This past weekend, Pete and I participated in the Queen Charlotte Classic – an adventure race that took us along the Queen Charlotte Track and through the Queen Charlotte Sound. The race included a 14 km run up and over a mountain range (me), a 50 km bike ride along the beautiful (and steep) coastline (Pete), finishing off with an 8 km paddle (tandem). On race day we woke at 5:30 in the morning and psyched ourselves up with some oatmeal and positive thoughts.
I think there were over 350 competitors all lined up along the beach ready to go. The first leg of the race was the run and we hopped on to a water taxi for the 30 minute boat ride to the starting line, in a spectacular place called mistletoe bay. On the ride a couple of veteran racers warned me that the first leg of the run was ‘steep as’. For those of you still learning the kiwi lingo, that means a few degrees short of a cliff. Good times.
Luckily, I had been training on hills for the past few months and, for the first time in years, I was actually able to tackle it without feeling the need to pass out or throw up! Plus, I managed to finish the run under an hour and a half which was a personal best for a single track mountain run! Yay me!
Pete took this shot from the boat after they had dropped off the runners at the starting line. The run took me over this mountain range.
Pete killed the bike portion of the race even though virtually the entire 50 km route was uphill. Good thing the view was so spectacular. It provided a wonderful distraction from the task at hand. I was so proud of him!
Sadly by the time we were ready to take on the paddle section of the race, the wind had picked up so much that they canceled it altogether. Apparently the majority of the lead racers who had gotten out on the water ahead of us were all capsizing. The rescue team couldn’t keep up with all the flipped boats and so they had no choice but to cancel the paddle portion. Sad news. But this did mean that we got to hit the pub even earlier. A decent compromise ☺
The afternoon was spent wandering the town (which didn’t take long) and enjoying the scenery. The Queen Charlotte Sound is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. They also, as we discovered, have the best fish and chips I have ever had! Nothing beats a cold beer and some tasty fish ‘n’ chips after a long day of fun in the sun!
Luckily, in lieu of missing out on the Saturday paddle, the kayak rental guys let us have the boat on Sunday for a day of paddling and beach hopping. We explored the many bays that make this area so truly stunning. We puttered around in the shoals and enjoyed a yummy nap on a secluded beach.
Peter in deep thought. Trying to come up with a cunning plan that would let us stay in this moment forever.
At one point, we came across thousands – yes, thousands – of jellyfish. It was quite incredible!
Back to the harbour to wait for our ferry. Two hours late, but we didn’t mind. We just sat on the beach, fed the ducks, and watched the sun slowly fall behind the majestic mountain range.
The ferry ride home was a bit of a blur as we were completely wiped from the weekend of fresh air and fierce sunshine. The term ‘sun kissed’ is an under-statement. We’re more like ‘sun smacked’. But oh, it was allll worth it!