Kim Beckinsale is the navigator of all-women’s Team Mountain Designs Wild Women (also including Cass Kimlin, Gina Dunsdon and Alina McMaster), who are entering XPD 2018 in Tasmania. She hails from Noosa in Queensland, where she runs an outdoors company, and has been an adventure racer for more than ten years. She took some time to talk about the team and their expectations of the race.
First a bit of Form
We have raced together before. In 2017 we competed at Geoquest 2017 and Wildside AR. And between us we know XPD well. Gina and Cass have done two XPD events and are keen to be a part of this All Womens Team. And I have raced XPD twice as well, in 2011 in Tasmania and 2013 in South Australia, which, as a member of Team Mountain Designs, we won.
How did you get into adventure racing?
A friend asked me to do a race with her back in 2004. In fact I ended up doing it solo but I was instantly hooked. I found that adventure racing brought back all the skills I had learned from doing orienteering at Outdoor Ed, when I was studying to become a teacher, as well as incorporating activities - running, biking and paddling - I had experience with from elsewhere.
Why XPD 2018 Tasmania?
I have done XPD twice before. Also, I have raced in Tassie before and love it, so this time I wanted to do XPD leading an all women’s team, so we could show that an all-Aussie women’s team can hold their own in the sport.
What sort of training and other preparation have you done?
I run a coaching business called Tri Adventure (with my partner Jan) and Gina and Cass are involved, so we have had plenty of time to train together. Gina, Cass and our other team mate Ali Wright also competed in many local events in around Queensland during 2017. Our fourth team-mate Alina lives in Canberra and she gets out and about down there… but then she has so much experience that she doesn’t really even have to train much - as she showed us in Geoquest and Wildside last year.
We have been training on all the sports and skills needed in the race. However navigation is always a key element, so we do as many navigational events as possible.
How important is the physical side?
You have to be physically fit to compete successfully, however it’s definitely mental toughness that makes the difference between finishing and not. It’s important to be resilient and to have good problem solving skills as well as the ability to work well in a team.
What are the differences with an all-women team ?
We just get out there and get the job done: there are no egos and we look after each other well. We communicate well and are never afraid to ask for help or assistance. This also usually means we set a pace that we can maintain and don’t blow up in the first 24hrs. We don’t set out with an expectation that we will win the race – it means you just go out there and perform the skills of the sport to the best of your ability together. I suppose there is always this sense of satisfaction that we can do this! There are times, in the hard parts of the race, where because guys are physically stronger they can make the team go faster. However, with women we just all have to do it all… It means we are more likely to help everyone out, rather than just one person.
What are your general expectations in the race?
This sort of racing is tough and you never know what is going to happen, so our main goal is to finish the complete course as a full team of four, healthy happy and eager to race together again… Anything beyond that is a bonus. Adventure racing it’s all about finding the CPs and being spot on with your navigation… so you don’t waste time and energy looking around in the wrong place or going the wrong way. Obviously our competitiveness will drive us to step up the goals during the race if things are going well.
What will be the most challenging aspect of the event? Anything daunting?
Knowing when to stop and sleep. Also, the cold, if we are paddling or riding at night, and especially if it snows or rains. Anything daunting? We are yet to find out!
What about Tasmania?
We know Tasmania, so we are just looking forward to visiting some iconic locations. We would love some good weather so we can see and really enjoy that part of Australia.
What does adventure mean to you?
Adventure is about challenging yourself to achieve, in an outdoor environment, what you may have thought impossible. Or it’s about being the best you can be in the outdoors… and getting that adrenalin rush from successfully doing what you set out to do and experience. In events like XPD we have the opportunity to look around and see what there is to explore… we are so lucky to be able to get to some of these places, which otherwise with might never visit!