December 2016 Program

Throughout this month we will be running the 6.5k course.

You can of course, run or walk any of the Trotter’s courses starting at 6:30am.

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“The Preamble”

Having successfully suckered in convinced Richard to take part in the event this year in order to reduce Rob’s costs, we landed in Adelaide late on a chilly but fine Thursday afternoon. Although on different flights and on different carriers, we had both been given seat 29F !! so we were confident we were set for a lucky trip and with the weather before and after our trip we certainly were lucky to run Yurrebilla this year.

Note: Rob was very pleased with the seat number being a prime number!

After just managing to get Rob’s bicycle into the hire car which was probably harder than solving a Rubik’s cube (Rob’s fault) we took off for Henley Beach to see the sunset over the ocean which was pretty as a picture and not often seen on the east coast of Australia. It was a bit confusing because the water was to the west not the east:

yur_1Richard enjoying the view at Henley Beach, complete with historic pier

Richard brought his state of the art “TomTom” car navigator with built in dash cam which proved to be a great (but not error-free) asset on the weekend and managed to catch all the bad South Australian drivers on video (only joking – the drivers are good in Adelaide). The Tom Tom got us back across town to the trailer park at Brownhill Creek Road that we would call home for a few nights. When we arrive it was dark and two huge possums were fighting in a tree near the boom gate and one fell 10m or so to the ground …. the closest thing we have seen to a “drop bear”.

We went to a great pub called the Torrens Arms Hotel recommended by one of Rob’s many Adelaide friends for a rather nice dindins, and to check out the TV screens for the upcoming AFL and NRL final matches, unpacked Rob’s bicycle before an early night. Apparently no-one was woken up by snoring.

Two days before – a tale of two trippies

An early start on Friday as we had different activities planned. We drove to Torrens Park train station and parked the car. Richard was off to town to join a Barossa winery tour while Rob had his arm warmers on for a rather cold cycle to the Adelaide Hills!

On the train into the city Richard met a Scottish gentleman who came from Edinburgh and lived in the same suburb (Barton) that Richard’s parents lived in for 10 years in Edinburgh. Amazing!!

Rob took a pitstop at Burnside and met the first group of many proper runner friends at a coffee shop after their weekly group run. We would see much of Jane and Karen whom Rob hadn’t seen since same time last year:


Rob with Jane & Karen at Base Camp Cafe

After about an hour (that group can talk) Rob headed north and made his way up Gorge Road (where YUM finishes) and thence up the famed and steep Corkscrew Road:


Made it

Part of the Montacute Road had been closed due to weather (more later) but it didn’t matter…Rob was going the other way up up up the hill to Mt Lofty. It was cold and very blowy up there but delightful all the same:


Rob atop Mount Lofty

The trip back down was problematic…Rob hit a monster pothole on Upper Sturt Road and both tubes blew out as well as some other ‘undercarriage’ agony which caused Rob to walk with bowed legs for the next day. With only one tube on hand, Rob had no choice but to get a taxi back to the car. No dramas but it could have been worse if he hadn’t had the good fortune to sit in seat 29F.

Rob packed his bike up and generally bummed around the city finding free parking posts at will (just like Sydney) and free wifi spots until he picked Richard up from his very disappointing Barossa Wine Tour. Then off they went to a Yurrebilla 10 year reunion dinner where they met lots more serious trail runners that Rob knew and had another nice pub meal while watching the Swans beat Geelong.

Day before – parkrun and wineries etc

The two Trotters got up earlyish and set off across town for the 5k Lochiel “Parkrun”. The weather was pretty miserable with light showers which must have put a few people off but there was still a great turnout. This was to be Richard’s first ever parkrun. Rob knew even more people here, and met a few Facebook friends in 3D for the first time. He also met “Feebee” who is Karen’s doggie: she wasn’t at all happy with the weather or the mud that was still on the track from the previous week’s Torrens River flooding.

Richard finished well before Rob who walked the 5k course with Karen’s husband Daryl and Feebee so Richard had to apologise to some of Rob’s fans friends who had come especially to see him and were standing around in the rain.

Most runners stayed for coffee following the run and there was lots of talk about Yurrebilla which was now less than 24 hours away.

yur_5Rob with an ‘overwhelmed’ Feebee.

Following Parkrun R & R were off south across town to the bib pickup place in Melrose Park (surprise surprise at another Cafe), where Rob met even more people he knew and Richard couldn’t keep up with all the new names. After some very interesting discussions and advice on wineries to visit, and lots of coffee it was off to McLaren Vale for some wine touring. First stop was Fox Creek (one of the sponsors of Yurrebilla) and with a marathon running owner who unfortunately was not there at the time but we were very well looked after by the enthusiastic staff. We purchase a few bottles including “The Vixen” which was an impressive sparkling shiraz and “Red Baron” shiraz pictured here wearing the Trotters cap.

yur_6Fox Creek Winery in McLaren Vale

We were fortunate to meet a man called “Des” with a large beer gut out in the carpark who was taking a group of young ladies around McLaren Vale on a hen’s night in his bus. This was not our last encounter this ‘Les’ who seems to be a very busy man around Adelaide.
We then ventured to the well known “Wirra Wirra” for a very nice late lunch and tasting including their Sydney Easter Show gold medal winning French oaked chardonnay called “The Twelth Man”. The final stop was at Hugo’s which we didn’t really know but is one of the oldest family run wineries in McLaren Vale and again we were well looked after.

Richard was in his element and ‘capped’ it off picking up another Sydney Easter how gold medal winning bottle this time a cab sav. from Hugo’s.

Then we headed home to Belair but not before checking out Wickham Hill, site of a recent successful Everesting on bicycle attempt by yet another of Rob’s SA friends. It was a steep hill. The TomTom took us on a long scenic route home via Bridgewater Mill with a lot of windy narrow roads but we got home eventually, thankfully in time for the big AFL preliminary final between Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS) (Richard’s team) and Western Bulldogs (Footscray) (Rob’s team). The Doggies won by 6 points although that win was allegedly and forever marred by very poor umpiring yada yada look at the scoreboard etc etc but at least as a result one Melbourne team would be in Grand Final. Thankfully the result was taken in the right spirit although the cutlery was locked up overnight after dinner.

Sunday – The Big Day

It was a 4am start for us with lots of eating, and then the 45 min drive to the finish line at Athelstone. It was quite chilly (5°C) so luckily we got straight onto the first 5:30am bus which had underfloor heating and took us back to Belair just before the 6am wave start. Rob found some other people he knew (surprise!) include Stirling who had a torn calf from the weekend before but he is one sick ultra puppy and was still running the event. Also Barbara (and her lovely doggies Gemma and Mac) whose husband David was running – we would get to see Barbara pretty much all day as she drove to each aid station before he (and we) arrived.

yur_7Gemma and Mac excited for us

We were off at 7am on the knocker. A fair bit of nice downhill and a long dark tunnel under a railway line where two fools stepped off the dry concrete into a watery-wet stream in the middle of the tunnel to try and overtake and predictably got their feet all wet, and in the process one also dropped his salt tablets: he had to stop to wait for Rob to exit the tunnel and hand them back. Wet feet with 55km to go is not a great strategy.
After the first major climb out of Belair we got to see the city although it was a bit foggy in gentle rain but Rob was keen to stop for a photo:


View over Adelaide after about 15 K


Plenty of switchbacks and Richard shows off his jazz hands

We then headed north under the shadows of Mt Lofty, with a few climbs. The terrain was variable but was mostly fire trail. The aid stations were very well-stocked and at Cleland Wildlife Park Richard commented that the boiled potatoes rolled in pink salt were like manna from heaven (or something like that). He was also mightily impressed by the Moo creamed rice puddings that Rob’s friend Michelle had arranged – Richard immediately called them “magic puddings” and then attempted to slowly eat the pudding with a spoon while running down a steep downhill section which was a challenge but worth the inconvenience to recharge the batteries with this superfood. The next hour was a breeze after eating just a single pudding.

yur_9Moosic to my tummy

Here we also bumped into friendly Ruth for the first time during the day (another buddy who had also come to the parkrun the previous day): she was wearing a leopard onesie complete with tail. YUM brings out the best and worst in people: Robert is yet to decide which end of the spectrum the costume was on:

yur_10Ruth feline groovy

We past the 42 km mark at very close to 5 hours and Richard worked out we were on schedule to finish in under 7 hours which was well ahead of Rob’s predicted finish time. We kept going and the pace was even with Rob’s neck and knee holding up and Richard recovering torn calf sore but still serviceable.

After a couple of short walking sections to take the edge off Richard’s dodgy calf it was determined that walking was worse that running so we stuck with the running. We got diverted away from this closed section of Montacute Road:


No cycling or running along here lest one gets swallowed up never to be seen again

Instead we got to go up three horrible horrible hills over the next 11k, each at least 1k in length and mucho slope which started to put our sub 7 hour finish under a cloud. It was on one of the downhills between these climbs in the last 6 km’s that Rob’s left knee started going bung. Pity because the last climb up Amber’s Ridge was to be the worst of the day:


It was pretty awful, and Rob’s fingers were all a-tingle, not in a good way. Richard was way ahead and didn’t realise that Rob was in trouble. Rob had to sit down at the aid station and have as much Coke and donuts as he could handle (medicinal purposes only).

yur_13Nice guy and Race Ambassador Majell atop Ambers Ridge. It was here that Rob needed a chair.

Richard waited for Rob at the last aid station but after seeing no sign of Rob for at least 500m he strove on ahead and down the steep goat-track to the finish line, while Robert (with his hurty-knee) un-nimbly went down the same track, passed by plenty including mountain goat and record-holder Lucy Bartholomew.

So each made his way down to the finish line!! Richard ended up with 7:10 (including time penalties for unnecessarily waiting for Robert) while Robert ended with 7:24 (which was around a 1:45 PB and also a Six Foot qualifier, so not unhappy!). A lot of very enthusiastic supporters at the finish and the best finish atmosphere Richard had ever seen.

It wasn’t long before Karen finished and we got a ‘happyish snap’:

yur_14Two out of three ain’t looking bad

Off for a shower, then R&R returned to the finish line to see the rest finishing (including a few other friends Robert got to catch up with). It is a great communal feel to the finish line with plenty of people hanging around to see the runners get in within the 5:30pm cut-off. The emphasis in this event is for everyone to finish and finish with a smile.

Afterwards there was terrific presentation dinner at the Athelstone Football Club including bar service.


Robert even knows Terry Cleary (10-time YUM legend) and RD Barry McBride (long distance record holder)

Halfway through the evening a call went out to help a truck unload at the SARRC clubhouse somewhere in Adelaide. Robert stupidly volunteered both runners to drive in towards the city BEFORE Richard could have his prepaid dessert (which wasn’t Moo). Robert was appreciative of his sacrifice and offered to buy him dessert on the way home. At the clubhouse Robert also met another SA friend Emma. We were able to load up on leftover/freebie bananas and gels so Richard ended up not quite the grumble-bum we both suspected he might.

Back home for the last sleep!

The next morning we were nursing sore legs but actually didn’t feel too bad. We checked out the nearby Brownlee Creek that we had run past the previous day and looked for fly fishing options for next year. Richard threw a mushroom in and then watched it quickly move off with the current.


“There’s much-room in the creek”

We then set off and used our TomTom to play tourists for 2 hours around the Mt Lofty area and Belair including another look at the historic railway station and another Everesting bicycle hill which apparently will be used in another upcoming assault on the almost 9000m of climbing in a single ride. Then a last coffee with Jane and Karen, learning about other great events in South Australia and beyond and jettisoned all our bananas that Karen duly made into banana cakes just before the dreaded blackout hit last week!!
We had to go and retrieve an empty (superfood) Moo Rice Pudding container that Robert has stashed along the trail during the run:


Found the location and saved the planet. Score!

Then further on up to windy Mt Lofty for a luncheon (that was very slow in coming), and then fanged it to the airport. The glue on Robert’s bike box decided to undo at check-in which would have been embarrassing except that Robert had a trusty roll of sticky tape with him.

We got our respective planes and Cynthia picked us up at Mascot.

A great trip. YUM was a tough run, 11 Km longer than Six Foot Track and with more vertical gain. Its organisation is excellent, the aid station supplies (including the Magic Puddings) are fantastic and the 180 volunteers are the best Richard has seen in any event. Rob is expecting the route to revert to the officially marked Yurrebilla Trail next year, and we both want to give 7 hours a proper shake.

There is a generous cut-off time of 11:30, but even so participants are encouraged to train for this event. There are plenty of spots to walk, and also plenty of lovely vistas to be had when you are being punished by climbs or drops.
Here is a profile comparison of YUM (the usual course), Six Foot Track and Glow Worm Cave. It doesn’t have the big climbs but plenty of little ones that are steep…there is nary a flat section! And it is also a bit longer.

yur_18Hopefully this report will encourage other runners to consider Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon before it gets too popular and they start restricting entries.
Till next year!!!

Rob Thomson and Richard Duggan.
Running, Cycling & Wine Ambassadors for Turramurra Trotters

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