Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wellington Centre 2 day cycle race

On the weekend I ventured over the Hill (Rimutaka's) to the wairarapa for the Wellington Centre 2 day cycle tour. This race consisted of 4 stages:

Stage 1: 5.7km ITT
Stage 2: Martinborough -Kahutara Circuit: 51km
Stage 3: Gladstone-Admirals Hill Rd: 37km
Stage 4: Martinborough Millars Rd Circuit: 46km (this was changed to an out and back from Martinborough to Millars rd and back due to the Joe Cocker concert: 61km)

The Wairarapa turned it on for us all, with challenging racing conditions for all stages. It wasn't too windy on Saturday morning for the TT but after lunch the wind picked up to make for a tough return trip to Martinborough after the southern loop - 35C temperatures added to the joy. The light drizzle on Sunday morning brought a welcome drop in the temperature but the sweat still streamed from the riders faces on the climb up Admirals. The afternoon stage saw a return of the wind which was cruel on the various breakaway attempts in most of the grades but gave us a super fast finishing sprint to wrap up the tour.

My tour had some ups and downs (and not just the hills... hehehe)... the TT was really tough as it was so short! I came in 4th out of the 8 women (ahead of Anja Dittmer- German ITU triathlete already qualified for the olympics and ahead of Susie Pryde- ex Commonwealth games gold medallist) so I was pleased with this effort.

Stage 2 was perhaps the fastest I have ever been on my bike in a bunch situation, the pace was on the whole way and I LOVED it... It was exhilarating. At one stage we were going 60kmh+ on the flat! This is my first real experience with road racing and it was cool. I am glad that I had cycled this course plenty of times in training so I pretty much anticipate when the bunch would try and make breaks so I could make sure that I didn't fall off the back of the group. This stage for me was about survival and safety. I just hung out in the front third of the group and stayed there the whole way round. I managed to pick up a 5 second time bonus at the end of this stage as well so kept my 4th place on grand classification (GC).

Stage 3 was always going to be a toughie as it finished with an 8 km climb up admirals hill which has a pretty mean reputation. I expected to fall behind the top girls up this climb as they are stronger cyclists than me and on top of that weigh about 10kg less than me so their power to weight ratios would be much better. My aim was just to climb strong up the hill. I was pleased with this stage and still felt strong at the end of it which was a good sign. The great thing is there is the ride down the hill and back to the Gladstone Hall after the finish so it meant that we all did a good cool down.

There wasn't much time between stages 3 and 4 so we drove back tio Martinborough school for the final stage. It was originally going to be a 46 km loop to and from Martinborough via Millars road. But due to the increased traffic due to the Joe Cocker concert the race organisers changed this to a 61km out and back course. I was really apprehensive starting this stage as I had no idea how my legs would hold up... as it happened they were great. I felt awesome on the way out and even started attacking from the front just to mix it up... I knew that I would struggle over the steep Millars rd climb so I broke away from the bunch leading up to it to give me a head start, this was a good decision as I predicted I got passed by most the bunch up this hill... but because I started ahead I managed to hang on to the bunch on the downhill... I don't know what it is about that hill but I just don't climb it well. All was going awesomely until our bunch hit the road cone turnaraound... another rider took my front wheel out and I fell off.... stink. I would have been able to get back on my bike and re-join the group but my chain got stuck... double stink!! So it was a long tough journey home by myself into some crappy head winds... the good thing was I only lost 4 minutes on a 35+ strong bunch so I was pleased.

All in all a great weekend and awesome experience. I hope to do it again next year!
Here is the stage 2 bunch finish...

Ocean swim race

On Saturday 26 January Jason competed in the second race of the Sovereign Ocean swim series. This race was a little closer to home in the lovely (on a good day) Wellington harbour. I wasn't there for this race but by all accounts they had a beautiful day for the swim. Above is a picture of the swim start.
The Capital Classic 2.8km ocean swim started at Oriental Bay Beach at 10:00am. From here they had to swim around the fountain (keeping it to their left) and around the buoy off Freyberg beach (keeping the buoy to their right). The swimmers then swum to the lighthouse rounding it in a clockwise direction before returning to Freyberg Beach and keeping the fountain to their right.

As per Jason's Lake Taupo swim, he did not wear a wetsuit for this race. He wore his awesome PointZero3 suit from Blue Seventy.

The times were a little slower for this race than the 2.8km Auckland race from before Christmas but Jason again won his age group for the non wetsuit category. He was really pleased with this! His finish time was about 41 minutes.
Next Jason and Anna are heading down to Chch for the next round of the Ocean Swim series.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jason's new toy...

Well what can I say... jason has a new toy and he is like a little boy on Christmas day! Here is his new bike... it is a KLX300B (not that it means much to the motorbike illiterate like me). It is dual purpose so road legal and he can take it off road which he is very excited about. Jason is sitting his licence today (Friday)...

Wellington anniversary weekend: handball and triathlon race

Over Wellignton Anniversary weekend Jason played a game of handball down on Oriental Beach... it was a primo day! I am pleased that he only played goalie as I was worried about potential injuries this close to the big swim day.... here are a couple of photos for you:

On Wellington anniversary day I did one of the Scorching Bay triathlons. It was a primo day for a triathlon, calm and overcast (with the sun coming out in full force just after we finished). A day without wind in Wellington is a rare treat and all 200+ competitors made the most of it.
I did the full standard distance triathlon on a pretty solid week of training (1500m Swim/40km bike and 10km run for those of you non-triathletes) and came in second overall to Evelyn Williamson.
I could definitely feel the hard work of the previous week in my legs in the swim but still loved the calm conditions. I managed to draft of Deb Trendle for about half a lap as well so I was stoked with that.... she burned me off after that.
I had a primo ride in the triathlon and did a 1:10:44 including T2- I was really pleased with the bike as I hada massive hills ride on the Sunday before (Horokiwi *2, Korokoro, Normandale and Kelson)

My run time was: 0:45:36 (10.6km). I actually felt really awesome coming off the bike but faded after the first lap... the hard week caught up on me.
Overall time: 2:20:14. Pleased with the effort for a first outing of the season at this distance and on tired legs!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

6 hour Lake Taupo Swim

On 12 January Jason and Anna headed to Taupo with their awesome support crew (me, Johnno, Ali, Carol, Martin and Ang) to swim across half of Lake taupo (6 hours). For more information on this check out their website: http://www.fortypointtwo.org.nz/

So for the second weekend in a row we got up at 3.45 am. Jason ate hit massive bowl of porridge, sultanas, brown sugar and milk. All washed down with a coffee and some replace. We left Taupo a little after 4 with the aim of being on the water by 5 - 5.30.
Maarts had a bit of trouble getting the support boat out so we didn't get started until after 6. The air temperature was only about 10 degrees and I was determined not to mention how cold I thought it was (I know how hard it is for Jason when we all go on about the cold). But the water temp was great. About 19 degrees (so that explained all the steam rising off the water). This photo is of Jason and Anna in the new Blue Seventy Point Zero 3 (FINA swim legal) swim suits before we started the swim (apparantly these suits are tight and once they are on, they are not coming off.... it takes about 10 minutes to get them on as well...)

So for the first time in four years I jumped in a canoe polo kayak (eeekkk I was worried if I would remember how) and we headed out from the Tokaanu boat ramp (on the actual swim morning the team will leave from Little Waihi- just round the corner).
It was just a stunning day out there as you can see in the pictures below...

Surprisingly the time seemed to pass pretty quickly as we had food stops for the swimmers (handed out from Ang on the support boat) every 30 minutes:

This is the last photo you will see of me in a polo boat I think:

After about 2 hours of kayaking my legs were fully numb! Just really sore and I needed to get out of the Kayak. Ali (swim coach) took over from me for an hour, but I think that it was a lot more uncomfortable for him than me! At hour 3 I jumped in the kayak for another 2 hours. Both Jason and Anna were preet upbeat and chirpy during this phase!
For the last hour of the swim I jumped in my wetsuit and joined Jason. It was quite a surreal experience swimming out in the middle of Lake Taupo. The top of the water was really clear and we had all these rays of sun light surrounding us, I really don't have the writing ability to eloquently phrase how awesome it was.
At the 5.15 mark, Jason was visibly tiring so after 5 and a half hours Ali asked Jason to step up the pace! So I helped jason out by picking up the pace... for a while he stayed behind me but in the last 10 minutes he really picked up heaps of speed and soon left me for dead!!!
After the swim we had an hour or so on the boat back to our start point and the hungry swimmers swooped on Turangi Burger King!!! A well deserved fatty meal!!!
All in all an awesome effort.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

5 January 2008: Tauranga Half Ironman

We arrived back in New Zealand at 11.50pm on New years Eve and shared a very special moment with customs officials at midnight! New Years day was spent trying to unpack from Aussie, wash all our clothes, fit training in and pack for Tauranga!! A very busy day!

We drove as far as taupo and visited Blossom and his family overnight. On Thursday we headed over to the Mount.

Race day dawned and its always a shock when the alarm goes off at 3.45am! Its wrong to be up in the 3's!!!!

Here is the mighty GT on race morning with its beautiful wheels :-) I hadn't finished setting up tranisiton at this stage so it is still looking a little messy!

This is me on the bike course (at least I look fast with the helmet- thanks Kendal).

And me on the run. If you look closely you will see the look of pain on my face.
1st 30-34 age group