Day 4 – Mt Field, TASMANIA – The sun came out to play on Day 4 of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge which started with a steep 16km uphill mountain bike ride to the top of Mt Field and ended with a 11km paddle down Derwent River.
The terrain was rocky and very tricky to navigate for most of the day, particular for the athletes not used to competing in adventure racing, but for the leading pair, experienced adventure racers Richard Ussher and Braden Currie, it was just another day in the office.
“It was a really good day for us today,” said Ussher. “The terrain suited us and it was an awesome course, just stunning – running on the top of the (Mt Field) plateau and the tarns.”
Braden agreed with his teammate on the scenic course, “The course really flowed the way it was put together. There was hardly any down-time, it was one good thing after another.”
Ussher and Currie crossed the finish line first for the fourth day running and are well placed heading into the final race day tomorrow.
“We’re pretty happy with where we are, happy with how we’re racing. There is a lot of fantastic athletes here from different sports, and this is our sport, so we want to show what we can do.”
Currently in third place is Team Red Bull’s Courtney Atkinson and Kenny Wallace who despite a strong finish over the past four days, admit it has been tough, especially the runs for Wallace who is an Olympic gold medalist for kayak and used to using his upper body.
“No question about it, that run today absolutely buckled me. By the end of it I felt like a ragdoll, as Courtney was dragging me along. Getting down the hill, there was so much rock, there really wasn’t much of a path.”
Wallace felt much more comfortable on the kayak leg, but admits it wasn’t an easy leg.
“We had to paddle quite hard to get through some of the rapids, but the last 12kms was really quite nice, windy river with little rapids.”
Atkinson also thinks the day was tough, and being a triathlete he is used to road courses, and not the uneven, rocky, mountain terrain.
“It was an interesting day, a lot of check points took longer to finish than the time bonus allocated. It’s been a long day, about seven and a half hours,” said Courtney.
Wallace agrees and is looking forward to completing the fifth and final day of racing in Hobart tomorrow.
“As soon as I see the finish line, I’ll be a happy man. It’s been a long week, but we’ve been to some amazing places and seen a lot.”
Team Rexona also had a challenging day with Guy Andrews having to pull out of most of the race in the morning due to illness.
“The good thing about food poisoning is it only last for about six hours, so I was able to do the paddle leg at the end.”
Guy’s teammate, triathlete Ben Allen, paired up fellow triathlete Courtney Atkinson and Kenny Wallace for the mountain bike and run legs.
“It was fantastic, those boys push the limits all the time. They are world class athletes and for me to keep up with them was phenomenal. It’s a dream to compete with two Olympians.”
Allen added that he was glad his teammate came good at the end of the day to get back on the course.
“Guy was able to fight back from his illness and continue on, just goes to show his character.”
The 5th and final day of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge will be staged tomorrow in Hobart. Competitors will start with a mountain bike leg from Mt Wellington and take in the sights of Bay River, Kingston Beach and Battery Point.
Results – Day 4
1st Richard Ussher / Braden Currie, Team discovertasmania.com 04:36:03
2nd Tim Robinson / Dean Hemburrow, Team XTECH 06:30:38
3rd Ken Wallace / Courtney Atkinson, Team Red Bull 06:33:07
ABOUT DAY 4
Day four of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge started with a steep 16km mountain bike leg up Mt Field which started at 100m above sea level and finished at 1000m above sea level.
Once at the top, competitors set off for a 15km run leg along Lake Dobson and the alpine plateau. For the brave, some competitors chose to go onto Lions Den where competitors had to clamber over boulders to get to an optional check point.
From the plateau, competitors descent the mountain into another orienteering course through Russell Falls and Tall Trees Walk, before a bike leg along Gordon River Road for the one paddle leg of the day. Competitors covered a distance of over 80kms.
The event is raising money to two charities, Whitelion and Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal. Press Release