Sunday, December 7, 2008

Almost back in top gear

Work has been as frustrating as all hell lately (with the 7th edition of Classic NZ MTB Rides taking a month longer that expected to arrive from overseas) but we've had some good times on various bikes to distract us from all that.

First up, in mid-October was the MTB orienteering event at Maungakotukutuku. Memories of last years win were well smashed as several riders trounced me both physically and mentally, but I still had some fun. There's some sweet singletrack through some excellent forest out there. My buddy John won – his first solo win in an area he wasn't familiar with – he’s the man. This was Sarah's first event since becoming pregnant two years ago. Very nice to see.

The following weekend we went up to Rangataua for some R and R. We all rode up the mountain road (a 1000m climb) in atrocious weather – by the time we got back down they had closed the top part of the road. Near the top it is very steep and I'm pretty sure a snail zipped past me – I felt so unfit. A couple of days later John and I rode down to Pipiriki and back – 80 km return. The weather was a bit better, but there was still some hail mixed in with the rain. Nice quiet roads; some gravel (always exciting on a road bike); and more sweet forest.

The dodgy weather theme continued the following weekend as we rode up to the top of Makara Peak to celebrate the MTB park’s 10th anniversary. This was one of those days where the wind was toppling trees and blowing cars over on the Wainui Hill Road. Needless to say we were blown off the track at the top of the Peak and it was all a bit of a hoot.

The weekend after that we had a team entered in the Wild Wellington 12 hr Relay. This time the weather was perfect! Jonty did some fast laps for us on his cyclocross bike, Kaitlyn gave John a boost on the tag-along bike, Sarah did a few brisk laps, and Jonathan and I took the tandem for a spin. It was very social; Miro loved all the action; the crepes were delicious, and we ended up third mixed team.

Mid-November I snuck out the back door for a 2-hour grind on some tight local singletrack, some of which I'd never done uphill, and one new track I'd never done at all. I LOVE riding new singletrack.

The weekend before last was the end of the MTB-O season with a fixed-order event on Mt Vic (and more singletrack I'd never done before. Choice!). My second place was a pleasant surprise (even if it was partly thanks to a poor turn-out). John came in third and wrapped up the series.

The last weekend in November Jonathan, Alex and I took the triple for a spin round Taupo – a hilly 160 km – in 4:31. The guys did a good job of pushing me through the first hour; at 40 km I stopped for a leak and then finally got into a decent rhythm. We actually hammered the main climbs pretty well (given the bike would make a fine ships anchor). It was fun hearing all the kids yell out “Hey! What's that?!” “Go the threesome!”, etc, etc. Only a couple of blokes called out “The guy on the back isn't pedalling (ha ha)” or “You look so gay!”. Morons are pretty easy to ignore when the weather is stunning and you have clear views of the mountain or the lake to enjoy.

By the time I got back from Taupo, Miro was walking heaps more (from one room to the next). And there was me thinking she’d go straight from crawling to bike riding.

Yesterday was ‘Tour de Peak’ day. The aim of this event is to ride all 16 tracks in Makara Peak as fast as you can, in the order of your choice. A good old brain-teaser, as well as an honest grunt. This year I teamed up with Sarah in the Duo category and we split the tracks 50/50 (with me veering towards the most technical stuff, which I seem to have lost my mojo on – apart from being rusty, a big drop causes me to think of Miro; I hesitate and decide to walk. A tad frustrating at the time, but not so much as a broken collar bone). Anyway, the sun shone, long ribbons of single track were ridden (without injury), Miro loved the friendly atmosphere, and everybody went home with a prize.

Today, at long last, we shuffled the 7th edition of ‘Classic New Zealand MTB Rides’ into our office (8,000 copies = 4 tonnes = some serious cross-training). The string of printing, freighting, and customs clearance delays has been agonising, but the book does look damn fine. Hopefully the punters agree.

BTW, the last post suggests that my fingers had returned to normal 2 months after the GDR finished. As it turns out, not quite. A band of thin, fragile finger nail is still growing out. This band now extends back to a small ridge a third of the way from the tip of each nail (beyond which normal nail growth is occurring). Not sure what caused that – poor circulation, lack of nutrients, or reduced growth hormone during the race? Kinda suggests that 100% recovery from the GDR is more like six months than three.


David Blaine said...

fingernails are an interesting marker of recovery. I am jealous that your summer is just beginning.

Simon Kennett said...

Yeah - the nails thing is kinda weird. I tell ya, coming beck to winter after the GDR was no fun at all! It is so invigorating to be faced with a season of golden weather. Hopefully you will be enjoying some snow sports soon enough.