29 January 2008

Epic NZ '08 Day 2

Epic NZ ’08 Day 2

It already seems like day 4-5 as I type this on the morning of day 3. Hard to believe we first started these camps 5 years ago, but it feels like I’m back into the camp grove now and there’s not much time or energy for anything other than eat, sleep and get through the sessions.
Last night your Elliott from Reno, Super Dave (support crew Dave Dwan) did slip off for a quiet beer at about 9pm though.

Day 2 started at 6am with a swim at the pool I usually swim at. I’ve been swimming there since ’88 and actually worked there for 10 years as a masters coach and 6 years running the little gym connected to the pool. That facility seems pretty familiar to me – something like my holiday places used to feel.
The coach made sure we had the entire pool for 45 minutes so we all did approx 2600m first with some people doing 1km with a band around their ankles for a bonus point. If you’ve never tried to do an entire 1km nonstop like this I highly recommend it! You start to realize what poor body position does to your speed.

Then we did a 400IM race for points. Not many of the campers ever do the other strokes and some had never even tried doing more than 25m of fly at once in their lives so its always a little entertaining when they do attempt it. John Drury from Folsom, Calif. was more than a little anxious beforehand and his underwater recovery on his stroke did prove to be rather difficult!
We all got through it though. Rob chance from Tulsa obviously has a very solid swim background but the previous days toil did take a little snap out of his stroke. I managed to take it out again in 5:50 with Albert right on my feet followed by Newsom, Gordo and Rob all right under or at the 6-minute mark. That meant I was likely to end the day in yellow again if I could just manage to run and make it to Wanaka.

Then some of us went for our run which included some time in Hagley Park which is the big inner city park here. It was sunny and cool. Shaping up to be a perfect day. My knee wasn’t grumbling too loudly and Tara and I had a chance to chat and catch up.

After breakfast we rolled out towards Tekapo – 245km away. The wind was really solidly pushing us along and it would have been very nice to just cruise along at 35kph but Clive doesn’t seem to have much use for easy riding!!! he and Gordo kept it at 38-45 and we were al strung out in the gutter for the first 100km.
Then Mark P and Brandon decided to have a little fun and games and decided to race us into Geraldine and the next 40km was damn hard! I certainy should have just let them go as we still had a very tough 150km to go and no points were on the line…….. so why did I do it??? I wish I had a better answer than just “pride”.

Albert rolled into lunch and started talking about taking up golf and staying home more to cuddle his wife and that perhaps it was time he was done with this sport and stuff like that………. He did look pretty tired!

We still had 90km to go to Tekapo after lunch and that included all the hills, 2 x KOM and it was damn hot, so some folks found it a little too much and decided to hitch a ride. I know from past camps that its very, very hard for anyone on these camps to not complete the scheduled rides so I always feel for the guys (its never the women!!!) who get to that point. I do remember this ride on Day 1 of the very first camp where I cramped up and had to hitch a ride. It still bugs the crap out of me. All DNF’s do, even when its just training.

G-Man rolled off the front soon after lunch and that meant the rest of he day was going to be damn hard. I’m pretty sure many people would be very surprised at how steady the guys at the front of the group go day after day. Gordo does a good job of keeping it honest to say the least and the “Rotorua Guy” (Paul Westwood is his name actually) and Beven had to work their tails off to reel him in 30km later just before the first KOM.
Those 2 guys are pulling away in the KOM points and I really can’t see that any of us can do a damn thing about it.
Brandon, Mark, Toby and I were all working hard together to try to keep in contact to some but Tara rode away from us on her own! Damn tough chick!

We had a drink stop in Fairlie 45km after lunch and I was parched even after having 3 bottles on that segment of the ride. I had changed bike shorts at lunch and they were already covered in salt marks so I mooched a few salt tablets and filled 3 bottles again for the last 45 km which looked to be into some monster winds.

Not everyone made it to the drink stop by the time my group rolled out. Certainly the group was really stringing out now.

The fitter guys (and Tara) rolled out at a very solid tempo again and I was toast so really had no choice but to conserve and try to make it to the end. The winds came right up to damn near gale force and the climb up Burkes Pass was brutal. It took my group of Newsom Toby and I approx 100 minutes to do that last 45km and we were crawling along at 14-18kph for a lot of it due to the side winds. There’s just no where to draft when the winds are like that as the 2nd or 3rd guy in the line is right in the road if you are trying to get a little protection.
It seemed like the weather was toying with us a little today – tailwinds for the first 3 hours to lull us into a false sense of security and then ripping the life out of us the last couple of hours. It was a ride to remember.

I'm sure I missed a lot as I didn't really catch up with most folks at dinner since I needed a little nana nap!