Drew Scott and Petrus Maree, of the Plett Adventure Racing Team, competed as a duo in the recent Kinetic Events’ Full Moon Kouga adventure race. At 120km, the race is relatively shorter than the 500+km Expedition Africa, but is excellent training for our growing adventure racing community in Plettenberg Bay. Four teams from Plett took part in this race: Team Plett Adventure, Team Buco Adventure, Team 2 Dutchmen, ‘n Meisie en ‘n Soutie and Team Bike Shop Buco Adventure. Below, Drew reports on the team’s race experience, in the lovely Kouga (St Francis Bay) region and on the importance of navigation in this extreme sport.
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When Sarah indicated she could not make the Kouga Full Moon 120km adventure race, Petrus and I decided to enter as a duo. The focus would be to give Petrus some navigation experience and exposure under race pressure to plot checkpoints, decide on routes and navigate on the move with the full pressure and influence of other teams and individuals. Navigating in a race is completely different to navigating on a group outing. The experience will pay off in the long run to have more than one experienced navigator in the full team for future events.
We started off in the lead bunch arriving in the dunes 3rd with Keyhealth Nevarest and Jabberwock still within sight. A bit of fumbling for Checkpoint 5 saw us drop a place or two as we entered Transition 1.
The cycle out of Transition 1 was where we learned the most with us wasting 45 minutes in missing a checkpoint and having to go back to get it. We did not let the hiccup negatively affect us and instead learned from it and carried on.
We dropped to about 14th place on the first part of the leg 2 cycle. Slowly we found our rhythm and started working up in the field again. By the second half of the cycle Petrus had relaxed into nav mode and found his zone as we ticked off checkpoints and arrived at Transition 2.
A quick change over from cycle to paddle and we hit the water with fellow teammate Andrew Damp (who was competing in another team and ahead of us on the cycle). We had a great paddle and managed to pass a few more teams on the water as we made our way up through the field.
Once we arrived at Transition 3 we had an extra task to do and Drew chose to do the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) task. A welcomed change into dry clothes and we were off on leg 4 which was a 15km trek. The dry clothes were short-lived as we had to wade through the water (being the shorter route).
Once on the beach it was a smooth run on relatively hard sand to the next transition. We caught up to a fellow Plett team, passed them and caught more familiar faces in East London team members from Team Castle Lite (who, by the way, it seems to be a tradition to bump into around midway through the course).
Once at Transition 4 we were onto the last leg which was a 45km cycle to the finish. The cycle was cold, as a front was expected in a few hours, but wind-free. Petrus by this stage was into the navigating and reading out all the turns and bends as he navigated the route.
After 12 hours and 10 minutes we finished in 7th place overall, winning the Male Duo category.
Massive thanks to our title sponsor Plett Tourism. Find out more about the Plett team and adventure racing.
Plett had no fewer than 14 people in four teams participating in the event, finishing with 2 teams in podium spots.
Photos: Bruce Viaene