Mahe Drysdale completes Coast to Coast

Braden Currie has won the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Braden Currie has won the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Olympic Medalist in Rowing, Mahe Drysdale crosses the line in the individual One day race. Pictured with Robin Judkins.
Olympic Medalist in Rowing, Mahe Drysdale crosses the line in the individual One day race. Pictured with Robin Judkins.
Robin Judkins and Mitch Munro, a competitor in the individual two-day event.
Robin Judkins and Mitch Munro, a competitor in the individual two-day event.
Aaron Mallett, a competitor in the individual two-day event.
Aaron Mallett, a competitor in the individual two-day event.
Robin Judkins with Seamus Meikle, an entrant in the individual two-day event.
Robin Judkins with Seamus Meikle, an entrant in the individual two-day event.
Daniel Busch, a member of the first team competing in the two-day event to cross the line.
Daniel Busch, a member of the first team competing in the two-day event to cross the line.
Athletes compete in the individual two day event.
Athletes compete in the individual two day event.
Genevieve Stark of New Zealand competes in the run.
Genevieve Stark of New Zealand competes in the run.
Mike Snell of Australia competes in the individual two day team event.
Mike Snell of Australia competes in the individual two day team event.
Josh Harris of New Zealand competes in the individual two day event of the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Josh Harris of New Zealand competes in the individual two day event of the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Competitors taking part in the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Competitors taking part in the 2013 Coast to Coast.
Coast to Coast owner Robin Judkins starts the two-day event on Kumara Beach.
Coast to Coast owner Robin Judkins starts the two-day event on Kumara Beach.
Competitors take in the view before the multisport event starts.
Competitors take in the view before the multisport event starts.
A competitor pushes through the first cycle leg.
A competitor pushes through the first cycle leg.
Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye at the start of the first cycle leg.
Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye at the start of the first cycle leg.
Josh Harris, of Christchurch, at the start of the mountain run.
Josh Harris, of Christchurch, at the start of the mountain run.
Fleur Pawsey, of Christchurch, on the first cycle leg.
Fleur Pawsey, of Christchurch, on the first cycle leg.
Nikita Watkins, of Whakatane, at the start of the mountain run.
Nikita Watkins, of Whakatane, at the start of the mountain run.
Nick Hirshfield, of Hanmer Springs, on the mountain run.
Nick Hirshfield, of Hanmer Springs, on the mountain run.
Competitors run to the start of the first cycle leg.
Competitors run to the start of the first cycle leg.
Tony Simmers, of England, at Goat Pass.
Tony Simmers, of England, at Goat Pass.

There was no gold medal this time but completing the Coast to Coast was "very satisfying'' for Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale.

The London single sculls ace bore a big grin in the Sumner Beach finishing chute tonight as he received a congratulations kiss from partner Juliette Haigh, an Olympic rowing bronze medallist.

"That was very tough,'' said Drysdale _ one of the biggest men to do the Longest Day race at 2m and 108kg _ 10kg heavier than his Olympic rowing trim.

He acknowledged it was the "toughest thing I've ever done''. "This was completely out of my comfort zone .. to actually complete it is very, very satisfying. I didn't know if I was going to get through it.

"Basically, it's a 14-hour training session, I've never put my body through anything like that before.''

But Drysdale, who is enjoying a six-month sabbatical from rowing, said he "really enjoyed'' his first multisport experience.

"I'd like to come back and do it again... but I might have to wait until after the next Olympics [in 2016].''

The 34-year-old rocked up to the Kumara Beach start line just four minutes before race director Robin Judkins sounded the hooter at 6am.

He was understandably apprehensive about whether he'd last the 243km-distance but coped well on the two cycle stages _ from Kumara to Aickens on the West Coast and the final 70km across the Canterbury Plains.

The water sports whizz reckoned he struggled in a different kind of craft _ a kayak.

He had "a bit of tendinitis'' in his forearm but "just had no more gas in the tank'' on the Waimakariri River.

Drysdale, who had Haigh as support at every transition stage, had expected to struggle on the 33km mountain run over Goat Pass to Klondyke Corner but he reckoned the run went well, particularly on the downhill stretch.

He will be back in a sculling boat in May to prepare for a world championship trial in July.

But there was another form of sculling last night- a can of race sponsor Speight's product as Drysdale, still slathered in sun block, proudly reflected on his trans-Alpine odyssey and waited for London double sculls gold medallist Joseph Sullivan to finish his own Longest Day.

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