Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Training Treats...

So there were a couple of really wicked things about training over Christmas this year.

Firstly, the weather... It has been so long since I have been able to get out in a long run of amazing sunshine and dry trails and cultivate my tan lines. Lately, I've been heading out to Levin for my Wednesday rides and doing my time trials up the new singletrack climb there... It's soooo much nicer than climbing that gravel road. A couple of weeks back, I bumped into an entire brigade of trail builders there doing a stellar job, and this little gem of a climb is a perfect time trial test, but best ridden in the dry, so I have really enjoyed getting out there and nailing this climb time after time. What's even more amazing is that the climb tops out around 400m and then the trail meanders across the ridge to then poke its head out with amazing vistas of the Kapiti coast... Just magical on a nice day!

Another particularly magical day of note was Christmas eve... I headed out early in the morning before work to complete my hill repeats on Ngahere Park Road. This road is a particularly nasty (or good, depending on which way you look at it) climb which gets steeper and steeper the further up it you go. I've been using this climb for my hill reps for a month or so now, each time, trying to push a longer distance for each 5 min hill rep. My first climb of the day was average... Probably on par with the climbs I had done there last week... My second climb, however, I completely smashed my previous best marker and added another 100m to my 5min climb (substantial if you consider how demoralising it is when you are racing someone and they are sitting 100m in front of you on a climb). In fact, all my climbs on this day ended up being better than my best climb last session. WHOOOP! What made this day even more awesome was that after smashing out that second climb, I turned around to head down the hill in my oxygen-deprived state and could see, through the clearest of mornings and bluest of blue skies, Mount Ruapehu and its snow-covered tip jutting out of the landscape... A sight I was treated to for every subsequent climb.

Secondly, the food... I've done really well on the moderation front this year! Having said that, though, it's also been nice to be hitting the trails and the road hard and being able to have some sweet little treats to reward myself. I am so lucky to have some workmates who are pretty amazing at baking and I have received some lovely home-baked goodies which have translated rather well into trail-side snacks whilst I am out riding. I have no doubt that the original intention of the person doing the baking was for me to be sitting around with a good book and a cup of tea, savoring the taste of their naughty little treats... Just for the record, I have enjoyed the goodies both trail-side and with a cuppa in hand and they are just as good either way!

Thirdly, I got to spend Christmas day with Cape Epic team mate, John Randal and his family... This was a bit of a last-minute arrangement I made late in November after I told my mother I had intentions of loading up my bike with a tent and setting off on some crazy adventure by myself on Christmas day, to which she told me that I am not allowed to spend Christmas by myself. "It's not right" she said (gotta love mums!). So after opening my Mum and Dad's Christmas Care Package on Christmas morning (thanks for the underpants Mum!), I headed off down to Wellington and received the warmest of warm welcomes from John and his family. Amazing food (thanks to Ma Sifter) and great company. I was so glad I had them to spend the day with. John and I even managed to sneak out for the afternoon and hit up the trails at Miramar... This was a sweet xmas pressie in itself... There is a 125m climb to the top via a trail is called "Conviction". This is one lovely climb... I've never ridden an uphill berm before, but let me assure you it is all kinds of awesome. Once at the top, we were treated to some amazing views on what was a perfect Summer's day in Wellington... A play around on the pump track and then we dropped in to "Jail Break"... Now if you want a fun trail to ride, there is no way you could disagree that this is an absolute hoot. It's like a rollercoaster on two wheels, with these perfectly carved berms and amazing flow. I remember John commenting on how there was one section of the trail where you are on a constant lean and just flowing from berm to berm. I got to the bottom and felt like I had left my brain somewhere back up on the hillside in a pile of dust... My mind was overloaded with trail goodness... So we took the "Repeat Offender" trail and climbed back up to do it again... Four times. What a perfect way to spend xmas day!

It's been a pretty inspiring couple of weeks and there's been a lot of soul-searching done during some tough times... But I can feel myself coming out the other side strong and really motivated to hammer the pegs into the ground and make the most of this next 3 months worth of training I have still ahead of me before the Cape Epic and 24 Hour Solo World Champs in Italy... There's been some really strong thoughts and ideas materialising in my mind, and I'm almost ready to lay it out there and say "this is what my intentions are and here is how I'm going to do it"... I won't call them New Year's resolutions, because we all know they are meant to be broken, and I certainly have no intention of that... I'm call them "Training Treats"... The enjoyment I intend to derive from baking myself and hitting this next few months cooked just right... Bring it on!


  1. Definately a good read,cheers for linking me. I really clicked with the last paragraph eh. When you go through the hard stuff, it's often when the most learning is done eh. At least there's a perk to the pain! :) Ellen

  2. Proud to be 'Ma Sifter', Megan! It was so good to meet you and we really enjoyed your company on Christmas Day! Your mum is right; Christmas needs to be together-time!