Steve’s Ironman Update

29 12 2009

Lake Rotoiti image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagesnz/

I did no exercise on Christmas Day. I didn’t pig out too severely, so no damage done in terms of either training or gut line. Sad git that I have become, I must confess that this Christmas will always be remembered for the Boxing Day swim/ride. You will recall that I have had some horror rides of late with hours spent churning into the wind and average speeds achieved seemingly just above running pace. Boxing Day made up for all of those. Roger and I headed out to Lake Rotoiti for a swim – meeting up with Marg who was holidaying there – and then the plan was for the two boys to bike back.

The 25th was sweltering hot but the 26th looked like it could prove wintery and as we drove out to the lake I must confess I wasn’t looking forward to hitting the water. We got a text from Marg saying the lake could be rough and maybe a run would be better than a swim. Great, I thought, I didn’t bring my running shoes so I will gladly be the security for the bikes while they take off. By the time we got out there it was a little dark and we were constantly staring at trees trying to get a handle on which direction the wind was blowing. Being 110 km to home it had some relevance.

Down to the lake we went and it was completely calm (damn) so we all suited up and tip toed into the water. It was very cold. I am adamant my theory of thermal shirt under the wet suit and vaseline across the face really does help with the cold (you heard it here first). Anyway, we did about 40 mins and then it was time to bike. The cruise down from the lake to the start of the flats was quick, as you would expect and we still had no real feel for which way the wind was going and it wasn’t until we hit the big bridge that it became clearer. It was a full on tail wind and we absolutely flew down the plains. It was so good that at one stage I sat on 50+ km/hr for ages which is unheard of for me. I was even just sitting on the bike catching my breath and not pedaling and was still going over 40.

There’s a small rise on the way back – steep enough and long enough to be a pest, though the sort you hardly notice in a car – and years ago I can remember hating it but this time I went up and over it at 30+. The wind never let up. Nor were there any cross wind issues or the like. It was just firmly with us the whole way. Roger reckoned it was as close to cheating as you could get and had to deviate up Spy Valley to top up his hours. As for me, having had some crap rides of late I wanted to get home in under 3 hours (which I did at an overall average of 36 km/hr) and note some detail in my schedule that restores my faith in the bike! I did immediately jump on the MTB and go for an hour as I felt a bit guilty … but only a bit. For the week ahead it’s more of the same. On the 1st, it’s another 2km sea swim at Nelson and – hopefully – those ribs.

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