Australian Geographic Adventure Oxfam training walk one

By Carolyn Barry 8 November 2013
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There’s no time like the present and team Australian Geographic Adventure has gotten off to a good start with training hike number one.

AFTER THE EXCITEMENT OF the information night and planning, the daunting task of the challenge – hiking 100km in 48hr, we decided to get training straight away.

We planned to walk a section of the trail we’ll be trekking in August to get used to the terrain. Not only that, but we wanted to walk part of the first section since we were told on the info night that the first third of the 100km is that hardest – lots of steep ascents and descents as the trail heads up and down ridges. So we set out from Crosslands Reserve in Hornsby Heights to Cowan train station.


Launch the gallery

As this was the first time we had all been out walking together, it was a good chance to get to know each other and get on the same page about our ambitions. At the info night, one Trailwalker Legend said that teamwork is the number one thing that will get you through the race.

And it’s true. If you have members who have different goals – some wanting to make certain times and others just happy to finish, for example – then that’s a recipe for discontent.

Fortunately, we’re all on the same page – wanting to complete the challenge in about 25-30 hours, a realistic goal for first timers like us.

Even better – our walking paces are all pretty similar. Siah has taken on the group’s hill-climbing pace setting and Mark is sweep – though he could also be muttering to himself up the back about what he’s gotten himself into!

As a rule of thumb, hiking pace for undulating terrain is about 4km/hr. We covered the 13km or so (hard to say exactly as the trail signs and track notes differed) in 4 hours 20, with a 20 min break and a few quick water/view stops. So that’s pretty much on pace for a 25-30hr 100km.

Already, though, we’re starting to figure our gear and food preferences for the actual walk. We all agreed that walking poles are a must. I’m not one to use walking poles unless the hikes are particularly challenging or muddy, but I think they’re essential for maintaining pace up a hill and giving that extra boost for tired legs.

Another must-have item is a Camelback or some other water bladder. Though the weather was a cool 15C or so, we were sweating as we trekked up the inclines and whereas I was happily sipping away from my water tube, the others had to drink from their water bottles at the rest stops – of which there wasn’t a lot. Taking water during infrequent stops is also a challenge because you tend to have to drink more and then risk getting a stitch when you push on.

Finally, though it’s early days, I think I’ll be switching to trail runners over boots as I want my feet to be as light as possible (to avoid tripping) and feel that manoeuvrability of the foot over ankle support is way to go.

Team Australian Geographic Adventure’s Oxfam page