04 February 2009

EC NZ '09 - Days 2 and 3

EC NZ ’09 – Days 2 and 3
- Christchurch – Kaikoura
- Kaikoura – Nelson (Stoke)

The plan for Day 2 was:
6am swim, either breakfast or run and a 9:45roll-out for the 185km ride north to Kaikoura. The ride is flat for the first 60km and then there is a good amount of hilly terrain. We’ve got the same 70km individual TT for points from Cheviot to Kaikoura that we used 2 years ago.

We hopped in with the regular Tri/masters squad this morning. There were quite a few people who stayed in the water to do 6km for some extra points – Jo, Steven, Chris, Tara, are the ones I’m sure of.
I managed my 3km and that was plenty. There’s no real swim fitness in this body! Un-like previous Epics I just haven’t quite got around to getting ready. I put that down to mostly being completely nuked prior to and after Kona in October as well as having 3 injuries: 1) left calf and 2) right knee which mostly prevent much running, 3) Tendonitis in my left shoulder which has kept me from swimming much. Thank goodness for the gym or else I’d be a complete nutcase alcoholic.
Well…… I’m kinda part way there on the alcoholic part anyway! So there are my excuses for getting beaten to a pulp daily………….
In the pool today Steven was in the lane next to me ripping everything. That 50km he’s done in the pool since he landed in Christchurch seems to have worked! He looks like a different guy in the water than he was in Italy.

The ride was quite cruisy and cooperative through to the drinks stop in Amberley. Nice.
It was very cool the whole way and then it cooled off even more enroute to Cheviot with the temps around 13 at one point and some light drizzle. Completely the opposite of yesterday.
Once we hit the main highway there was quite a bit of tempo which surprised me given the hard TT coming up after lunch that everyone was briefed on. The KOM was at the top of a 4km rise and Chris and Piet got away early for a well-earned 1st and 2nd. Newson pulled the last km to the top and we nearly got Piet and I was happy to roll John in the last 50m with Marilyn and Steve right there too. That KOM wasn’t really a huge climb but we try to come up with some KOM points every day if at all possible.

For the TT we set off roughly in the order of reverse GC (general classification) at 30-second intervals. The conditions were a little more favorable than 2 years ago when we did this but even accounting for that Chris ripped through it 6 minutes faster than the fastest time then (Bevan) with a 1:54 and that included a flat tire.
My 2:03+ was 4 minutes faster than last time and that got me 4th this time behind Steven and Tara who continues to pound on me every chance she gets!
There wasn’t much time to tack on to get up to 200km or 210 but a few people did and then also ran after that. Long day. And tomorrow is the longest day on the camp.
There was some carnage out there today which necessitated some van rides. Its always hard to know what to say to some one who’s bits by Day 2!
All I can say to those people is that this “ain’t easy camp”. We do this because it’s a massive challenge. If everyone could do the whole thing then we’d change it to ensure there was at least a little more suffering and failure. But once again the camp has proved hard enough.

Day 3

Cool, dark, starry morning at 5:15 when some of us headed out towards the seal colony for our run. It wasn’t a speedy run for sure. More like a glacial pace really.
Last time we were here we swam in the Kaikoura pool in our wetsuits because it was so cool. Today we really didn’t’ have that luxury as we couldn’t get some one to open the pool that early and we needed to get going on our ride which was at least 250km and hilly. As it turned out the ride time was at least 9 hours for everyone. Ouch.

We have a new term to add to the Epic New Zealand lexicon: :sea breezes”. That was what the weather forecast literally said for today.
And we got blasted for hours on end today.
So in addition to “kiwi rollers” to describe the hills we’ll add that term to all future camps here in NZ.
The first couple of hours were very civil to the 60km point drinks stop. Then the wind picked up and there really wasn’t any point in trying to work together too much so it was every man for himself. Some serious hills on the way to Blenheim too at the next aid station at 125km point of the ride.
Lunch wasn’t until we got to Havelock at the 160km point and by then I was well and truly ready to call it a day. It would have been even worse if we didn’t get a very friendly eschelon rolling during the last hour to lunch.
After lunch the real hills came with a KOM after the Rai Valley and other massive suckers in there as the sun came pelted down. I was at max sweat rate and OTB on those hills just praying to make it to our accom at Stoke 10km past Nelson.
The internet place is closing so I’ll stop here and pick up on the next post…………..