Friday, March 27, 2009

Build it Up, Tear it Down

In recent weeks chaos has been an appropriate description of everyday life and training. In true form the biggest 24 hour race in New Zealand has crept right up behind me. I now have a flat closer than before to the forest with ample room for my fleet of bikes. Study has kicked well into gear. And above all, training is piling up in waves.

Even with this event looming, most of my training has been with the Length of New Zealand (LoNZ) record attempt in mind. Having tickets to the recent WOMAD festive and not much funds to cover travel costs I came to an obvious conclusion. I rode the 300-odd kilometres back to my home town of New Plymouth. And 11 hours and 9 minutes later, I was at my parents' back door. This gave me the chance to get some very early morning riding prep for the LoNZ. It also staved off my cravings for riding, hence enjoying the 3 days of WOMAD.

Back to this weekend. Despite my routine of "last minute organise everything" performance I feel as if things have a distinct chance of falling into place. Blind hope it might be, but there is hope. With many friends at the race throughout the event am sure that things can’t go too wrong.

After a few practise laps this week it is clear this will be a fast race. There are real steep climbs like I saw in Canada. But like Canada there are quite a few open gravel sections. Of course being in Rotorua there is some wicked single track. It has been a week or so since the last decent rain in Rotorua so the tracks are in prime condition. I think this year could see the first 400km solo at this event.

I do consider myself unusual in the fact that I enjoy pushing the limits of endurance, pain, etc. But I do have a few friends that are sometimes in the same frame of mind. Last weekend an epic was planned. It was floated that I ride to Wellington while my mate rode from New Plymouth. We would meet in Bulls and work together along the boring straights to the capital. Then rest a day, and ride back again.

As luck would have it there were chronic head winds predicted and low early morning temperatures. Even so I was not backing out. So I got up at half past two and hit the road south at three am. The winds for me never eventuated. I battled the elements up to the spectacular Desert road.

But as I neared Bulls it was clear my mate was not doing it easy on the coast. His knee was playing up and the head wind was reducing him to a crawl. Soon after he caught a bus from Wanganui back home with his tail between his legs. Facing a knee problem of my own and with my Ay-Up 24 the next weekend I pulled the pin too. But with my loathing for buses I hitched back to Rotorua. Despite only getting to Bulls it was still an over 270km ride.

This little ride kindly left with me with a recurring knee injury. This originally came up due to what Heidie my sports massage therapist calls ‘classic circumstances’ i.e.: a very long hard run with no prior run training while in high km base training. However, after some serious physio and exceedingly painful massage it has passed in time for the race.

I would like to commend the actions in committing to building the first length of New Zealand cycle way. It might well prove to be a piece of good fiscal policy. It represents a long overdue change from the seeming anti-cycle attitude of most government actions, like more motorways and buses. This is of particular distinction for me as I am not, nor have never been, a supporter of the parties in power. 

With regards to my record attempt - although a record might be set on this cycle way, the roads I am sure will prove the faster and more practical route.