Hells Bells 08 – Fraser Coast

This year Glen Singleton, Paul Kelly and myself decided to participate in this years Hells Bells race. The race was organised by Geocentric Adventure Racing (GAR). With all of us not thinking about it too much before the event, preparation and organisation was limited, but we had done of these events to hopefully be able to plough through what ever was thrown at us.

We drove up early on the Saturday morning, leaving Brisbane at 5am and reaching the Bike Drop off point right on 9am. Unpacking the bikes we soon realised that our Map Board had broken off in the wind in the journey up. Fortunately Tim had a spare and we were good to go. We were also missing a speedo on the bikes but we figured we would survive without it.

The race started at Tin Can Bay (at the RSL). 10am was the pre-race brief, along with getting the maps of the course. In the race briefing Craig decided that this year we are going deviate from the usual Adventure Race format, and go on a Treasure Hunt. After a long winded story about how there is apparently some treasure lost in the region, we were going to assist to find this treasure. Craig also mentioned that it would be a great event or a flop, read on to find my opinion.

With the race starting at 11am, with a Boogie Board leg across the channel towards Rainbow Beach. We decided to run around on land for a few hundred meters, and then cut across a shorted section of the channel. I soon discovered that sneakers in scuba fins was not a good idea for kicking (note to self 1). Also going across land and mud, it also provided grief putting the fins off and on in the mud. Anyway, we finally reach the boat ramp, and headed across the point to Rainbow Beach, with Boogie Boards and fins in hand we legged it through the township, then to the Surf Life saving club for the next check point.

After making it to the sand beaches of Rainbow Beach, we had to swim out to locate a further checkpoint, and work out where we were to go next. The next leg consisted of a trek up the beach to the to point where we had to lug the boogie boards and fins, assuming we will need them in the not too distant future. Wrong. We made it to the point, some 12ks later (with some “teva style” key searching along the way). Finally able to dump the boogie board and fins, we hit the next CP. Pumping up the dodgy kayaks was always going to be fun, as usual the first one was faulty, so another had to be started from scratch. I would have thought that GAR would have sorted this problem by now! Anyway after a lovely paddle over to Fraser Island. With many dolphins and in the realms of darkness, fortunately we has the other kayaks lights to keep us going in the straight line. After what seems an eternity we finished the kayak leg (with some magic of finding the correct inlet) we made it to the bike transition. We managed to overtake a few teams who had some issues with the river system, and at the checkpoint there were alot of already frustrated racers. Happy to be at the CP, and have a chance to warm up, we knew that what lies ahead was some cold times! It was only around 10pm and we were already freezing!

The next leg was a trek which involved alot of backtracking. Although it was good to warm up and have a chat to some other teams!

The race this year was setup so that once you reached the checkpoint, you would then be given the next set of maps, to take you to the next checkpoint. So we spent some time on the next leg noting down the next set of CPs that we needed, and then finally ending up at Prices Pool (somewhere in a circled region on the map).

Onto the bikes, we found all the CPs, albiet freezing and having the issues of riding with a borrowed mapboard and limited lights. Some good trail rides in the area, so will need to keep that in mid as well.

We were onto the next transition in high spirits, as we were keen to get to the next box and put some more warm clothes on. Unfortunately the transition never came….

After circling around the same area for some 2 hours and at 4am we decided to ditch the CP. Unfortunately it was the transition CP, and we didn’t have a map on where to go next, so we did the only thing we could do and was to ride back to the HQ. Game over.

The only good thing was that we arrived back at HQ in time for the 7am BBQ and got our sausages warm! We packed up our gear and was on the road by 8am home. 

Not the most memorable event. Although it was good to catchup with my team – Paul Kelly and Glenn Singleton! 

XPD – Whitsundays

Participated and completed in my 2nd XPD Race (the 3rd overall) in the Whitsundays.

The course map is as follows:

Course Map

Here is our team:
Team mug shot

Bio is located here

We finished 16th over the line. Overall a good race. For me, it wasn’t as “scenic” as Tasmania (my first XPD) and the journey route wasn’t as adventurous. But the journey and the whole pushing the body to the limits had it’s milestones. We had some good legs and some crap legs, I’ll only try to remember the good ones!

Good to see we made the media shots too:



Things for the organisers to note for next time:

  • Wiers: They shouldn’t be included in race courses or at least get the warning correct to racers
  • Get the story consistent between the officials and the race directors.

Things for me to note:

  • Don’t fly Jetstar – they cost me a bucketload with excess charges (bike / paddle)
  • Know your team mates well before starting.

Although the race was also tainted by the officials changing the rules on us halfway causing us (and may others) to be disqualified – I’ll still hold onto the 16th over the line.

Also, a good friend of mine, Justin Francis has made a video of the preparation, racing and post race. I have found it the best bit of media of any adventure race and if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.