208km and 27 blisters later…

.. I finished the 2013 RPM 200!

Well, it is all done and dusted and now I have a bit of time to check how I went.

The weekend overall was fantastic weather with temperatures ranging from around 3 when we started each day up to the mid-high teens with only light ( up to 15km/h) winds.  While I am awaiting the official race results, I have been having a dig into my GPS and pulling out my times – which should be right to within about 5-10 minutes.

Day 1

Arrived at Martins Bend at about 05:45 and had a bite to eat, got the boat ready and completed registration.  I was in the 2nd start for the day at 06:55 am, just as it was starting to get light, and headed out, around to Berri then onto Lock 4.  (Flag on the map).  A quick check of my Avg Speed and time and I was well on-track.  I had time to jump out, take a loo break, a very quick bite to eat and drink, stock up on water and get back into the boat to be in the first group through the Lock.

From the lock, it was then down to Loxton, where the 100 Starts from (flag on the Map), which is just over the 1/2 way mark for the day.  Once again, it was time to have a quick bite, drink, re-stock the boat with Water and Snacks and push on.  During the 2nd half we had a little bit of headwind, but no so much that it was too hard.  It was a fair old battle to keep going and I made it to the end just before 5pm.

A total paddling time for the 76km of Day 1 was 06:55 – 08:19 then 08:45 – 16:48 for a total time of approx 9:30:00 (give or take) at an avg speed of 8.2km/h


In the Latter part of the day, you can see where I was getting a bit tired and had to stop for a drink or a bit of a snack to get me to the end.

Day 1 Map  with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 4 and Loxton

Day 1 Map with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 4 and Loxton

 Day 2

Up at 04:00 and pack up the car, a quick bit of breakfast and head out to Moorook for the 2nd day.  Arrived at 06:15 and got everything organized for another day.  A few minutes with the Medics to tape up my hands where I was starting to get a few blisters – which was quite unusual, but possibly due to the colder conditions.  I was in the 2nd start again, and the gun went off and we were on our way at 07:00 on our way down to Lock 3, 20km downstream. Once again it was near perfect paddling conditions with the temperature again at a around 3 deg.  Arriving at the lock at about the expected time, I had just enough time to jump out, a very quick drink, loo break, bite to eat, re-strapped a few more fingers where I had more blisters before being ushered into the lock.

When we left Lock 3 it was then down to another short planned lunch break at Devlin’s Pound.   A quick dash to the loo, some more food, drink and re-stocking the water and Snacks on the boat and I was off again.  There were a few sections where again we had a bit of wind which slowed me down a little bit, but I was still moving along and pretty happy with my overall progress to the end of Day 2 at Waikerie

From Lock 3 down to Waikerie, the scenery is Spectacular, with something different around each bend in the River. Sorry, I didn’t have time to stop and take Photos!

A total paddling time for the 69km of Day 2 was  07:00 – 09:12 then 09:45 – 16:07 for a total time of approx 8:30:00 (give or take) at an avg Speed of 8.0km/h


Once again, I did slow down a bit during the 2nd half of the day with the wind.

Day 2 Map  with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 3 and Devlins Pound

Day 2 Map with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 3 and Devlins Pound

At the end of the Day it was a bit of a rush to pack up, go and get tidied up for the Sunday Night Dinner at the Waikerie Footy Club – who put on a great night for the Paddlers to have a chance to socialize and catch up.  It was a pretty good turn-out with around 90 Paddlers and Land crew attending.  There were a few Presentations and a couple of Tropyhs were presented to some of the Volunteer whom make the whole event possible.

Day 3

With an earlier start for the last day, once again, up at before 04:00 to get organized and have a quick bite to eat then get to Waikerie and be ready for an 06:00 start.  Again, a few minutes with the Medics to re-strap my Blistered hands and into the boat before the Starters Gun went off.  Yes, we started in the dark.  It was a little colder and probably only 1 or deg when we started.  I was in the first start for the last day.  It was pretty spectacular, paddling in the dark, with just the Cylume Glow sticks attached to the other boats to see for the first 3/4’s of an hour.  As it started to get light the temperature dropped and it probably fell below 0 for a little while, and we were paddling in the  light fog for about 20-30 minutes until it warmed back up.  Continuing onto Lock 2. A quick drink and re-stock and I was ready to keep going.

Leaving lock 3 for the short section down to Hogwash Bend, where I had a quick drink and lunch break, re-stock of water and snacks to push on the last leg to the finish.  Once again, the wind picked up a bit – of course it was a head wind for the most part, but fortunately, it was again only up to about 15-20km/h so not too bad. The Excitement started to set in as I passed Cadell, knowing that I was on the home stretch, then finally as I turned the last bend, saw the Morgan Pumping station, then the Morgan Jetty and Finally the red flag flying on the Riverbank to indicate the end of 208km, crossing the line at around 14:38

I had a bit of a hard time, with my right hand going almost totally numb not long after leaving lock 2 and had to keep checking that I was gripping my paddle correctly.

A total paddling time for the 64km of day 3 was 06:00 – 08:23 and 09:16 -14:38 for a total time of approx 7:45:00 at an avg speed of 8.1km/h

Day 3 Speed plot with Marker at 19km at lock 2 and 32.5km at Hogwash Bend

Day 3 Speed plot with Marker at 19km at lock 2 and 32.5km at Hogwash Bend

The speed plot really shows that towards the end, I needed to snack a few times, and I was delayed in waiting for the Cadell ferry before continuing

Day 3 Map  with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 2 and Hogwash Bend

Day 3 Map with Orange Dot at the Start and Markers at Lock 2 and Hogwash Bend

Now, by my calculations (until the official times are out) it looks like I did indeed break the 28:31:52 Record for my Boat/age Class in a time of approx 9:30:00 + 8:30:00 + 7:45 or 25:45:00 – around 2:45:00 off the Best time!

I was not the last boat over the line, but as soon as I was everyone had been waiting around for a few Presentations of Trophy’s.

I had no idea that they were actually waiting for me to finish – when they called my name and I was awarded a Brand new Perpetual Trophy for “Most Outstanding Paddler”.   There is a bit of a story behind this actual Trophy and why It was awarded to me – I’ll grab all the details and post them shortly.

Over the course of the 3 days, there were some long legs where I had the opportunity to paddle with other people – sometimes for 10, 20 or more km at a time.  It is great to be able to talk and encourage others to keep going, or get that encouragement yourself!  When you are out there with nobody else in sight and only the GPS ticking over the the next KM it can be quite challenging to keep on going each day!

My First RPM 200 in the bag, it won’t be my last.

The Guys from Sinch Photography have put up a selection of shots in a Facebook gallery – and here is one of me from Sunday Morning just before the Start on day 2 at Moorook.

1 thought on “208km and 27 blisters later…

  1. Provisional results have been published and my time is 25:43:52 – which is 2:48:00 faster than the previous best time for my Class and Age.

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