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  • Writer's picturekarenfitforlifenz

"The James" Alpine Adventure 18th January 2020

This was one of the many races that were on offer at the St James Mountain Sports weekend of events. There is something for everybody! It had been on my radar for a while since I love the St James MTB track & a friend just keeps going back for more of the massive Mountain Man Xtreme event.

We arrived to a rather chilly Lake Tennyson. There had been a heavy frost that covered the boats, tents & bikes of the brave souls that had camped up there Friday night!

I dug out my thermals but thankfully by the time my race started the sun had come around & the temperature rose to more Karen friendly degrees.

We started with a 7km kayak around the circumference of the lake while the brave swimmers who must have amazing circulations jumped in for their 1.5km swim.

A short jog up the hill to the camping area & I was soon on my MTB for a short 4WD to the start of the St James MTB track & a lovely ascent with amazing scenery up to Maling Pass. A fun descent took us down to cross the Waiau river & we followed an undulating trail past Ada homestead and across the Ada river into Henry Valley. I was making good time & then hit the boggy marshy area just before the ZigZag track which slowed me down somewhat & was tough on the legs. However it was a fun descent back down to the Waiau valley where we crossed the swing bridge. Shortly after we were greeted by a very steep loose rocky hike a bike before some more undulating 4WD trails up to Charlies saddle followed by a very welcome downhill that I got a bit carried away on & screamed into a long rut which I somehow managed to eject myself from intact & continue down the lovely downhill past Scotties hut. The wind had just gotten up a little here & the legs were feeling a bit tired as we pushed on up the Edwards valley towards Peters Hill, the last big climb. I got up a couple of bends then the legs were grumbling big time. I was mindful of the run coming up so a bit more hike a bike before a fast few kms down to the road & back to the St James Homestead for transition into the run.

It was quite hot by now but there was a breeze so no complaints from me! The run crossed the Clarence river & then followed a rough trail of blue arrows that took a bit of spotting but you knew more or less that you were heading for the exit of the MTB onto the road. I enjoyed the back country rough trail aspect for the 4km until we crossed back over the Clarence & then it was a up a gentle hill before descending to the head of Peters valley. Here we had a lovely back country stock trail that took us back up to the St James MTB trail which gently undulated downhill back to the St James homestead & a welcome finish line!

A grand day out in a beautiful part of New Zealand

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