Epic Camp New Zealand Day 11 – Ouch!

I woke at 6:00 this morning and the temptation to sleep in an skip the morning run and swim was massive. The bed was so warm and the weather looked cold out there. However I came into camp with the objective of getting a swim and a run in everyday the option was available. Besides the run today was to the pool and back so not much much than 4km.

The morning swim group seems to be shrinking a little. We jogged down to the Kaikoura pool at a leisurely pace that felt far harder than it should. as the pool is open air and not that well heated everyone opted to swim in their wetsuits. Having only medley or fly sets left to do for swim points I opted to just cruise through 3km. I didn’t fancy my chances at fly in a wetsuit.

After yesterdays leisurely breakfast things felt much more rushed this morning. Lots to do and not enough time. I wolfed down the usual mix of eggs, toast and yoghurt and got all my bags ready. We rolled out of the holiday park around 9:30 and headed south towards the KOM of the day.

With a mandatory regroup before the climb there weren’t any attacks before we reached the mountains. Once we were at the bottom though people went for it. As with the day before my legs didn’t have enough in them to follow. I pushed as hard as I could to make up a few places on the first part of the climb. I then lost them on the descent before the main climb. My biggest weak point in descending is hairpins and three or four of them slowed me down.

I never regained that much ground on the main climb. I did manage to catch up with Dave L right near the top and put in a surge past him to beat him. He hadn’t realised that was the finish so hadn’t tried to defend his position. Given our overall placing in the field I don’t think either of us were that fussed. Frankly I was happy to have that bit over, hopefully things would be easier now.

After a short drinks stop the group set out quick and I never managed to get back on. Tara came storming past and I commented how it reminded me of the TT we’d done in the other direction last year. She was soon vanishing up the road whilst I struggled to keep working. With about 15km to go Jo caught me and encouraged me to work with her to catch Tara.

I was starting to lose it a bit mentally. My back was sore which was unusual and I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Jo helped get me back on top of things and we worked hard till we met Tara again. With only about 10km remained the three of us kept the pace up till the aid station. Jo offered me some Nurofen there which I happily accepted.

I made sure I got on the group out of the aid station. Not wanting to be on my own out there. The next 60km were a battle to stay on. I got blown out the back a couple of times but managed to work back on. In the last 30km or so I stuck to the group very well. Taking some real effort to keep in there. Just short of the lunch stop I started to feel light headed and eventually dropped off with only a couple of kilometres to go. At that point I didn’t care, I could get to lunch.

I was pretty glad for that break even if it was cold and wet. It didn’t last too long before the main group set off for a final 45km into Christchurch. The pace was supposed to be friendly to ensure people found there way into town. It was less friendly than expected and about 15km in I was off the back again. I resigned myself to making my own way in and settled into a steady ride.

A little while late I caught up with Petro and then the group as they’d stopped. Whilst most of them hammered off Dave L was going at a more reasonable pace. I settled in on his wheel and just stayed there until we got to the motel. I just didn’t feel up to more work on the front if the body was up for it the mind certainly wasn’t

Here I am back at the Camelot Motel with it’s unusual castle theme. Familiar from last years Epic Camp, though when I was here then I was still feeling fresh. I’m pretty tired now, the body is definitely suffering and it’s taking more of a push to keep going. I wondered what it would be like to go beyond the previous 8 days of camp, guess I’m learning. It’s tough and tiring and I’m not alone in feeling it.

Only four more days to get through though. I’ve got the minimums done for running and swimming so anything there now is extra. Just got to get myself to the end of this island in one piece.