Faces of UMC 2017: Ian Franzke

Ian Franzke is one of the pioneers of Upper Murray Challenge and probably adventure races in Australia. He knows every race and almost every race knows him.

Adventure Junkie team was lucky to race in team with Ian in multisport race in China few years back and we had a blast. He is such a modest and reliable teammate, tough and extremely capable in all adventure racing disciplines. It is even hard to say what is his strongest and whether he has got any weak legs, he seems to be outstanding in everything.

It is very hard to get many words from Ian, very busy father of three gorgeous girls, but here is a quick chat with Ian:


How many of Upper Murray Challenges have you done?

I did the first Upper Murray, which I think was 2003.

Not sure how many I have done I think I have only missed 2.

Why are you coming back?

The run is the highlight for me. I remember the first year the event ran, Nigel Aylott past me on the climb up the hill he was breathing that hard I thought a steam train was passing me. He went on to win the race. He had entered in the race the second year but he did not get to defend his title. Unfortunately he was killed in a AR in the USA a few weeks before the race.

When did you start your Adventure racing career?

My first AR race was the Merrijig Triathlon back in 1992 which was a run, whitewater paddle and a MTB ride. I was second across the line with only a team in front of me which had Phil Anderson doing the ride leg (an Australian former professional racing cyclist who was the first non-European to wear the yellow jersey of the Tour de France ).

Which boat do you normally paddle?

I paddle a k1 with a trailing rudder.

What bike do you use?

I use a hard tail 29er for the bike I did on a duel one year and broke my frame half way around the course. I left my bike behind and ran the rest of the bike ride in my bike shoes.

What is your nutrition strategy?

It is hard to eat on the paddle so I try to eat at the end of the bike and start of the run. For the paddle leg I have a long drinking strew and I just drink the river water.

What is your word of advice to the first time comers?

For first timers save a bit for the end the last five km on the road is tuff you can see a long way a head and it is good for chasing people down