27 January 2008

Epic Camp NZ '08 Day 1

Epic NZ ’08 Day 1 – Akaroa

When I arrived in Christchurch at the end of n ’88 with my hot babe girlfriend Erin Baker the ride to Akaroa and back was one of the main rides IM folks did to get ready for IM NZ. The race was held in Auckland back then. That course was a hell of a lot harder than the current one in Taupo so the Christchurch athletes spent a lot of time in the hills getting ready for it.
The typical starting point at Princess Margaret Hospital makes the ride 150km round trip and it would usually take us 6 hours. We often did it on a Tuesday morning and it was always a crack-up to me that so many people would call in sick from work in order to do it.
It’s a very hard ride with lots of steep climbing (7500ft?) but once you get to the top of the first big climb at the Hilltop it really is a gorgeous place.
We warned the campers to bring real climbing gears of 39 x 27 or easier as there are quite a few chances to use them when you’re really tired.

Today our day started with a 6am run to the pool for those who wanted to get their run for the day out of the way. Then we hopped into the pool warmed up with a 1km before starting our first “race” of the camp – a 2km TT.
We had Monica Byrn hop in with us as a guest camper for this so the group could see what a real tri swimmer can do. I think some of the guys could feel her wake wash over them from about 3 lanes away!
Albert Boyce through down the gauntlet right from the gun with a 1:15 100m. John Newsom hung in there with me for a little while as did Rob Chance from Tulsa and Tara. When Monica came past me to lap me I had to respond! and in doing so was pulled to the front of the group to finish in 26:05 (1:18’s avg/100) which I felt really good about. Albert was right behind with Tara next followed by 1 second!! by Newson with Rob a few more seconds adrift. There were quite a few guys around the 30-minute mark. Andrew Charles did 31+ which was about 3 minutes faster than last year when he came to the camp with absolutely no swimming training at all in the previous months.
A few of us added on a 200m fly which gave us an additional point.

After breakfast we rolled out easy towards Akaroa and the pace was very friendly. Common sense seemed to prevail :-) and I certainly hope to have more of that over the next week as it’s a real nice way to pass the kms.
After a drink stop it was straight into the first KOM of the camp and G-Man led it out from the gun. There was probably no chance any of us are going to get anywhere near a fresh Beven James-Eyles on any decent climb and sure enough he soon assumed the front and blew the rest of us out the back. Only the “Rotorua Guy” stayed in the same time zone.
I burned more than a few matches to drop Toby and G-Man near the top and in the process just caught 66kg (yes that’s right!) Dr. Douglas from Auckland. Douglas is an old bugger like me but he’s built more like Contador and looks likely to make a good account of himself on all the hills.

The sun was out today and the wind was rather kind so I think everyone was a little low on fluids by lunch. Another fabulous picnic was set out for us by the crew including Monica and Andrea. Another thick layer of sunscreen was put on and off we went for the return trip straight back over all the hills.
Tara wasn’t holding back near as much this time and hung close to the top group with Beven once again taking the KOM but G-Man was a close second. I was happy just to get to the top of that sucker and was at peak sweat rate and absolutely drenched.
Newsom put in a decent effort to get up the hill ahead of Tara and was going to feel that later on in the TT for sure!

We re-grouped in Little River to do a 42km TT back to Halswell which is a suburb just outside of the city. We went off at 30 second intervals and I didn’t feel too bad during the first 10km tailwind section. Tara came motoring past me at the 12km mark after starting a minute behind and I knew I was gonna get smoked!
Brandon Del Campo (who looked more than a little under the weather earlier in the ride) came by me soon after and was ripping the thing apart only to come to a halt from cramps approx. 10km from the finish.
Mark Petrofesa smoked everyone except for the “Rotorua Guy”. Tara beat both G-Man and me and nearly every one else which to me seemed to be the performance of the day. Some of the guys showed some common sense (and perhaps a little fatigue???) and just rode moderate. I was toast.

We then cruised back to the accom. and some people tacked on to make the ride 180km in total to get another point. Then the people who didn’t’ run earlier headed out for their runs. Damn tough day.
I grabbed a beer, shower and was on John Ellis massage table within 15 minutes of crawling off my bike. I sure as hell needed all of it.

The crew cooked us a fabulous meal with guest crew member Andrew Black doing a fabulous job on the BBQ. New crew member Chris McAteer arrived straight after doing an Oly distance race down in Timaru this morning and was promptly put on dish-washing duty!

Molina is in Yellow! but only by an inch on a KOM countback as Tara and I are tied for the points lead.
Beven has the KOM Jersey and the Green jersey for BOF (Best Old …… umm…. Fella) also resides on my back for now.
So that’s a quick wrap-up. I’ve got to get some sleep as we have a 10-11 hour day tomorrow finishing in Tekapo. Andrea took a bunch of photos and Beven did some podcast recording so we should have that stuff posted soon.