Race Media

Race Review

Dec 14 / 2010

Cosmo Richards Race Run Down Patagonia AAC 10

Overall race winner Cosmo Richards who partnered with Jeremy Ritcey this year at the Patagonia Action Asia Challenge in association with Landrover and CLP gives his account on leading up to theOverall race winner Cosmo Richards who partnered with Jeremy Ritcey this year at the Patagonia Action Asia Challenge in association with Landrover and CLP gives his account on leading up to the race and what happened on race day Dec 12 2010 race and what happened on race day Dec 12 2010..

The race run down.

Lots of good competition this year especially the top 10 teams they were all very strong. Some new, some improving all the time. Was there a favorite? pre race I thought two of the top teams (Chiru Endurance Asia)  and (Champion systems Asia Pacific Adventure) would be a close thing on recent form.

Firstly the race begins long before the starting gun with lots of blood sweat and tears. Working with and through injuries, on my team Jeremy had a strained muscle in his leg from the Trail walker 2 weeks earlier and was still feeling a bit flat + lungs gunked up with dirty air we have had of late. Me with reoccurring ITB problems and as of the last few months tennis elbow(not from Tennis??) so no/limited paddling training.   Were defiantly getting older. Last 2 hr training  session on the Wednesday before the Sunday race trying to get Jeremy around CMW as quickly as possible with out killing him then some rock scrambling.  Thursday, Dry needling from Physo in the legs for both of us Ouch double Ouch then rest and stretch as much as possible in a busy life with 2 kids etc.  Hydrating as much as possible Fri and Sat.

Two funny pre race things I always seem to get  1. I always think/feel like I'm getting sick total pre race hypochondriac and secondly I always sleep really badly the night before a race nerves and over-hydrating some 5 trips to the toilet throughout the night. Alarm set for 0530 so I can eat 2hrs before(oatmeal) thought no need as I'm still awake or did I sleep at all ?? Force down the food as nerves have me not feeling like eating and it's still dark. I've been through the race a 1000 times the night before hence no sleep. Not feeling that great again normal race morning for me won't actually know until 5 mins into the race how the body is going.

Arrive at the Start catch up with other races lots of nervous excited energy again I'm not very good/chatty pre race just trying to stay calm and focussed. 5 min warm up run and a gel 15 mins before the start. 2 min to start, line up at the front with race partner. My least favorite bit is just before the start count down as I just want to start.  And were off I hate a fast start but in these races its par for the course with a short 2 km run to get back to your bike and out before the congestion. Once on the road feeling Ok pace slowed a bit which was nice. I see my wife and one of my sons for a cheer on great. We reach the Beach in front with 3 other teams now Ryan takes a great line through the River and ends up 20 meters in front of everyone. Along the beach back to the bikes I ease up letting a few teams go ahead just trying to relax my legs on the beach run and save them for the bike/long race, Jeremy my team mate arrives first and gets both bikes out ready to go great work.  Now onto the bikes which is my strength I was hoping to finish the bike leg with as much lead time as we could over Ryan and Stone 5-10 mins would be nice and hopefully limit the time loss to Pierre and Mark to a few minutes. First steep hill Jeremy loses his chain/jammed up due to bikes being covered in sand as we rode back along the beach to save time(very bad for bikes). So he runs the bike up the hill prob faster then riding and he stops to fix it we lose 1 to 2 min now in 4 or 5th position. We can see one team in front and I wanted to try and catch them before the first tight single track so off we go Jeremy on my tail. We just catch them as we dismount to cross the creek to enter the trail they very kindly let as pass as were quicker on the single track very nice .  3rd now to catch Ryan and Stone. I'm  trying to get my race start push out of the way and set a steady fast pace with out blowing up or dropping Jeremy. Approaching the end of the first ten mins single track I can hear some brakes screaming ahead, if your using your brakes your doing it wrong, well some one once told me that. So we weren't to far behind the next team. On the fast decent and I now know why the brakes were screaming from the lead teams. I'm in the middle of a Buffalo stampede I have one in front and one behind going flat out down a technical decent each one weighting well over a ton with big horns.Theres a first for everything. I survived and make it to the bottom in one piece and catch a glimpse of the two teams in front. We catch Ryan and Stone as we cross the Dam.  2nd now time to put the hammer down for a bit to drop them.  2 mins later we see Mark and Pierre stopped and pumping up a tire. Well there's some luck were now in First place didn't expect that so early so we get a boost and ride hard to try and make the most of the lead. Trying to be smooth and keep the flow through the tight/techie awesome CMW single track with out flatting or crashing giving Jeremy lots of positive encouragement on the bike. I'm starting to feel a bit empty/hungry not good only 45mins in didn't eat enough pre race arrgh . I have an extra gel and hope that I come good. Towards the end of the bike section we were still in the lead I caught a glimpse of another team behind probably a few minutes, Pierre and Mark. Still I didn't expect to get off the bikes first so far so good. 1 hr racing.

Before we arrive at the beach for the transition into the first Kayak I start to think of the transition and what we need to do. Drop bikes, Paddles etc.  I reach were the paddles are and they have been moved and all the paddles look the same argh. Find our paddles then into the boat but first the life jacket.  I forget that these ones go over the head so you have to remove the helmet and race bib then all back on messy transition say to myself next one will be better.   Into the water a few strokes through the waves and then take a look back next two teams on the beach probably estimate that we have 3mins back between each team. So 6mins on Ryan and Stone as hoped and then 3 mins on Pierre and Mark bonus. Now forget them concentrate on getting the arms working and the stroke going smoothly. Again trying to set a fast but smooth pace and not burn out the arms.The swimmer barrier is ahead argh head down full steam ahead and then lean back as we hit it and bounce/ slide straight over phew that was close. Approx halve way through the paddle, Jeremy asks me to take a look  Pierre and Mark are steaming up behind us and gaining quickly they must have a motor. I say to Jeremy don't worry lets just do our race.  Trying to keep motivation up. They pass us.  I try and sit on there tail which means we all do a 2min interval.  Were dropped can't do it can't stay with them. Again try and get back into a rhythm after that max effort lots of waves and chop in the rough waters so the fun takes our minds off the paddle but I can't help but think we have to do this again after the run.   There's the beach Mark and Pierre are heading for the far end we decided to go straight into the close end of the beach figuring the way were paddling quicker to run the Beach then paddle?? not sure. We manage to catch a wave near the end but ended up side ways argh no rudder Jeremy ends up getting the boat in the back upside down taking one for the team. All Ok lucky escape boat back on the beach and a  better transition this time to the run. guessing 37 min paddle.

Run. Start moving on the beach first team has about a 3 min lead. Take a look two boats coming up to beach behind us probably 3ish mins behind is Stone and Ryan so we lost some time on the paddle. Legs are very tight and getting twinges in the groin which means/ salt /Gel/drink. I know it should be ok and just have to keep/get my legs moving and hope they come good Jeremy says he's feeling the same. In my mind I'm starting to think unless we start running very well soon Stone and Ryan will catch us maybe we will only get 3rd if lucky. We hit the hill and stairs fast walk it and rubbing legs trying to get the lactic acid out of them after 40 ish minutes in the boat.  Now this is my team mates strength running so for the first time so far in the race I'm now redlining it and trying to give it everything. Jeremy right behind me as we hit the top of the hill we start running my legs are feeling better all the time and were now starting to really move so maybe it's game back on I just hope I can keep the pace. A quick check with Team mate about the pace and he says good, great running lots of encouragement coming from him( great help). Half way around the run I catch a glimpse of the beach with all the boats on it through the trees beautiful this is what it's about great Techie contour trail around a mountain in the bush with out any sign of life you could have been anywhere in the world. Towards the end of the trail we still haven't been caught and were still moving fast / well. I then hear a Team ahead of us, a little later I catch a glimpse of them on one of the switch backs were catching the lead team so we push hard to catch them. Trail ends so it's now a 1 km on concert back to the boat we decided to sit behind them and rest a bit after the push on the run to catch them. We still have the last kayak to go. Mark from the team ahead makes a comment about our good trail running I say "you should see us on the rocks" a bit of gamesmanship knowing that they would probably have the lead into the last run after the paddle. Back to the beach we all arrive together. We now have the extra run all the way along the beach to the boat at the other end on sand maybe it wasn't such a good idea. 35ish min estimate run time.

Last paddle we transition well back into the boat as we enter the water lots of teams coming the other way in fact it was like it all the way back. Couldn't help thinking that some of them have a long day ahead. Lots of cheers from the other teams as we cross paths great. Entering the water Pierre and Mark have the lead again by 20 meters.  I take a look back once out of the waves Stone and Ryan are on the beach again I estimate similar gap 3 ish minutes back. We manage a better paddle back I think as Pierre and Mark slowly pull away maybe they pushed a bit hard on the way out. We make a decision to not put any more water in our bags on the transition just have a quick drink to save time it's a bit of a risk but it's that tight. At the end of the paddle we take the time as they enter the beach there 2/3 mins ahead looking back Stone and Ryan are probably 3 ish mins back so RACE ON it's down to who has the best legs left for the last run. My family is at the start/ finish lots of cheers which helps going into the last 2 runs . Argh both shoe laces need doing at least they undid at the same time.

Off we go along the beach again legs feeling heavy but energy levels are good I'm feeling good and about to hit the rocky coastline /  gorge that I enjoy. We flew through the first section of rocks great pace we must be gaining???. Then the push up the trail to the water catchment again for the second time in the race I gave it everything just saying to myself reach the top first then worry about the rest later. Jeremy is right on my tail. We reach the top in good time to enter the gorge we started with an abseil. This gouge is amazing beautiful with lots of clean fresh water I know it well but running down it looks so different to going up  as I usually do. Big cargo net off a waterfall yeah this is fun. I'm still feel good this is the first time I realize my team mate is starting to reach his limit for the day as he's slipping and falling his way down the gorge. I try to encourage him and pick /show him the fastest line down. We don't see anyone on the way down until we reach the coast line were's there's 500 meters of rocks back to the beach. Then we see the lead team again there only 300meters ahead on the rocks. So head down we push hard and make it to the beach only 100meters behind were gaining on them. I'm off to get them as I have a surge of adrenaline. I realize I can catch them only one problem I'm leaving my team mate behind. So I ease up and they pull 100meters ahead again time for the tow line. Which was meant to be used on me I think. Out it comes and I'm off again with team mate in tow we catch back to within 20 meters as we leave the beach for 1km of undulating concert trail which ends in any abseil down to the coast line and back along the coast. Both teams realize that whoever gets there first will have an advantage of a few minutes as only 2 at a time down the two ropes. We hit the first little steep up there fast walking it ,Jeremy says lets do the same I agree only when we get there I again have this surge of adrenaline + energy after 4 hrs racing I'm giving it everything and redlining again with poor Jeremy in tow working flat out we pass them on the climb but both teams then sprint out the rest of the trail staying within meters of each other until the end were we managed to get a small gap. Hitting the Abseil they caught back up as we were hooked up to the  ropes. Argh he's done my figure eight caribina upside down and left handed.  "Slow down sort it out take your time ". I now get to see if my really light hardness can actually hold my weight as we abseil down 50 ft into the water on a beautiful coast line.  Ropes unhooked and were off in the lead I think for the 6th time in the race it had changed. Looking back we have a 300 meters lead on the rocks all going well I'm thinking we got it.   Take it easy don't fall. Near the end I take us into the water instead of staying on the rocks it was a mistake the water was almost over our heads and filled with oyster covered black knee height rocks which Jeremy found out very painfully. I turn around as we near the end of the coast line and the other team is only 50 meters behind us again and gaining.  I tell Jeremy he thinks  I'm joking just to motivate him. Argh another sprint to the end. We reach the beach 50 ish meters in the lead with 500 meter beach run to the finish line one cramp and your gone. I grab the towline just holding it in my hand and we sprint down the beach every part in our bodies is telling us to stop but our minds said where not going to lose it now. Jeremy asking for checks of the distance 100meters then 200meters then ?? we got it. We collapse over the line Jeremy totally spent and unable to get up but it was so worth it 4 hrs 16 mins and less then a minute separated the two top Chiru Bike teams. Stone and Ryan Of Team Champion Asia Pacific Adventure only 6 mins back.

I just wanted to say lastly how important it is to look after the environment to keep places like the South Lantau Country park were we raced clean and in the condition that it is so it and many other cool places in Hong Kong can be enjoyed by all. It's also really important to all do our part to help clean up the air it's been really bad lately some days our lungs are sore just from breathing in all the pollution.

Cosmo Richards,

Team Chiru Bikes.

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