Thursday, June 20, 2013

 A change of footwear this weekend, some important lessons, and a only a couple of injuries.....

Needing a bit of a blow out mentally, I lined up for the last round of the Dirt Guide XC series. A 2hr Moto event.  Bit of a change from the previous weekends which had gone XC MTB, Duathlon, then Trail Running. Instead this weekend it was the KTM 125 that would power me around the course.

Not having ridden trail in over 6 mths (or at all since March), lining up on a startline was a bit of a risk. So with no competitive intentions I just kind of followed, and watched what others in front were doing. This is not good. Ride to your strengths people. Lack of focus, and laziness in control led to a number of fairly major moments, that could've been worse. A few tweaks and sprains see me sporting some lovely pink Kinesio tape this week. But it's not too bad.

Generally I was doing 30-31min laps. My 3rd lap was the important lesson. Having had a quick refuel, I headed out in clear space. I focussed on riding smooth and "safe" fast. Riding my lines, and getting clear of others as soon as possible. Suddenly I rode a 28min lap, with far more control.

The lesson? In any activity, when there is risk involved, maintain some focus. You don't have be giving 100%, but that 80-90% commitment is a grey area where your mind wanders and dangerous things happen. Be aware of what you are doing. Have fun, but stay safe.

In the meantime everyone should watch this for an example of what amazing imagination, commitment, and skill can produce...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Working on making my legs hate me a little less....

After a week of hobbling around due to my self-inflicted leg damage from 3D's efforts, I figured my running could do with a bit of attention. So rather than plan a sensible slow base run, I took the usual approach of finding an event. Conviently the 2nd race of the XTERRA Trail Run series was on in the nearby Riverhead Forest.
 I woosed out of the "Super Long" course option, and just signed up for the Long. So 18km all offroad, with around 500m vertical climbing; combined with torrential overnight rain, and clay based tracks, and slippery snotty goodness awaited everyone. It wasn't going to be an easy day. I ran a solid (if a little conservative) race, and trotted in 1hr20 odd later in 2nd place, around 3min down. Happy with that.

Despite knowing full well what the conditions were likely to be, I ran in the totally innapropriate racing flats (my trail shoes are in storage in Rotorua). Still they worked out ok.

 About 1km in and the RNZAF boys have already smacked it off the front. At this point I am already realising that maybe its not that cold and I could be a bit overdressed.

Nearing the finish and I am sure this carefully placed log caused cramping issues for many. While I look clean, its only because I'd fallen in a deep puddle 30sec earlier...

I'm often made aware of how much MTB race courses cut up in the wet and how much worse conditions can be for athletes further back in the field. Apparently running is no different as this young fella in the short course event demonstrates.

And even the photographers couldn't escape the conditions. Fun and challenging times allround. Hopefully I can make a couple more events in the series. Certainly a great way to learn some new terrain.

Friday, June 7, 2013

My legs hate me

There's a saying bandied around in sport that goes along the lines of "form is temporary, class is permanent". I think the 3D multisport festival last week proved to me that a) any past MTB results were the result of well planned training (ie form), and that b) maybe I am really a runner....
After being dealt a hiding in the paddle leg of the Multisport race last year, I opted for the Duathlon option this time around. With some ptrretty stiff competition it was never going to be easy. Starting with the seperate MTB event the pace was pretty hot right through. Sam Gaze eventually skipped clear, chased hard by Olly, as I drifted off to a distant 3rd. Out of sight, out of mind, Olly's gap on me sneaked out to almost 2min by the end of the ride. Although I did score a couple of Strava KOM's. The other boys can't have uploaded their GPS files?!
Credit where its due though, as he smashed it. Accounting for the variation in courses (more on the Du option), he was probably a couple of minutes quicker than both Richard Ussher and Dougal Allen. So it was a bit dissapointing he missed the prize for quickest MTB split. Maybe next year the organisers could put a timing mat where the courses merge?
Onto the run I pushed hard but felt awful. Legs cramping. Forced to walk the stairs. And this was in the first 1km. While I've raced plenty in recent times, any actual training has been next to nothing, so I was paying the price. I started to feel better midway through, and to my surprise caught a glimpse of Olly near the finish as I closed fast. 2nd across the line, and the days fastest Duathlon run (and bettered by just two of the multisporters), saw me close the gap to just over 20sec. Happy with that. Apparently I'm a runner? Even if I have been barely able to walk all week since...

It's been a mad week, as I then went straight to Sydney for a work conference. The super keen (and somewhat mad) Magellan brand manager had arranged a few CX bikes, and before I knew it I was seeing Sydney from the seat of bike at 5:30 each morning. Turned out to be pretty adventurous. TT smashfests on a bike jammed in little ring. Dragging brakes. Getting an opening truck door to the side of the head in traffic. Paniced missions in rush hour traffic running late for meetings. And one legged pedalling missions after Tony stripped the pedal out of his crank. 100+ km in a couple of days exploring sydney in the small hours. Was quite Epic.

The cycling highlight of the Sydney trip was riding tis stair/ramp on the CX bike in amongst commuter cycling traffic pushing/carrying their bikes. Apparently its rarely done, and the bridge security was most impressed. My riding buddy perhaps not so impressed as aparently his attempts ended with stalls and crashes about 3/5 of the way up....