Ok, so I blatently ripped off that title from Hamish Carters old training camps.... but that essentially describes my epic weekend. Back home and enjoying our house in vegas, rather than relax I had a big weekend of racing lined up. Firstly, the Port of Tauranga half ironman (NZ Champs), followed with the first race of the N-Duro Summer MTB series on Sunday.
Crazy? Maybe. But I reckoned I would be at my most tired two days later from the half, so racing the next day would be ok. Twisted logic but it seemed to pay off. end result? 12th at the NZ half ironman champs, and 2nd in the N-Duro a mere 40sec behind Dirk Peters. Right now I'm on about my 4th coffee of the day to stay awake.
Saturday: Tauranga Half-Ironman
This was always going to be a big challenge. My logic in entering was that it would force me to commit to a steady period of base training in swim/bike/and run over November and December. Training had gone well, but having never TT'd more than 40km and not run a half marathon since 2001 it was a big unknown. With Nic along to support along with Mum and Dad it was pretty good motivation.
First suprise was to turn up and discover I'd inherited Cam Brown's #1 spot in transition. My Clip on aero bar equipped standard road bike (a mint Malvern Star Oppy C7) looked a little out of place in a rack full of TT bikes but it certainly gauranteed great product placement for my faithful sponsors.
Second suprise was the difficulty of the swim. I hadn't realised how much the chop and currents effected the swim here in Tauranga. And I also quickly discovered I am very poor at picking the currents and swimmingly accordingly. As such I proceeded to almost overshoot turning bouhys, swim extra distance, and fight to stop myself being swept into various boats. I survived the 2km though, but was dissapointed to see myself around 5min further down on where I wanted to be. Exiting in 100 something'th. Not a good start.
The bike? How hard is a flat 90km? Mentally really hard. I spent the whole ride catching and passing people, trying to make up time. I would be constantly out of the saddle every 5min as TT position just didn't seem comfortable. One guy following me even tried to abuse me with.... "can't you hold an aero position? You ride like a Mountainbiker...." Thanks I replied. Compliment I thought. Still, I averaged 39 point something Kph in difficult conditions and passed most of the womens field.
Onto the run and I had two goals. First to catch Robin Reid who'd just smashed me on the bike. And two... to win the womens race. I succeeded. Turns out I run ok for a mountainbiker. Plenty of "go cabin" and "go the mountainbiker" spurred me on to a solid 40min for the first lap. However my feet were really starting to hurt and with 10.5km still to go I was struggling. In my hurry to get through transition I'd gone sockless and I was paying for it with heinous blisters. Pushing on I finally overtook the womens race leader with about 7km to go, but got a fright to see Sam Wariner had closed to about a minute from me. That prompted me to up my game and I finished strongly.
A 1hr21 half marathon the days 8th fastest run, and good enough to move me up to 12th. Not a bad debut....and happily I "won" the womens race by a comfortable 3min :)
Sunday: N-Duro Summer Cup
Backing up the next day was always going to be a tough ask. However I'd done the recovery thing well. Got all the food in thanks to Balance, and had used the 2XU compression as recommended. It wasn't all serious though as a healthy dose of ice-cream was also diligently put away.
Turning up on Sunday morning it soon became clear this would be no easy day. Rotorua turned on the weather and around 240 keen beans turned up to enjoy the trails and racing. The men's field was only missing 2 or 3 riders that would have made it a NZ Champs worthy field, and it wasn't too different in the womens.
From the gun the womens race turned into a Nic v Annika battle. It was great for both of them as they pushed each other hard. Probing for weaknesses with various attacks. The decisive moment came about 2/3 of the way through when Nic crashed heavily on No-Brains whilst chasing a flying Annika. She got up and got going but had lost contact. She pushed hard to the finish but fell 90sec short of Annika. They were flying however and their battle had pushed them 8min clear of 3rd. Encouraging signs for upcoming races.
Was pretty determined to stay as near as I could to the front for as long as I could. Suprisingly I felt pretty strong. Turns out the pace was pretty hot and whilst I felt comfortable we'd soon whittled down the field to a select group of 5 (Mike Northcott, Ed Crossling, Dirk Peters, Ash Hough, and myself). The race went to pieces up Lookout Rd. Mr Ed attacked hard and only Mikey and Dirk could respond.
I just held a rythym and by the top passed a now blown looking Ed. Mikey and Dirk were long gone. By the bottom of No-Brains I past a stricken Mikey repairing some damage, and inherited 2nd. Getting a time check of 40sec to Dirk I pushed as hard as I could all the way home but really struggled on the steep punchy climbs. Maybe half ironmans aren't good prep?! In the end it was a very satisifed 2nd.... still 40sec down. Carl Jones was 3rd a few minutes later, trailed in by Mikey. But where was Mr Ed?
Turns out he'd decided to use No-Brains for Human Cannonball practice and after a successful and lengthy flight had decided to use his face to stop himself. It was nasty crash and thankfully Ash was quick on the scene to stop and render assistance. So big thanks from everyone to Ash. And recover fast Ed.
All in all a very successful, and very tiring weekend for me. Looking for a few days of nothing, and probably a few pies I imagine!
Swim start as age-groupers watch the pro's to see how its done. For their sake I hope they weren't watching me