Coast to Coast – by Road

13 03 2010

This years Coast to Coast on Feb 13 was almost a washout. Torrential rain on the west coast meant a major course change. Gone were the traditional mountain run over Goat Pass  and the epic 67km paddle down the Waimakariri River. Local multisporter Dave Hansen tells the rest of the story…

This year’s coast started in appalling weather conditions. We were told on the start line that the run and kayak legs were officially changed to a road run, bike to Christchurch and an Avon river paddle to finish. This became my first problem of the day, as all of a sudden realised I didn’t have a solid back up plan. As I entered each transition I had to really concentrate not only what I needed right then, but also what I needed for the next transition.

 I was very lucky my wife knows me pretty well and was in-sync with what I needed throughout the day. It goes to show in these types of races, you need to have a great crew and lots of back up plans, because at some point, anything can go wrong or change and you need to be able to adapt quickly.
By the time the gun went I was already really cold, and with the ride through to Aickens corner, at times in torrential rain, I wasn’t having the greatest time, with a severe lack of brakes, due to the surface water and the body becoming really cold. At the first transition I took a minute and put on a merino layer and rain jacket and eased gently away. After 20 minutes I had warmed up and felt pretty good. I was hoping to have a good run up over the road, as this is where I felt my strength lies, but again was let down in preparation. I had trained purely off road and couldn’t adapt quickly enough to really get going. The road seemed to deaden my legs, and I really struggled throughout. By the sound of comments afterwards, a lot of people had the same problem.

Klondyke corner was a welcome relief, not only was it now warm and sunny, it felt like half way and we would now make some serious headway on the bikes. I was positioned around mid field here and there didn’t seem any bunches about, so I spent a far bit of time solo time trialling towards Christchurch. There are some pretty big hills through the middle part of the race, so once out on the plains some bunches started to form, and about 10 km from Christchurch I picked up a bunch and we hammered it through to the paddle start.
Out onto the river was an anti climax, but great because the finish was now pretty close. A few mixed emotions crept in on the paddle, one of relief/ excitement at almost finishing, and others of pure pain that had developed in the legs and lower back. A final ride of 7 km into Sumner on the bike finished the day in a touch over twelve and a half hours. To be greeted by Steve Gurney and Robin Judkins under the finish line was a great moment that I’ll cherish for a long time.

As my first foray into adventure racing had come to an end, I am still undecided what challenge is next , but am looking forward to some quality family time and having weekends back. A special thanks to my support crew who looked after me all day and my valuable sponsor Blenheim’s own Versatile Buildings.

Some of the things that worked for me:

I ran lots of hills, I felt a lot stronger at the end of long runs, and then still being able to hop on a bike and feel good.
Consistent build up really helped, especially when I had to lay down a big final push in the last two months.
Big weeks of training. This sort of training made me feel strong.
Good river time, and also time spent in the sea (Marlborough sounds) during a north west wind. Awesome for practising brace and sweep strokes.

Things I could’ve done better:

Not enough preparation/ planning ie, when race course changed I couldn’t adapt to conditions as well.
More riding time, never rode over 2 hours in training, too specific to plan A of this race.
Not enough big training days where there was high intensity ie. Race stimulating.
Nutritional plan, not enough trialling of food, so on race day I was out of sorts on some sections.

More training partners to push you along and bounce ideas off.
Worried too much in the days leading up to the race. It uses lots of energy and missed a lot of sleep.
More course training, even though we didn’t run goat pass or paddle the waimak, I believe if I had done more on these sections I would have been a lot more confident going into the race.

Lastly, I think it’s important for everyone to ensure they do the training that works for them, I find when I do plenty of training focusing on strength, I feel and go really well. To all those out there contemplating doing this great race, I say get out there and do it, you will meet some great people and see some fantastic scenery.

Find your passion and follow it fearlessly

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2 responses

17 03 2010
Brent Hansen

Good on ya bro. Yeah sealed roads not good. Cant beat Gurney’s grin at the finish and having him know exactly how you feel after hours of hard slog in all conditions. Maybe next year Versatile buildings could build sheltered transition sheds for support crew.

14 03 2010
Steve Smith

Congratulations Dave. Superb effort and some honest reflections in your words there. I think it sounds like you will be back for another go!

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