Floortje ready for wild west adventure
Top Wanaka adventure racers Floortje Grimmett, Joanna Williams and Bob McLachlan have been fine tuning their turn of speed ahead of an 800km race through Wyoming’s wild west this month.
A can of bear spray is on the athletes’ list of compulsory gear for the Cowboy Tough Wyoming World Adventure Race Championships from August 10-15 but Williams and McLachlan have also got new shoes.
‘‘The bear spray only sprays for 10m but a bear can move 15 metres in one second so I will have to be fast,’’ Grimmett said.
She has another ruse planned if a bear continues to advance.
‘‘I might put [ team mate] George [Lucas] at the front and tell the bear: ‘‘Here’s the food. He’s the biggest, 90 plus kilos,’’ Grimmett said.
She will be flying the Silver Fern with Tiki Tour team mates and brothers Tom and George Lucas and Mike Kelly, all of Queenstown.
They convincingly won the 2017 GODZone Adventure Race at Queenstown in February.
Williams and McLachlan are racing for New Zealand’s most successful adventure racing team, Seagate, with Chris Forne, of Queenstown, and Auckland’s Stu Lynch.
McLachlan was more nervous about rattlesnakes at night than bears.
‘‘The worst rattlesnakes are the young ones. When they shed their skin it goes over their tails so they don’t rattle,’’ he said.
Williams was not sure how she would handle rattlesnakes or bears and, like Grimmett, thought sheltering behind teammates or running away might work - ‘‘though that would be tricky with a bear’’.
‘‘We will just have to make as much noise as possible,’’ she said.
The race disciplines include mountain biking, trail running, pack rafting, abseiling, navigation and other challenges in a non-stop race through the Grand Teton National Park from Jackson Hole Resort to Casper.
The only other Kiwi team to qualify is the Christchurch-based Sneaky Weasel Gang, comprising Straun Webb, Isla Smith, Tane Cambridge and Wanaka’s Mitchel Munro.
Wanaka’s Sarah Fairmaid is racing for GODZone Adventure Team, which has entered under the British flag and includes Kevin Stephens, Nick Gracie and Tom Gibbs.
Floortje Grimmett runs along Wanaka’s lakefront.