Monday, 15 October 2012

Building up

Over the past month I’ve raced in the first two rounds of the Auckland Cross Country champs, rode the day night thriller in a mixed team, and done some quality Strava racing.

The Day night thriller was awesome fun as usual. We put together a mixed 5 person team consisting of workmates, and my partner Sam.  After a restrained Friday night (considerable less beers than the previous year) I attempted to challenge for the much converted first lap honours. I started ok for my standards, but a couple of the u19 boys were off the blocks like rocket ships. The best I could manage was 3rd. That was my effort for the day. Overall a very enjoyable day with everyone in the team digging deep to pull out a 3rd in the mixed category in the filthy weather. Sam maintained her amazing mountain bike podium record as a result. Shes come on the podium in all the 3 pervious mountain bike races she had entered, a record most riders would be proud of.

The following weekend it was the first round of the Auckland XC champs at Woodhill. After half a dozen beers at the pub the night prior, I rode my bike home from the pub to get psyched for the race.  I’ve always like racing at Woodhill, as I know the trails and conditions relatively well. I started well covering all the surges and entering the first single track in second place. I was keen to get into the front so I could limit the amount of surging (hadn’t done any speed work yet). I made a slightly questionable passing manoeuvre to get by Sheldon. There was so shoulder rubbing but all in good fun.
 Once clear I opened up a gap and managed to keep it going for the rest of the race. I had targeted this race as a key training session so tried to keep my heart rate cranking to the end. I felt myself slipping off several times but kept the speed up to roll in for the win.

Sam came out for the Woodhill race but unfortunately slipped to a mid pack finish. The golden run is broken. I told her I was disappointed.

Two weeks on and it was the turn of the Hunua Ranges to host the 2nd round of the Enduro series. I always love riding in the Hunuas. It is a fantastic area and the race course is always good fun. I’ve always battled a bit racing at Hunua. The tight nature of the race course with technical sections requires quite a bit of concentration.
This was not helped by confusing my bike handling senses by riding a 6inch freeride bike the evening before. Suddenly my fasttrak tires felt sketchy when compared to the tractor tires I had been riding. The start was good, moving into the single-track 3rd. Sam Gaze had a plane to catch so way in a hurry and sight gapped the field within the first couple minutes. That guy is quick.

Pretty soon it was Nicholas Reeves and I riding in 2nd and 3rd. We swopped around a bit before i made an un-co mistake on a steep section and a gap opened up. I hung there for a bit before he slipped away. I felt strong and my heart was rev’ing nicely. Good signs for the training as I was able to maintain threshold for most of the race, by my skills and concentration let me down. I suppose I have to invest a bit more time in riding a mountain bike if  want to be able to compete. I followed the race up with a short run and felt good off the bike. Bring on Xterra.

So its 6 days to the Tri Worlds and the atmosphere is building on the waterfront. This will be my last hit out before flying to Hawaii. More importantly its 7 days until I fly to Hawaii for Xterra, Maui. The field is shaping up to be a cracker with two of the Olympic medallists competing.

I’ve been relatively restrained when it comes to Strava racing recently. Once Xterra is over, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

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