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Beer and floating bicycles, but puckers stay intact

By Martin Doyle

New Zealand News Report: The man from Wellington watched his bike float away down the Maitai River, and Tom’s words rang in our ears… “shortcuts make for long delays….”

The ENVCO Global sponsored team “Lost Ensembles” were competing in the Rollo’s 6hr Urban Adventure Race in Nelson. The team consisted of four Council Hydrologists from Tasman and Wellingon.

The day started with 45 minutes of planning, followed by a 14km paddle the length of the Nelson Haven, with a run along the iconic boulder bank to the first of many control points around Nelson.  There were 29 control marks to be found, and the team had 6 hours to find as many as possible and return to base. 

Each control mark was worth different points so a good route choice was essential. The Lost Ensembles plan was elegant in design, a masterpiece of critical analysis.  We threw it out the window as soon as the hooter sounded and just went for it.  After all, one team member had a 14 year old daughter in the race, and there was no way we were going to let her beat us.

We were pleased to finish the paddle section - all of us felt a bit nervous at the far end of the course where the water was shallow and we were told to expect some “bottom suck”.  The trauma of this threat caused one team member to offer a beer once we were out of the boats, but the pucker was still in place when we got onto our bikes. 

We had a short ride before starting an orienteering section over the (yes) iconic Centre of New Zealand hill, and the team completed that successfully, then moved on to a steep climb up another hill overlooking Nelson City.
The final section was mountain biking, and it was in this period that a shortcut through the river was suggested, but first a steep vegetated bank had to be negotiated.  The man from Tasman was at the bottom of the bank.  “Pass me your bike” he said.  “Sure” said the man from Wellington, and he threw it over the head of the man below into the river.

Bike recovered, the team continued, and made it back to the finish rather more tired than 6 hours earlier.  Honour was retained with a (somewhat narrow) win over the 14 year old, and it proved to be a great day out.  We weren’t called to the front at the prize giving that night, but ENVCO Global director Richie Morrow’s sponsorship covered a drink, and we were satisfied to have completed the race.

The team was Jon Marks, Kieran Scott, Chris Strang and Martin Doyle. Our thanks go to Richie Morrow from ENVCO GLobal for generously sponsoring the team, we greatly appreciated the support.