Epic Camp New Zealand Day 12 – ‘easy’ ride

Yet another early start to the day. Up before six ready to have a quick breakfast before heading off to run the Godley Head loop in Christchurch. Increasingly with the runs and swims the number of campers turning up for each event is shrinking. A small group of us got in the vans and headed over to Scott’s house for the start of the run.

I’d been warned the route was challenging and it didn’t disappoint. The first thirty minutes were spent running up trails into the hills. My calves and ankles ached like mad from the start and I was seriously questioning the wisdom of opting for this run.

When it eventually reached a single lane road I found my legs and picked up the pace. The views over Christchurch and the ocean were spectacular. Well worth the discomfort of running up there. The road winds round the hills before you return to the trails for a long descent back to the beach front. There’s just one last large hill in the way before you reach the start.

It’s tough going, taking me 1:45 to complete just over 18.5km. Then another 6 minutes to join Steven in tacking on a further 1.5km to reach 20K for an extra point. At least that last 1.5K could be done on the flat so didn’t kill the legs quite so much.

Everyone done we headed home for a quick breakfast before the 150km ride. Whilst the morning’s weather had been fine and sunny the forecast didn’t look good for the trip ahead. Already the temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up. By the time we rolled out of the motel it was obvious we were heading into some nasty conditions.

The route from Christchurch to Geraldine is essentially flat. This should have been the easiest ride of the camp. Instead we faced nasty headwinds and soon rain. The group stayed together with the ride neutralised till we passed New Zealand’s longest bridge at about 55K. I don’t think anyone was too disappointed to have the pace kept down.

In the nasty conditions we had one accident with Pete going down and knocking Nick off too. Nick was fine, but Pete had to visit the doctor once the ride was over. Hopefully it won’t prove too serious and he’ll have no trouble riding the rest of the country. With bad weather and increasingly tired athletes accidents are always a risk.

Once we were across the bridge and off the highway everyone was free to ride how they wanted. John and Dave C time trialled off the front of the bunch. The rest of us choose to work together until lunch. We established a neatly rotating pace line that helped everyone along. It made the time pass quickly in such miserable weather.

We arrived at lunch together all cold and wet. It was a remarkably quick affair, more time spent on adding layers of clothing than eating. Then back on the road to try and get warm again. I caught up with Dave L and as we were chatting Clas came by pulling a train. We tried to jump on, but neither of us had the power to do it.

Neither of us felt our best so we worked together taking short turns on the front to keep the pace up. Not my best effort by far mostly I just wanted to get to the next hotel. I was having fantasies about the hot shower I’d have when I got there! Just keeping things going and slowly making our way to Geraldine was the focus. I was counting down the Ks on my bike computer from about 40K out.

Once we arrived that was my day done. I heard some had gone to the pool, but it seemed a little late for me to try and fit that in too. So unfortunately it was my first day on camp without a swim for points. Also means I miss out on the bonus 3 points for swim, bike and run on the day. I’m fine for overall camp minimums, but it feels a little like I missed out.

I’ll aim to get a 6K swim in tomorrow to make up for it. They’ll be bonus points for that anyway and I can throw a run in too. We’ll also have the entertainment of the 400m IM at the pool. Always good for a laugh, very few of us are talented medley swimmers!