Lou’s 2018 GODzone Report


OMG. What was that?! During leg 3 the 150k trek/packraft leg of never ending mud crawling and bum slides it was the ‘the most overrated, uninspiring thing I’ve ever wasted my time doing’! But you know, all hard times eventually improve, yes? Of course!

So from the beginning..
This was always going to be massive. I’ve never been plagued with such self doubt and fear about what may lay ahead in a race. Pulling out was never an option, I just had to see how something like this would pan out and just how hard would it be.. Upto 10 days of pushing the limits 24hrs a day in a team of 4. The boys – Pete, Dave and Liam all had at least on GZ and multiple expedition races under their belt and I trusted them all explicitly. It seems I’ll follow them anywhere😂

Leg 1.  Packraft and trek 110k . Solid hike around some mountain with good views, and some lake and river packrafting plus a 150m abseil in the dark. I was bitten by a bee for the first time ever yay – not just 1 bee, but 4. Fattest hand for 4 days following that experience..
I think we logged 30min or 1hr sleep that night. Good fun had being around other
teams. I think some packrafting in the dark whilst falling asleep and hallucinating also happened somewhere.

Leg 2 we started a 55k mtb Leg in the afternoon maybe. This leg included a caving section. Such a great opportunity to contort your body into random positions squeezing through tight spaces. Bonus GZ yoga session. It was beautifully cool down there and when we resurfaced it felt like we landed in tropical North Qld.. kept riding and this morphed into the big one.. somewhere we slept for 3 hours.
Leg 3 150km packraft and trek way out west and down to middle earth (or the end of the earth depending on Lou Lou’s headspace). The paddling down the Wairaurahiri River was fantastic. Total highlight of the event even tho Liam and I took a long swim after overbalancing a flooded packraft in an eddy. Pete and Dave executed a textbook throw rope rescue. This is the leg that just kept on giving. Mud. Nothing but mud. Every step just sucked the life and joy out you. It just takes so much energy to keep dragging yourself up each time you fall down. I had a fair bit of hate going on for anyone who wasn’t part of CBRAR Rogue at this time lol. Only a whimper away from tears with every step. Broken, but moving.

Eventually we hit the hut we visited a lifetime ago and the track improved for another 30km or so into the start of leg 4. Another 3 hrs sleep somewhere in the dark and cold.

Leg 4 – I was pumped for this leg. I expected a long steady bike then a solid climb and a sweet descent into Leg 5. Mistake. I was blown. The first part of this leg broke me to bits. More shitty slippery steep mud that seemed to have no end point. Then a road ride that saw the guys tow me as I was gutted. Totally empty. Crying like a toddler at the end of a harness being pulled through the lolly aisle when all you want to do is stop and wake up in two days time surrounded by fluffy pillows a doona and a new body. Then out of nowhere, the most amazing locals set up some lolly stations and the infamous roadside GODZone BBQ – which saw us all stuffing our faces with sausages, pastries, coke, lollies and the best spaghetti rolls ever!! By the time we got to the bottom of the climbing, I’d say the boys were pretty worried about how I was going to get up that ascent. I had another internal tantrum, was able to HTFU and rode up. There was just no other way to get there and there was no way I was having my arse towed up that climb. The boys had done enough! We camped up the top, all sleeping through the alarm.. and then it was onto the most ridiculous hike a bike up Sir Prick Percy Pass. Lift bike above head, place on rock, crawl up to rock, lift bike up again and repeat for hours. We eventually got to the top to see a cameraman … no words required. Hooked it down into the next TA. Only a 24k trek and a couple of paddles between us and the finish. Sweet. Wrong.

Leg 5 – sweet 2 hr paddle – non event.

Leg 6 – trek. We were moving as solid as possible and managed to get to the waterfall crossing before dark. Gnarly. (No details here for your sake Mum). Then more up, more tree ferns, more peat moss, more slippery log and river crossings and a fall through some roots into a hole deeper than me- like a trapdoor, gone. Dave rescued me from that one. We camped out on this leg, just too tired and getting abit dangerous. So close to the next CP. we slept through the alarm again… and started off in daylight. Strolled into the CP at Lake Herries for a 2 km canoe across the lake. This was picture perfect. Then more trekking with some fabulous views behind the Kepler maybe? I was never really sure where we were. (Just keep up and shut up 😄). But we were finally out of the canopy and gaining some visual rewards for our work. Following the river down to the final kayak leg was great. Fun bouldering and the closer we got the the lake, the flatter the terrain became. So close. Blew out a shoe and a trekking pole 2km from the finish of this leg. Perfect timing.

Leg 7. Final paddle. We knew we would be dark zoned. So close. Super choppy cold windy paddle to the beach we were to camp out on. It wasn’t all that bad. We had two tents. Glamping all the way – a fire, hot water and maybe 6 hours sleep. Total bonus eco experience. The GODZone that just keeps on giving.
Leg 7
No missed alarms this AM. We were in the boats and paddling right when the dark zone timed out, calm waters and a couple of hours between us the finish. The final check point put on a show. The most vibrant double rainbow we’ve ever seen. It was something else. We were our own little pots of gold at the end.
Crossing that finish line was epic. I’ve never had a race bring me to tears, but GZ nailed me multiple times. For me, this race epitomised resilience, and just how broken and beaten the human body can become, yet with resolve, patience and amazing team work and team strength, somehow it became achievable to beat this GODZone beast.

Just over 8 days of non stop intent and pain, averaging maybe 3.5hrs sleep a night, at times moving maybe 800m/hr through out of this world terrain. We came in 16th overall and were the 2nd international team which is an epic result amongst a world class field in a race with a high attrition rate and so many teams being short coursed. Thank you so much to everyone for your support pre, during and post race. Especially Rosie Shakespeare at freedom fitness for your coaching expertise, and Robyn Garrett for your amazing support and being you, and to Jo Leamon and PJ for looking after me post event.

Right now I’m sitting at Lake Hawea at PJ and Jo’s gourmet kitchen, being waited on with amazing food, in between sleeping, and covering never ending cuts and blisters in savlon. My calves and feet that were swollen to the size of my thighs are going down and I can see my knee caps again. Whilst some of the guys are planning their next AR, (WTF!?) I’m not. I’m so grateful to the CBRAR guys, Ben, Pete and Dave for giving me the opportunity to race with them over the past 12months, and to Liam for joining us on this GZ adventure. I seriously don’t think I could have gotten mixed up with 4 nicer, hilarious and respectful guys. Special love for my CBRAR and GZ boys for sure!!

Over and out 😄🍷