Sunday, May 18, 2008

Final Endurance Test

Another week has flown by and I'm starting to get anxious about whether I'll be ready in time (AND have my writing for the 7th edition done).

During the last working week there was precious little time for riding - three fast lunchtime rides was all - so I attempted to make up for that with a long ride on Saturday (knowing Sunday would be chocka with family outings). Summer before last I tried to do 4000m of climbing in a day (seeing as that's what the Great Divide Race requires on a big day). After six times up to the top of the Tip Track (approx 2400m) boredom got the better of me. Saturday was 'I'll be back' time, only this time John joined me and we decided to link lots of different climbs together.

We were downtown in time to see the sun rise. It was a cracker day! Not a breath of wind and barely a cloud in the sky. Still cold though - my Half Pipe leg warmers would stay on all day.

First up, Mt Vic which is really just an average-sized hill - no worries there.
Number two was Hawkins Hill (see pic) - 495m, but with plenty of conversation it flew by. Stunning view from the top. On the way down John hit a pothole hard and the front tyre was flat instantly. That was fixed fast, but on the next steep descent the back end fish-tailed (probably the canti brakes catching on a big ding in the rear rim that we didn't notice after the previous pothole). John yelled out and in a split-second he was flying over the bars. He body-slammed the tarmac with the right side of his rib cage and arm. The pain was obvious as he tried to take in air. A walker yelled out an offer of a first-aid kit, but this injury was beyond the reach of any bandage. John felt like vomiting. We fixed the bike and dawdled down the hill, where he would meet his parents and I would carry on, subdued.

Next up was the rolling Makara loop on my way to Porirua and the Colonial Knob 4WD climb. At the bottom I bumped into someone who used to be a regular volunteer at Makara Peak. I knew him as Davy then, but the last time I saw him/her, he/she entered the Women's section at Karapoti. Turned out he/she was half way through a sex change (we were mighty glad she wasn't a contender in the race). I've forgotten her new name and wasn't sure the procedure had been completed, so exchanged minimal plesantries and continued up the hill. It was a nice 450m climb.

Back in Porirua a guy wearing baggy trousers and sneakers zipped past me looking very happy with himself. I gave him a nod.

Lunch in Pauatahanui and a reassessment. The time to get from one climb to the next was starting to bite, so I replaced the mellow Paekakariki climb with the steeper (and quieter) Belmont Rd up to the regional park boundary. Sweet.

Then over Moonshine and across to Whitemans Valley - nice and rural. The sun was starting to descend fast. Just enough time before nightfall to blitz the Rimutaka Hill and the Akas. The Akas is an old favourite - narrow, winding, some great forest and a big view at the top.

With my lights failing I raced back for the 6pm commuter train from Upper Hutt, making it with a couple of minutes to spare. Roughly 10 hours of interesting riding, but not enough climbing for my liking (approx 3500m, still a PB). The 4000m goal will have to wait until the Great Divide itself.


Oli Brooke-White said...

Good work, Simon. Poor old John though...funny about Davy/Davina!

Simon Kennett said...

Yeah...John's internals got a real shake-up. He's still coming right.