Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 6 – Blowing a Gale

I’m definitely feeling it now. Six days in and I’d say I’m tired. There’s still nine more days to get through too. I’m sticking to my aim of swimming and running everyday where it’s possible.

With that in mind it was an early van trip back down to lake Taupo for a quick 3K swim. There wasn’t much wind and very little chop to deal with making the whole thing far more pleasant than the night before. It also got the 3K over and done with quicker too. Still can’t claim to be happy with how I’m swimming though. The plus is I’m over halfway to the minimum swims for camp completion. I intend to do extra, but having the minimums in the bag will give added security.

After the swim it was straight back to breakfast of toast with fried egg in, bacon and chocolate moose. All washed down with plenty of coffee. I’m eating fairly large breakfasts now just to make sure I’m fuelled for the ride ahead. It usually means I’m still digesting it when we head out on the ride. The early pace can be a killer!

Today was no exception. Most of us headed out as one main group and initially the pace was friendly. The first climb came early and was long and hard. The pace was solid and then Rob Quantrell went to the front and pushed it up just a notch further. He made us work all the way to the top and blew the group apart!

Luckily he calmed down and we worked together again for the next 20km to the bottom of Whakapapa. I’d spent a lot of the previous evening debating whether to do the optional KOM there or just ride through. In the end I opted to ride through and ensure I got swim and run in for the day. I think it’ll ultimately be worth more points to me. Only 8 brave individuals actually made the climb. The wind and rain were pretty foul up there.

A quick refuel and Rob and I headed off with a group of others. A bit of excitement from some of the guys in the group broke things up. So for a while John and I took pulls on the front of a small bunch. John unfortunately punctured and waved me through. Not realising he had a problem we left him behind. If he’d have said I’d have waited.

The four of us remaining Dave, the two Robs and myself worked well together for the next 40 or 50K to the lunch break. Just like yesterday I opted for a quick lunch of a can of creamed rice, a wrap loaded with meat and some sweets. A quick top up of fluids then it was back on the road for Rob Q and me.

Even with the abbreviated lunch stop my legs feel awful to start. I tried a decent pull on the front, but didn’t quite have the zip from before lunch. We hit the first notable climb of the final leg and Rob was clearly feeling good. He went on the front and ramped up the pace all the way to the top. It was just like the morning again! I told him if he was planning to ride the hills like that I’d have to let him go ahead. I think he’s getting stronger as the camp goes on. Playing a cautious game pays off.

Kindly Rob eased his pace a little and we worked together again. The Westerly had really picked up force and combined with plenty of rollers made for slow progress. We were both getting drained and really having to focus to keep things rolling. The final climb about 30K out of town was a real sting. I sat on the front and kept the pace controlled, glad Rob wasn’t planning to take a turn and ramp things up!

Once that was done it was all downhill to Wanganui. It would have been fantastic apart from the wind. There wasn’t half as much free wheeling as I’d have liked. Mentally I was done with the ride and it was only having Rob there that kept me working. Turns out he was in a similar place. When we got within 10K of town I pushed the pace just wanting things over. I don’t think I’ve been so relieved to finish a ride on this camp.

A short break then it was out for my 10K run. Had to be done, I’d skipped the extra climb for this. John Newsom was heading out too so we paired up and ran along the river at a decent 5 minute K pace. Some of the aches and pains I’ve been getting whilst running seem to be going which is great news. A good sign I’ll be able to keep to my run goals for this camp. I’ve still got to get my second 25km run in at some point.

That was my day done. Well apart from finally finding the time to shave my head and tidy up the mohawk. I’m pretty fatigued. Plan for tomorrow is do the run and swim that’s been set for us. Then get through the long ride ahead. Profile doesn’t look too bad, climbing appears to be gently, but those profiles can be deceptive. I’m hoping if I keep things controlled tomorrow I can come good again for the day into Wellington and then get the most from our easy day.