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.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Windy Wellington

Looks like paradise right?
I nearly went insane last year with the weather, and I am the biggest apologist for the wind that there is. Here is some video from my lounge window.... (very short)
And some more that someone took of planes landing at our airport....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

MTB worlds Rotorua

MTB Worlds... bad taste photo
Here is a comment from Geoff Kabush's diary... and the accompanying photo that explains it all...The Kiwis tried to cheer me up the steep hills but I was doing all I could. There were a bunch of hecklers in red capes that I was afraid to look at for the first five laps for fear that they were naked. It ended up that they did have Speedos on with big "merkins" hanging out. This word was added to my vocabulary this week: "Merkin" - a hairpiece for down under or you could call it a stunt bush. Anyway Mathieu Toulouse made it in for 48th place and local hero John Kirckaldie finished 21st in the DH in his big retirement race. He was the big TV celebrity all week..

Monday, August 28, 2006

World MTB champs

World MTB champs last weekend in Rotorua Central north Island.
I only have a small camera so I had to throw it about a bit to get these shots.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tip Track Vertical challenge? 495 metres straight up!

The "tip-track" race was held a few weeks back with great success.
Its a race of legend in Wellington with talk of a time of 18 mins flat, from gate to gate by the legendary Trevor Woodward.

This was to be an entirely different event with the race starting at sea level and finishing at the golf-ball (radar station) itself on hawkins Hill - quite a bit longer than the original course.
The cool thing though was that runners and roadies were also invited, and they could use whatever course they wanted!

Obviously the roadies took to the tarseal and went via the wind turbine. I actually expected them to win, but a northerly and a TT format meant that there was no wheel sucking so no advantage there.

In the end, in form roadie Ed Crossling did a 27.45 to pro Elite MTBer Wayne Hiscock's 27.20...... pretty close eh? But no where near MTB hill climb specialist's Tim Wilding's 24.44 !
Ex World Mountain Running champ Melissa Moon did a 30.05, and I think if local World Mountain Running Champ Jonathon Wyatt had turned up, he would have given Tim a good run for his money.

The day was pleasant enough at sea level, but up top it was verging on hypothermia country. There was a great variety of fitness levels in this event which was a fundraiser for the Makara Peak MTB park. The most impressive ride for me was by world reknown unicyclist Ken Looi from Jville Cycles in around 38 minutes!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Crazyman multi-sport triathlon duathlon

CMAN Posted by Picasa

The Crazyman is the biggest multisport event in this region, and at 574 competitors, 2006's race was the biggest field yet. More details here:

I can hardly walk now, (the next monday) not from running pain, but from the damage the cramp spasms caused me! I think I have sussed out why so many people get cramp on the new course. When its wet, and you are not as fit as you know you should be, and its the longer course, its actually a good 20 mins longer than the old course. Most people are faking it quite a bit already with their training, but add another 10-20 mins, and they are actually way out of their comfort zones. Cramping competitors was pretty rare on the older shorter course.

When I exited the bush for the first time (Muritai street [47 mins] ) I was ready to go home, I'd had to stop to re-insert my contact lens, as I had installed it backwards before the race! While I was re-installing it I heard about 20 people pass me, then I grovelled back and passed half of them again.... only to have them repass me on the next downhill !

This was the pattern for the whole race, catch them on the ups, but lose more time on the downs. Very frustrating. Jill Westenra passed me about 20 mins into the race, on a downhill, after I had redone my lens. She was on fire as far as the ladies go. I came out into Wainuiomata and I felt like a dead man. I got through the transition in about 1 min, and looked at my clock, 1.42. So the run splits were like, 47 and 54 ? Getting on the bike was like heaven in comparison to the running. But then the cramp hit me, I could only push the granny gear, thank god most of the bike training I had been doing was on my fixed gear with a 39-16 ratio. I am sure it paid off being able to spin more efficiently.

I figured most of the people in front of me were teamsters, but was still surprised at the sheer numbers of them. I was impressed to see Matt Harvey (a very strong Masterton Cyclist) pass me on the run. Once on the bike, and going up the roller coaster I started to pull him in, until I had to dismount, and then I couldnt get remounted because of the cramp. I just had to grit my teeth, scream in agony and do it... cripes it hurt. Both calves and left quad simultaneously. You had to ride almost everything, because you knew that if you walked, you might not be able to get back on again. So it was like that the whole way.

I crept up behind Matt, saw him take a drink and casually attacked him on the right. I never saw Matt again, but he did win the open mens Du! So I was a 3.50, and I think Matt was a 3.53 or something. Probably the most impressive Du result came from Marco Renalli, with a 3.56.
50 years old and the 2nd fastest MTB split by less than a minute!

So what about the cramp? Whats the answer? There really are only a couple of answers.
1. Get fitter
2. Go easier
3. Dont do such a long race!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sarah Ulmer wins World cup by 4 mins

Wow. Sarah Ulmer broke away with 12 laps to go in a 20 lap race at the Wellington Round of the Womens World cup. It sure looks good for her change from the individual pursuit to the time trial at the Commonwealth games. Straight after the race she spent the next 30 minutes signing autographs for kiwi kids. You have to be a kiwi to understand how big an icon she is over here. The media puts incredible pressure on her, without realising the quality of the opposition. How does she do it? A bit like that other Kiwi icon Erin Baker, she trains harder than the other women. A very tight course with heaps of corners, very strong winds, and several testing hills meant that the bunch could not afford to slack off at all if they were going to catch her. At some point they must have decided that the chase was in vain, and they would sprint for the remaining points, Ulmer not having the World Cup series as one of her goals . If you want to see how strong the winds were, read some of the other riders diaries. This time last year they were hauling windblown girls out of trees during the womens tour that preceded the World Cup race.Posted by Picasa

Photo by me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wellington Centre Track Champs Feb 06

It was a fun weekend. I am still recovering actually. The first night was rained out with thunder and lightning so they shoe-horned the rest of the events into the next 2 days. I did the 8km points race, the 500m TT, the 3000m Inividual pursuit and the 5km scratch race - all Vet 2 (45+). I also ended up doing the open 20km points race.... a bit harder than racing at Vets level, but I managed to stay on the same lap anyway.
What did I learn? if you cant sprint with the best, (Malcom and Steve are pretty damn good) then go early! I also learnt that my gearing at the Track nats must have been waaaay out, cos I was only 1 second slower on the bumpy Wellington track for the 3000 metres (4.05). Thats 44km/h which doesnt sound that fast eh? I mean what does Sarah Ulmer do? 3.24 @ 52.93 kmh!!! Crikey!
Posted by Picasa

Me after the open 20km points race!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

National track champs IP 3000m

This is a shot from the NZ national track champs. 3000 metres for Vet2 (45 +) Its the same distance as Sarah Ulmer did.... just a good 35 seconds slower in my case! The helmet is the same one I borrowed off Jason Eady for the TT champs in Ashhurst, a LAS. I think the rear disc wheel is Christian Wengler's.
Marcel Hollenstein won the event riding a particularly nice Dolan. Link here. I started too fast and couldnt keep on top of the gear. I should have gone down 2 inches to accomodate for the rising wind but this was only my second ever IP so I am a bit green. Marcels time was 1.6 seconds faster than my 4.04. Still a big improvement on my previous other only IP, a 4.11 on the bumpy Wellington track.Posted by Picasa