Spirited Women: Team Shits and Giggles

Unity, Laughter and Guts

This interview took place over skype while the interviewer sat huddled up in a large jumper and the team were sitting lavishly enjoying wine and about to imbibe some epic pumpkin soup and Brazilian cheese bread. Needless to say this interview should have been done in person...

For anyone reading this not yet familiar with the concept behind the Whai Ora Spirited Women Adventure Race, this event defines the spirit of a kiwi woman – her give-it-a-go attitude, sense of adventure, a strong belief in her girlfriends and a desire to help them through difficult times and celebrate the good times. It's an adventure race where teams of 4 women run, mountain bike, stand up paddle board and mystery activity their day away to get to the glass of wine at the finish line.

We had the pleasure of being a Sponsor for the event this year, but suffering greatly from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out, basically just plain jealousy that we didn't have a team together) we thought we'd like to chat to a team who did go out there and get it done.

Introducing team Shits and Giggles. And why did they sign up? For precisely that reason. They were there for the fun of it and to give it a go. True Kiwi Women style. Except not all of them are born here Kiwi's.

Let's introduce the team.
Trudy MacKenzie, Team Captain and chief organiser
Jo Amrein-Palairet, Mountain Biker and rookie paddle boarder
Bronwyne Gray - the rookie mountain biker and Marathon runner, map support
Emilie Eddington - the French Canadian, down hill rider and map reader

Shits and Giggles

L to R - Emelie, Bronwyne, Trudy and Jo

The team went out there with 3 main goals
- to get fit and stay fit
- to work as a team
- and to still be friends by the end of it!

As a group it was their first time doing an adventure race together, though they were no strangers to participating in various events. They decided to ease the process and take part in some of the pre-event trainings provided by Spirited Women. This included a session with JK Coaching. It was invaluable for their event preparation learning how to navigate with maps and they learnt lots out of the simulation. So on behalf of the ladies, this is the big thanks shout out to James! The team won a Mountain Bike Skills Less with Annika Smail - Let's Ride NZ which was put to good use to enhance their current skill sets.

With lots of training under their collective belts, the prep was going well for Shits and Giggles. Until two weeks out, when Trudy had a "moment" and walked head first into a glass door giving herself whiplash. In her own words she 'left a forehead mark and Maori nose imprint on the glass' luckily nothing was broken (the nose or the glass). Grateful not to have the initially suspected concussion, Trudy was stoked that her team was so supportive of her and they carried on and completed the training and race together.
Race day itself was full of highs, lows and laughter (but not tears). Jo was nursing a back injury and Bronnie hadn't done a lot of riding, so the mountain biking was overall the teams biggest challenge. Being clipped in and trying to negotiate around other teams got hairy at times. They attempted shortcuts (which got them heaving bikes over barbed wire fences and wading through streams), they did some unexpected down hills (that they then needed to bike back up) and they swapped paddle boards mid-lake because one of them kept sinking. Not to mention nearly loosing the checkpoint ID list in the water as well. Trudy spent most of the race in pain having twisted her knee early on and them proceeded not to tell the team until after the race was done.

Making the most of their competitive spirits, at the end of it all it was about banding together to get across the finish line. This included helping two women (on two separate occasions) out of blackberry bushes which they'd fallen into and subsequently lost their team mates. Reason 101 to love this team and their open and caring mindsets. Team Shits and Giggles held traffic while they helped these women by pulling bikes off them and untangling them. Total selflessness. We take our collective helmets off to the team for doing this.

Overall the event was a success for the team, they are itching for the next challenge and they loved the overall experience.

Their advice for those of you curious about giving adventure racing a go
1. Go out and give it a go
2. Have fun
3. Spend lots of time on your bike

Zeenya would like to thank these incredible women for sharing their event with us and our readers. Can't wait to see you all out there again next year.

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