On the final race of 2008 Auckland Grammar School’s Winter Series at Whitford, Jake went missing. Jake now gives us the full story…
It started at about 8:30am on the morning of the 4th Secondary Schools XC competition at Whitford forest, where I left the car park to do a short practice loop. I figured I would not be very long so I was carrying no water or food (a stupid mistake) but fortunately I was wearing a jumper. I did the first downhill section called bed runs or something along those lines and carried onto Roma. At this point I had used up a bit of time so I short-cutted back to the gravel road and started cycling back to the carpark.
I took a wrong turn somewhere and it was about 9:10 when I first got a bit anxious about my placement in the forest, then I came around a very steep corner and on the right hand side of the road were two HUGE boars. They must have been guarding piglets or this was there territory because they charged the moment they saw me. At this point I had two options: I could either try turn around or try to cycle up the road I came down but risk being caught because im not very fast going uphill or I could continue going downhill and hopefully make it past them. I decided to go downhill and one of the boars managed to cut across the front of my bike and just touch my front wheel putting me in a out of control slide on the steep gravel which made me go over the bars and crack my helmet and put a semi decent cut in my knee.
Because of the high speeds I was (fortunate?) enough to get flung about 10 metres away from the pigs and thankfully I landed next to a climbable pine tree. I remember sitting up and watching the boars take a second charge at me but I have no memory of ever thinking about or even climbing the tree, its amazing that the ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicks in like it does and I doubt I could ever climb a tree as fast as I did that day. When I was up the tree the boars came and sniffed around abit not paying any attention to me at all which was weird but they wouldn’t leave so I took my shoes off and threw them at the pigs but they didn’t even seem phased. Thankfully after about 5 mins the pigs left and went back up the round. I stayed up the tree for about 2 hours before climbing down. My plan was to retrace my steps and take the other turn at the intersection where I went wrong but about 500m into my journey I was unfortunate enough to run into the two boars again. I think they saw me but didn’t charge this time but I was giving them any chances so I dived into a gorse forest which the search and rescue team apparently found to dense to navigate through.
I didn’t know where I was going but I just kept going down hoping the forest would end soon and it wasn’t till about two hours into my bush bash I realized I forgot to pick up my shoes haha. Eventually the gorse fanned out into the bottom of a farmers paddock and looking back up the hill I scaled down it took me four hours to go through around 200m of gorse! I walked up to the highest point of the farm so I could be spotted and I received the first call from the police as there was no reception in the bush. I was told to stay where I was so I camped out by a water tank. Since where I was was so exposed I was freezing and I knew I couldn’t stay there much longer and that’s when I heard motorbikes. Over the next hill I found a kid about 12 years old on his motorbike. I must of looked like a right mess with my munched helmet and legs covered in gorse cuts cause he just dropped his bike and rushed over to me, he lead me back to his house down the hill where his mum gave me the nicest hot chocolate in the world and his dad, also an MTB rider, told me stories of the pigs he shot in the forest. The search and rescue guy, Ruben and Ians dad arrived about 20mins later which was awesome cause I was so glad to see people I knew and we meet up with my dad a short while later.
Miraculously I managed to keep my bike with me the whole time and apart from a few scratches it is in perfect condition.
I was missing for a grand total of 8hrs and now need a new helmet and a pair of shoes
So I’m extremely lucky that’s the outcome as I could have been a lot worse
I would like to thank Ruben and Ian’s dad for coming and picking me up, dad for not getting to stressed out and looking for me. John for calling the search team, Roy and Ian and Ian’s mum for waiting at the carpark the whole time I know that can’t have been too much fun. All the parents who helped look for me after the race I heard there were a lot of you – thanks
And thanks to the JAFAKIDS who were cool and supportive at my first ride back at hunua in the weekend and thanks to anyone I missed.