Hells Bells one adventure gang story

Preamble by Josh Roy, written by Sorcha Flett

We didn’t go get it like one other team. Start was go and swim across the river. Nearly at the other side and Tim Boote's team turned around and swam back for something they forgot. And then I heard another team ask if they had their tracker and I thought we didn’t get ours or talk of this. Haha. Serge suggest we be quiet and continue and they will bring it to next TA and we get penalty.

Which we did. I sort of agree to this. Even if we swam back to get the tracker we should of got a penalty for that. Maybe a less a penalty but still a penalty either way.

A month or so  ago Serge asked if I’d race in Hells Bells. I’d heard of Adventure Junkies and the races they put on, and knew he was very experienced. I agreed. We did a 24hr rogaine in the Flinders Ranges to meet each other before Hells Bells. I liked that there was no discussion of race plan or question of intentions or expectations. We just did it! We ended up racing well together, so I had a bit of an idea of AJs team style and was pretty excited to meet the other 2 team members Josh and Ian in Noosa. I flew to Maroochydore and the others flew to Brisbane and spent Friday night, pre-race there together. I missed out on a bit of team bonding at the ‘Tiger HQ’, but we had a group chat going so I felt like I knew Josh and his antics well, before I met him. As usual the morning of the race was hectic, before we knew it we were lining up and it wasn’t until halfway through the swim that we realised we didn’t have our tracker. Oops! We decided to continue without it and cop the penalty. Josh took my backpack during the first run, and then PFD, what a legend. The kayak leg that followed was fun as it became a little choppy when we paddled from the river to the open bay. We shuffled boat configuration, it seemed I couldn’t escape the slow boat, we ignored that the common factor was me, and paddled on.

hells bells start

Next we rode up to the rogaine. It was not a technical ride but steep and tiring. Serge was very annoyed with himself about a few minor nav mistakes. The Noosa Trail network entrance was hard to find and after snooping around private property for a few minutes, we were put right by the somewhat cranky property owner. When we got to the Rogaine Ian and Serge had a quick discussion and the plan was to get all the checkpoints. The inability to make a decision to stop searching for  check points that took longer to find than the time bonus awarded was similar to the mentality of a gambling addict “well we are here now we may as well get the next one and the next one”. We never considered for a moment that time spent completing all rogaine check points would result in us being unable to finish before cut off.

JoshI did suggest this when we left TA to rogaine two hours behind the leader we should get one and then piss off and race. I thought it would save us energy to push harder on last half of race and hopefully the extra fatigue on the other teams would work or better. We got to first one well though so we thought it would be alright but still getting back after 5:30 would mean we’d have to go well to finish on predicted fastest time pace which we hadn’t worked out anyway. 

Once we emerged from the 9.5hrs of skin shredding, blood shedding bush of the rogaine we learnt three things: 

  • There was no possibility that we could get to the abseil before it closed. In fact we would be hard pressed getting to the finish before 11:30.
  • Ian and Serge’s matching O-pants were so stylish that I was more disappointed to not be included in the Russian dancing pants uniform than I was about missing the abseil. 
  • Josh probably got close to the recommended 8hrs of sleep, a remarkable ability during a rogaine.

Josh: Something I could of done had I of known to and would do in future. And may of done that if I had of been well rested and not stupidly tired leading up. I may of been more well rested if we stayed closer to the event. We may of got to HQ earlier if we stayed closer aswell and been able to be more organised. So so so many things and mistakes we and I made for this race. Yes the race itself had mistakes but I think adventure races are always going to have mistakes. Wrongly placed check points (everyone’s human and makes mistakes)(even serge haha /Serge - I just baldly say NO here!/). Missing check points from public throwing them away. 

The next mission was to get home with as many checkpoints as possible, knowing we couldn’t complete the course.  We crossed the line about an hour after cut-off. 

hells bells serge trekking

I had a great time racing with this team, it was disappointing not to manage the abseil, Mt Beerwah or getting home in time but the spot-on nav by Serge and Ian which was so impressive and the comedy from Josh who has to be the most relaxed person I’ve ever raced with, no sense of urgency (which in a way keeps everything in perspective!) had me in my element. 

I feel that perhaps the non-compulsory checkpoints didn’t offer enough incentive. Choosing not to take the bonus checkpoints was more likely to be beneficial, which didn’t encourage teams to be bold and take risks. That said the course was amazing and great fun. Everything ran very smoothly from my perspective, considering there is so much that goes into organisation of such a major event. 

hells bells sorcha trekking

The next thing to happen was receiving the results. Due to arriving home late, we lost all time credit from the rogaine. This was a decision by the race organisers which I respect. In this race the penalty was not consistent, as a team who collected more rogaine points had more to lose. I think of it like if I was riding my bike home drunk with a mate and we were pulled over. I have a drivers licence and my mate doesn’t and the penalty for riding our bikes drunk is loss of licence then the penalty is inconsistent, I have a lot more to lose. If it’s the law it has to be respected even if it’s not fair! 

Nevertheless - kudos to Wild&Co, it was definitely interesting race, and even though we did not race well, we had fun course and gave us opportunity to race as a team for the first time together. Looking forward to more races together!

heels bells ian trekking