I was definitely feeling the affects of some hard racing when I woke this morning. I’d not slept too well, having bizarre dreams involving my homestay in Oz last year. Despite that I dragged myself out of bed for a 10K run to get my first points of the day.
A small group of us headed out Clas, Tara, Douglas, Steven and me. I’m not sure any of us felt that good, well maybe Clas. After about 15 minutes running through town Clas turned back to get in half an hour. He told me we were running about 5:30 kilometre pace! It felt far tougher than that. From then on we relied on me maintaining pace and Tara having a footpod to judge the distance. I was relieved to hit the turn around and be able to head back to the hotel and some breakfast.
Getting in the run early meant a rushed breakfast and quick change into bike kit to be ready to roll out on time. Careful bag packing the night before was essential to pull that one off. It worked like clockwork and I was ready to go with time to spare.
Clouds hung heavy in the sky and a strong wind was blowing, fortunately from behind us. It didn’t take long for the rain to come and the start of a long wet ride began. The pace was high from the go as the day’s King of the Mountains points were up for grabs only 30km from the motel. I wasn’t expecting to be in contention the way my legs felt.
As we neared the bottom of the climb I finally popped off the back and from then on struggled to claw back some time. I did manage to pass Rip right near the summit. I think it was one occasion when his P4 was a disadvantage. Having at least completed the climb it was a nervy descent on wet roads in driving rain. Fogged up sunglasses added to the fun. Rip came flying past me as I slowly descended.
By the bottom I caught up with Randy and the pair of us worked together to move back up the field. It wasn’t too long before we picked up Jo and with the three of us together we quickly caught up with a few more.
The scenery was spectacular when I could see it. Rain kept visibility poor. This was one of the wettest rides I’ve been on in a while. The things you do as part of camp… I’d almost certainly have bailed on riding back home. At least it was warm and I got to try out the Epic Camp Rain Jacket.
From the KOM climb onwards we dealt with a series of Kiwi rollers that sapped the legs. Every time you thought you had a nice flat run to relax on the road turned and there was a new climb. Rarely long or that steep, but constantly changing the rhythm. We had one unfortunate accident in the group Jo and I were in. Peter went down off the edge of the road taking Randy with him. Randy seems to be fine, but whether Peter can ride is still in question.
Jo and I rushed through lunch and got back on the road to ensure plenty of time for an afternoon swim. With some help from Charlsey and Dave we made great progress on the final 55km. The profile looked daunting, but it proved to be a case of a misleading scale. Fortunately it was no where near as tough as suggested and we made it to Whangarei surprisingly quickly.
Plenty of time for a swim, though not quite enough for 6K for me. Jo and I fitted in the 20x100m front crawl off 1:45 for an extra point. I’ll have to try to get in those 6K swim another time! Swimming is one of my downfalls in the points game.
I had to get out early to get back for a massage. Much as I’d have liked to go for the 6K swim points there was no way I was missing the massage. Our camp masseur, another Russell, did an excellent job and my legs are feeling better for the attention. In fact I’m feeling pretty good now. I mean relatively.
Tomorrow is more of the same swim, bike and run fun. The profile looks pretty similar to today’s ride though we may be facing some headwinds this time. My aim is to get in 10K of running, 3K of swimming again, and put out a steady ride. Something similar to today’s ride should be manageable.
Seems I’m fifth on points at the moment with two 6K swims still to do and the chance to throw in another 25km run too. Hopefully I can keep this up and finish well up the rankings.