Friday, November 10, 2006

K2 - Coromandel to Coromandel: 185kms.


K2 is a 185 kilometre bicycle race held on the Coromandel Peninsula. The race starts from a different town each year. Coromandel, Thames, Tairua or Whitianga. It has more hills than any other race I have seen in New Zealand. The weather is always good, and the scenery stunning.

After a pretty apphrensive start, I was going alright. I was in the top 20 on the first two major climbs just out of Coromandel. I was just cruising in the bunch for the entire coastal stretch down to Thames while most of my buddies were trying to get back onto our group of about 20. There was a small group up front who seemed intent on keeping it rolling so I was pretty happy with my armchair ride. I talked to a few people including Chris Gaze who had won one of the Vets ages groups last year.

The Kopu Hikuai is the longest climb - suppposedly 14 kms. Unfortunately I over-shifted on a flattish piece near the bottom and dropped my chain off the crank. I had to stop to untangle it . Luckily I hadnt twisted it. At that point I was in the front group but suddenly I was on a mission to try and recatch them all.

I just missed the last rider of the front bunch going over the top. I am pretty sure it was another Wellington Rider, Dev, now known as "The Worlds Fastest Indian!" Foolishly I paused for a drink, forgetting that I am crap at bridging down hill.... so I ended up riding most of the next 40kms by myself... Some riders swept me up just before Pumpkin Hill past Tairua. At this point I realised that my nutrition had failed again. The sickly sweet formula and muesli bars were not going down. I started to get very worried as I heard that the race doesnt actually really start until Whitianga ! Some coke seemed to bring me back to life for a while but my 2nd bunch was gone, and it was a while before another one came through.

Whitianga just seemed to unearth more and more hills that didnt appear to be on the map ! Then we had a couple of really nasty ones....
Myundermans and Gentle Annie just seemed very excessive to my painful legs. Short and sharp, 1.3 and 0.8kms. Some how I hadnt cramped, and I was forced to stand just to keep the wheels turning. By this time a few of the Elite women who I must have picked up and dropped on the Kopu Hikuai started catching me up again. With only one major climb left my tank was dry.

The Whangapoa Hill is 3.4 kms at 8.9 % . It was a big ask and it took all my determination to not walk it. I lost about 8 minutes in only 3.4kms in comparison to the people I was with at the bottom of the hill. I calculate about 30 people passed me as I grovelled up the hill. I glanced over a my shoulder and they looked like a bunch of cicadas inching up a power pole in the hot sun. Pearl Izumi had a deal going whereby, if you wore any of their kit, you got a free beer and sausage at the end! A beer never tasted so good, and a few brave souls borrowed my PI socks!!

Our Buddy Peter Kane was having some fun..... Apparently there were 2 Peter Kanes in the race, he reckoned he would take the time of the fastest one! Unfortunately our Peter Kane got a blow-out bout 2kms from the finish on the nastiest corner on the final descent, and the fake Peter Kane passed him and beat him by 30 seconds !!!! DOH!!! Petes helmet was munted, and 2 days later a nasty black eye turned up as well. There are some pretty cool shots here from Kevin Chang's Flickr, Linda Villumsen was riding.