Friday, 3 February 2012

Xmas holiday rides

Only 3 rides for me in my 2 week summer holiday break.

Going into the holiday, I was vaguely toying with the idea of joining Craig McGregor on 1 January on a 600 km ride he was doing around Wellington/Wairarapa/Manawatu/Kapiti/Wellington.  It would have been twice as far as I’d ever done, I was still recovering from the Enduro, and I had only 2-3 months to fit some quality training in for the 505 km GrapeRide Ultimate, but what an adventure it would be!  However, eventually good sense prevailed!

So I instead did three more manageable rides of 200 km, 155 km and 200 km.  I wanted to fit more in, but these proved enough.

The 200 km rides were my “beach crawl”.  They involve travelling north, visiting every beach I can, then riding straight back down the No. 1 highway home.  Beaches covered are: Waikanae, Pekapeka, Otaki, Waikawa, (decided to give Kuku beach a miss for the first time, as the road there is not that pleasant), Hokio, Waiterere, and finally Foxton.  Sustenance involves taking take 5 bottles of made-up Hammer Perpeteum drink and a sixth bottle with powder for refills (2 on the bike, 3 in my back pockets, and 1 bottle in a very small backpack).  It’s great doing this in summer especially, as I catch some of the holiday vibes from all the beach-goers.   Seeing the beaches adds some additional variety to what is already a picturesque ride.

The 155 km ride is my usual, which involves cycling over Paekakariki Hill to Paihatanui, over the Moonshine Road to the Hutt Valley, up the Hutt Valley and to the top of the Akatarawas, then back again all the way home.  It’s a great route, with lots of variety and wonderful scenery.  There’s a lot of climbing involved, with the Moonshine Road (east to west) being especially steep.  A great test of fitness is the extent that I can push myself back over the Paekakariki Hill on the way back home.

The intention of these rides was to be on building up distance fitness, with a focus on steady-pace, efficient riding.  After a month of these rides, I would then start increasing the intensity before tapering off about 3 weeks before the GrapeRide.

The 28 December beach-crawl was great.  It was a stinking hot summer day with a moderate breeze.  By the time I got to Foxton beach, I decided the distance was just right.  As I get fitter, I will be able to extend it further, with the next beach north being Himatangi.  I had about 15 minutes resting in the shade of the clubrooms at the beach, soaking in the atmosphere and recovering.  The way back was hard going, but I managed it well both physically and mentally.  I got a scare going down a hill just north of Levin.  I was down on my aerobars (which I’m still getting used to), going fast along a narrow verge, when a momentary loss of attention had me not notice a bump and I just saved myself going off the side of the road, with a few panicky wobbles close to passing traffic thrown into the bargain.  It would have been sore!  The next time I went down here, I used the drops rather than the aeros!  All in all, the ride took 8 hours, including the time involved with refilling bottles and with resting at Otaki Beach.  I was as tired as I expected to be at the end.  A good ride!

The 155 km ride was on New Years Day.  The weather was horrible – wet and windy.  I had planned to do a more gentle, longer ride, building up those k’s.  But with the wind, I thought the hills would be easier.  A great ride, although I can’t remember too much about it.  I ended up pretty tired but pleased.

The other 200km ride was on the Thursday (5 Jan).  Again, it was slightly windy – it seems to be difficult to get away from it on the coast.  Very few other riders out; only three that I can remember – one around Manakau, another just coming into Foxton, and another while coming out of Foxton – all looked pretty fit and hard-case.  The only incident worth mentioning was falling off the bike!  I had just come off the long walkway/bike-path from Foxton Beach and was going up the wrong side of the road waiting to cross, when a car started coming out of a driveway.  I stopped to let him out, but found myself just slightly off balance as I was unclipping from the peddles – crash!

All in all, good rides, but I was disappointed at how tired they left me.  It took a long time to recover from them.  A week between long rides seems fine, but definitely nothing too much less.

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