I had a busy week of travelling coming up to Red Bull Defiance, driving from Whakatane to Greymouth to touch base with my team mate and get in some training over the Coast to Coast course. To our disappointment the weather was not playing the game, flooded rivers made negotiating the course too dangerous. With some help of local knowledge Hayden and I were still able to ran, mountain bike and paddle a few of Greymouth's hidden treasures.
We both knew Red Bull Defiance would be tough. Firstly the terrain, course designer Braden Currie wanted it to mark a new breed of multisport, so if he was aiming for a race with massive ascends, challenging terrain but still requiring speed to win, he hit the mark. Secondly the competition, with over half the field international competitors and several world champions competing it sent chills up your spine just thinking about it. Hayden and I entered the mixed elite category which was highly competitive.
Day one, a barge ride got us to the start of a 42km hilly mountain bike. We started off well kicking the heels of front guys, 20km mark down and our first mishap, Hayden lost function of his gears. Our competition was catching and I could see the worried look on his face. We got through it only losing a place to another mixed team. Now 13km run with a abseil followed by a paddle we smashed that out making ground. It was the last run of 12km that we surprised ourselves sitting in third mixed team position, we flew pass several male teams and the ever so experienced mixed Thule. Now tussling for first place between us and torpedo 7, it was nerve racking but sharing a bit of banter between us broke the ice. We came in second mixed team and third overall!!
Day two, probably the tougher day. A paddle followed by clay bird shooting. Then a mountain bike, I could say this is when the big boys come out to play but a more accurate description would be the lean sub 60 kg guys, who have just come off the raw chicken diet. As the mountain bike just went up and up and up. Although Red Bull Defiance did save the best to last with a 30 km run up Mt Roy and finishing in Wanaka town. It was tough! We managed to finished with a every strong run coming in 2nd mixed team and 4th overall. Hayden and I were both happy with the result, as Hayden not having very much experience in these sorts of races and also racing such a stellar of a field. Not only did we give the previous winners a real run for their money we were beating some pretty respectfully male elite teams.
Wanaka is such a multisporters dream I really look forward to next years Red Bull Defiance. So big thanks to GU Energy New Zealand!!
Corrinne Smit is a GU Energy New Zealand Pro-Deal Athlete
Cyclists notoriously have tight thoracic spines or mid back. We spend hours hunched over on our bikes and everywhere else in our daily lives.
Sonya Looney is pro mountain biker with a world championship title to her name. She gives us some crucial stretching and mobility exercises to combat the 'cyclist's hunch'.