Last month a ladies crew popped up to Townsville to race Magnetic Island Magic. The 37km could be raced as a changeover (beach or water) or Iron. The Noosa ladies raced Iron and were the only ladies crew to do so.
Logistics: We were very lucky to be loaned a Kamanu from the Coral Sea club (thanks Flea and her contacts!). A few took a leisurely road trip up, whilst others flew up from Brisbane on the Friday night or Saturday morning. We bunked down in a lovely AirBnB, 30 minutes from Townsville Airport and approx. 5 minutes walk to the start. Everyone apart from Flea flew back on the Monday morning and went about their working days – so this is a good away race for those short on leave.
Race Day: Race day happened to be on the “one Townsville weekend of winter 2022.” It was decidedly chilly (even for a POM) and Flea’s garmin tells me it was 12 degrees. Nonetheless a beautiful sunset greeted us at the beach. We had rigged and floated the canoe the day before so knew we were good to go. The course was anti-clockwise around the Island, so as long as the Island was on our left we were good. There was a slight Easterly swell on the Eastern side of the Island which helped at the beginning…but we had to push into it on the home run.
Every curve of the Island revealed different scenery – from verdant forest to idyllic beaches to stunning rock formations.
We passed our lovely Ellie who was paddling with her new club, looked like a mixed crew with Ellie the only female. Kudos to her focus as she didn’t even glance her eyes left as our whole crew were whooping and caterwauling to her.
We had a very happy crew the whole way. Flea had warned us the home straight would be a slog – and it was a little (the communications dish on the mainland did that old trick of moving further away the more we paddled), but we crossed the line bang on our target time of 3hr 30, 8th out of 27 and the first ladies crew over the line.
#1 ‘Legendary’ Linda O’Connor
#2 ‘Super’ Sal Scarce
#3 ‘Nails’ Nicola Cameron
#4 ‘Cooool’ Cec Ridderhoff
#5 Jackie ‘Island lovin’ Parsons
#6 ‘Fabulous’ Flea White
Flea (coach and steerer)
“Nutrition: Mix of electrolytes and carbs, 3l water, Allen’s snakes halfway (green and orange only).
Fave part: was the whole package of getting an away team to compete 37km Iron, meeting new paddlers and just sharing what I love about this sport. Maggie has always been a bucket-lister for me and I was stoked how awesome it was! Also, Charlie from Hekili shouting out “we’re gonna get you soon” and me yelling back “them’s fighting words.” Any time they went for a change we went for an effort and constantly crept ahead to kick our goals (and Hekili). Congrats to Linda in her 1st year paddling and sitting seat 1; Sally, 2nd year, nailing the timing in seat 2; Nic with her great timing, power and huts; Cec with her experience and power in seat 4; and Jackie, 2nd year, with that all important power in seat 5. Pleasure to steer.“
JP (give me an Island to live on and I’m happy)
“First race over the usual marathon distance. Must admit I was a little worried about my fitness, but rest assured our coaches know what they are doing, and we all finished with energy left in the tank.
Fave part: the ocean, the ocean, the ocean, and the Island. Beautiful water, amazing scenery and grateful for the time to look left. The company – and thanks to Coral Sea girls for their hospitality Sunday night. Oh, and beating Hekili as they pipped us to the post at Nationals…
Nutrition: 2 x Sea salt chocolate GU gels (yum – available from the sports shop by Bunnings); 1.5l water – oops – found out on the start line everyone else had 3l. I was thinking about past mountain marathons where I used the same camelback, but in hindsight they had refill stations. Luckily it wasn’t hot and 1.5l was perfect…but lesson learned!“
Cec (fellow Island lover)
“Colourful sunrise. Great paddling conditions. Magnetic Island was beautiful from the Ocean, with each little bay and headland offering slightly different conditions. The team paddled strongly throughout, hard slog back from the Island to Pallarenda. Really enjoyed this race and would happily do it again. Happy with my hydration and my prep. A great bunch of girls, a challenging race and a fab time in Townsville“