Trident’s year 12 student Isobel Wotton completed the endurance race Coast to Coast with her mother as the only mother/ daughter team and one of only a handful of under 18s in the annual race on the 8th and 9th of this month. The two day course started at Kumara Beach on the South Islands West Coast with a 3km run to help spread out the pack of xxxx competitiors before hitting a 50km bike ride. This ride had Isobel a little worried as she broke a spoke on her bike tyre after someone’s derailer got caught in it. With a slightly wobbly wheel, Isobel held back a little bit as she was unsure how it would affect her at speed. Despite this hold back she was still travelling at a speed of 30km/hr on undulating terrain! After the ride the team started the 30.5km run which is mainly off trail with the rocky riverbed often the only direct line up the valley. Competitors encountered multiple river crossings with frigid crystal clear water and an elevation gain of nearly 800m on their way to Goat Pass and the start of the descent. With the very fastest athletes taking nearly 3 hours the run is as much a test of co-ordination and strength as it is outright speed. Isobel says that the run was really exhausting as it was mostly rock jumping for a couple of kilometers so she had to dig deep to get to the end point at Klondyke Creek on day 1. There the team debriefed, ate a good meal and slept as much as they could before having to be up early (4.30am) to get their gear to the drop off point for day 2.
Day 2 saw the team start with a 15km ride along more undulating terrain, finishing that leg in half an hour. Then it was into the kayak, the leg Isobel was most nervous about. Having not had much experience paddling in rapids the 70km stretch of paddling was somewhat daunting for Isobel who was steering at the front of the kayak. After the first three sets of rapids and no incidents, Isobel says she felt a lot more confident and they completed the paddle in 5.5hours. During this leg Isobel picked up a tip or two for when she competes in the race next - she saw some competitors with a straw that went through a hole in the bottom of their kayak into the river and then hooked up just below their chin. This meant they didn’t have to move to drink and it was plentiful and cold coming from the glacier fed river. Getting out of the kayak the team headed into the last leg of the race - a painful 70km bike ride along New Zealand’s longest, straightest road towards Christchurch. During this flat ride Isobel says her and her mother managed to get into a good group to draft with and combat the head wind. Biking 20cm apart while drafting they managed to finish the ride in 3 hours. Biking into New Brighton, Christchurch was fun, with supporters cheering them on as they whizzed past, with one supporter spraying the athletes with his hose in the blistering heat. With a completion time of 17:46:03, a placing of 7th in the Family Team Category and 17th in the Mixed Teams, Isobel and her mother are proud of their achievement, and rightly so!
Isobel plans to compete in the race again next year, but she wants to do it alone in the 2020 race, having had the experience of doing it this year she knows what she can improve on. We look forward to following Isobel’s journey and know she will shine bright! Well done to Isobel.