Monday, February 25, 2008


Saturday was XC National Champs day - another opportunity to remind the body just how much pain and suffering it can take during a 2 hour period. With Karapoti just a week away, it seemed like a good idea. The Mt Victoria Nationals course has such a high ratio of climbing/kilometre that it even makes Karapoti feel easy(ish).

My race went even worse than I was expecting. Last year it was 3 laps and I was much faster. I found out it was 4 laps this year, with just 3 mins to the start and only one water bottle on my bike. So, I was virtually in survival mode before 'Ready, set...'. A slow start was in order, I thought as I trundled out of the start loop in last place. Almost two hours later, with just a kilometre to go, I'd lost my new pump, become dehydrated, maxed out on lactic acid, and lost skin off my left knee/hip/elbow, but at least I'd worked my way into a respectable 4th place in the Master 2 category. Then I punctured and started walking.

The next day was family day and Miro was living up to her reputation as the cutest baby in the whole world. After Sarah got a ride in at Makara Peak, I checked the stoat traps. Two down! [Note to overseas reader: Stoats are the deadliest of introduced predators over here. When nesting, New Zealand's native birds don't stand a chance once one of these critters invades the forest.]

Then it was off to help Mark rework a switchback on the new Rimu Trail. He was running a work party, but everybody was off at the DH Nationals or practising Karapoti. All the more food for us at lunchtime.

I took today off to check out Karapoti myself. John came along and we bumped into a couple of South Islanders at halfway. There are some nice lines forming. If the course dries out it should be a reasonably fast year. We cruised most of the way - took four hours all up and the legs felt better at the finish than the start. But not for long.

At 4pm it was time for Gary Moller to get stuck into my legs for an hour. Gary's been involved in helping prepare endurance atheletes for great deeds for decades. Today he was finding knotted muscles all over the show and ironing them out with great ghusto. We're talking 10-out-of-10, class 'A' pain! Still, he assures me I'll be jumping around like a spring chicken once he's finished a few sessions. That or I'll be wishing I was a headless chicken.

If the 'No Pain, no gain' slogan were true, the way things are going, I'd be heading for a World Title by about mid-April!

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