Gloucester Mountain Man – An Adventure
Gloucester Mountain Man Tri Challenge has been running on the second Sunday in September for 28 years in the picturesque country town of Gloucester, at the foot of the Barrington Ranges. For all this time, it has been a sort of hidden gem – followed faithfully by those who are addicted to it, and frequently discovered by newbies who want to see what the fuss is about.
Newcomers are certainly not disappointed by the scenery – beautiful clean waterways, rolling but not quite mountainous terrain, quiet backroads and a supportive town are just some of the drawcards.
While not exactly taking place on mountainous terrain, the course is nevertheless challenging – especially for the underprepared – and the river doesn’t always play nice with its water level, resulting in some lengthy portages if conditions dictate it.
A 24km MTB ride, 10.7km kayak leg, and an 8.8km run leg are the challenges waiting for individuals, teams, and some hardy tandemists. Transition areas are slick and well-laid out, there is plenty of aid and support along the course, and support teams are welcome, if not encouraged. The prizes – cash and merch – just went on and on.
From initial check-in to carbo dinner, briefing, race day, and finish line, these locals are a well-drilled team with years of experience. The exception was me – not only was it the first time Tempus has timed the event, it was the first time in its 28 years that the race has ventured into the realm of chip timing.
As is usual with a first time contact with electronic timing, no-one among the organisers were sure how it was going to go down, but were pleased with what they saw. No more scrambling with stopwatches and Excel spreadsheets, no collective head scratching before the presentation could happen, and most of the athletes were already on board, having experienced chip timing at other events. Commentator Peter was my particular best friend on the day, with a shiny new iPad keeping him informed of just who was who. Anyway, I hope they were pleased with the outcome.
It is my fervent wish that this race continues to grow after a couple of lean years – due mainly to the weather and river conditions – and that Tempus can be there with them. It’s a great little event in a beautiful part of the world, and for anyone who is contemplating a plunge into adventure racing, this is the ideal primer.
Picture credit – Margo Cameron