Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 1 – One Down Fourteen to Go

So Epic Camp has now officially started. The first day is in the bag leaving just fourteen more to go. Not sure if it’s a good sign to be counting down so early!

We drove up to Cape Reinga this morning, another hour on a coach and more rolling hills. Given we all knew we’d be running and riding back down the very road it added to the anticipation. It was pretty obvious the 20km of running to start the camp would not be easy.

A quick photo shoot at the lighthouse then it was off into the run. I have to admit to being nervous until I actually started jogging back to the vans. Once I was started that was it camp was underway. The first 11km were run relatively easily or at least as easily as the hills allowed. They were brutal. Real Kiwi rollers. I ran with David Craig another Wellington resident who I’ll be hooking up with after camp for some training. Hopefully he can show me how to get as strong on the uphills as he is!

All the discussions about being conservative in the run race went out the window from the start. I pushed the pace and worked myself hard. Moving up to about fourth until David came past me on one of the final hills. A particularly nasty set of climbs that were sapping my legs. I held on as best I could, but couldn’t close the gap. After a long run down hill to the finish line I crossed in fifth.

David and I then did a little tack on to get ourselves up to 25km for some bonus points! There’s a point for every 10km you run on camp, but if you run 25km or over you get bonus points. Being within 4km of that I wasn’t going to miss out even if it meant one more tough hill.

Next up was the 90km bike ride to Kaitaia. More specifically a 60km ride followed by a 30km TT. At least we had a lunch break before it and I tried to get enough fluids on board. The heat on the run though had dehydrated me well. The lead group shot off at a solid pace which I soon decided was way too much for me. When I saw Gordo dropping back I knew that the long term pacing strategy was to go slower than that!

I kept to a comfortable wattage the sort of thing I wss used to riding in Wellington and picked up with a few others for the last 20-30km. We rode until we found a big group of cyclist sitting in a lay-by. It seemed there was uncertainty about the TT start point. Everyone was desperate for fluids too. Far more so than for a TT.

My run performance placed me right near the back of the TT start order. I went off driven by fear of being overtaken and at the back of the group. The result was a solid TT and about a 42:30 for third place! Pretty pleased with that, better than I’d expected. My legs still felt shot from the run.

A very brief stop over for the hotel where I downed as much fluid as I could and we were off to the local pool. The final race of the day a 1.5km TT. It was more comical than serious with so much cramping going on. There were a few personal worsts posted I think! After moaning about Douglas sitting on my feet during the warm-up I sat on his for a lot of the TT. Until cramps started slowing him down. As I passed my foot joined in and a cramp ran along the underside.

I posted a not particularly impressive 23:55 for the 1.5km. The somewhat haphazard nature of the lanes as people went in and out with cramps may not have helped! The end result was I came in somewhere around fifth or sixth in the overall set of races. A pretty respectable start to camp, just hoping I’ve not set myself up for the meltdowns Douglas predicts!

Tomorrow we only have to do a long hilly ride, but I aim to take on a run and swim for more bonuses. Just going to keep the pace under control.