01 December 2013
Cyborg Runs with the Wind
On a return journey from Sydney a few years ago, I noticed a few white blooms sprouting on the other side of Lake George. Over time, these plumes bloomed into a fully-fledged forest of wind-turbine power generators, lazily spinning across the way, generating power for the district. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me - and the Immoral Support Crew - and we set out to see these monstrous towers up close. But we were denied - through a combination of not realising just how far they were away, and the fact that they were on private property.
So, when I heard of the Run With the Wind Event - a “casual” run through the wind farm, how could I resist? For the small price of me having to run eight undulating kilometres, we would get up close and personal to these towering giants! The Immoral Support Crew could take pictures while I paid the price in sweat. I was quite looking forward to this event.
Then I read the course information, which included the sentence: “Both courses start in the valley, make the ascent onto the Woodlawn range, and follow along the ridgeline amongst the wind turbines, before descending back down the range to the finish line.” I had seen that ridgeline from the other side of Lake George. I was no longer looking forward to the event.
The Run With the wind course was like a rollercoaster - with all of the screaming on the inside. As the course description suggested, the start arch led straight into a relatively steep climb, which served well to break up the field. And I should point out, that the self-seeding seemed to work quite well, as there didn’t seem to be many people in each other’s way.
More climbing followed, though on a much gentler gradient, until it dropped into a steep, stomach-raising dip. It was at this point, while attempting to control my headlong fall back to valley, that Martin Dent came the other way, effortlessly running up the steep slope - he seemed to be having an easier time coming up than I was going down. Before too long my stomach settled back into position, and I was climbing back up once more.
This was a longer climb than the initial one to get onto the ridge, and probably just as steep! I had just enough time to recover at the top jogging around the turnaround point before I found myself running back down the steep, gravel slope which led, once more, to the huge climb I had seen Dent tackle so effortlessly. The same could not be said for myself! We were only maybe three kilometres into the race, and it already felt like forever!
The next hundred or so metres offered a little relief in the form of a slight descent (I don’t think any of the course could be described as flat!) followed by a long, slow, climb to the next turnaround point. Fortunately it was nowhere near as steep as the climbing that had already been done, save for the last few metres prior to the second turnaround point at around the six kilometre mark. Both turnaround points had water and I had intended to stop for a drink this time, but that seemed like a bit of a waste of time knowing that I was nearly home, and it was all downhill. So on I ran.
I didn’t have a lot left at this point; I was relieved it was nearly over, and quite content to just cruise to the finish, encouraging those still running up as we crossed paths. Just then an older lady pulled up next to me, running quite happily; she took one look at me and said, “C’mon, you’re not going to let an old lady beat you, are you?” and picked up the pace a bit. So I had no choice but to push a little harder to keep up with her. What was worse was that she obviously wasn’t even pushing at this stage, as she was still quite conversational, letting me know that doing that 5km run the day before, and the half marathon the weekend before were probably mistakes...
She did lift me though, and pushed me to continue when we approached a final little rise before the downwards run to the chute - in which she suggested we put on a big finish. I thought I was up to that point! Fortunately, in this case a sprint finish just meant letting go, and hoping I wouldn’t fall head over heels on the gravel on the way down.
All in all, it was a great event; the hub was well organised, with plenty of food, refreshment and information and the course was quite challenging. I came this time to get up close and personal with the wind turbines, but I’ll be back to see if I can do better on that course! It’s short (it takes longer to drive there than to run the course) but sharp, definitely the run to do if you’d like a bit of a challenge (and the scenery is great too!)
Many thanks to all the volunteers, and to Infigen Energy for organising a fantastic event.