Epic Camp New Zealand 2010 Day 13 – Riding the Train

Somehow I dragged myself out of bed this morning to get a 10K run in before my swim. It was a hard effort for a very average run. Fatigue is a common theme for all of us on camp by now. Two more days to go and they seem daunting!

So 10K of running finishing at the pool in Geraldine. Unfortunately my swim bag hadn’t turned up so I had to swim in my shorts and borrow some goggles. Last night I’d contemplated doing a second 6K swim for the bonus points involved. This morning that plan was gone. I figured I was probably ahead enough on points to hold 6th place and a 6K swim would mean a minimal breakfast.

Four hundred metres medley is an Epic Camp tradition. Every one I’ve done has had it. For most of us it’s a comedy event there are few medley swimmers here. I swam out the 2.6K I needed to get a 3K swim once my IM was done. After watching a couple of rounds of the IM it was my go. It’s been a while since I’ve done much swimming other than front crawl. This was definitely about survival not performance!

Swim and run done it was just another 150K day on the bike to get through. I rolled with the A group today. Fortunately things were pretty friendly for the first 50K or so. Nobody pushed the pace too hard. Winds were good and we made excellent time. Once the aid station was gone it was a different story.

Petro went to the front and put the hammer down. He pulled us along at a hard pace for the next 20K. I was seriously reaching my limit and considering a tactical withdrawal from the bunch! At this point Steven went to the front and eased back the pace a little. I think everyone in the group breathed a sigh of relief.

Steven kept things going strongly, just slightly more manageable for me. With 30K till lunch I figured I should be able to stick in. The kilometres flew by and we reached the 100K lunch point in under 3 hours. Pretty good going. Not that I could claim much contribution to that, I’d sat in all day.

I wasn’t sure how things would go after lunch, but figured I’d stick with the train as best I could. As it was a combination of Steven and John pulled us through to Oamaru at a decent pace again. I was certainly feeling the effort especially after the break had let blood pool in my legs.

I figured after Oamaru I’d drop off and go at my own pace to the motel. It’d only be 30K so not too far to be left on your own. Despite those thoughts an overall easing of pace in the group kept me with them. I wasn’t having to work as hard as earlier in the day and I’d get to the end quicker. It was certainly a little bit harder than what I’d do left on my own, but manageable.

The last 30K down the coastal road made the ride. There was spectacular views down the beaches or over the fields. The terrain rolled with the odd little hill, but nothing too severe. Enough to tax my aching legs, but not to stop me. Time and distance passed quickly and we rolled into Waianakarua having average 33kph. Not too bad even if I’d spent all day sitting in.

Not having to run or swim once there was a nice feeling. Just relax, clean up and think how close I am to the end. There’s two tough days ahead. 180km of biking tomorrow with a KOM and an aquathon. I’m not sure anyone’s looking forward to that! It may involve a lot of athletes hobbling for 7K. There are plenty of tired legs out there and some very sore ones too.