Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What happened to January?!

The first month of 2008 has disappeared at record pace. Work resumed on the 3rd, and family and riding seem to take a back seat again. Like most folk, I'm not too happy about that prioritisation - thoughts of quiting do battle with various financial obligations and desires.

A training plan for the Great Divide Race has been drafted, but following it seems almost impossible. For January all I really hope to do is one long ride and two short rides each week. The first long ride is supposed to be 160 km on the road, but I make the mistake of joining the local bunch ride for the 2nd and 3rd quarter and am too fried to get past 150 km. My tolerance for any sort of intensity is close to zero.

The week-day rides are usually 50 km round the bays on the way home from work. If the weather is good, this ride is an absolute beauty. If not, it can be down right dangerous as antarctic gusts blow waves and sand (and sometimes cyclists of the hillclimb-specialist variety) across the road.

Long ride number 2 is a 40 km spin out to Karapoti followed by a lap of the 50 km MTB Classic course. My brother Paul started the Karapoti Classic in 1986 and we haven't missed a year since. The three long climbs are alternately just rideable and just unrideable. Most of the course is in native forest. These days the 1,300 rider field limit fills up several weeks before race day. On this day I ride with my twin brother Jonathan (who schools me on the climbs) and his mate Murray (who schools me on the descents). We'll see what happens on race day, in two months time.

Long ride number 3 is a 3.5 hr tandem commute to a Cycling Advocates' Network meeting in Otaki. Stephen and I grunted our way up the Akatarawas and soared down the other side with grins from ear to ear. It was a long weekend, so I backed that up with a 4 hr exploration of the Akatarawa Forest with my main training buddy, big John (see pic above, taken during a training ride round Wellington's hills last summer). We'd be doing the 8 hr Ak Attack MTB orienteering event in this area in a weeks time - what greater excuse is needed to check out some seldom ridden singletrack. As it turned out, we rode three exceptionally sweet singletracks, all of which we wouldn't repeat during the Ak Attack.

On the 27th we headed off at the crack of dawn to defend our Ak Attack title. John (a relative race-newbie) was very excited. Having heard there were only 5 teams entered, I was a little subdued. The high level of competition last year was invigorating. To make things a bit more interesting, I persuaded John that we should attempt to collect all but three of the forty controls on the map. That would require just over 80 km in some of the most rugged riding conditions you'll find anywhere. And, it was all going rather well until we entered 'The Maze' section of the course via a track ominously named 'The Widowmaker' ['John's a batchelor, but not me. Gulp!', I thought]. Anyway, the rest is history (and very well written up by John (a.k.a 'Sifter') at vorb). It felt good to cap the month off with an honest 8-hour day in the forest.


Patrick said...

Go Simon! Can I sponsor you?
Are you going to run a sweepstake on your finish time?

Simon Kennett said...

You sure can, Pat. Check out the pledge form in the MSF post. And, thanks for the sweepstake idea - we've added that to the pledge form. You might just win yourself a $100 Ground Effect voucher.