With Christmas quickly approaching, we were all ready to attend our first HSX Christmas weekend, which was made even more exciting by highlighting the fact that in a year’s’ time we will be on our expedition!
Saturday Morning started straight away with our first ever attempt at the annual Christmas Adventure race. We managed to enter 3 teams into the Amateur Category, and we were sure that our team, “Pumped on Coffee,” would do great, we took advantage of our head start after plotting our route on the map, however after a few teams overtook us at the first checkpoint and having to slow down due to injuries we resorted to strategy, managing to catch up with a few teams quite quickly by taking small paths across the bogs.
Soon we were neck and neck with a group of teams, so we knew we needed to gain some extra points, luckily a herd of horses were close, giving us the perfect idea for our selfie, hopefully putting us in front of the rest. Even though trying to get all three of us next to the horse in one picture was a challenge in itself we did it!
There wasn’t any debate on whether we should try to get the big 80 point checkpoint unless we took the train, which probably was against the rules, so we gained some extra time to gather some of the slightly smaller points. On the way we chatted about fundraising ideas as well as jumping over several water logged lands and streams, surprisingly not falling in. Soon we found ourselves on the outskirts of ferny crofts, where we were staying the night, so we immediately picked up the pace to jump the fence and get back to the croft 20 minutes early with all of our points (some of them being guessed numbers for extra points), and lead an unsuccessful gamble for more points in return for our pen.
Half an hour later the whole Cambodia Team was back and in high spirits, excited to know who had won. However there was no time for celebration as we had to start our new mission; cook-christmas-dinner-for-40-odd-people-and-let’s-not-burn-the-turkey! After an hour or so of Christmas powered chopping, slicing, peeling, and chatting we had finished preparing, and started working on our presentation for the forum the next day.
Soon we were summoned back to the kitchen to start the important part of the meal; the cooking. Its safe to say our kitchen was organised; no spillages, if you forget the oil, and no problems that couldn’t be solved, *cough cough* deep fried parsnips, so overall it was great, especially as we sung Christmas songs the whole way through. When 7:30 came along we were ready to serve on time!
Dinner went very smoothly, with lots of laughs and some flying food, it was a great chance to talk to everyone in a non-competitive way. Soon after everyone was split into different groups to take part in the quiz. This meant we got to socialize with some of the HSX members we otherwise wouldn’t have spoken to, while discovering how little we know about quiz sections like “World” or “London”.
Up and ready the next day by 07:30, we were tired and adequately enthusiastic for PT. Several pushups and 1 kilometre later, we found ourselves chest deep in a freezing cold river, squatting and then wading under a bridge. That’s definitely one way to wake yourself up! On the, slightly squelchy, way back, we ran looking forward to a shower and bacon for breakfast.
10 am signalled the start of the forum where our team was up first to present Cambodia, we spoke about our previous training weekends, fundraising and what we are looking forward to do on the trip. The rest of the meeting went well, with a few jokes made from other members along the way, and it was great to see what everyone had done over the past year, and are planning for the coming year.
The weekend was a great experience as we got to know the members of HSX really well as well as getting to know about all the other crazy adventures HSX run, which we are looking forward to taking part in, in the future.
Becky and Cerys – HSX Cambodia Team