Buoyed up by the fresh news of one of life’s greatest victories, the Merrell Adventure Addict team headed exuberantly into the great outdoors over the past weekend to begin preparations for a big year of racing.
With their main focus being expedition Adventure Racing, they spent 36 hours, first trekking 70km through the rain and mud of the Amatola mountain range surrounding Hogsback, then mountain biking 228km through the night from there to the Karoo town of Cradock and finishing with a 52km paddle down the Fish River.
Team member Donovan ‘Tiny’ Sims had just been awarded the title of Cancer Survivor, having thrashed the disease that forced him from the Adventure Racing World Champs in December 2013 with the same determination and strength of character that he delivers to this premier unit of athletes.
“Having watched Don first come to terms with his diagnosis and then how he went about dealing with and finally beating the cancer was inspirational. His passion for life and living it to the full is infectious” said team captain Graham Bird. “With the team having been quiet for some time, the weekend’s camp was important for us to remind our bodies and minds what it feels like to push for long periods. Being able to just press on with massive distances, non stop and through whatsoever conditions are thrown at you is key to adventure racing”.
The Merrell Adventure Addicts’ female competitor; top canoeist and trail runner Robyn Kime, is away traveling in Europe until mid April, so the camp was for once a “boys only”. Hanno Smit and Grant Ross joined Graham and Don as they laid the foundations for success with the team’s tough 2015 racing schedule.
The major goal this year is the Adventure Racing World Championships staged in Brazil in November. Having finished an impressive 5th in 2013, the team will be looking to further improve upon this. As part of their preparations the team will tackle two further World Series events; first up the 500km Expedition Africa in Swaziland in June, followed by the 700km XPD Australia in August.
With the continuing support and shared vision of Merrell, the Addicts will continue to be driven by the “OUT. PERFORM.” philosophy of Merrell. Other team sponsors include PVM Nutritional Science, Giant Bicycles, Squirt Bicycle Lube, Island Tribe Sunscreen and Black Diamond head torches.