19 January 2010

EC NZ '10 Day 13 Geraldine - Waianakarua

EC NZ ’10 Day 13 Geraldine – Waianakarua

Well this evening I’m in a much better mood than yesterday.
Yesterday I wasn’t sure just how foul a mood I was in but now I can clearly see it was one of the darker days I’ve had on any Epic Camp.
What I want most for these camps to provide for the campers is a fabulous experience and yesterday contained more misery than I would ever hope to inflict on any one. The day started off great with a great run and Jo Carritt also was able to see a good doctor to get a start on fixing her mysterious foot problem, but after breakfast it all turned to custard.
It wasn’t just that we had miserable rain and headwind, we also couldn’t see a damn thing. It certainly wasn’t the scenic ride through the Canterbury countryside I usually get. The section on Highway 1 was very stressful and one of my best mates Pete went down hard and he’s an excellent rider in a pack.
We used that section of road for the same reason we’ve used all the main highways we’ve used – to get from one end of the country to the other without having to ride 3,000km.
But we won’t be using that Highway again I can assure you.
I also re-injured my left calf again which has plagued me for 8 years now and some real negativity from that slowly took over my brain all day. My rear wheel rubbing on the frame for hours and ending up in the rubbish bin was just the icing on the cake.
But the upbeat mood of the support and the campers saved the day for me.

Today started with early runs for some before we started with coffee and a snack and then to the pool at 8am for those who wanted to swim 6km.
Our session today included the traditional 400 Medley which was made a minor points race and mandatory for camp completion so everyone had to do it. The 400IM was inspired by Tom Dolan who I always had tremendous admiration for. He would have made a great Epic Camper.
I didn’t start out intending to swim 6km but I knew I was way be hind in swim kms to get camp completion swim kms so I just got going and ended up doing 6 in the end.
The 400IM is always good value. Triathletes aren’t the best of medley swimmers in general and when you’re this tired it’s a damn tough event to get though. I remember getting a bit of schtick from my friend Billy (who was in the Army) when I only did 50 push-ups during the EpicMan comp we had a few years back. I actually trained hard for that competition that year and would regularly do 3-4 sets of 40 strict push-ups prior to the camp. But when you’re this tired it’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
Petro, G-Man, Tara and Steven were put in the first heat and after not being able to beat me in 10 previous Epic 400IM’s I figured this was the G-Man’s day to clobber me. I had just done 4km prior to getting up onto the blocks and I had felt absolutely weak in the water. My only hope was to take it out hard and make him blow up. I didn’t think I’d be within 15 seconds of Steven although I knew he must be knackered too.
My 1:21 fly leg put me way out in front but from there Steven reeled me in and pushed off onto the f/s with a body length and stayed there. He touched in 5:55, me in 5:57 and Petro in a remarkable 6:07. I say remarkable because Petro will do more in this camp than his 3 previous Epic Camps _combined_ . No Shit!!! He’s holding up incredibly well. I thought he’d be sick in bed by now. My guess was that either his immune system couldn’t cope or his digestive system would be ruptured from him shoving in so much.
Newsom matched my 5:57 which was also impressive as he had done practically no swimming prior to the camp. Just goes to show that guile and determination are no match for youth and talent.
I got a huge kick out of seeing Pete take it out in 47 for he first 50 and then his second 50 fly split was 1:13! Pete’s very good in all 4 strokes but he’s absolutely shelled. Talk about the piano being firmly strapped on the back………. It looked like he might actually drown.
In general the IM’s were a lot better than I expected. Both Rob Hill and David Langley have very decent fly strokes relative to their f/s. Ex-swimmer Nick obviously still hasn’t lost his technique completely even though he hasn’t really trained his swimming in about 15 years. Just goes to show that once a good swimmer, always a good swimmer. He could be at the front of his age group in the swim in no time at all if he were to jump into a decent masters group.

After breakfast we rolled out East to the Coast, then south. Newsom generously pulled the last group for 40km to begin again and it was a calm, cool, nice day. Bliss compared to yesterday.
G-Man decided to chill and coast (well 100-160 Watts for him is practically coasting) the whole 150km to our accom which I thought was unlikely. Guess he just wanted a little personal time. He did seem in a pretty good mood at lunch when he caught up having skipped the first drink stop.
Petro took it up to 40-44kph after the drink stop at 50km mark and after about 20km of that Steven kindly offered to give him a break and took over thus saving the rest of the group from being completely shelled. Jo was yo-yo-ing quite a bit and sweating buckets and Steven could see she was about to pop like a balloon so he wound it back to 37-40 so we could all stay on.
Lunch was superb. The crew made us some delicious wraps so we didn’t’ have to do it ourselves and they also bought some yummy chocolate chip muffins filled with mocha crème pudding. No shit!!! I had 2 of each and a crisp cold Cantina to wash down my caffeine pill and vitamins. Perfect………

The last 50km were neat. Once we got through Omaru (which seems like the longest little town in the world) we hit the coast for a magic last 30km of rolling farmland along the ocean. Great road.
The lodge we’re staying out is ours for the evening which is also really nice. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy to have a decent day. Great company and a scrumptious dinner, some massage from Susie and Janet.
The “committee awarded the green jersey for camper of the day to Jordan for once again riding most of the day on her own into the wind. She must have done about 1,000km so far without a wheel in front of her to block the wind and there have been quite a few campers who seem to not even have done 100km in total into the wind – yours truly included!