01 February 2009

EC NZ '09 - Day 1

EZNZ09 Day 1- Christchurch

The plan for today is to run to the QE II pool, swim 3km including the 2km TT, drive (or run) back to the hotel, eat, ride a 150km route we call “The Gorges” here and then once we get back to the hotel people can tack on additional training if they want to before dinner.
Each day everyone has a 12-hour window to do as much training as they please. We instituted that rule after Epic Australia when we had people training till midnight, riding around a velodrome in the dark and generally getting completely nutso. And its way to hard for the support crew to look after everyone with meals, laundry, etc when so many campers are out thee all hours of the day. I want the support crew to have a little fun too (because I want them to come back!) and they get very little precious time to do their own thing during the camp.

Before the camp started Steven and jo arrived from the UK and they’re staying until IM NZ.
They hit the ground running and Steven in particular just went for it in training.
Check this out!!:

Lordy! Lordy!!!

I purposely didn’t send this to any of the campers prior to the camp as I thought they might decide not to come! Lou Di Guiseppe in particular was worried that all the campers were training hard in some nice, warm place while he was in Missouri on the trainer and wouldn’t’ be prepared. Of course I re-assured him that he would be fine and that no one was really doing much more than him to prepare for the camp!!! HA!
So Steven is obviously fit and I’m sure it will be a very tough task to battle him for Yellow.

Most years I can expect to earn a good amount of points from swimming but this year I am certainly below par in that department along with the rest so I wasn’t looking forward to the traditional 2km TT in the pool we normally start the damp with.
Heath looks untouchable in the pool. He started our this morning doing the bands only 1km for a bonus point and I could see from the first stroke that we were in trouble. He looses absolutely no body position at all when wearing that thing. I tried drafting off of him for a little while to try and figure out how he does it but I couldn’t keep up!
So he handily won the 2km TT taking out the first 100m in 1:100 and then holding 1:15 for most of it. The rest of us battling for 2nd were sitting on 1:20 for a while, me drafting off of Tara and Newsom. Chris McDonald wanted in on that train so he shot under the lane line to get on my feet but he soon got burned off when Heath lapped us (in a 50m pool!) and Tara and John (and thus me) hopped onto his feet for a while. He actually pulled John up enough to barely nip Steven which was kinda sneaky! (I was hoping to do the same thing but couldn‘t stay on.) There was a wide range of times after we came in and it looks like some of the open water swims later on will be a very significant challenge for some. J

We ran an easy 10km to the pool and 6 people ran back from the pool for a bonus point. Ouch! Tough way to start the camp.

The ride – the route today is a standard one for us Christchurch folks and we were hoping for good wind today. It turned out very hot and windy and by the time we got to Lunch in Oxford at 75km it was about 28 Degrees C. There was quite a bit of carnage along the way to lunch and Piet gets the green jersey for “Camper of the Day” for his generous work at the front today.
Unfortunately we had a huge weather change on the way back and it turned Southerly so instead of the usual rocket-fast return trip down the Old Coast Road we had a grovel at 20-30kph all the way back to town. I was shattered and in a smart move towards self preservation I decided to amble in on my own as I was in the gutter trying to get a little protection for an hour and it wasn’t working. Chris generously pulled me back up to the group once and that served to make me doubly shattered!
Man, it was hard work and the pack was spread out over many kms.
Some people did tack on for extra points. Jo Steven and Russell went up Porters Pass from the top part of the ride to get 200km.
Tara did a total of 180km and is tied with Steven for the lead but since she beat him in the swim and the KOM she was awarded the Yellow Jersey – the first women ever to wear Yellow at Epic – a historic occasion!! I toasted her health and good fortune with a generous Epic Ale or course………
Chris did tack on too to get 180km. Since he's got a little running injury he's not running yet after winning Challenge Wanaka so he's not likely to factor in the over-all points but he's very likely to clean up all of the KOM points.

Great dinner and humor from our support crew tonight and the day is done. Back in the pool at 6am tomorrow to start Day 2.