Sunday, December 9, 2012

Job Done!!!!!!!!!!

Finished - Huge Congrats mate

Day 17

In sight 10kms to go.

Day 17

Day 17 very long and lots of snakes. 17hrs for 67km. Waited a while for taxi and long drive around inlet. Very overgrown at Pelican Point and then lots of the next 2 sections. Last day tomorrow. Will miss the track but need a rest!

Day 16

Day 16 struggled with low energy. Rained most day then blew up rough. Paddled across inlet into strong wind. Made up time on long beach. 46km at 11:14 hrs Going better today. Waiting in Denmark for taxi around inlet. 

Day 15

Day 15 went way too long. Finished around 10pm for 17hrs and 65km. Spent ages on dark nav rocky headlands and beaches. Shorter day today to time access to ferry boat tomorrow and recover. 2 huts today for about 45km if i make it. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 14

Coast at last! Battered shoes and feet

Day 11,12 &13 Update

Small gap of signal only yesterday. Day 11 total was 52.84km for 13:09hrs. Day 12 short at 36.31km for 8:01hrs. Regretted not going on but was the right thing to stop. Day 13 Tuesday early start and flat day but crappy surface of bark and branches then dodging bogs and marshy puddles all day slowed things. Still managed good overall pace covering 70.9km on garmin at 14:33hrs. Stinking hot and in open marsh and heathlands all day. Totally trashed feet especially given altered gait for injury. Some great scenery and highlight was emu running away followed by half a dozen fury football sized chicks going as fast as their legs would take them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 12

Day 12 started late again to get a cooked breakfast. Just so bloody hungry. Have lost weight despite eating like a horse. Planned just 2 huts to rest my nagging ankle. But made great time on open flat trails so made lake hut about 4:30. Pushed on but went a few hundred metres and decided at best 25km to next hut was 5hrs. Probably more in dark. Turned back to stay here. Washed in lake and managed to dry constantly damp clothes in stiff breeze. Early to bed for early start and long day tomorrow. Big change in terrain to coastal heath and open low flat landscape with only occasional forest and creek crossing. Getting close to coast at last!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 11 update

Day 11 late start to get to shop to buy more food. Ate half of it before out of town! Ankle was sore from start which worried. Got worse fast until shin was really painful as well. Limped on to first hut, Warren. Rested for a while. Settled with a break. Still made todays destination but might make it a little shorter tomorrow to rest it. Middle sector today was a nightmare of blowdowns old and new from the storm. Shame as great forest trail otherwise. Recovering in a 1950s caravan at Northcliffe tonight.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dec 2 Update

Day 10 was long and tough but spectacular scenery. Into high dense forest with massive trees. Made it to Pemberton with 70km on garmin and another 15hr day but plenty of food a shower and bed. Late start today waiting to access shop for more food! Official halfway at last!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dec 1 Update

Day 8 had a great day. Rained heaps but only few gusts. Lots of blow downs from storm. Old bloke in hut was afraid of tree coming down. Guy from hut Day 9 pitched his tent in the shelter. It was wild. Did 58.8km in 13.21. Including long lunch in Balingup with Ron. Day 9 another long one. Had excellent feed at Donnelly. Last section about 25km and ankle gets bad near end of day so hard finish. Spectacular scenery though. Hut alone. 65km in 13:51 Will try for Pemberton tomorrow.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov 30 update

Day 7 was the wildest weather which continued through night. Freezing despite sleeping in all my dry clothes down bag and space blanket over top. More rain Day 8 but patchy sun. Had great feed in Balingup with Ron who came out to meet me. Great afternoon with some great climbing and views. Ankle held up well until Gregory Brook hut where I stayed. Through donnelly. 2 more huts today hopefully. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nov 29 Update

'Holy Cow, what a storm, was in full on survival mode to get to hut. Made it around 8pm, well over distance with course change. About 65km I think. Heading to Balingup - more rain'

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nov 28 Update

- Moving ok. 3 Hut day today - Sitting in hut with 1 more to go today but howling storm has hit so hoping it will break soon. Tough section to finish day. Will be late.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov 27 Update

Day 6 on Bibbulmun stopped early to rest inflamed ankle. Will make early start tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Update 26 Nov

Stopped at murrays 35km in 8.5hrs. great day beautiful hut, went for a swim. cruising nicely again.

Nov25 Update

Getting hot again. Moving ok but slower, 88km and 19.5hrs drained me a bit. Not sure if I stop at Murray or push on to Dookanelly.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Update 24Nov

On Mt Cooke Looking to stop soon, Day2: 64.5km. Lost track coming off Mt Cooke cost me time so stopped at Nerang 14.21hrs. Long haul today weather good wish me luck! Spectacular View from Mt Boomerang

Friday, November 23, 2012

Update 23Nov

Packed it in after 15:09hrs and65.9km on garmin but less by guide book. Sharing Mt Dale hut with naked old man who got a fright when i rocked up in the dark. At brookton hwy now reloading. Feel good. Another long day ahead. Warming up but moving well. Just climbed up from Canning river. 31km for day so far in 6:20 but some hills ahead.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Update 1

Damn hot but going well. 40km in including bonus kms for official detour at Weir and missed turns retraced early on. Struggling with fluids in heat. Looking forward to cool evening. Have drop at Brookton Hwy but might not make that. 

He's off

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bibbulmun Track

Stretching from the outskirts of Perth all the way south to Albany, the Bibbulmun Track is Australia's longest dedicated hiking track. At an official 967km but closer to 1000km in reality it takes the average hiker many weeks to complete an end-to-end traverse. The current Fastest Known Time for the Bibb is held by Bernadette Benson in 15days 9hrs 48mins completed in November 2011. This was a supported effort (see definitions fastestknowntime). The claimed fastest 'self-supported' is by Andy Fawcett in 17days 15hours and 10mins set in November 2008. No supporting evidence has been offered to substantiate this time and it appears that it was not a solo effort. After that the next best known and documented traverse was by Nicki Rehn in 19.5days in 2009 which included a rest day amazingly.

I am planning a traverse of the full Bibbulmun, solo and self-supported starting Friday 23rd November. I will be carrying a Spot tracker and Phil will be posting updates here as I can get them to him. I plan to utilise half a dozen small food drops and spend some nights in town accommodation en-route. My primary goal is to finish. How long it will take me remains the big question. If I do finish, I hope to establish a new verifiable self-supported fastest time. Anything more will be a bonus. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another GNW done and dusted

November 10-11 Phil and I completed another GNW100 miler. That makes seven finishes each (plus I have a 100km finish the first year when Phil paced Dog instead of entering). That puts us well clear of all others on the GNW finishers list. In great conditions we both set PBs, Phil in 25:02 and myself in 31:44. I would like to say it is getting easier but it's not. And the re-introduction of the old section after Bumble Hill was at least half an hour slower. Our 63+ hour finish of the full GNW250 back in June seemed a long distant past. But the sleep monsters were just as bad. And the trail was equally unforgiving. The records are irrevocably etched now and we start to think about the next challenge. Phil is planning to rest a nagging injury hoping to clear it up. Me, I have another long trail to tackle. I will update here before starting and get Phil to post updates as best I can relay them through when I have reception.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

GNW 250km Revisited

Phil and I are looking to have another crack at the GNW250. Starting in Newcastle early on Friday 8th June we hope to run the full course to Sydney over the long weekend. We attempted this back in 2010 while competing in the GNW100 race. That time we started at 1am and ran to the start of the race at Teralba. After completing the race and reaching Patonga Beach we were driven to Brooklyn where we continued into our third night without sleep. The combination of day-time heat and night-time sleep deprivation eventually forced us to stop at Berowra Waters when fatigue finally defeated me.

This time we will be starting fresh in the morning and won't have the heat to contend with. The only real handicap is the limitations of my heart post AF surgery but that is one of speed and not distance. After setting a PB at TNF100 recently, Phil is in great form so we are hoping he can drag me along to a respectable time.

We have a few friends offering to help out as crew, saving us a lot of logistical work and time. We will be carrying the Spot tracker linked to this page and hopefully will get a few updates on progress through during the day. However it pans out, we are just happy to be able to get back out there and have a run in the bush.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The finish

I'm back! 9 days 11 hours 49 mins.

Fantastic mate. Congratulations. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Day 9 wrap

Another long day 15 1/2 hrs including long stop in Nannup to eat and book bus and flight home. Then had to go back into town after leaving to get signal to find out where the fire was. Long road slog on this new section of trail. 26km with half that bitumen. Once on real trail in the dark nav was way dodgy as this has hardly been used and leaf litter path blended with bush. Made it to Donnelly River where staying in a bunk house. Last night on the trail! Foot holding together. Going to be rather sore when I finally stop. Otherwise legs feel good. Feet overall tenderized. Shoulder starting to get used to pack and not as sore. Will message when I reach the finish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 9

Taped and padded ankle and can move ok. Bit of a limp going. Trying for nannup and reassess. Weather better. Just trashed.

Day 8 wrap

Another 14 1/2 hour day. Would have been quicker but another midday meltdown took its toll. And after10 hours with 3 more to go a major diversion added another 4-5km. And to finish the last hour was a hobble as developed bad flexor retinaculum inflamation on my ankle. Stuffed some foam down there and hope it settles overnight. This hut is in the middle of a dusty little village. A bit strange after all the lovely bush settings.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 8

'Light cloud helping and made good time so far today. Moving faster caused achilles irritaion but not too bad. Stillness creating pressure cooker feeling in the forests. Having little rest before tackling next section'

'Forced break. Getting staggers and very dizzy. Overwhelming heat. Resting in shade for a bit. Over halfway for the day so can afford rest'

'Very tough day at the office'

'Guess this is how I feel'

Hang in there mate!!

Day 7

Could it get any hotter!

Stopped in pub at Boyanup about a km off trail. Lovely shower. Fresh pair of Injinjis and rehydrating. Early start tomorrow to try for Jarradale. Would love a cooler day but apparently not coming.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 6 Wrap

After major meltdown spent an hour sitting hunched in shade of little bush at intersection to Collie. Contemplated just hitching a ride in and calling it a day. Was heat stressed and smashed. Struggled to walk 3km/hr all morning(footpod battery died so no measure except off map now).Decided to walk the hour to Collie track junction. This is an in and out track deviation I hadn't planned to take. Adds around 36km. By the time I got to the junction I had cooled off and realised I probably wouldn't reach the township until 11-12 on a Sat night. I didn't fancy sleeping in the town park so decided that option wasn't meant to be. Besides there was nothing major wrong with me. I was just beaten by the heat. As the sun got lower I felt better and picked up pace considerably. Went into Park campground at Honeymoon pool but it was full. So went another 4km to find an empty hut. Heaven.

My feet at the end of Day 6 reflect how I felt.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 6 Updates

Now next day and I am melting down. Staggering heat making little headway. Have heat rash bad on both legs. Achilles and now flexor tendon swelling.

Pack is ripping shoulders to shreds. Feel sick from heat otherwise going well :)

Thinking of stopping short and getting bus back tomorrow. If I want to be able to run again soon I need to stop.

Yesterday ended up arriving with about 4ltrs coz I was too scared to drink. 18hr day and only 500mls in the last 8hrs. At this point might finish Thursday. Will be lucky to reach hut tonight though coz already stuffed. Hotter than hell out here.

Day 5 Update

18hr day carrying 7ltrs to get here and cooking and then tomorrow. Turns out there is still a dribble in the tank. Just. Will be slightly shorter day tomorrow or I will meltdown.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 5 Trail Pics

Day 5

'Short day yesterday helped heaps, big day planned today if all ok.

Heading for Logue Dam now. Will fill up there and try to make Yarrie tonight. Apparently no water at Yarrie so big problem.

Stopped for vegie burger, chips, milkshake 6ltrs water, 1.25ltr ginger beer. Hope I can walk after this!'

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 4 updates

He is doing it tough but still pushing on...keep going Andy!.

'Had a crap night despite a bed in a donga at caravan park. Worst cold nightsweats i have had. Feel pretty crap. Left achilles has settled. Right still sore. Will try to get to next hut. Only 29 km if i cant make that i am in trouble'.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 3 Update

'Still dehydrated. Will just head to Dwellingup today and cut it short. Need some respite. Great view to wake up to. Just me and the mozzies. Better get packing. Will carry more water today.'

'Need to get back to using crew, with extra water and uneaten food this pack is breaking my back'

'Was doing good until last 10km. Both achilles have flared up after big downhill with heavy pack. Will try heel lifts and a short day tomorrow'

Day 2 Wrap up

'14hr day. Farking pressure cooker out there. Little shade but no air and really dry. Sucks the moisture out of you. I sucked my bladder dry crossing the dam wall with 3km to go. Had emerg reseve as back up. Carrying heaps of fluid but still dry. Pack way too heavy with food and water. Not eating much during day. Great huts. Missed unmarked turn tonight and huge descent to reclimb in dark. Garmin overreading off footpod but close to 70 today lots of loose gravel made hard work. Sleep time.'

Keep it up Whippet!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 2 Update

Having lunch at Jarradale. Heat unbelievable. Makes Congewai Rd (GNW100) look like a picnic. Everything ok except shoulders killing me. Patchy phone and need to save battery. Another 35km so another late night.

Day 1 Update

'Looong day. Over distance at 85km instead of 77km on guide map. Heat really drained me, couldn't get enough food or fluid in. Missed one turn, only added 1km. Couldn't find drop box in dark lost 1/2 hour or more there. Got it. Finished 10.46 for 16.05 day. Thinking of going short today will see. Bit sore bot overall fitness fine. Just heat with 10kg+ pack hard.'

Friday, March 2, 2012

Getting back to business

Every now and then a window of opportunity opens. For some of us we are genuinely lucky to have these windows open more frequently than others. Sometimes it is just a crack and you have to lever the window open enough to squeeze through. Well over the Australia Day long weekend in January I managed to squeeze through one of those window openings.

For many years I have wanted to run the Bogong Boomerang. For the uninitiated that is a beast comprising a continuous out-and-back on the notorious Bogong2Hotham race course. One way is 64km with over 3000 metres of elevation gain. Out and back is double the distance and the elevation gain becomes irrelevant as your legs turn to putty and any incline or decline becomes a test of mettle and a real test of the integrity of your knee joints. I completed it solo and self-supported, which means no crew and no food/gear drops. I carried everything I needed from the start and only collected water from sources along the course. It took me 34hrs and 34mins but was an amazing journey across the most spectacular country. It took me a lot longer than anticipated but I was very conservative and most importantly got through without any major hiccups with my heart.

Which meant I could look to my next big challenge. Before my heart went south last year I had been planning an attempt to run the Bibbulmun in WA. At nearly 1000km I would need at least 3-4 weeks to set-up and run it. I am still a long way away from that kind of fitness or overall health. But running parallel to the Bibb is the lesser known Munda Biddi trail. Primarily designed for mountain biking, it is not yet complete at around 580km. With huts further apart than on the Bibb it would require more careful planning but it was a much more realistic goal. So on Monday 5th March, I plan to start running south from Perth on the Munda Biddi. I will have little internet access but will try to relay progress via sms for Phil to post here occasionally. I will also be carrying the Spot tracker and you can access that via the link top of right hand column (once I start).

My heart condition has highlighted to me that when a window opens I need to jump through it before it closes again. The opportunity might not present itself again. And this run will allow me to test my health in a safer but still challenging environment before I start looking to the Alps yet again.