Thursday, November 05, 2009

Adelaide Invasion - One day record attempt

Our invasions on major cities had been getting bigger and bigger with each assault so it was only natural that we’d have a crack at another capital city. It just so happened that Adelaide has the highest caching density in Australia and with this in mind we started to plan for an attempt on the one-day caching record.

Our planning started some six months ago as we slowly worked through solving various cache puzzles, optimising different routes, transport, accommodation & meals were all discussed. No stone was left unturned.

In mid October with all our planning complete, we flew into Adelaide for a 5-day caching blitz. In the back of my mind I was sceptical to whether we could amass 195+ finds and thus beat the old record, time would tell. On our arrival we quickly settled in before heading out in search of our first cache. Adelaide has a few remaining old Webcam and Virtual caches so these were a must!

Our first few days were spent finding caches that one or more us had previously found, as these couldn’t be part of our record attempt. In the darkness of Saturday 17th Oct we set off on what would be a memorable 24hr-caching blitz. At 3.30am we found our first of many many finds for the day. From that point on the day flowed along surprisingly smoothly. We found our caches in regulation and those that presented a problem we simply moved on. The rule was that if we hadn’t found it with 5min we had to move. To have a shot at ‘the record’ we would have to find a cache every 7min for the entire 24hr period, which no easy task.
By daylight, things were progressing well. We’d had our 5min break for coffee and food and as the sun got higher so did our find count. We were actually in front of the desired numbers, but no sooner did we seem to be cruising then we’d have a few DNF’s which reminded us of the task still ahead. While I wont elaborate too much on our route I will say that we got to see most of Adelaide and it’s surrounding suburbs.

As the day progressed there were some memorable finds, along with a few mini-series that had us laughing. Tennis courts, rail stations and parks seemed to be popular hiding spots as we headed round the traps. At one point we got a glimpse of the views from the Adelaide hills but were soon back watching the waves roll in as we hugged the coastline. Lunch and dinner came and went very quickly and so did the sunlight, it was time to grab the torches once again.

Fatigue came in waves, one minute you were full of energy and the next your teammates were dragging you along. No sooner did we see someone struggling it was a timely reminder to recharge energy levels, which we did with countless amounts of muesli bars and savoury biscuits.

As Saturday drew to a close and Sunday dawned it became apparent that we’d reach the record and at 1.35am on Sunday morning, 22hrs after we started our record attempt we found our 196th find. The one-day record was ours and it was back in the hands of the Australian’s. While we took time to celebrate it was short lived, there were still more caches to be found. We wanted to raise the bar to a new level, but in doing so fatigue was becoming a real issue. On the go for 24hrs takes it toll on the body and mind and eventually we decided to pull the pin some 30min shy of the 24hr mark. We’d amassed 210 finds, some 30+ DNF’s, had travelled over 300km in the car and walked more than 20km in our record day.

Needless to say we headed straight home to bed where we had some well overdue sleep. We could have slept all day but there was more caching to be done. Like kids addicted to chocolate we were addicted to caching and once again were out finding caches just after lunch. On the Sunday evening we attended a meet and greet event with local cachers where we basked in the spoils of our achievements. There was plenty of food and drink enjoyed while sharing much laughter and stories with those who attended.

Like everything, our invasion was coming to an end but that wasn’t before we headed out for a Monday morning blitz of the northern suburbs. By this time of the invasion, bodies are functioning on autopilot, one find seems to blend into then next and so do the suburbs, but alas that’s what an invasion is all about “big numbers in a short amount of time”. Late on Monday our 5-day invasion came to an end with us all heading in our separate directions. I’d amassed 380 finds in 96 hours.

I’d like to thank my fellow caching buddies. Big Matt & Shell, Steeba and Farmer Frentzen, along with my family who were very supportive throughout this event.