Red Bull Defiance 2018
On January 21st and 22nd, with the support of Ricoh New Zealand, Scott Blowers and Josh Nixon took on the grueling Red Bull Defiance event held in beautiful Wanaka.
Red Bull Defiance is a two-day multi-sport adventure race held in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s considered one of the country’s premier multi sport races, alongside Coast to Coast and GODZone. The event involves mountain biking, kayaking, running, shooting and abseiling across two days. The course includes over 5,000m of vertical elevation gain – the equivalent of climbing Mt Taranaki, twice!
Ricoh sponsored a two-man team to compete in the race, which took place in late January 2018. For both Scott and Josh this was their first foray into adventure racing, so the team had little idea of what to expect in terms of performance against the field. Team Ricoh crossed the finish line for a total time of just over 19 hours across the two days.
Josh notes “We were so happy to be able to make it to the finish line, and to represent Ricoh in such an elite race. Racing in 30 degree heat for 8 hours a day really does push your body to the limit, and absolutely tests your mental endurance.”
Battling the conditions can be one of the most challenging aspects of Red Bull Defiance and this year was no exception. While last year’s participants summited Mt Roy while it was snowing (in January!), this year’s teams endured incredibly hot conditions – up to 38 degrees in the Cardrona Valley! More than 10 per cent of the teams who started this year’s race didn’t make it to the finish line.
Aside from the physical challenges and the race conditions, Red Bull Defiance involves immense logistical challenges for the teams. Bikes, kayaking gear and piles of equipment need to be prepared, packed down, shipped, and reassembled. For each race stage the teams need everything they’ll require for the two days prepared in advance, so that they reach each transition with the correct food, drink and gear for the next event.
“Having the support of Ricoh, and particularly having the local support of Heartland Ricoh in Queenstown and Wanaka was invaluable” says Scott, “we couldn’t have done it without them.”
The memories of the searing heat and mental challenge are obviously fading fast, as Josh is already talking about Defiance 2019! In the meantime, the team are looking forward to more races alongside Ricoh staff, like The Dual, T42 and Motutapu.