It is What it is!

Team Cyanosis hilary the pain ed141 jun14

500kms, blistered and strapped feet, a diet of painkillers, a total of not more than 4 hours sleep … I pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I was capable of. The pain showed, but being part of Team Cyanosis for this Epic Adventure will remain etched in my memory bank forever. There is no I in team! Hilary Pitchford (Pic: Bruce Viaene)

Hilary Pitchford-Bruss makes her way gingerly to the table where I am waiting to chat to her, post her race as a Team Cyanosis member in the recent Expedition Africa. It’s obvious that this woman of steel is feeling the after effects, but I learn that the meeting she has just left is to discuss the upcoming Mudrun taking place during the course of July 2014, where she is designing the obstacle course! Unstoppable is Mrs Bruss … The Meander Chronicle loves meeting the people of the Midlands.

Team Cyanosis was formed in 2004 and has been competing at the highest level in Adventure Racing (AR) ever since, racing regularly at home in South Africa as well as internationally at some of the top races around the world. Hilary Pitchford Bruss, well known locally for her paddling achievements, was invited to join the team as the female member. She accepted and joined Clint Macintosh, Nicholas Mulder and Nathan Thompson (all Johannesburg based) in what will probably be the adventure of her life.

Adventure racing is a multi-discipline endurance sport where competitors compete in teams, navigating from control point to control point in a number of disciplines. These may include: mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, swimming, rope work and orienteering. Teams are expected to navigate using a map and landmarks. Teams must be able to operate in harsh remote environments in all weather conditions. Teams travel through day and night, they can decide if, when and where to rest. The first team to complete all the Expedition legs and visiting all the control points will be declared the winner. Teams are required to complete the entire Expedition distance together (always within hearing and visual distance of each other), helping and assisting each other. Teamwork and team dynamics are essential. A detailed understanding of your teammates and your own capabilities is essential.

Listening to the adventure in detail, it is difficult to comprehend what this team has achieved as an average, keep-fit person. Hilary recounts her epic adventure matter-of-factly but stresses that “this is the most challenging event I have ever undertaken, on every level. It tested my physical endurance, my emotional fortitude, my pain threshold, my belief in myself, my stamina with almost no sleep, my ability to work with a team for 4 and a half days despite all of the challenges. None of us knew each other very well. We are all strong athletes, each with our particular strengths. However it is the personality, and team dynamic that is the most important aspect to keep under control, working towards a common goal. We defined our mission statement at the very start, and repeating it helped us get through those really hairy moments: It is what it is!

Description of the race is breathtaking and for a detailed account of the Team Cyanosis adventure log onto the website, for the details. The Expedition Africa distance of 500kms took Team Cyanosis 4 days and 4 hours to complete. The total amount of time spent in restorative sleep was possibly 4 hours over the full period. An “oversleep” was defined as 2 hours and some of the “sleeps’ were a total of 7 minutes. Hectic bouldering, waves almost taking team members out in the dark of night, a diet of painkillers for Hilary from Day 2 …. read the full story. It is mind-blowing what the human mind can persuade the body to do.

Team Cyanosis took 5th place in the Expedition Africa, reaching the finish line at the Port Edward Holiday Resort , 2h15 after nearest rivals Painted Wolf. The team is thrilled to be awarded a secured spot for the Adventure Racing World Championships to be held in Huairasinchi Ecuador. The Cyanosis team qualifies for this secured spot by being the first proudly SA team across the finish line (5th Overall) at the recent Expedition Africa 2014 hosted by KineticGear
1 – Seagate (New Zealand) – 3 days 8 hours 56 minutes
2 – Haglöfs Silva (Sweden) – 3 days 11 hours 29 minutes
3 – Tecnu Adventure Racing (USA) – 3 days 19 hours 57 minutes
4 – Painted Wolf (South Africa / Chile) – 4 days 2 hours 16 minutes
5 – Cyanosis Adventure Racing (1st South Africa) – 4 days 4 hours 30 minutes