because we were quite tired. There was some scrub bashing that wasn’t anticipated, but on the whole, it went well.”
Sophie Hart of team Avaya celebrated her 38thbirthday yesterday while on course and received a birthday card and sponge cake from the team’s support crew at transition. She said experience was paying dividends on the Chapter 9 course.
“The four of us have done a lot of racing together, know each other well and how to tackle these types of races. We focus on doing our own thing as much as possible out on course, which is not always easy when other teams are around and try to just keep trucking away at our own speed – bit by bit.”
She said she was looking forward to being off the legs and on the 57km paddle covering Lake Taupo’s length.
” I try not to think about the finish at all until I can see it because anything can happen. We have been in positions before where you’re on the last stage, and something unexpected happens, and we are delayed by hours, so I am not anticipating that just yet.”
Ritchie McCaw’s team isport and Queenstown’s Tiki Tour both made up good ground overnight and are currently battling it out for the second and third positions. The GODZone media team caught up with McCaw yesterday as he started the trek.
” We got some sleep on the pack rafting, and that has made all the difference – I feel like the race has started all over again for me,” he said.
The 666km GODZone adventure event is now into day five of racing, with the course remaining open until Saturday, March 13th. There are 28 teams currently on the full Pure course, 8 on the full Pursuit course, 11 (Pure) teams now on the short course, ten teams continuing unranked. Three teams have retired from the event.
GODZone teams are carrying GPS tracking systems and can be following online: http://godzoneadventure.com/