Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mountains to Beach Day Zero

First up today was a sleep in and a late breakfast followed by a li'l spin around Thredbo villiage. We found a small section of the track that we would be racing on today and it's looking a little slippery, which warranted a tire change. I had good intentions of another spin in the afternoon, but the rain made it a little less appealing (wasn't keen on having my bike groaning at me before I even started racing!)... Hopefully it clears up for tomorrow!

Registration at 11 followed by a day of just eating and hanging out, then the race briefing and dinner this evening... Off to bed for an early night... My time trial run down that mountain starts at 9.15am... YEEEEEOOOOO!!!!

Mountains to Beach Day minus 1 - Travel, travel and more travel

So my excitement of the impending race was to be temporarily thwarted by some 14 hours in transit over the short space of 24 hours.

It started with the plane trip from Auckland... 4 hours to Sydney, then a short sleep (3 hours) followed by a 5 hour drive to Narooma, then a 5 hour bus trip to Thredbo... PHEW! Glad that's over.

I successfully flitted the time away boring my old-time and new-found friends with poor renditions of numerous songs including "I feel good" and "You're so vain" (I know you're singing them in your head right now as you are reading this!!!). I also spent the time trying to get information from people who raced last year about the course. "It's easy", "it's steep", "it's gravelly"... Everyone's opinion of last year was different.

It's funny when you come along to a race like this. So many things can happen in 5 days and it's so difficult to know what to expect... I think after doing a couple of these, I've learnt that you just don't expect anything and trust that once you get on the bike, it will all come together and make sense...

Anyway, finally time for a good night's sleep. Registration in the morning and a li'l bit of a ride around... Should be good fun. Can't wait to get the legs moving again after sitting idle for the last day!

Stay tuned for updates!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Waitin' at the airport

Sigh! The most frustrating moment of any racing trip... I've been separated from my bike and I'm now sitting at Auckland airport waiting for my flight, listening to mundane airport announcements and surrounded by the stench of fast food.

At least I'm on my way...

I've been getting li'l nervous butterflies all week now, and not necessarily because it's a race, but I'm just soooooooo excited, so with a few minutes spare, thought I'd share with you what I'm excited about....
- RIDING!!! In a new place for 5 days straight... I've felt really fast lately, and there's nothing more fun than riding really fast (that's right, I don't train for my races, I train because riding fast is much more fun than riding slow!!!)
- Seeing my mates Andy and Spencer... And I'm sure a few others who happen to be along for the ride
- Getting my new AYUP LIGHTS... There's nothing quite like them for weight and brightness. Perfect for the dawn raid, and that bright orange jersey will be handy post-race on Auckland roads moving into winter...
- Not being at work for a week... Sorry guys, but I really do appreciate the time off!!!
- Meeting some awesome people
- Hopefully landing a spot on the podium (gotta talk it up...)

So, an hour til my flight boards, and tomorrow at this time, I'll be in Thredbo ready to tackle the first stage on Monday...

Hopefully 'll have some sort of internet access and I'll keep you all posted with updates!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bev May Women's Road Tour

A little drive to Morrinsville early on Saturday morning for a final slap in the legs over the weekend before heading to Oz next week for Mountains to Beach stage race.

The Bev May tour is a 2 day, 4 stage race for Women only. For those of you who cycle under a rock and don't know who Bev May is, she has been one of the most amazing and inspiring female riders in NZ and has dedicated a good 50 years of her life to the sport of cycling... She runs this tour every year (this was it's 21st year). I rode the tour for the first time last year in B grade and despite coming nearly dead last in the grade (let's face it, as a mountain biker, I generally have no idea of pack dynamics in road racing!), I really enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie, and it was great training.

This year, i chose to ride C grade for the shorter distances to get some speed work in my legs for the Mountains to Beach Stage race in a week's time... make no mistake, the C grade competition wasn't soft and I found myself working hard to stay with the top pack in every stage.

The first stage was a 22km time trial which I completed in a little over 37 minutes. I was stoked with my average speed and it put me in 4th place for general classification. The second stage that afternoon was a 44km road race in which I finished 5th in a sprint finish. The third stage the next morning saw some weary legs climb a couple of decent li'l hills, and I managed to stay with the top bunch to finish 4th in another sprint finish. Our final stage was a criterium and after sprinting away on the final lap, I was caught up on the final straight and finished an equal 3rd... In the end, 4th overall.

I had an awesome time and it was great to also witness some amazing A-grade and up-and-coming road talent... Something I don't often get to do... There was also some good cash up for grabs and even if you're a mountain biker, it's great training... So girls, if you only try out one road race a year (a little like me), this really should be one on your list!!! Check out Morrinsville Wheelers website for results and for next year's dates.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Summer NDuro 3

The last round for the series and it was great fun (when is 50km of Redwoods trail ever not fun???)... Some rain the night before made the tracks a little slippery and with Mountains to Beach coming up in a couple of weeks, I was admittedly a bit of a nana down some of the sketchier bits, but my climbing legs were in fine form, which is good news with a 370km stage race 2 weeks away.

The course was awesome. It's been really refreshing having Cabin design the courses this series. There were some great trails in there including Hot X Buns, Rollercoaster and Sidewinder (backwards).

My Giant Anthem X and my new Adidas eyewear ran well, so second place was a great high to finish on after last week's Puhoi win. This week, I've just come off a 5 hour training ride and this weekend I'm riding the Bev May Women's road tour. Then it's taper time into Mountains to Beach. I'm actually looking forward to that flight to Oz so I can sit down and do nothing for 4 hours!!! Ha!

Peace out!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another win on the board! Puhoi 70km MTB marathon

It was shaping up to be another hot one and the morning had me praying that the cloud cover would hang around long enough to get me through the toughest climbs of the day... As I was to find out later, the toughest climbs were actually right near the end of the race and the sun had no intention of hiding it's hot little head for that long.

After some friendly start-line banter, we were off... My attempts to motopace the neutral vehicle saw me sitting at the front of the pack down the first fire trail splitting the wind for the rest of the pack behind me (serves me right). If there's one thing Anthony from DCP does best, it's finding lots of hills to have us ride up, and we were soon on our way up the first of these hills (in the full 70km, we did 1650m of vertical climbing). If there's one other thing Anthony does really well, it's finding awesome, rugged, unridden trails with a view (that's a tick in every box!!!)... True adventure mountain biking... And the Puhoi marathon saw us riding through quite a bit of private land generously laid at our disposal for the day by it's respective landowners (thanks guys!)

I won't give you the km by km lowdown on the trail... You really do have to ride this race to truly appreciate what it offers. There was a lot of gravel road mixed in there linking up a myriad of cattle trails and farmland singletrack... No sooner had I left the canopied farmland mud bogs than I was firing down a dusty firetrail. It really was a mixed bag of trails and kept me entertained for a good 4 hours.

In terms of my own race, I've been feeling pretty fast lately (for an endurance rider)... My catch phrase used to be along the lines of "I ride for a long time, but not particularly fast". Some speedwork incorporated by the coach has shown me lately that I can have my cake and eat it too if I'm willing to grind out the hard km and get some racing into my wheels, so that's what today was about. My first 40km was pretty good... Fast , hard riding on the firetrails made up for a slow grind through some of the softer farmland trails and the occasional hike-a-bike (for those of you who know how much I love running/walking). My 3 hour Go fast pick-me-up was much appreciated, as were my new Adidas Evil Eyes along the dusty dirt roads (I was happy to see afterwards that the 2mm thick dust was stuck to the outside of the lenses and not to my eyeballs).

My finishing time was a little over four and a quarter hours, and in all truthfullness, whilst I would have been pegging for a slightly quicker finish, I had a great day out... The company was great, the track was challenging and the atmosphere was really chilled.

Next race... Summer NDuro #3 next Sunday in Rotorua... I can't believe we're already a month into this year... 24 Hour World Solo Champs are only nine months away!!!