03 January 2010

EC NZ - Day 1 - Cape Reinga - Kaitaia

Epic NZ ’10 Day 1 Cape Reinga – Kaitaia

Day before the camp begins……..
It took a little longer than planned to drive on the bus from Auckland – about 6 hours with the stop for lunch in Whangarai. (Please excuse all spelling errors as I wont’ be spell checking and often type as I recover. For those who know me you know what that means…..).
Sure was nice for everyone and all bikes to arrive intact and on time.
I had lunch with Randy Weintraub from N.Y. Clas Bjorling from Sweden and my normal training buddy Pete O’Brien from Christchurch. We tried sitting in the sun to soak up some rays but we were nuked after 5 minutes and moved into the shade. Light lunches and beers all around. Great way to break up the drive.
Damn hilly here. There seemed to be more small passes on the route than the GPS profiles we have indicate. We discussed shortening Day 2 already as the 195km on the plan is looking like it will take 6.5 hours or so.

Once we arrived in Kaitaia we put our bikes together, gathered up the swag from our sponsors and had a little rest prior to dinner.
Our sponsors have once again very generously supplied us with some great gear.
Thanks to Vinu at Fuelbelt for once again looking after us so well, Blue Seventy for the fabulous backpacks, and Oomph for the fabulous cycling/race shorts. If you haven’t seen the new shorts Oomph have then you should. These folks just keep making better and better stuff.

Dinner was a buffet. The date pudding and the pavlova went over very, very well. I washed mine down with 2 Black Macs so now I’m not only in nitrogen balance, I’m fully carb loaded to the point of spontaneous combustion..

After breakfast we hopped in the buss at 7:30 to cover the 110km up to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga which is the tip of the country.
What a majestic place! Just breathtaking , raw New Zealand at its finest.

From there we ran 22km with the first 12km a cruise and then the second 10km a race for points. Only trouble with the cruise part is that road is a nasty, vicious and wickedly hilly piece of work
Today we have 3 races that add up to approx an Oly distance race which is a “major” as far as the points go. So there’s a 10km run race, a 30km (approx. !!!) cycling TT and a 1500m swim in the pool during our 3km swim later on
I won’t explain the points in detail. Suffice it to say we’ll be racing a lot during our trip the length of the country. Previous campers will get a nice kick out of thinking about us hammering ourselves with all the various races, KOM’s, or for no reason at all other than some one is feeling good and no one wants to get dropped.
After the 12km “warm-up” run we assembled for the 10km jog and I was close to completely wrecked. My right calf is a mess, but I kept hobbling with the only consolation being I will now be able to cover the length of the country as no other runs are point to point along the way.
Gordo and Newson jetted off with Clas close behind and eventually Gordo put the hammer down to take it out comfortably, Clas 2nd, Johnny 3rd and the rest mostly ahead of me at around 50 minutes. I was thrilled to get through that run.
There are certainly some others hobbling. Roger from Texas was miserable to watch!

I’ll get to naming everyone eventually, so until I do its not because I am neglecting people, it would just take too long to say how everyone’s day went each day. Hopefully some of the other blogs will fill in the missing pieces.

We had lunch and then rolled out towards Kaitaia and with a nice tailwind we were rippin’ along at 40km/hour. I felt like stirring things up a little to see who was feeling frisky and found quite a few folks willing to get it rockin’ right away.

We assembled on the roadside for a drink stop and then the TT leaving in reverse order of the run finish earlier. That meant I had Daniel McDonald leaving 30 seconds behind me and that was all the incentive I needed to hammer that sucker. When Daniel’s fit he’s a lot better TT’er than me for sure, but he’s a bit of a “binge” trainer and I’ve been riding my ass off all year with lots of hard bike racing in there so felt I didn’t deserve a large dose of humility by having him not only beat me in the run this morning but also him hammering me in the TT as well.
So I rode well with Daniel almost catching me and Pete O’Brien surprising once again with approx the same time as me. We did around 43:30 and I think Steven took it out with about 40:30 with Richard Blanco 2nd a minute or two back. Neither Gordo or Clas have aero bars on so they weren’t all that speedy.

The swim was funny to say the least. Everyone cramped.
We did an easy 1km w/up and then hammered out a 1500 race with Steven taking it out in 21:40 which is about 2 minutes slwer than he would have done if we had the swim first thing this morning. Gordo and a few others tried to stay on his toes but all cramped and lost the draft.
I was leading another lane and was lapped at some point around 1km into it. Ouch. Every push off the wall caused agonizing cramping and I was once again just glad to finish, then cruise a bit more to get the 3km minimum.
There were some very long swims! Rip Oldmeadow was doing all sorts of cramping contortions on the side of the pool and he’s sure to be one sore dude tomorrow.

The tri totals weren’t that surprising given the run results but Gordo’s dominance was. The guy is in good shape.
Clas had a week in the Canary Islands in early December so he’s coming around but not quite ready to hammer it every day yet. His total immune/adrenals system meltdown a few years ago that put him out of action for 18 months is making him understandably cautious as well. I hope he continues to be prudent over the next 2 weeks.

I’m finishing today’s blog just prior to dinner which is at the hotel again tonight. Glad not to be going anywhere. I might try to get Russell Maylin the masseur to work on me for a little while during dinner.