19 January 2010

EC NZ '10 Day 12 Christchurch - Geraldine

EC NZ ’10 Day 12 Christchurch – Geraldine

When planning this camp this ride of 150km looked like it would likely be one of the easier rides of this camp. On previous camps we’ve ridden 90km further to Tekapo to get 240km for this ride. That’s why I thought we could do a swim in the ocean from my place before doing one of my favorite hilly trail runs. But it didn’t turn out that way at all.
This is how the day went………
John prudently decided to skip the swim and just do the run prior to breakfast. It took around 1:50 for the tail-enders to do this run which was very good considering how much they’ve done leading into it. This 19-20km loop has about 2,000ft of vertical gain on it and when Clas was ripping it to pieces here one summer he was doing it in just under 90 minutes.
I made it to the 40-minute mark before deciding my sore calf was getting close to the tearing to bits point and took a shortcut and walked back home. That was a 45 minute hike. Lucky it was a nice morning and my dear wife caught up to me and walked in with me.
I was very happy that most of the campers could do that run though as it is a neat part of the world to see.
Some tacked on to make it a 25km run for extra points and after yesterdays super long day I thought that was a bit silly! Steve just needs to keep healthy now to take yellow and David Craig and Petro have got to be on the edge with all they’ve done. Petro is in no danger of being kicked off of team Sumo though. The guy can eat! He even started this run with enough snacks to get across the Sahara desert.
Nice to see Big E get around those hills too. The guy is getting fit.
Tara didn’t rip or break anything either which was a huge relief to me.

Drive back to the motel in town for breakfast and then a 10:40 roll-out towards Geraldine. The forecast was for southerlies increasing (headwind) and rain later.
We had a headwind straight away and the plan was to keep the group together until 55km when we went over the Rakaia bridge which is a mile long and super skinny. That way we could have the tail vehicle right behind us and not let any traffic try to pass us. Well it took a f…n long time to get to that bridge in the headwind and Pete also came to grief on Hwy 1 and took a good chunk of tissue out just below his knee. The support crew bandaged him up and got him going again and it looks like he’ll be able to finish the camp. In windy conditions like that when every one is looking for some shelter there’s always a bigger risk of touching wheels.
It was getting colder and wetter by this stage and at the next drink stop we put on all we had in our day bags. Tara’s SRM was reading 12 C and with the rain and nasty head wind the wind chill was certainly way lower. Petro had 3 layers on his legs! Once all his layers got wet and in addition to the bucket full of snacks he was carrying he must’ve weighed close to a thousand pounds.

Lunch was at 100km but we didn’t’ linger long. Too cold. David Craig took off inb order to get warm as much as anything and soloed to the motel. Some of us hopped on Clas’s wheel and he motor-paced us for 30km to warm-up and catch all of the early leavers from lunch, then our group settled into a nice echelon for the last 40km. My back wheel had a spoke pull through the rim and I limped in the last 10km. I’ll be sad to see that rear wheel go as we’ve had about 4 years, 7 Epic Camps and lots of other great rides together.

I take my hat off to Jordan Caldwell once again today. She’s one tough cookie. She’s hanging in there doing all the sessions even though she’s in the company of some super fit pros and lunatic age groupers at the pointy end of the field. Today was a shit day for riding and she hung in there even though the gorillas kept disappearing up the road. Of the 500+km she’s done over the last 3 days about 300+km of it has been into a nasty headwind. Only 3 more rides to go and I can see she’s determined to make it. These camps are specifically _not_ designed for people of Jordan’s current fitness yet she’s managing to make it through.

For this camp for inspiration I’ve brought along a small book about New Zealand’s first Tour De France cyclist. His name was Harry Watson and he rode the Tour in 1928. The race was soooooo much harder than it is now. Its just mind boggling how hard it was with the dirt roads over the mountains, only 2 gears. They started some stages at midnight and the Pyrenean stage I just read about last night took over 18 hours! It helps with perspective when I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself and I’ll try to get through a few pages tonight.