We spent this weekend in the VERY picturesque South West of WA, at the annual Blackwood marathon. This is definitely a “some kinda crazy’ event where teams of 5 run 12km, swim 1km, paddle 15km, ride a horse 15km (up some SERIOUS hills) and then cycle 33km. And then there are the “really crazy” people who do the whole 5 legs themselves…
We have been attending the event for about 12 years to act as support crew for two of the aforementioned ‘really crazy” people (who win their respective Ironman and Ironwoman sections every year so they’re pretty good at it) and then of course about 5 years ago I got twitchy about missing out on a ride in a really pretty part of the state and ended up being in a team as the rider. You get all sorts riding, from experienced endurance riders to eventers to polo players and people who just like to ride. Some of the teams are fiercely competitive, while other are just there for the fun and the exercise.I have ridden it twice on Prycie my good Standardbred, and last year I was down to ride Joe, but I got REALLY sick the night before and a friend ended up riding him. So this year was my first time on Joe and I was hoping to post a fast time.
Prycie did well the 2 years he did it, but we are talking some quite serious speed here: every year the fastest horses cover the 16km in about 30-35 minutes. That sort of pace is hard to achieve when the horse you’re riding can’t canter to save himself!! Nevertheless, he managed to get home as the 16th fastest horse of the day, which we were pretty proud of.
This year.. 16th fastest AGAIN. The team finished 33rd overall out of 60 some odd teams, and a rollicking good time was had by all. We rode it in 43 minutes for an average speed of 22km/hr (14 miles an hour). This is significantly faster than we would normally be riding, when we set off for 80kms. So i was very happy with the way Joe handled this strange new request to actually RUN, when normally I am busy telling him to settle down…
But man, those hills… I’m going back at the start of the next endurance ride season, to stay with the guys who hosted us this weekend. I won’t need to ride 30kms to train: I’ll just go up and down their driveway half a dozen times!
No photos sadly, but here are some shots of the scenery you get at the event:
So what’s next? Joe is officially on spell until next february. He’ll come back into work ready for a crack at the Easter marathon (3 x 80km over three days) and then hopefully at a 160 (and yes, I know I’ve said that before!)
She and I have dates with a tetrathlon in February and a One Day Event in April… I haven’t jumped a horse in 15 years.. this is gonna be fun.