This year the Magellan Adventure team (19) registered on Friday 8 March 2013 in Queenstown. The purpose was to check off team and individual gear to ensure it met the minimum safety requirements, and to get an outline of the course so that we could start preparing our gear boxes (which were five 102 litre bins), along with our bike boxes which were to be available at particular transition stages of the 500km unsupported adventure race.
After completing these tasks, and after only having to borrow a couple of items and annoy one official, the team went back to the team captain Tom’s house and prepared bike boxes and the bins for the race. We organised our food into zip lock bags that generally, had about 4 hours’ worth of food in each bag, along with clothing and/or footwear that was required on the following stage. Gear included wetsuits, numerous pairs of shoes, extra clothing, gas cookers, helmets, paddles, bikes, lights and Manuka poles. Food and drinks were made up of sandwiches, wraps, dehydrated meals, bars, mashed potatoes, muesli, cookies, lollies, salami, cheese, ensure, coke and red bull. Generally we were well over catered but that was necessary due to Tom’s abysmal nutritional habits.
Bike box and bin preparation is always a stressful and difficult task to undertake, and everyone is always left with the feeling of “I just want the actual race to start”. Saturday dawned and the team went down to the registration area in Queenstown and put the boxes into the trucks and got on the bus to be taken to the mystery remote location (as we still had not been told where the race was actually going).
We found out on the way that we would be heading to Mt Cook for the start of the race. Maps were distributed on the bus that afternoon. The official race would start in the Mt Cook village at 6am on Sunday morning. Once we arrived in this magical location the team attended the briefing and were welcomed to the event before retiring to the Sir Edmond Hillary café to prepare the maps for the race (luckily this was the only time the team got separated and two members spent valuable energy searching for the others). We spent the afternoon highlighting our proposed route choices for the entire course, before sealing them in duracel to prevent them deteriorating over the coming days. Big talking points were the Dingle Burn trek options and the “darkzone” on the paddle stage, where teams were not allowed to paddle on the Clutha River on stage 6 between 8.30pm and 7am. This would lock the leaders out in front of the field by a significant margin for those who could get there by Tuesday night.
We retired at a reasonable hour that night in anticipation of the stresses the next few days would provide. I must admit I felt there was a calmness about the team that didn’t exist in Godzone chapter 1 – Milford sound. We were no longer racing together for the first time, we were in good spirits and had a real appreciation of what we were in for: a tough few days, magical scenery, claret to be spilled, challenges faced, and together with a good bunch of people. More