After a week of wild rainy weather and then cyclone Debbie prep the lead up to Adventurethon Magnetic Island was one we watched with keen interest. As locally we breathed a sigh of relief when she headed further south, we were also sad to see many of our southern neighbours & competitors affected by the cyclone.
Saturday morning we were pleased to see beautiful, calm conditions and slightly lower humidity than previous few days. And as athletes began arriving for check in…
Fast paced start for all paddlers from Horseshoe Bay, with Spectator and support boats creating some wash which the top paddlers made the most of.
Townsville local Luke Smythe set off with a cracking pace and the field responded. Kris plain putting the hammer down to surge ahead by a few hundred metres by the exit of Horseshoe Bay.
The Horseshoe Bay to West Point paddle leg rewarded paddlers with spectacular views, big boulders and rocky shoreline as well as some small runners that needed a lot of work, once out of Horseshoe Bay.
The VW Enduro competitors made the most of the protected bay with some flat and fun racing. Adam Smith leading the way and then in the 2nd lap Adam Beale from cairns surged ahead to take the ski lead
Back in the BNG Sports Ultra- Kris Plain’s rudder broke at Horseshoe Bay, amazingly he kept ahead of the field (though he lost around 8 to 10 mins off his prime pace was still able to keep ahead). The lack of rudder allowed him to take a really shallow line over the reef.
Luke Smythe had an awesome paddle and looked very comfortable, coming in off the paddle only 3 minutes behind Kris Plain.
Sam Stedman put in good efforts with minimal paddle training (as his lead up had spent mostly running) and with a decent paddle to Picnic he found himself in a good place to make up time on the run.
In the women’s field, it is always exciting seeing such a great group of women battling for top spot. But the camaraderie amongst them all was also noticeable, with a healthy respect that each of them was doing something pretty spectacular today. First female off the water was Laura Dunstan, beating a lot of the rest of the field. As a Magnetic Island local, this is an event close to her home and heart and she headed out on the run almost 10 minutes ahead of her nearest female competitor, Lia Johnson and then Olga Poberezovska about 5 mins behind Lia.
Honarable mention to Team Billys Crew, whose paddler had not paddled before and did a 2:55 minute paddle AND managed to complete the 20km.
Duathlon start 0740
The Dirty Duathlon competitors rocked up to Picnic Bay – it was so good to be able to include previous years favourite part of the course – the jetty – to start the runners off on their event. Runners made their way then along the Picnic Bay mall and out towards the next sections of their run, before their epic climb up to Checkpoint C.
This years course included a ROCK HOP and ABSEIL (Ultras only for abseil). This was a very exciting part to the course, and definitely gave competitors some added excitement and adrenalin. There were some scary moments, especially with a few first time abseilers – but with 4 ropes and 2 instructors plus extra marshals kept the process was kept very smooth.
It was great to see everyone in the Ultra get in a do the abseil section!
The rock hop was pretty rough and the exit of the rocky bay was a search for the ribbons to find the way out with some high lines tough terrain and slippery dry scrub between rocks.
A few sunbaking backpackers gave a much-needed boost to the mid pack field in front of Xbase along the beach.
Into the forts there was some great climbing into the forts themselves.
The NEW Enduro format was enjoyed by competitors – with the ability to sprint each leg and still have a great day out. The protected paddle, shorter bike course and run, all very productive to the short course specialists who like it fast. It also makes a perfect stepping stone for those people wanting to step up from the Taste of Adventurethon.
The descent from the Forts pretty gnarly in to Radical bay, with VW Enduros going via track and the Dirty Duathlon and BNG Sports Ultras going via the rock hop. The rock hop section was pretty challenging and for some people who had never done sections like this before it was tough. Don’t worry – those rocks will still be waiting for you next year.
Rob Smythe– had a cracker of a paddle and was super fit and looking well placed in his age group, before he injured his calf after run. Heal fast Rob.
2 lap courses are fun if you love the course…and we really do! We are so thrilled to share this interesting, challenging course with competitors and love seeing how much everyone has a love/hate relationship with it.
Those that got in early were happy to avoid heat with the 2nd laps for the bigger racers a bit cooler.
Descending after the first 2 climbs is fun with erosion bars creating a good launch pad for the experienced riders.
Some quick road sections linked the trails and gave a cooling effect with the speeds on the downhills.
What comes down must go up again in a loop and so the pipeline trail up to CPC was little easier but still a hard climb and the prospect of doing it 2 x might be a bit daunting at first climb. The addition of a few natural ramps over erosion mounds allowed a better climb to the top.
CPC disqualified competitors for “drafting” as an April fools joke and had competitors chuckling away. LOL
The pipeline descent had also had some work done and a series of pallets magically appeared on the downhill between drops… the Enduro and DH riders really ate it up riding the entire thing with others taking the safest option and walking a few of the steeper ramps.
After the pipeline it’s onto the Horse tracks with a couple of creeks and cools shaded winding tracks to recover on.
Sam Stedman commented that he, Kris Plain & Luke shared the CPC ascent together on lap 1 and that on the descent he opened up and smashed out an awesome descent where his knicks touched his back wheel (I believe we have on video).
At the end of the day, Sam Stedman was able to make up time on his run and crossed the finish line first, in a time of 5:19:13, followed by Luke Smythe 5:29:12 and Kris Plain (from WA) in 5:41:46.
The women’s top finishers were Laura Dunstan 7:16:22, followed by Julie Sager 7:56:08 and Olga Poberezovska 8:27:38.
For full results, including Enduro and Duathlon times and winners, see the website HERE
Thoughts from Us
We are so stoked that people took the challenging course on, it’s tough and requires constant upgrading of your skills, something that can keep you motivated to train and continue to develop as an Adventurethon athlete.
Magnetic Island really turned on great weather and showcased an amazing landscape framed by granite boulders of which we were able to enjoy.
The addition of the abseil and the forts was awesome and the rock hop was a real reward for those that did the prep work on technical rocks etc before the event.
Bill Whalley – old sentimental favourite shoes gave out, he did a couple km with no shoes, then marshal Adrain offered shoes about 3 sizes too big….shoes wrecked, socks wrecked .
Kris Plain paddled from West point with no rudder – makes it a tough day out for anyone.
Kevin – Back again after last years Magnetic Island and really enjoyed the new format.
Zac Pope in the Dirty Duathlon administered first aid a few mins top…helped with a bleeding leg on course…no blood not going hard enough
Girls were all close at paddle – was a really great vibe amongst them all – encouraging and cheering each other on.
Lia Johnson – was unwell leading into the race, but wanted to do it so badly, she was careful and measured and DID IT! You rock Lia.
Spectator Boat was a very enjoyable addition for us this year (& we would love to provide this for you again in the future – stay posted). Judy (partner of Bill Whalley and both visiting from WA, said she loved being on the spectator boat. It enabled her to be right there IN Bill’s race, seeing what he was seeing and experiencing, and instead of just talking about what he saw at the end of the day, it was a much closer connection. She loved it.
Craig McPhan, after a dnf last year, had a score to settle. Then when cyclone Debbie blocked his ability to get north (from Mackay) he was feeling more and more desperate that he would be unable to make the race. Then on Friday, he was thrilled to discover he could get through and we are very hapy to tell you that not only did he finish, but he did his BNG Sports Ultra in a very good time too. Great work Craig!
Keith Wilson had a cracked rib leading into the event – we know we breed them tough in Queensland – but we can just not get over how repeatedly people are kicking butt on these courses despite having things to overcome.
Toby Neilsen (from New Zealand) had a really awesome abseil – very fast and confident – it was great to see him back again.
Special SHOUT OUT to our awesome volunteers – seriously magnificent effort you all gave over the entire weekend. With a brand new course, and very hectic lead up, we were grateful to have such a friendly, reliable and super bunch of volunteers – THANK YOU
In closing, it was a bummer we lost a few competitors and helpers to the cyclone affected areas but happy to have had an event to put on as with the cyclone headed for us and only turning at the last min we were happy to have anything happen at all. We are so proud of everyone (those who came and those who couldn’t because of the cyclone, be it flooded in or off helping with recovery) and we look forward to seeing you all next event.
Turns out Maggie was perfect.
Thanks to Joel Savage at Adventurethon Australia