Monday, November 29, 2010

Cabin's big day out - part 2

.... I really would have liked to stay in Taupo Saturday night.... but I had to get home for a reason. Sunday saw the first race of TriNZ's Contact National Tri series at Blue Lake.

I've hardly run or swim in the last few months. As a hint I do need more than the fingers on one hand to count the respective runs and swims. But I wouldn't need my feet....

A demanding hilly bike course, and equally testing run were right up my alley, so what better way to kickstart my 1/2 ironman training? In perhaps logic only I would use I thought racing on smoked legs from the Huka would be great endurance training. Turns out it worked ok. But not after one of my most bizzare race experiences yet.

My swim was average (but to be expected). I would have enjoyed it except for the munter who seemed insistent on trying to read the model name on my googles. I can only assume that is what he was trying to do since he insisted on swimming on top of me for almost the entire 1500m despite my continual movements away from him, and the complete absence of other swimmers around us. Anyway, I survived, 6min or so down on the front, and executed a good transition before getting into my work on the bike. Until my race took the bizzare and unexpected twist...

.... a car on car collision occured at the bottom of Okareka Hill just moments before I arrived. I wasn't first on the scene, but was the first triathlete to stop. Someone quickly gave me directions to go rouse a local doctor who lived nearby. I found the house evebtually after some unsure circling and got him on the way. It seemed to take forever but was realistically only 4-5min. I was at a bit of a loss then as to what to do. Race was effectively over, and there was nothing more to do as accident scene was under control.

So I rode on, in somewhat of a daze, before deciding it was training and to start hammering again. I took a visual check when I passed the leaders on and out and back section. 20km later and it was only Mark Bowsted who had made any significant time on me. So it was nice to know I was one of the quickest on the course.

I got pretty angry with some of the lead (top 10) competitors who were ignoring the race breifing to stay on the walking track and running on the road (open to traffic) and forcing oncoming cyclists to ride wide on the road. I yelled at a few, rode straight at a few, and even paused in transition to ask the tech official to send a roving marshall out. I might seem like a grumpy old man, but organisers have safety rules for a reason and it pisses me off when competitors think they are so special they can do what they want. If you don't want to paly by the rules.... Stay home.

Anyway, when I got running I put together a solid time. Top 10 run split, 15th overall, and when TriNZ correct me time (which they generously offered to do to account for my doctor searching mission) I was around top 10 overall. I was then called up at prize giving for a special prize to acknowledge my mid race detour. So big thanks to TriNZ and huge credit to them for a well run event and their care for their participants. Nice work.

I'm typing this on Monday. It was a big weekend. Not surprisingly I am a little smoked.

CabiNic's big day out

So it was a big weekend for us. The Taupo Cycle Challenge, with its 10,000+ participants it is the event that argueably holds up the NZ cycling industry so it is a pretty big deal. And we are pretty satisified with our respective 3rd places.

Having the Huka XL MTB marathon as a feature really makes it a must do. Rapidly gaining popularity, the (now) 82km single track fest is as gruelling and tough as it is fun (perhaps with the exception of Kergresse.... participants will now what I mean!). This year saw pretty much everyone who is anyone in NZ MTB line up to test their early season form. And we were no different. Despite a lack of "speed" training we were certainly both keen to put a good result on the board. After last year Nic was keen to finish, and do so with her sight.

A 4:40am start to shovel breakfast into our faces in the dark was quickly followed by an hours more precious sleep before rousing ourselves for the 7am start. At least that meant the race would be over in time for lunch. For the guys, the pace was on from the very start, and we took great pride in beating the roadies (who started beside us) to the top of control gate hill. I was pretty focussed on slotting in at the front... the epic abundance of Singletrack meaning positioning is important. Holding 2nd when we reached craters meant I was then in a position to choose my pace rather than play catch up. It was soon pretty clear Mikey and T-Rex had some very good form and they dictated proceedings. Soon it was they and Dirk Peters cleared off, I was solo in 4th...At halfway I got a time check. 2min down on the lead trio, but more than 1min30 up on 5th/6th. So it was a solo time trialled for the next 2hrs. I held it together, railed some singletrack, enjoyed my mint new Avanti Team Competitor 29er, and eventually picked up a fading Dirk and crossed the line 3rd, a mere 2min after Mikey won a sprint over T-Rex.

Nic's race was a little different. She was pretty conservative early and with "junk" feeling legs from the previous weeks training was in her words "creeping" back in 5th for the first 20-30km whilst Annika Smail and Karen Hanlen danced off the front. By 30km she started feeling pretty good and put the hammer down. Legs were better and she was loving the flowing, and challenging Taupo trails. Riding back up to 3rd but running out of time to chase down Karen. Stoked to actually finish, and see some good results from the last months training block.

The afternoon then saw the highlight of the weekend..... our appearance as escorts/celebrities for the @Heart 5km kids ride. These kids enthusiasm is amazing and saw everthing from small MTB's to 12" training wheel equipped bikes tackling the 5km. The boys from Pure Black were on hand to lead out and thanks to Mark Langlands mad skills (inherited from Paul perhaps?) was able to keep the kids in check. I accompined young Josh from Tauranga who wound up his Ben 10 16" and put in some mean passes out on the grass, took some sweet lines (he really wanted to MTB... I could see it) and consistently informed me how much we were "boosting it" to keep up.

Simply awesome to see the enthusiasm and pure joy these kids got and is a pretty humbling experience really. Also big thanks to the boys from the Avanti Plus team (Hisky, Scott Green, and Josh Page) for answering the last minute SOS call for extra guides. Much appreciated boys.

We then enjoyed a great afternoon laxing in the sun and seemingly catching up with everyone we've ever met in NZ cycling..... before finally making it home to Rotorua around 9pm to hit the hay and get ready for round two on sunday......

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So it's been a few weeks, and probably timely for an update. Since SSWC we both had a week off to let the tired and beat up bodies recover, before getting into some regular training again with a view to the 2011 season.

I seemed paricularly messed up... proving that whilst you can get through events like the Whaka and SSWC on limited prep, you do rather a lot of damage in doing so. Theres been a couple of events since then. First up Nic lined up at the K1 Elite road race. Perhaps a wee bit ambitious with no recovery after SSWC but she was keen to measure her current form against the best roadie girls.

Event didn't go brilliantly, but a good learning experience. We enjoyed a great weekend away, I got in some good rides on my new Quantum 2.o (whilst spectating), found a mint fish n Chip outlet, and enjoyed watching the ITM Cup semi final at the pub..... before gapping it home Sunday to mow the lawns and be home bodies....

Another couple of relatively uneventful weeks followed, with some solid initial training shuffled into the working week. This brought us to the weekend just gone and the annual Rotorua-Ohope 100km "fun" ride. While new pro Clinton Avery decided a solo TT for 45km or so was the best move, Nic was working on her road racing smarts with a good solid hit out showing training is on track.
I meanwhile decided to line up at Toi's Challenge. A brutal 18km Mtn run out of Whakatane/Ohope. Real smart as I have run 4 times (all 30min or less) since start of October. A conservative start saw me 25th into the first climb before steady running saw me find myself in 5th and rapidly catching 3/4th with about 3km to go. That was until my claves screamed enough, and my age (wisdom?) kicked in and said to back it off and cruise to the finish (translated... make it to finish without trying so hard you collapse)
This resulted in a 9th overall, just 2min back from 3rd. Not too shabby. When I recover and can walk normally again it should give a good springboard to the half ironmans I have on the calender for summer.
I then proceeded to destroy myself by riding home to Rotorua. 100km with some nice climbing seemed like a good idea.... Save for the block headwind the whole way made it a pretty much tempo effort the whole way just to mainatin the eventual 25km/hr average. Don't think I ever rode in anything that bad in the Manawatu even. A coke stop midway was essential. So a long and testing training day. What ever doesn't kill you........

Thursday, November 4, 2010

.... and Cabin's 2011 ride is....


Pretty exciting news for me really. The guessing game over the last week from the sneak peak pics has been fun, and nice to know that there is 1) so much interest, and 2) so much knowledge of 29ers out there.
As the photo shows my deal is a great package that allows me to enjoy top notch equipment in all my endevours. I'll be piloting the brand new Team Competitor 29er when off road, the Chrono TT rig in selected triathlon events (sprint through to half ironman distances), and the Quantum 2.0 in training and the odd road race.
For the eagle-eyed who were thrown off the scent by the nude carbon 29er.... I am privilaged to have had my hands on the Prototype. It's a very nice handling bike and a proved that Avanti's delayed entry to the performance 29er market has allowed them to do their research. I'm excitied to be debuting that bike at both the Huka XL in a few weeks time, and the Festival of Cycling MTB event at Christchurch as I try to give the bike its maiden win (It will eventually replaced by the actual Team Competitor as soon as they are available).
Think I best get offline and go riding....