Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 3 – Kiwi Rollers and Sea Breezes

That was a tough day out there. Despite spending most of the time on other peoples wheels there was no easy riding. Constant ups and downs and changes of pace. All the time the main focus being stay on the wheel you’ll go faster with the group!

Things started early this morning. Up at 5:30 to have some brekkie before we ran to the pool. About half the camp were up for the swim. This small group of highly trained athletes proceeded to slowly run to the pool at what must have been 6:00 minute kilometres. For a moment on arrival it looked like we might not get to swim, the main pool was closed. Fortunately there were lanes in the wave pool so I’d not wasted a lie in!

Rather than trying for a specific set today I just got in and swam the 120 lengths needed for 3000m and a point. It was a little mind numbing, but I just wanted it out the way. We were allowed to split our 10K run over multiple runs today and I wanted to do a little bit more before breakfast. Experience on past camps tells me it’s far better to have the running done before the riding.

Despite knowing this I managed a total of around 6km running to and from the pool before heading in to breakfast. I didn’t really fancy rushing it too much before we headed off on the bike. Instead I left myself the prospect of a further 4K needed when I got to the end of my ride. At best marginally better than just running to and from the pool. Steven suggested I should do a 14km run in the afternoon for more points, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I previously posted some aims including keeping on top of my nutrition. Three days into camp and I’ve hit the sugars way too hard today. I’d accepted I’d be using energy bars during training and am not surprised I’m using more than I usually do. However fruit toast with Nutella is not part of my normal breakfast. I did have a massive bowl of scrambled eggs as well, the dark side is tempting me though. You can also add in a tin of chocolate rice pudding at lunch too.

We rolled out a little after 8:30 and headed off South towards Auckland. Straight into the South-Westerly wind that was blowing strong all day. Extra incentive to stay in the group, the prospect of getting separated and facing that alone was not pleasant. The main group is getting smaller everyday with more people opting to head off early. I have to admit the pace can be brutal and the surging tough when people are feeling frisky.

I clung on to the group all the way to the first aid stop at Waipu Cove. A chance for a quick photo op and to get some food in. I was dreading having to keep holding that pace till lunch though. On the other hand it could be a long trip on my own. I don’t think I was entirely alone with these thoughts, but nobody wanted to get dropped.

Immediately after Waipu Cove the terrain started to kick up. The Kiwi rollers broke the pace up a little. I felt far more comfortable on the climbs and struggled to keep on on the descents. I spent a fair bit of time yo-yoing near the back. Not ideal and quite tiring on the legs. Eventually a larger hill broke things up and I was left to work on my own with the main bunch often tantalisingly in sight.

Luckily for me Gordo broke a spoke and whilst the bunch slowed I caught back on. We kept the pace up back across the main highway and over to a few more (tougher) rollers. At this point we caught some of the early starters – right at the bottom of the biggest climb of the day. About halfway up I managed to drop my chain creating more work for me to get back on again. My luck was in again with the lunch stop coming the other side of the hill.

After lunch I spent the entire afternoon riding on John’s wheel. I have to admit I let him do all the work into the wind for the next two hours. To his credit he did a superb job and held a comfortable, consistent pace all the way to our next hotel. The relentless up and down of the road had been exhausting.

It’s Epic Camp though and there are points to be gained. So after a fairly short break I headed out for the remainder of my 10K of running with Dave L. I didn’t really fancy the idea of doing circuits round a track even if it would be flat. So the pair of us ended up running up and down the hills of the local industrial estate. Not very scenic and hard on the legs. Probably not a smart choice!

My day was done. I’d again managed to get in both a 10K run and a 3K swim so I’m happy with that. I’m still sticking to my aim of running every day. There was time to do more and get an extra point for an additional 10K of running. Much as I’ve said I aimed to test myself I wasn’t quite ready to. Instead wanting to see if I feel a bit better tomorrow with a little more rest.

I noted that so far I’m riding consistently each day and the intensity has been manageable. As the camp progresses I may start to push myself a little more for a few more points. There’s still time and opportunities for bonuses out there. A couple of consistent steady days will get me past the damage from Day One’s racing I hope.

Tomorrow’s ride promises less hills and that headwind becomes a tailwind at some point during the day. There’s just the small matter of an Aquathon to start things off though.