Monday, 30 January 2012

Ironman gossip

It’s funny how the body responds to long periods of training. This time last week I woke with a tickle in my throat and not thinking much of it made my way through the majority of my weekly sessions. Currently as I croak my way through this, contemplating going down the road to the quacks, I should have listened more to the early warning signs.  

Managed to get plenty of snaps in here this week, although it’s a lengthy read!
Behind the finish line at Challenge Wanaka

Here are some stats for this week:

Count: 7 Activities
Distance: 107.97 km
Time: 8:36:41 h: m: s
Elevation Gain: 1,776 m
Avg Speed: 12.5 km/h
Avg HR: 143 bpm
Calories: 5,416 C
Avg Elevation Gain: 254 m
Max HR: 190 bpm
Max Time: 2:07:26 h: m: s

And from the previous week:

Count: 12 Activities
Distance: 168.36 km
Time: 12:51:37 h: m: s
Elevation Gain: 2,148 m
Avg Speed: 13.4 km/h
Avg HR: 149 bpm
Calories: 10,059 C
Avg Elevation Gain: 188 m
Max HR: 192 bpm
Max Time: 1:43:03 h: m: s

Back into another big month build up now, really pleased how January shaped up. February will be a slightly trickier month with Rowan and Nicole’s wedding down in Wanaka (another trip down) so I’ll have to carefully plot the time on my feet around various social occasions!

Leading females, Tanner 2nd and Hewitt 4th

Ok so onto the good stuff, Challenge Wanaka. Friday night (20th Jan) was the Contact Tri Series race. NZ’s favourite sporting couple, Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal (NZ’s favourite Frenchman) took out the honours in a tight and fast circuit that was great for us spectators.

Leading females
Tony Dodds and Laurent Vidal
On Thursday evening we attended the official Challenge Wanaka Pasta Party. This was great with a massive spread but topping this was the general atmosphere. Some of the top Elite Athletes spoke and the very crafty race sponsors put plenty of free beers on, full well knowing that the majority of people wouldn’t be touching the stuff! Anyway this really makes it a special occasion and builds the event up. Further to this there’s a brunch/prize giving on the Sunday morning.

Saturday morning broke with a stiff breeze rolling down the lake. I love being down in the mixer an hour or so before a race starts as there are so many characters bouncing around, reciting amazing one liners and predicting the weather. I must have heard ‘oooooooh she’s fresh’ a dozen times. The nervous anticipation of people really shines through, rubbing of hands and fiddling of gear, some don’t hold back. 


 I watched them start and dashed off for an hour or so aiming to catch Shaun out of the water. I wasn’t long back when he appeared, after messing up who he was about fifty times. Nightmare trying to watch people get out of the water, all in a black wetsuit, with the same coloured swim cap on.

Maddness at the start

Spotted exiting the water
From T1 out towards Glendu Bay stretch

Once Shaun was on the bike we popped into a little café for some brunch. Top eat really, generous portions and good coffee, really felt like a nap after all of the mornings activities, however an Ironman had to be supported. Rose and I headed out on the roads in search of Shaun and we managed to find him around the 80km mark. From here to about the 140km mark we drove ahead, waited, and cheered Shaun on, as well as the many others that passed us by, continually repeating the process. It was funny following the same group of people all day, you really got quite attached to them and seeing some of them come over the finish line giving you a high 5 was wicked. We headed back into Wanaka and really noticed that the wind had picked up. The turn off, before Tarras, that leads you directly back to Wanaka was a straight road, quite undulating and there was an awful head wind, the kind to break whatever ounce of strength and hope you had within. Not to mention the large chip roads, over a beer on Sunday night Shaun said that if he was to win lotto he would smooth seal all the roads on the course. 
Out past Cromwell
Back in at T2 onto the run

So finally onto the run, we got into a great little position right in front of the transition area so could see all of the athletes get off their bikes and make their way onto the final run, a marathon of course. Shaun managed to dismount in good shape, well compared to several others we had witnessed. Once he went passed us I decided to run in the opposite direction around the course. This was great as every few minutes I was stopping and running with some of the competitors and trying to be as positive, without annoying, as possible. Was great to see a couple of fellas out there who I knew, Graham Harris who ended up coming third in his age group, he was looking super strong and Glenn Sutton who just loves the hurt. He’ll be at the start line of the 100 mile Northburn race in eight weeks. 

Around the 30 km mark

 As Shaun progressed through the run we assembled together to drive around and see him as much as possible, one of the great things about the run course is its accessibility for spectators. Come the 30km mark he really picked up his pace and was looking strong, he continued in this fashion to come home in an epic 12 hours and 47 minutes. That’s a very long day at the office, but one filled with reward!  

Finishing time

To conclude if anyone was having thoughts about competing in this event next year, then don’t have any doubts. Check out the website and just enter, they have an array of events, ½ Ironman and even in a team which would be the best introduction to something like this.

So much on around the region at the moment, pick early, train hard and make the most of the experiences;
Tuesday, last Shoe Clinic 5km Series at North Hagley
Wednesday Ellesmere Road Runners
Also on Wednesday the Surf and Turf Series is on at Corsair Bay, may well be sponsored by Big Gary’s, not sure if the rumours are true of the prize being an actual Surf and Turf combo.

If you’re just keen to get out there then don’t be worried about the Port Hills, most of the tracks and trails to the West of Rapaki are open and busy, Rapaki included.

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