Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 7 – The Big Pull

I had no idea how today would pan out when I woke. I still felt pretty tired when I woke so wasn’t too optimistic about the bike ride ahead. Before I got to that there was a run to the pool, a swim and a run back to get done.

The run felt surprisingly good. I opted to wear the compression socks for this run and it at least helped minimise any soreness in my calves. There’s still some tightness in my left hamstring when I run, but it’s got much less as camp has gone on.

In the pool Jo and I teamed up to get through the 10 x 200m front crawl on 3:35. Not being the fastest swimmers it’s good to be able to pick up a few points here and there. We comfortably got through that set, then Jo pushed through 200m fly for another point. Very impressive, but I chickened out.

The run back felt far better than the first and I arrived early for breakfast. Early enough to find a small stash of Power Cookies that had been saved for later in camp. Power Cookies vanish quickly on Epic Camp, they’re like gold dust. I believe we’ll get a top up in the next few days when we hit the South island.

I decided to roll out with one of the earlier groups. I’ve found I can get a lot of good work done if I stick on the front of the earlier groups. A little less stressful than spending the time yo-yoing at the back of the main group.

A bunch of us headed out together and I moved up front to set a comfortable pace. Rob Q joined me and gave me a few breaks from working on the front. About an hour in Dave C rolled up and put the pace up a little. It was enough to whittle things down to a smaller bunch.

For the rest of the 200km ride Dave C and I took turns on the front pulling along Tara, Douglas, Jo, Dave L and Peter. I was surprised at how hard I was able to ride seven days into a camp when I thought I was so tired. It wasn’t comfortable, but my heart rate was good and I could just keep turning the cranks.

Some hiccups with the support vehicles meant our group missed out on a lunch stop. With around 50Km to go there was a bit of grumpiness at the lack of real food since breakfast. However with it being clear that we weren’t going to get any we sucked down some gels and pushed on. Frustration fuelled a few surges in pace!

The last 60km into Masterton were through some fantastic valley roads. Quiet and scenic the riding was superb, we just didn’t fully appreciate it with our hunger and thirst. Unfortunately it meant fluid supplies were hard to get hold of. Jo dropped off and did the smart thing of asking for some water at a farm. With 30K to go and having just run out of fluids I was happy to push on home and wait.

I arrived into town pretty shatter from a solid days training. In the morning I’d speculated about running another 10K for a bonus point. The time was available, but I opted to take things a little easier. I was pretty satisfied with the quality of my ride and can live with one point less in the game for now.

Once again I feel pretty tired. We had a great meal at a local cafe and now it’s getting late. It’s almost ten, well past my bed time! It’s an early start on the bike tomorrow. Strong winds are predicted and it could make the climb into Wellington tricky. I’m looking forward to arriving there though and finishing the first island.