05 January 2010

EC NZ '10 Day 3 - Whangarei - Auckland

EC NZ ’10 Day 3 – Whangarei – Auckland

Coffee, toast and fruit was on a 5:30am for a 5:50 am jog to the pool. The “Committee” made a call last night to allow a broken 10km to count for points today so most people did 2km each way to the pool with 6km to do later on after the ride.
When we got to the pool we found the main pool was closed due to unknown reasons. Shit.
So we piled into another pool that had 4 lanes with lane lines and did our thing. I moved off to the side with the old folks to do my 1km Bands Only for a point as I would have been in the way had I joined in with the others. I suck at B.O. Later on I also did a 200 Fly for another point so I wont’ be at the bottom of the points table.

As we were getting out we bumped into Samantha Warriner who has been one of NZ’s best triathletes on the ITU circuit (and now does 70.3 events as well)for quite a few years now. She was school teacher in Whangarei as she started her pro career and still lives there when not on the road.

After the jog back to our accom and then breakfast we rolled out toward the N. Shore of Auckland. There were some early starters again and that was a good idea. This is a windy, damn hilly little country and the stronger riders were going to cover the 172km today about an hour+ faster than the slower riders. When riding terrain like this there’s just no way to hang onto the stronger riders. The hills and side winds make it impossible.
The first 35km along the busy highway was the worst as we had a strong side wind. I hit a big metal thing early on and got a quick wheel change from Turps who was driving the tail-end Charlie van but it still took a minute + and it was a ball buster to get back on the group.
Andrew Charles had his first flat in 4 Epics and it turned into #2 and #3 pretty quick and he spent a lot of time on his own off the back. Not nice. Turps was a busy dude with the wheels today.
By lunch time there were lots of tired folks and the next 50km promised no respite. Clas gave some of us a chance to do some Swedish motor-pacing for as long as we could hang on. Pete, Douglas and I hung on for 25km before detonating and Steve hung on the whole way back to Auckland. (I’m sure you took a turn at some point Steve! J )

Pete continues to surprise me even though he’s been one of my main riding buddies over the last decade. Now that he’s working in an office full time and no longer a part of my little house-boy/full-time dad’s club he’s not able to train quite like he wants and leapt at the chance to do this tour. He’s getting ready for IM NZ and hopefully getting a Kona slot. The last time we raced there he crashed on the little river crossing out in the boonies on the way to Reparoa. I think he fell asleep due to boredom! He finished and just missed a slot by a minute or so. If that isn’t the most boring bike ride in the world then I don’t know what is. Note to race director Jane Patterson – how about putting the ride around lake Taupo?????? That’s one of the most beautiful rides in the world and its right f…n there!!! (hopping off my soap box now……)

When we arrived at the Millenium Institute where we’re staying super support Kay had some ice cold protein shakes ready for us as well as salty chips and my recovery beverage of choice ready just the way I like it – cold and bubbly.
Others passed on that and went out to run. Some did 10km in addition to the 10km they did this morning. Steve is going for his 3 successive Yellow ( well it was pink in Italy) jersey and it will take a monumental effort even though we aren’t giving a lot of points for tacking on extra distance this camp which is where Steve’s superior to any previous camper we’ve ever had.

Gordo hadn’t finished totaling up the points by dinner tonight but it looks like Steve just inching in front for the Yellow with his second 10km run of the day.
Petro is still in Red and Tara will be in Green tomorrow as she didn’t get a chance to wear it today.
I don’t have much else to say except that this is a damn hilly, windy little country. Have I sais that before??? Today’s ride included 2,000m of vertical gain.

A prelude for tomorrow - we have a 15km spin down to the ferry to get over to the town of Cormandel on the Coromandel peninsula, then have an aquathon there and then ride to Matamata with a beefy KOM at the beginning of the ride.