Sunday, 7 December 2014

Karen writes: Round again Taupo

It is a whole week since we cycled around that big hole in the ground a wee way down country again, that was time number eight.  I remember the first time, we thought a 60 km ride was enough training, that the measly little hills out the back of Whitford were real hills and that hanging onto a convenient powerpole or fencepost was the accepted way to stop to get cleats out of pedals. We did however learn the errors of that sort of thinking with a 10+ hour effort on the road that year, probably the big surprise is that we kept going back every November.

Things have come a long way, some rides are easier than others, well, actually they are all hard, some have just been harder than others.  This one for me was strangely eough a good one, it was windy, cold, and rained on and off, but I didn't have that "oh I wish this was over" feeling starting at the foot of the first hill and keeping going till the end.  Why, who knows?  Why does one event work better than another when you have trained less, weigh more, and still don't pay enough attention to nutrition and equipment?

I managed, to use language I normally avoid, a 'personal best', albeit an accidental one. I could argue that I feel like I always do some version of best, some are just 'bester' than others.  Anyway, I took 7 hours 9 minutes and a tiny bit, last year I took 7 hours 50 minutes. My previous best time was in 2012 and that was 7 hours 13 minutes.  A PB, must be a proper cyclist now.

So now to the tricky situation of going from one big event almost straight into another.  Taper to taper almost, and circumstances have conspired that I have had no chance of training this last week, and next week looks the same. So time to stop worrying about lack of training, and make the best of opportunities.  I can tick the bikeride off, I know I can do 90 km since I managed 160.  I had a swim early this morning before the whanau woke up that was close enough to 2 km, tick. Run, well I have done precious little of that in recent weeks but surely I haven't lost everything since Auckland marathon at the beginning of November, and with 750 m elevation over the 21 k's according to my GPS I think it is more likely to be a walk than a run anyway.  I'm as ready as I can be.

Now, the swim this morning is worth mentioning.  Swimming is never my favourite activity, and knowing that fish are hungriest as the sun comes up...well... there was a degree of anxiety.  But it was lovely, the water was flat, there were a few boats going out and for a change no-one was throwing burley off the wharf or casting fishing lines into my pathway.  I have now found that if my brain is busy I dont have time to think about (jaws theme) what is going to come up from underneath and decide that my fluttering silver toenails are part of an injured fish. This swim I barely noticed what I was doing, I was thinking too hard.  I have lots of things to think about at the moment which had the effect of keeping my brain full enough that I actually wasn't worried even a tiny bit about being eaten.  The side effect of that unfortunately was it also kept me off thinking about technique, but I think I would rather be free of that persistent and irrational anxiety than a fractionally faster swimmer.

So now I need to try to find some clothes suitable for next weekend.  Down at Taupo it was realised that some of my gear hasn't really survived the winter very well after long hard training year, so there were stern instructions from Kate to THROW the stuff out.  Funny how all those worn out favourites got washed again after the ride, and of course you cant possibly throw clean clothes out.  So less than pristine pair of cycle shorts, holey socks,pink compression leg warmers with more chain grease than pink colour are back in the cupboard to be discarded when they next get dirty.  Rotorua half Ironman could never be described as a fashion show so perhaps next weekend?