Friday, February 8, 2008

Change of Pace

Life seems to have moved up a gear this last week - in a good way.

Miro has cut her first three teeth AND been sleeping better. This latter point is going to be a huge boost to recovery from frequent rides. After seven months, a regular eight hours of sleep per night might just be back on the cards. Hallelujah! But wait; there's more.
Last Saturday we tried Miro out in the Peapod bike trailer for 20 minutes and she was a natural. Choice! So, on Wednesday we rode down to the beach and back. Uphill with 20 kgs of baby, trailor and picnic gear is most excellent strength training.

Between those two rides I did a road trip up to Napier, Rotorua and Taupo to visit local cycle advocates and do a little research for the 7th edition of 'Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides'. The first ride was just 5 km in the incomplete Pukeora Hill MTB park - nice. Then I hooked up with Bernie to check out Yeoman Track (an old retired logging road through native forest). Bernie is fairly new to mountain biking, but is one of those old bearded outdoors naturals who is super-fit and automatically picks good lines. After a 20 min false start looking for a hidden ford, we had an A-grade 2 hr tempo session through the backcountry.

The next day we were a bit short of time and only managed a 1 hr spin through Eskdale MTB Park. You kinda have to join the local club to get a permit to ride in this private forest. As a result the club has over 1,500 members and enough resources to have developed 70 km of singletrack, largely thanks to the massive efforts of local riders lead by Carl Larsen.

Tuesday was a rush day again. Thomas and I quickly checked out progress on the new W2K track that Bike Taupo are building through DOC land. Thomas is one of those guys who I suspect has mastered time travel - how else can he be such an awesome advocate, business man, family man and bike rider all at once? He also happens to be a part time helicopter pilot and he jacked me up with a lift to the BikeTaupo meeting at the HeliStar Cafe. Sweet!

After the meeting I drove 4 hours solid to get to the Cycletech HQ in time to catch up with Alastair, Bryce and Craig, and pick up my new bike - a Giant XTC C0. There's a bit of work to be done now to turn this into a Great Divide Race machine. Worralls are sending me some Sram goodies and Stan is building a NoTubes wheelset. More on that when it's ready.

Thursday I zipped up the Tip Track a couple of times. This steep 400 m ascent is excellent prep for Karapoti. My second run was 22min 53sec - not too bad this early in my season. At the top Malcolm lent me a second pair of sunnies so I could check out the solar eclipse. You don't see one of those every day.

The riding week was rounded out with a 50 km lunchtime spin round the bays with the Vets bunch - grand scenery, plenty of chit-chat, and a sensible pace. The old legs felt a little crappy - apart from that, it's all good. Time for a bit more stretching...

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