Kat conquers epic kayak race

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Avon calling: Kat Bulk, right, pictured with fellow multisporter Alex Martin

A Queenstown multisporter recently finished second-fastest woman in a legendary two-day kayaking race in Western Australia.

Kat Bulk, who’s competed in five Coast to Coast Longest Days, paddled for 16-and-a-half hours to complete the 124km Avon Descent, from Northam to Bayswater.

She’d heard about the race while training for Coast to Coast with Australian multisporter John Carroll.

“It sounded really horrendous so I was like, ‘I’ve got to go and try that’.”

This year’s race was held in just 45cm of water, compared to 2.8m last year.

It made the racing safer but a lot longer, Bulk says.

On the second day, she paddled for nearly 10 hours – “I didn’t know I could go for that long”.

Bulk says she fell out of her kayak dozens of times – “I had one quite bad swim on the second day and knocked my leg quite hard”.

Her most challenging section was about 10km of ti trees growing in the river which she had to negotiate around on the first day.

“It’s quite dangerous, but people learn how to do it.”

The second day also included about 40km of challenging rapids, “which I hadn’t seen all of”‘.

The 32-year-old says she’s keen to return next year, “‘cos I know now how to pace myself”.

She admits she was slow to master paddling, but has improved over the past two years while being mentored by the local kayak club.

Amazingly, she trained less than two months for Avon Descent after completing the 44km Mt Difficulty Ascent run, near Cromwell.

She’s now training for the K2 Cycle Race in the Coromandel on November 2 – billed as the toughest one-day cycle challenge in the southern hemisphere.

“My strategy’s been to do a big running block, a big kayaking block and a big cycle block.”

For her it all adds up to excellent preparation ahead of her sixth Coast to Coast Longest Day next February, which combines all three disciplines.

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