The Merrell Adventure Addicts, fresh off an expedition-styled training camp are awake, alive and raring to go. Graham Bird, Hanno Smit, Donovan Sims and Susan Carter-Brown spent 75 hours exploring the Overberg Region on the Western Cape as they prepare for the Adventure Racing World Championships.
“The purpose of this training camp was to build the confidence and bond as a team again,” mentioned Graham Bird, who has been out of the team since late last year due to a torn ITB. “It was vital that I put my body and mind through this exercise in order for myself and my teammates to build the confidence that my injury is now 100% healed. I have had to sit out and watch from the side lines, which was tough, but now I’m back and feeling stronger than ever”. Another key aspect, which needed testing, was the addition of Susan Carter-Brown to the Addicts, who has come in to replace long time Addict, Tatum Prins. “It’s an honour. I’m excited and stoked to be a part of this team. I will have to up my game before World Champs in Costa Rica”, shares Susan, who quietly found her place in the team and showed that she has the physical and mental capabilities to mix it with Addicts.
The training camp route, designed by team captain Graham Bird, consisted of mountain biking, trekking and paddling. Starting at Anysberg Nature Reserve in the Karoo, the team headed south on mountain bikes, before doing a night trek over the mountains in the Marloth Nature Reserve. They then enjoyed a 70km paddle down the fast flowing Breede River, climbing back on the bikes at Malgas for a night cycle to Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. Here the team took 4hrs of sleep, having been awake for over 45 hours. After “quick” 30km hike around the stunning reserve, a westward cycle to the mountains north of Riversdale for a night trek past “Sleeping Beauty”. With time running out, the team chose to cut the trek short and headed via car to the famous Gouritz River N2 bridge, leaving out the 60km MTB that had been planned. A final 27km paddle down the sandbank riddled Gouritz River to the mouth saw the team completing 425km in just over 75 hours.
The camp was not without incident, with Donovan Sims picking up a stomach bug towards the end of the first day. “It was terrible. I had absolutely zero energy and wasn’t able to keep anything down. My reserves were depleted.” After sitting out two of the training legs, the bug finally worked itself out of Don’s system and he was able to rejoin the team again. “We achieved all the goals and objectives we set ourselves before the camp” commented Graham Bird. “We pushed our bodies and minds. We tested our Merrell gear. We got tired; sleep deprived; hungry; dehydrated; hot; cold and grumpy. We left with our SOULS rejuvenated having spent three days OUTSIDE. Exactly like an Adventure Race.”
The Merrell Adventure Addicts now turn their full attention to preparing for the Adventure Racing World Championships, which will be staged over 800km+ in Costa Rica at the beginning of December 2013