Monday, 18 February 2013

Karen writes: Lost again...

Kate and myself took a day of annual leave and did our last long ride before Ironman.  We headed off from Clevedon to Hunua, with the intention of taking on that challenging 100+km ride out to the coast and back to Clevedon via Kawakawa bay.  Except, me with my rather arbitrary sense of direction, had us heading down down down a steep narrow winding hill which neither of us recognised, oops, several kilometers later with the brakes on full, a dance with a tractor (which actually went slower than me down the hill) and a quad bike, and we reached a dead end, we had arrived at the Hunua Falls.  Kate says "I'm walking up", and I thought "if Kate thinks its so steep she will walk, then I can't do it either" but we made it back up the hill, it wasn't as bad as it first seemed (just bad to the mind), and Kate kindly didn't yell at me when we re-read the sign and saw the 'no exit' in small writing.  In my defence, it was really small!

For me it was a hard ride, I do well on uphills, but get into a state of fear on the downhill and cling feverishly to my brakes, a hangover from a head over handlebars on a motorbike years ago.  I also don't go very fast on the flats, but Kate does.  She rocketed off ahead of me, I could see her look back every so often to make sure I hadn't disappeared completely though.

For a change the traffic was pretty good, we did hear some motorbikes approaching really fast up one of the narrower stretches of steep hill, one with lots of blind corners, but when they saw us they throttled off and went sensibly wide, we caught up with those riders at the Kawakawa bay shops and had a chat, we let them know we were happy that they had been careful going round us and they said they were just as vulnerable as us on the road.  They passed us again as we slogged up another hill, waved, that sort of thing is so nice.

There were sheep on the road at one point, what do you do on a push-bike when there are sheep trotting along in front of you?  I couldn't get fast enough to pass them and didn't want to drive them into the path of oncoming traffic, eventually they found a bit where a fence dipped in and I got past.  It has been a sheepy couple of days for me, yesterday, when I was running early in the morning, someone had left a gate open at Omana park and there were sheep on the track so I ended up in the surreal situation of jogging as quietly and non-threateningly as I could in a sea of the creatures until they got to the fence at the end of the track and turned back again and then I was going against the tide.

12 days out from Ironman it was good to get that last ride done, but I'm not sure it was the wisest decision to have such a challenging ride the day after a 25km run.  My legs felt tired and I was low in energy and not interested in food which meant I wasn't keen on the sensible options (marmite sandwiches/banana) and ignored my food plan.  I ended up having extra flavoured milk, 2 bars of fruit and nut chocolate to supplement the gels and extra water so as to not disgrace myself by making a phonecall to "come and get me, I am stuck at Kaiaua".  On the good side, my bike went well, I was happy with my clothing choices given it was so hot, and since the chocolate didn't upset my stomach I might have to just add it to my food plan...