Saturday, 17 January 2015

Karen writes: SRAM Tour de Hunua 2015

I wasn't sure really until the last minute whether I would even get there but I thoroughly enjoyed the SRAM Tour de Hunua ride today.  I waved the children off then with dismantled bike and a hodgepodge of hurriedly thrown together equipment in the car, I drove to Clevedon. The signs were all there that it was going to be a beautiful, clear, and hot day, I wasn't disappointed. I turned up a Clevedon showgrounds, there was a constant flow of cars and bikes all stirring up the dust from the dry paddocks. A tiny space was found for my little car, out with the bits and pieces and time to find out exactly what had I forgotten.  Nothing too much, but I had underestimated the amount of food I needed, no matter, surely it would be fine, you expect such things to happen when you do these things at the last minute.

I got to talking to a few people, as you do while waiting around for a start.  A mature couple told me that Columbia was the best place in the world to cycle, they have spent months there bike trekking. Apparently the Columbian people treat cycling a bit like Kiwi's treat rugby.  It sounded amazing anyway, cycling overseas one day, a nice thing to put on the dream list.

So another chute going to another start-line, I was on the road again. I'd been a little bit worried that I might have lost my confidence on the bike after the little incident a week prior, but apart from an embarrassing tendency to let out a squeak when a big truck went past, or a boat trailer cut too close, I was happy to be on two wheels.

There was the usual bottle-neck at the first hills where speedsters overestimate their hill climbing ability at that early stage of the ride.  A highlight arrived in the form of an ancient Citroen wonderfully hand painted with a sofa strapped to the top.  It didn't seem right to call out the usual cry of  "car behind", perhaps "lounge suite behind"? The answer as to why this was on the road turned up a bit further along in the Hunua township where the sofa, still on the car roof, was being put to good use by supporters.

I have said before, it's the events where something goes wrong, or something stands out that you remember. This was a spectacularly beautiful but uneventful ride in the scheme of things.  The hills are always a challenge, a couple of them stick in your memory and you approach them with trepidation forever after. A couple of unscheduled stops took a little time, someone with a second flat tyre and no good spare, unfortunately a disadvantage of the super-flash wheels with very deep rims is that you cant just use any old spare, and my ancient puncture repair kit was politely declined, I mean who even knows how to use one of those anymore, let alone carries one.

So I rode for 4 hours 43, finishing 4 minutes quicker than last year. What made me happier than last year was that there were a few more people behind me, I didn't feel like I had the rather intimidating personal attention of the SAG wagon this time for the last 10 km.  It was hot, I drank my 2 bottles of electrolytes, 2 bottles of water, ate 2 Ems bars, had one gel and a banana and I got leg cramps, no big surprise there.

So the ride was valuable in that it tells me that I am as bike fit as I was at this time last year in spite of less training.  It also reminds me to pay attention to nutrition, something I can be a bit slack on. Tomorrow I have an early start for a good run, not sure how far I will get, but again it will tell me something about how well I am doing in my preparation for that Ironman which is only 7 weeks away.  As a result of today's ride however, I feel pretty confident that I am back on track.