Back in the car again for some road-tripping last weekend. It was an early start from Auckland in the fog down to Raglan for this 43km mountain bike-come-roadie race. The vibe here was awesome. I've always loved Raglan. It's such a cool little community and they have so much respect for the land that we are so lucky to be able to ride our bikes on.
The race was to be a mixture of dirt roads and tar seal with about 1000m of climbing over the 43km, so it would be a fast one, but not without the pleasure of some painfully brutal climbs. I've always been of the opinion that a fast course doesn't necessarily mean it hurts any less... It just hurts more for a shorter period of time. I'd had a pretty hard week on the bike, and in all truthfulness, I really felt like a was ready for a rest day, so I didn't hold any huge expectations for the day. I arrived early enough to see the fog parting over Karioi and the blue skies we were to ride under, although it was still quite bitterly cold.
We ended up with 200 riders on the start line (not bad for a race in it's first year!!!). The pace off the mark was quite quick and there wasn't really much opportunity to warm up much as we headed straight into a climb... This would be the theme for the day... No flat riding. We were either climbing or descending the whole way. My legs felt really heavy at the start of the race and I felt like I could be in for a slow 43km, but as the race wore on, I felt better and better and started overtaking some of the people who had been quicker off the start line than me.
It was about the 20km mark of the race when I realised that I had spent the entire time so far in my big chain ring (without sacrificing my cadence, too... Nice!), so I decided to make it the aim of my day to get some good power K's in and stay in my big chain ring the whole way to the end (these are the sorts of silly games endurance riders play on shorter races). The last climb over Manu Bay nearly saw the undoing of my macho-chain ring game for the day, but I managed to pull it off. I finished in just under 2 hours (with an average speed of 22km/hr on the mountain bike), in 5th place for overall female, and first place for my category.
It was a great day out and a good excuse to head to Raglan for the day. Looking forward to next year!