Ocean waves to dinner flaves… FKT journey to dinner and darkness (again!)
Big big progress and oh what a great feeling .. turning away from the mighty Southern Ocean and it’s incredible roar I headed inland .. I ran quite quickly – a new game had began of trying to put the Ocean roar behind me now knowing that I was heading North and in the right direction for Adelaide .
Nope – I couldn’t help myself and pivoted around to have one last look out to sea before forcibly shutting that particular mental gate – Shutting away the efforts of highly technical rocky path, of cliffs and of beach running.
The next gate to open was one I knew very well .. it was the traditional start line of an Ultra race in South Australia called Heysen 105 – I had raced this several times and had been fortunate enough to have podiumed twice so it was familiar territory.Having said that the race began in the morning so all what was racing light would soon be challenging dark .
My son George had chosen to run with me for this leg and suggested now was time for a mental reset .. the road was quite normal to run on and though unsealed after the last 10 hours it seemed decadent but nevertheless wonderful!
We had 2 hours of daylight left and this was not far from my mind. Anyone who has ran from day into night and maybe even into day again knows that this can present a mental challenge or two and you must contain too much thinking – you know that a daylight trail km will generally be quicker than a night time one and when you have over 100km still to run the cumulative effect of knowing darkness will rob you of kms , energy and sleep as well as challenge your motor skills – the clock can play on your mind.
Generally your body and mind associate normal with daylight , normal with good vision and normal with birds tweeting their songs and more general high spirits of running with great company that you can see smile and laugh .
Darkness can breed feelings of apprehension, of perceived slow progress and of dusty and woolly thought processes.
7pm came and 13 hours of running saw me reach for the first No Doz – caffeine tablets that do not give you daft highs and lows but allow you to function well with a clear mind . Stopping the onset of tired tripping or wrong turns on the course.
George and I navigated familiar paddocks and fence lines to yet again follow.Following the ever present red arrow of The Heysen Trail we negotiated swampy ground, boardwalk, and trail littered with huge limbed branches that lay scattered at the foot of the largest of trees symbolic of some ripping winds that had recently passed through the area
Young lambs looked on in bewilderment , rushing for their mums and away from the unnecessary distraction of two runners on their home turf.
The night finally came as we switched into Pine forest and delightful downhill running – much snapping of ground debris out of headlight range to the sides of us – the Kangaroos must be marvelling at this idiocy!
Unsealed road gave way to bitumen and the settlement of Inman Valley . A chorus of voices from a nearby house shouted “ Well done David “ as they stood on their drive , a warm and inviting Friday night lounge room behind them in full view.The strange chorus was very random but really welcome!
Randell and support were there and time to get changed into the night gear. Ten hours ahead of night running , of following the white light, of feeling your chest rise and fall and seeing your breathe in front of you .
The temperature had certainly dropped and at Inman this was another key check in .
A point where George took himself off for a break for the night (though he only got 2 hours sleep – too exciting and too much happening )and where Simon Duke joined me .
This was special to have Simon here . As the holder of the self supported FKT of the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia Simon had been pivotal in getting me to the West Macs Monster race up there finishing in Alice Springs and at 231km was my goal race before it cancelled …
Well if you can’t get to it how good is it to have one of the guys running with you down here on your alternative replacement challenge!
Other excitement here was the fact that my stomach was rumbling and that could only mean a PROPER dinner was up ahead .
Now food is a great reason to spur you on though this was mildly suppressed by a detour that the Heysen 105 race does not cover and it follows the actual Heysen trail through a property and land that does not wish the race to pass through there .
The dogs barked as we approached and yet again another house that looked warm and inviting – a sure sign that the temperature was dropping (again!) – it was dry though and that is a massive advantage.
We were rudely welcomed to Sugarloaf and Moon Hill where we were brutally introduced with 2 little stumbles to a 500 meter long climb that kicked up at 30% – Simon went on ahead and when he had been away a short time I looked up mistaking his head torch for the moon as it seemed to be vertically above me .. wow the dark at least was covering the rawness of this climb.
Up and on it went through scrubby rocky woodland before spitting us out on to the road and a host of voices hustling around the gates and the welcome familiar hazard lights of Randells car.
We were nearly at half way as Angus Bruce and Ethan Wight stepped out of the shadows – kitted up and made themselves ready to join us for night running away from dinner and into the night …..Randell handed my my big bag of buttered chicken and rice and a well deserved Bundy Ginger beer.
Time to re energize – tackle the night and know that it was not wise to chase down the sunrise as it was still quite some time away…
READ MORE : The First 69km – Cape Jervis to Kings Beach