Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 5 – Keeping it Rolling

When I woke this morning I actually felt okay which four days into Camp is pretty good going. That said I could still have used more than the eight hours sleep I’d managed. Maybe an entire day would be enough.

I decided to roll out a little early with Rob Quantrell. There was no KOM to worry about and I thought it’d be nice to go at a steady consistent pace all day. We ended up leaving about 10 minutes before the official departure time. I was half expecting to see the main group come flying past somewhere in the first 30km, but the only group we met were some other early starters who’d taken some wrong turns.

Rather than joining the bigger group we kept on our own. Both using our powermeters to keep ourselves at a consistent effort that could last the entire day. The profile looked potentially fierce so my main objective was getting through a long day intact. The surges in the main group take there toll on my legs. I figured a day of steady paced riding might work better.

Anticipating a long day in the saddle Rob and I were surprised how quickly we rolled into the first aid station. We’d planned to be quick taking on a little food and drink and getting ourselves moving once more. Just as the next bunch of riders got in we hit the road again.

It was more of the same for the next 60km to lunch. Rob and I would switch turns on the front all the time keeping the pace within ourselves and not pushing too hard. It clearly worked well as we made good time despite a reasonable amount of climbing. We rolled into the lunch stop having maintained 30kph for the last 4 hours.

Steven towed a select group into the stop very shortly after us. From the sounds of it we’d been lucky to have stayed ahead so long. Rob and I stuck to our plan of keeping things rolling taking minimal time over lunch before hitting the road once more. After the initial sore legs from a rest break we settled back in and continued working well together.

The result was we got to Tarungi before 2pm far earlier than either of us expected. Once again Steven rolled in almost immediately afterwards. He’d given us a bit too much of a head start over lunch. I’m glad he arrived as he very easily persuaded me to join him and Clas for a 10km run.

The receptionist recommended a route and it proved to be spot on. Trails along the river side were perfect except for the climb to the top of some cliffs. My legs would have preferred the flat, but the views were spectacular. Despite the 180km of biking I felt surprisingly fresh. Something was clearly working for me today and I think I’ll be pacing a few more rides like that.

Swimming in lake Taupo was the final session of the day. Our Ironman swim time less five minutes to approximate 3km. The water was beautiful just a little bit choppy. I felt shocking in the water, worse than for the Aquathon (I’m relieved that a second aquathon tomorrow is cancelled). I splashed about in the waves slightly concerned it might look like I was drowning to on lookers!

Mentally six hours on the bike was easy compared to that 55 minute swim. I had a moment where I questioned whether to do the extra 10K run back to the Motel. The lure of an extra point was too much though and I got my kit on and headed out. I caught up with Dave L and practiced his run/walk strategy. It helped break things up and didn’t slow the 10K much at all. Whether it’ll help the legs is another matter.

All in all a good day. One third of the way through camp and I think I’m holding up pretty well. I just kept rolling it through all day long. 180km of cycling, 3km of swimming and 20km of running isn’t bad going.