Thursday, July 8, 2010

A busy couple of weeks

After the trip to Banff i was keen for some more site seeing while ants was keen to get a job so the next road trip was going to be a solo

On saturday, two saturdays ago i headed off to golden for a bit of mountain biking at kicking horse. the boys followed later in the day. i got there at opening, did a run, saw the grizzly, did another run (second run is always faster and way better then the first) and was feeling confident enough to take on adouble black on the third run of the day (double blacks are hard). this particular double black invloved rolling down a very steep, very fast rock face. did the first section which involves a smaller rock face followed by a drop. little sketchy and took the drop with the mind set it can't go to bad. nailed it but had second thoughts about the longer rock face. almost chickened out but decided i hadn't fallen off in a while so can't be improving. started rock face, things going well, a bit to the left, over the steepest part, bit too much speed on, out of control, off the track, over the front of the bike, rolling down hill, bike crashing into me, flatten out and stop, watch bike smash itsself to the bottom.

Result, full face helmets are awesome. bike had a bent disc rotor. bike shop had no spares and bike shop into town was closed due to wedding. dissapointed i went and took some frustration out on some firewood and set up camp waiting for the boys to return.

A can do attitude is a great thing at times. after setting up camp it wasn't long till i was smashing the rotor straight with the back of a toma hawk. a bit of tweeking on the bike and i had a rideable solution. Spent the next day wearing out brake pads at kicking horse, camped again and then suttled the boys up mt seven before heading to jasper for the night. the weather wasn't to awesome so decided to go all the way to jasper and work my way back over the next to days. took some photos on the way up.

Stayed in wapiti camp ground just out of jasper. Quite a few sites but you wouldn't know it. drove into jasper for food. very touisty.

Woke up early the next day to try and beat the crowds. five minutes out of jasper heading north and saw an elk stag on side of road, just chilling. Further down more elk and then either a wolf or a cyotie. very quick so could go either way but i'm claiming wolf.

Lots of site seeing but not a lot more wildlife, more elk and some sheep. it is amazing how many tourists were around and how quickly things can go from screnity (when you spot some wildlife) to crazy when every one else spots it. Saw some elk cross a river. was mean.

stayed the night the columbia ice fields. very high up and at about a km away from the glacier. snowed over night (crazy for summer). woke early once again to beat the crowds. checked out the sights. peyto lake was a highlight. back to golden by 2 p.m. and managed to get in six runs before setting up camp at ceddar lake.

Spent Canada day mountain biking at kicking horse. Start slow, doing some of the more technical tracks while arms wern't too sore, at about 4 runs i thought i might try and get 10 in in a day. Made it a bit more of a race and i started hitting tracks faster - no stopping from top to bottom, quite difficult. at about 8 runs i thought i could do 12, mayber 13. run 9 and i got a puncture, 13 is still on the cards, just go fast over the next 3 runs i said, run 11 and my rare breaks are gone, i choose the slowest way down, fail, rush to the van, grab breaks and do a change in the gondie on the way up, speed down the mountain to finish run 12 but eight minutes short of getting in a 13th. stocked to have made 12 i drove back to revelstoke.

chilled in revelstocke over the weekend then went to silver star for monday and tuesday mountian biking. Silver star has a lot shorter runs then kicking horse but better bigger berms and corners, better progression of jumps too, both parks have there plus and minus. progressed quite a bit and silver star. loved it. have decided to put the mountain bike away for the rest of the trip and rest my leg. it has gotten quite sore.

back to revelstoke to chill before the stampede in calgary then home to nz. went to the hot pools again last night and then up mt revlestoke to day





Friday, June 25, 2010

Camping 101

Last weekend we went Camping, out at a cabin about an hour south of revelstoke. The cabin has been cleaned up after almost being moved/destroyed and is now a nice private spot above a lake with a nice beech.

We turned up friday afternoon and settled in to the cabin, went fishing, cooked some food and marshmallows on the fire and then got to know the locals (a few mice) before bed.

The next morning we woke early, went fishing, went for a bit of a walk, rolled a few rocks into the river, had a quick swim (very cold) and finished the day with a bon fire beside the lake (biggest bon fire ever) with some damper before bed.

On sunday we cleaned up, more fishing (still no fish) and drove back to revy after a bit of sight seeing.

Monday - made plans to go to the rockies with ants then went to a party, was a good night

Tuesday - hungover, got sorted for camping, left revey about heading towards golden and yoho national park. Saw elk and hairy marmot's on the way to the campsite at the Takakkaw falls (second largest in canada). Nice campsite.

Next morning woke early to walk/run up to the yoho glacier. apparently only a 18km round trip with 250 meters of elevation gain. more like 22 km round trip with 500 m elevation gain. eventually made it to the glacier, took some photo's then back to the car before the weather turned. very worth while, if not sketchy tramp. Drove to Banff national park and checked out Mordine Lake and Lake Louise (Mordine Lake was better). Drove to Campground at Johnston Canyon. Saw some deer with massive fluffy tails, no bears yet.

Next morning walked up Johnston Canyon, saw the lower and upper falls then carried on to the ink pots. felt like we were in bear country, saw no bears. Returned to car and drove through the Kootenay rockies. More Deer, but no bears. Saw an eagle, massive. Decide to drive back to revy. Was a good trip lots of photos.

Ants has decided to get a job so the plans for next week are a solo misson through jasper national park with some mountain biking with the boys either side.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kicking horse

Last week was taken up with odd jobs, mountain biking, running, visiting Begbie falls, moving out of the basement, visiting the historic ski jump in Revelstoke ( it is high - those guys must have had some decent cohonies) and waiting for the weekend.

After getting pretty happy around the fire on Friday night we were all a bit slow moving around the house Saturday morning. Managed to get on the road at about ten in the morning on our way to golden and kicking horse mountain bike park. the road between \Revelstoke and Golden had some impressive views and we stopped for a few photo opportunities. Passed through a time zone so lost an hour. After getting supplies we headed straight to the park, kitted up, and set of for the lifts. bit of a line for the gondola up to the top of the mountain, it is a 1100 vertical climb from top to bottom. Amazing views from the gondola and really started to enjoy the scenery. did a couple of runs down the mountain. first section is a long road (snow still covers some of the single track) which gets the body warmed up for single track further down the mountain. then form there on it's all sweet single track. did a couple of runs, got my first puncture, started to hit a few jumps. bike are awesome and soak up a lot of the lack of skill.

Camped the night at Cedar lake, lake is not fed by any rivers so quite warm but very muddy. Cooked a nice feed of pasta and bacon, tops and enjoyed a camp fire. the leaves of the dried trees we were burning must have a very flammable chemical in them cause they would go up like anything. can see way bear grills could make it in Canada, not to hard to start a fire at all. We were entertained by a pair of drunk teenagers in the next door campsite. Campsite is only ten minutes from the ski field so perfect base for mountain biking. quite a few mountain bikers using it two.

Next day woke to the sound of wolves howling in the distance. continued on and off for about an hour, mint! up the mountain for opening at 10.30. explored more trails, another flat, a few falls but started to get more confidence. Lunch at the restaurant at the top of the hill. Beautiful views. more trails after lunch, more jumps. Boys did a double black course, not my cup of tea but maybe in the future. multiple runs takes it out of the body and muscles were starting to feel it by the end of the day, one more short run and it was off home. Stopped in to dairy queen for legendary blizzard ice cream. a little sun burnt at this stage with nice patterns from the body armour.

most people have full one downhill bikes at the parks. but it is great to go up there and be able to do everything every one else is on our all mountain bikes, a lot of fun, just a bit harder on the body. have purchased some goggles to deal with the dust but loving the mountain biking so far. need to work on berms. resorts are good because you can do multiple runs and improve over the space of a day. Awesome. Aim is to make it to ten runs in a day - will be sore after that day

Camping and more mountain biking planned for later on in this week.

Saw a bear and some mountain goats on the way back from golden, squrils are awesome



Monday, June 7, 2010

A week in revelstoke

So we've been in Revelstoke for just over a week now. its a small Town surrounded by big mountains. kinda got an ohakune. i love the small town feel of it. we are quite close to the middle of town, which is far from the outside of town. so walk everywhere. it is awesome

Arrived Tuesday, Wednesday woke up with a few jobs to do. Me and Ants are shacked up in the basement with a cardboard wall between us, and no door. We have some carpet on the floor and a window each. Ants is gonna raise up his bed and put a nice floor in. i might just raise the bed up. went searching for free wood. found enough to make a sweet cloths rack out of (it is pretty sweet) Ants did the building and i was on design and holding things. First ride on the bike in the afternoon along a little trail in town to get used to the bike. found the skate park and railed some jumps. suspension is so much fun!!!

Thursday - more jobs in the morning, then went for a cross country mountain bike. heaps of fun. bikes are pretty hard to pedal up hill (there not designed to do that) but just kill anything on the downhill. No need to chose a smooth line like on the hard tail, just roll over anything in the way (awesome). Ran into a tree across the track (first crash)

Friday - noise boy wanted to climb the old ski slopes to find a ski. This hill was massive and steep and a good 2 1/2 hour climb to the top. Amazing how the plants and wild life change as you climb. And how it gets harder to climb as you get higher. Ants chased a bush turkey, found lots of coin left over from the ski season. had lunch, climbed some more, got to snow level, found the ski. boys attempted to single ski down, mixed results. Continued down - was just as hard down as it was up. Saw a brown bear near the bottom, in the trees. it was running away from us when we saw it then stopped and had a look at us. Awesome.

Friday night and we went to some hot pools in the bush. On the way out of town the muffler fell off the van, picked it up on the way back. was a noise trip to and from hot pools. Hot pools were across a ferry. there is no road around the lake so the government just put on a free ferry. took some sweet photos, hot pools were awesome - nice temperature and all to ourselves. got back at about one o clock

Saturday - woke up, fixed muffler. don't know how but its back on there. went for first real downhill mountain bike. was quite nervous and it showed in the riding. trails are way different to anything I've ridden in NZ. steeper, faster and with a lot more structures. did two runs and feel off the log ride twice. no big deal. boys road some massive things. was impressive. bike are awesome and just eat up everything

Had a party on Saturday night. lit a fire in a barrel at the house. was very warm. got fairly merry at the house before hitting town. live band so danced the night away with the locals. plenty of antics on the way to, and back from town. good times.

Sunday - hungover brunch. all you can eat breakfast for fifteen dollars with waffles and rhubarb crumble. was awesome. had three massive plates (ants said if i did three he would pay for laundry -sweet free laundry). was so good, waffles are amazing. Chilled at the house for a couple of hours before mountain biking. tried really hard to control nerves on first run and was starting to get more confidence. did a second run on different (new track). very steep first section, really enjoyed it. halfway down next section something clicked and i started doing more stuff. Did a massive rock roll over, Hugh. will have to get a photo of it at some stage - and a drop of. fell off. was awesome. loved it.

Mountain bike runs to far - Boulder 4, kicking horse 0

Time to do the dishes before a run today. me and ants are a cooking, dishes team. really good to share the work load.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting out of Vancouver

We had an above average night on Saturday involving 22 pieces of sushi for $5.00, some awesome dancing (by the boys) and some interesting dancing from the Canadians, and a glassing incident between two girls on the d floor (Jeff Reidy took some to the arm). Lots of laughs.

Sunday checked out a couple of bike stores and camping stores. Went for a ride on a few reign X's. Figured i would purchase the reign X 1 we found in Revy. Went for a run through Stanley park in Vancouver. Saw a squirl and a Racon. The racon was awesome, climbed a tree right in front of us and into this little hole. Mint.

By Monday we were all sick of Vancouver and it's poor weather. Had been cloudy every day since we turned up. Messed around in town till 3.30 at which point we went and picked up the Van. It is the law in Canada that every car must have insurance. Getting this took about two hours and it was almost six thirty before we finally rolled out the drive way.

The Van I purchased has been sitting still for a few months and has obviously gone backwards, within a kilometer of leaving we discovered the window wiper switch doesn't work and the plug was faulty. A few zip ties later and we were down to popping the hod ever time it started/stopped raining (we now just pull the fuse out/in)

We picked up the boys van and headed out of Vancouver, good to be on the road moving after a few days sitting still. On the road for a bit (Jim driving my van) and we pulled over in Hope for a feed and some fuel. At this point I stepped up and took the wheel. Jim was pretty brave sitting next to me, almost had an incident at the first intersection. Driving on the other side of the road is interesting. Key is to always position the passenger on the outside. Intersection are the most tricky.

Parked up at a nice spot just off the road, altered the van so we could a comfortable sleep by removing the back seats, took a few photos, cup of tea and bed. Woke up at 4am when sun creeped into van. need to do something about curtains!!Add Image

Back on road and into Revy at about 2pm. Scenery got better and better as we went along. Canada is a beautiful place.

Unpacked the Van and straight to the bank and then bike shop. Picked up bike. It is awesome (back to shop tomorrow to take the set post down two centimeters). Need to get used to full suspension, and 6.7 inches front and rear is quite a bit. Will take some getting used two. Riding tomorrow.

Boom, off for a run



Saturday, May 29, 2010

First days in Canda - Spendng alot of money

Landed in Canada 5pm Thursday - mid day Friday New Zealand time. Airport travel was a mess; cruised out of koru club in wellies to find the plane was just about to board. Got about three hours on the flight to LA. Was feeling very sweaty and gross on reaching LA airport.

LA airport is freaken massive, like huge. Was a race against time to get to next plane. Spent alot of time in lines. Once through custom's couldn't find our way upstairs then had to go through security. It's made. Four checks between two planes. Made it just and then waited half an hour why they kicked someones bags off the plane.

Talked to some sweet old lady next too me on the plane up. Got her number so have a place to stay in Yukon if necessary. Get a Canada's number. Done, Boom. Slept on the plane for about an hour. Woke up in some sweet droll

Vancouver airport was low key as compared to LA. Caught up with the boys. Sky trained it to the city. Checked into the backpacker's, showered, got on it. Bars were pretty empty but got the D floor going somewhere. Home at three Friday morning

Woke up Friday hungover. Made it to free breakfast (toast with jam, apricot jam here is amazing) which comes with the accommodation. Found a van on Craig's list, found our way to the burbs on sky train and random bus. Public transport here is amazing. The power of a lot of people, so fast cheap and easy. Van looked and sounded all G so purchased. A GMC Safari with 150,000 on the clock for $2000 Canadian.

Cruised around the water front last night. Very nice. Someone very smart put some effort into design down. Bed by ten.

Saturday - made an attempt at visiting bike stores, failed epically, Ants found a second hand bike on Pink Bike. Caught a boat across the harbour to check it out. Steal of the century. Very few/no large bikes for sale on net. Tomorrow's job is checking out a store and see what I can haggle. There are bike's in Revy too so no rush. Need to get insurance too and then Monday, pick up Van and start the trip to Revy

First impressions on Canada.
  • People in Vancouver are ubber friendly, like better then NZ so far
  • Weed is everywhere
  • Pizza here is amazing
  • There is no wind (amazing)
  • It takes a while to get over people driving on the opposite side of the road (have freaked out a number of times looking in cars and thinking no one is driving)

Overall loving the holiday so far. Two more days in Vancouver. Big night tonight and then Boom buy a bike and roll out of here Monday.

Peace, Andy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Crazy man - it was crazy

This weekend Beijeman bro's racing took on the Crazy man team duathlon. I did the run. Following a big month of racing in March I really backed off the training in April feeling that the body was a bit over worked. Crazy man is a tough run so as long as i bet the average time of an hour fifty i was gonna be stocked.

Having done a couple of practice runs on the course I knew it was going to be tough and pacing myself would be key. My strategy was to nail the downhills and flats and walk any up hills as fast as possible to conserve energy. At the half way mark I was feeling a little bit nailed. The great thing about team events is that some stage in the event someone is going to cheer you on. This bit of extra support put me in a good place for the final climb. On reaching the summit of Mt Lowary my legs were starting to pack it in. From here it was 4 km to the finish, mainly downhill. Motivation was sliding and running downhill fast was not on the agenda, a situation that has happened before. At this point a voice crept into my head "if you can't run downhill you might as well pull out"... Thank you Anthony Thompson. That was all the motivation I needed to destroy the last 4km, get cramp with about 800m to go and pull out a time of 1hr 42 minutes. Pretty stocked with this time considering i haven't been doing much running and I walked every up hill. Next year it would be great to go under an hour thirty for the 18km course.

At the transition area Mark and I swapped bibs about as smoothly as possible. Mark passed alot of people during the mountain bike to bring us home 6th out of about 20 teams in a total time of 3 hours and 36 mins, 36 minutes of the leaders. Plenty of room for improvement.

Next up is the wainui six hour. Should be a good achievement just to finish in one piece, and then Canada



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Rainbow - it dominated us

Some lessons are hard to learn, the Rainbow was all about some tough schooling

One week after Karapoti Ant and I had scheduled to take on the ultra marathon feet and ran 106 km along the Wairau Hanmer Springs Hydro Road. having just finished karapoti I rested up all week and was feeling okay heading down to Nelson. While on the plane i contemplated how tough this could be. A week after karapoti i knew the body had no way of being full recovered and adding to this the fact that i'd run all of about 40km since the heaphy (all my efforts were on the bike in prep for karapoti), it was going to be real tough. I came to the conclusion though that when the going got tough and the body started to feel the pain I'd just dominate the body with the mind and that would be the end of it - man was i wrong!

The weather forecast was for clear skies with no wind (hot) or clear skies with driving southerlies (freezing cold). With this in mind and considering we had 106 km in front of us we started early. Two bright eyed, naive runners began the trek to Hanmer at 5.00am on the 13/03/10. We had no idea what was to come

We definitely had clear skies, and there was no wind, in it's place was a bitterly cold frost. Ants was rolling skins but in my stupidity i had not even thought about it. The cold started to creep into my legs as soon as we started running, this coupled with an early stop to tape my feet for blisters which i could feel developing where early signs that this was going to be an interesting run.

We set a reasonably fast pace for the first two hours and we'd covered about twenty kilometers in the first two hours, a good pace for an ultra. It was nice running, a few mobs of cattle and some lambs kept us company along the way. It was undulating terrain but we were gradually climbing the entire way. At the first food stop I was feeling good, railing back some bars and gels and we were off again.

Over the next twelve kilometers I started to drop off the pace and Ants was pulling ahead. I was struggling. The cold was killing my legs and it was only getting worse. Ants was doing his best to take my mind off things and the scenery was awesome but it was starting to get tough.

At the 32 kilometer mark my legs were shivering but i was determined to go on. Making things worse was that any water that we drunk was freezing and chilled our core even further. The next 15km was probably the hardest i have traveled in my life. While the sun was up it still hadn't reached the valley we were running in. We could see it coming down the hill to our right but it wasn't directly on us. It wasn't till 40 km into to run, after four and a half hours of running that we got our first glimpses of direct sunlight. Those first few rays were awesome.

A few kilometers later and we were in constant sunlight, my legs were still rock solid but had begun to warm. A packet of lollies left by the support crew kept us going over the next few kilometers. The running had really slowed, the scenery was awesome and we had started to see cows and calves which was awesome. If you haven't been through this country you really should, it is pretty awesome. When we caught up to the support crew again it was two hours since we'd last seen them. It had taken two hours to cover 15km. Things were going really slow.

Ants still seemed to be doing all right but was battling internally, I'm more of an external battler and usually voice how I'm feeling. Once fueled up again we set off again. With the support crew still in sight Ant and I had our first and only argument of the run, he wanted to run and i was sucking on a lollie and wanted to walk. It's interesting how when your down and out even the smallest things can set two people off. The next few kilometers were run in silence but looking back it was barely running. My body was stuffed. Moving at barely a walking pace i was puffing hard just to be moving. Things weren't going right but i was still possessed with the desire to complete 106km.

While i was engaged in a battle between mind and body Ant had done the math and was trying to think of a way to tell the determined (Like the most determined any one could be determined) sole behind him that there was no way we were going to make it. in my mind we were still going to get there by seven but in reality we weren't going to get there at all. In the end all it took was for Ants to stop, look back at me and say, "bro you might as well be walking" and then go on to explain the maths for me to realise how wasted i really was. It's funny how when your that determined it takes someone else to pull you out of it.

We walked the final eight kilometers to catch up with he support crew and then pulled out at the 57km mark. The hot pools at Hanmer were a nice treat for our damaged bodies and by Sunday morning we were walking again.

Looking back the rainbow definitely brought us back to earth and exposed us as mere mortals. It taught us that you can't just go out and smash 100 km based on a heap of cycling fitness, that running muscles need to be built up for running and to be prepared for any conditions. The biggest lesson was that eventually after a period of the mind dominating the body, the body will eventually come back to dominate the mind. At this point the mind has two options either ignore the body and keep moving down the path of destruction, or wake up to reality and change tactics.

All in all it was a positive experience, and i now know i can really push myself onto the pain train. Now the trick is to stay motivated, find another challenges and get back to base training.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Heaphy - It Deserves a Mention

Somewhere around November last year I was getting itch feet with most of the welly boys in Canada and old mate in nelson. An epic adventure was needed and so the plan formulated to run the heaphy. The original plan was to take two days and carry a little gear but Ant, always wanting to out do himself suggested that we just roll it in one day. It's only eighty k we figured - thats only two marathons and four half's. No problem.

So it was two bright eyed armatures that arrived at the collingwood end of the heaphy around 5 o'clock on the morning of the 23/01/2010. The heaphy can be described as a 17km climb, 23 km across the tops (flat), 12 km decent and then 28 km home (give or take a few kilometers here and there). We set off at a pretty good pace but slowed down (Ant the pro was thinking ahead) to make the summit in about two hours.

After photos and some tactical weight loss we set off across the gouland downs. This has to be one of the most spectacular place in NZ and had good view all round. What was more awesome was that we could see the next twenty km laid out in front of us. This was easy running.

Somewhere around the third hut things started to go a little bad stomach wise. This meant that somewhere between the third and fourth hut I took a spew. Last night's tea just wasn't moving (something to do with mushrooms) and the body wanted out. Afterwards i felt much better.

From here we got to half way, passed a couple of walkers (such a good feeling), yarned to a DOC ranger, and boomed the downhill. A big bit of running which absolutely destroyed us. Once reaching the flat it was eight km to the coast and then a further 16km home. By the time we goat to the coast i was absolutely on board the pain train. The last 16km was definitely the toughest with a lot of mental power being used just to get from corner to corner. The end came just in time with a final climb and mashing of the legs back down to the beach.

Here's the video summary

Highlights of the whole thing:
  • The gouland downs
  • The moments after the spew
  • The use of the mangnidoodle (clears the mind back to point zero)
  • The bit where ant told me that he was stocked that I was leading cause he was battling

Low lights of the whole thing:

  • The sand flies
  • The moments before the spew
  • The non stop consumption of energy gels and one square meals
  • the bit before ant told me that he was stocked that i was leading because i thought he was doing fine and i was struggling and this was playing havoc on my mental state

Would definitely recommend the heaphy to anyway. Next up where taking on 106km through the rainbow range or something (goes for st arnud through to Hamner). Should be awesome.

Representing Team Goat Racing for Life


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Karapoti - nothing to lose ...(and nothing left behind)

Karpoti is hailed as one of the toughest mountain bike races in New Zealand. Summarised it involves three very tough climbs (the middle of which is a 2 km bike carry mission) and some gnarly descents involving everything from very fast 4wd tracks to gnarly rock drops. Karapoti is the mountain bike race that everyone uses to benchmark themselves against.

Last year's karapoti was my first, i finished in a time of 4 hours and 16 minutes, had numerous punctures and by the end of it had had enough. This year with a bit more experience, a slightly different tyre set up and a lot more base fitness i was hoping to go out and destroy the thing. Unfortunately poor planning and a busy social/work life mean that my build up over January and February was not what i had wanted it to be. I never found time to get out on the mountain bike are rail some hill/speed efforts and as such was going into karapoti with slightly lowered expectations. Some seriously heavy drinking the weekend before (brother's wedding) and the bought of hay fever experienced during the week meant that i was approaching karapoti with absolutely no expectations as to the time i should get around in. I figured I'd just destroy myself and see what happened.

Dealing with Hay fever on Friday night i smashed a couple of disprine to deal to the headache and applied the mental attitude that the hay fever would be gone in the morning and everything would be sweet. Unfortunately the power of positive thinking failed on this occasion and I woke to hay fever in full flight. Smashing down breakfast (four bits of toast covered with a medium amount of peanut butter and then mushed banana on top of that) i then got a sick feeling in my stomach. Things weren't looking good.

A common rule in all sports is never try anything when competing, only experiment during training. But I was getting desperate so this rule went out the door when i found some lemsip cold and flu at a servo in the hutt. Smashing back two doses mixed with some cold water (not recommend) i started to feel good again and just hoped that this wouldn't lead to a spew later in the day; i actually contemplated spew tactics - could it be done while riding???

Karapoti starts with a bike carry across a river. Last year i managed to get across in second place and so it was lining up at the start line that i felt the most pressure of the entire race. This year i was a bit off the pace starting and didn't attack the river with the same attitude as last year. As such i was about fifth across and a bit behind the lead bunch heading off on the bike. Bridging the gap on the tarcel I was able to draft behind the leaders all the way to the start of the warm up climb, but i was smashing myself to do so and with that in mind i made the conscious decision to let them go and dictate my own race.

By the time I'd descended from the warm up climb and was starting the 1st real climb i had already caught up to some in the lead group. This gave me an incredible surge of motivation and i passed some of them on the climb. It was good times, but i was smashing the body! After the 1st climb is over there is a decent rolling section with plenty of dips and climbs, this is where you can really make up some time on people. Pretty stocked with how i was going and that i was challenging the leaders i unleashed the body further, pushing higher gears at every chance i got.

Into the rock garden (which is a gnarly decent involving a number of drop offs, plenty of coconut sized rocks and plenty of places to have some massive accidents) i took the approach that i didn't want to be passed because of my downhill skills (or lack of). I managed to ride most of the rock garden, almost went over the handle bars and managed to roughly maintain position.

Next came the stair case which is a 2km bike carry mission. This is were i was hoping to unleash on some people but unfortunately it was not meant to be. My legs were stiff and carrying a bike while walking was not going to happen at a fast pace. The heart rate was peaking and i just had to take it one step at a time. Thankfully the longest climbs are right at the start of the staircase and the top was reached soon enough. My legs were smashed though.

Railing back some water i once again took the attitude of not letting anyone pass me because of my downhilling skills. To go fast you really have to abuse the bike, have no fear and just accept that if you crash, it will be messy, but at least you were pushing the boundaries. Crashes are even more likely due to the blurred vision for the large amount of mud covering you eyes.

Managing to hold my own on the final downhill i headed into the final uphill knowing the end was near. Climbing the entire thing on the bike was my goal. I settled in to a good pace but backed of a little approaching the top. A mechanical failure forced me to dismount and walk a section losing some time and my attitude was not good at this stage meaning i probably could have pushed myself harder. It's never a good idea to accept setting behind someone else (unless there pushing you) and i lost time on this last hill.

Into the final descent and i put the hammer down knowing that the end was in sight. Things can get pretty fast on this one and i absolutely loved it. Something about being off the mountain bike during training has meant that i now think alot more about line choices and as such downhilling is a lot more fun. The second to last river crossing i rode the entire thing for the first time ever and then nailed the final 4wd section. Back on the tarcel i got all areo dynamic, messed up the final river crossing by going to low in the water and missing the shallow spots and then the final 200 meters home.

My body was shattered but i was stocked. Considering the build up before the race i think i did pretty well. I realised that i can push myself a lot further then i could before, that i can go harder for longer, and that I'm competitive. With the lessons learnt from this year and a bit more training i might just break the sub three hour mark.

Key Lesson learnt from karapoti:

  1. Base training is amazing, you can go pretty far if your working from a solid base
  2. It's best to take a chillaxed attitude towards races, allows you to be relaxed on race day and actually enjoy the race
  3. It's important to ride your own race - it's three hours of pain out there and you don't want to go out to hard to early and suffer at the end
  4. While it's best not to try things on race day, sometimes its a necessity
  5. You can always go faster downhill
  6. It's important to have a build up of races before the main event. Helps to realise your limits and hopefully build up the bodies ability to deal with such high levels of stress
  7. Cramp can be ridden through, it's only your body telling you you can go harder
  8. The mind is the most important thing out there, it can really dominate the body if you let it

My final time was three hours and twenty eight seconds. An entire 29 seconds off getting in to the sub three club. Sixth in my age group.

The plan now is to get back to some good honest base training and hit the gym to improve muscular endurance. Then Canada for an adventure before the spring series next year and around Taupo.

Boom, Andy