Tuesday, October 30, 2012

K2 Ride Review

First off so you don't waste anytime wondering if I rode the entire thing.  Achievement Unlocked.  We rode K2 this past weekend and it lived up to their claim of "the toughest one day cycle challenge in the Southern Hemisphere."  Or at least it did in my mind.  So how did I get to the starting line?  Well I thought it would be a good idea to do some of the iconic races while I was down here and so I entered K2.  I am currently toying with entering Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and Port of Tauranga Half Ironman (relay team, where I am the swimmer).  Then there are the non-event, but fun things to do that I've been slowly ticking off.
Scenic lookout on Pumpkin Hill
Back to how I got to K2.  So last month I decided to go with the guys from Koop's and do the K1 course.  This consisted of going from Coromandel to Tairua which was approximately 106 km.  I finished the training ride, but was hurting as my longest road ride was about 40 miles since moving here and I ran out of food and water on Kopu-Hikuai (see Webster for long ascent).  I also put in an extra 20 km on the day by biking to and from the shop.  Gotta love not having a car to drive to a ride.  Then again, getting groceries and to far off places kind of sucks.  Not to mention the crappy winter rain season of drenching proportions.  So I did a few more long rides with the guys I ended up going to the race with.  This consisted of Martin (South African), Clive (Kiwi), Matt (British), and Willie (Kiwi of Dutch Descent).  We were like the United Nations of Biking this past weekend!  We rode to Rotorua, did the 5 Angels, and the Welcome Bay loop together.  I also did my daily commuting and some other short stints on the bike by myself and once with Faye.
Water-side of the bach

We left early Friday morning to get to registration by 1 pm.  We all met up at the Tairua Rugby Club and got our packets.  Since I didn't know how fit I would be I said it might take over 8 hours to do the ride.  So I got put in Group 10.  Everyone else but Clive were in 9, with Clive being in 8.  The groups were assigned by anticipated completion times.  Lets say some people over-estimated their fitness and under-estimated the course as many people didn't finish in their anticipated time.  However, they did finish and that in itself is an accomplishment on this tough course.  We then went and did some recon of the first ascent, Pumpkin Hill, which is right outside Tairua.  The view is pretty stunning at the top of Pumpkin, but that can pretty much be said about the entire race course.  I had my head on a swivel the entire ride as it was so stunning.  I'm pretty sure if I was paying more attention to riding, I might have gone faster.  Oh well.  Everyone who visits, should drive around the Coromandel Peninsula and if you're adventurous bike around it.  We did see many loaded touring bikes as we raced.  Martin had organized a bach for us to stay at in Pauanui and this place was ridiculous.  4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with a deck that stretched around half of the building and a patio on the half.  Then there was a dock and his own boat ramp.  We were definitely in the nice part of Pauanui as we were on the  waterways.  We had a big spread of lasagna and salad for our evening meal and retired early as it was bound to be a long day.
View from the bach

Race day:
We woke up early and got kitted up, but Martin took it a step further.  We could hear him prancing around the kitchen in his cleats.  All we could hear was tap tap tap as he was making his breakfast.  We had to be at the starting line at 7:30 and it was about a 20 minute drive to Tairua from where we were staying so we packed up and headed out at 7.  However, as we were starting in the later groups, we didn't end up starting for some time and had to wait around in our groups as the lower wave got to leave ahead of us.  There were 4 minutes between each group.  Finally it is time for group 9 to go and the announcer just decided to lump in group 10 as well. It wouldn't have mattered much as I was going to jump groups at the beginning to ride with the guys.  We quickly leave Tairu and within the first 5 minutes we are tasked to take Pumpkin Hill in all of its 240m of switchback glory.  I spun comfortably up the first climb with 3 cogs to spare.  However, not everyone found it easy.  This was unfortunately where we dropped Matt.  He went on to ride mainly solo for the rest of the day.  His biggest pack would be 3 people.  I quickly ascended to the top and spun easy waiting to regroup with Martin and Willie.  I had set some mental goals for this ride.  1st was not to run out of food and water.  Mission Accomplished. I ran out of solid food, but didn't go hungry as there were bananas, oranges, and jelly beans.  I also had a half a bottle of Accelerade left to drink and powder for another serving.  Water and Electrolite mix were readily available at the water stops.  Many of which were located 2/3 of the way up a steep climb.  Strange location.  It could have been worse and been on the opposite side of the summit.  My 2nd goal was not to exceed 140's bpm on the flats and then stick in the 160's on the climbs to try to conserve my energy.  I averaged 144 bpm with 176 bpm max.  Martin took a different approach and was keeping at 155 bpm for a long time.  A decision he regretted later when we cramped unexpectedly and his cadence went to almost nil.  He even wrote last night that he is still finding it hard to walk.
Spent our afternoons here drinking tea and telling tales

The next stage is reportedly the hardest.  I would have to agree that the final hill before Coromandel was the hardest.  Having to relieve myself, I worked hard to outpace the group I was with so that when I pulled over, I wouldn't have to work that hard to catch back up.  In practice, this didn't work as well as I planned as I pushed close to 40 km/h to catch up.  Just in time for a steep .8 km hill.  This took a lot out of my legs.  A hard solo effort with a short break off the bike and then another hard effort.  The name of the stage includes the maori word for 'to inspire fear'.  In a way I'm glad I had no idea what was coming up as I was busy chatting with other riders who had done the ride.  They kept saying that this was the worst hill between their huffing and puffing.  It was long and it was steep.  This stage follows with a climb up the Kuaotunu Hill rising to 170m and back down again to sea level and the township of Kuaotunu. The ride continues on towards Coromandel with three shorter steep climbs before reaching the big one, the Whangapoa Hill. On the ascent there was an aid station and even some comic relief.  2 signs pretty close together read "Drafting Permitted" and a couple meters away was "Cardiac Corner".  I think I took the corner at 10 kmph.  It was slow going as it was a drastic switchback and steep.  It was also towards the end of the 5.9km ascent.  You were treated to a fantastic view of both coastlines, but the blue water out from Coromandel stole the show. There is a steep downhill with a wicked hairpin bend at the bottom known as Devils Elbow (so be extremely careful).  This turn was toward the bottom of Whangapoa and it is posted to take at 15 kmph.  It almost doubles back on itself and the roads weren't closed.  I had a couple people shout get off the road, but for the most part we had a lot of cheering spectators and a lot of volunteers.
Trusty steeds
After descending Whangapoa, we arrived in Coromandel so I knew the rest of the race course.  I was only worried about Kopu-Hikuai.  I once again had to go to the bathroom, but since both Martin and Willie had stopped for water, I assumed I was safe in doing so.  Wrong.  I was dropped by my mates.  I got on my bike and downed the rest of my granola bar (google bumper bars, they are super tasty) and a bottle of water.  I tried to catch them, but they always seemed to be 20m ahead of me on the first hill out of Coromandel.  It was at this point that the K1 racers started.  So I had to deal with large packs of fresh legs darting past me.  Group 1 was past before I realized, but Group 2 wasn't so lucky.  I managed to jump on a bunch of about 30 riders and we clipped to Thames at roughly 40 km/h.  I was in rough shape at Thames as I cramped and needed to eat and drink.  It was hard to eat and drink in a fast pace line as we were also passing slower people on the right.  I happened to see Willie and Martin on the side of the road.  Evidently Martin had had a bad cramp and needed to get off the bike.  Willie was the diligent domestique and waited.  I also road past Clive and shouted to grab a wheel if he could.  He had some mechanical issues with his front derailuer, but managed to finish the race.
We got mighty hungry post ride

The final stage is from Thames to Tairua and it is a ball buster.  This stage is named after the highest point on the course with a steady rise from sea level up to 425m. The hill starts about 10km into the stage and is a steady 14km climb through sub-tropical rain forest to reach the top. The final kick of the hill is 5.4km with your last chance at an aid station.  Afterwards is an exciting downhill section with a few turns to begin with followed by a 100 km/h straight. I was reserved and only hit 76 km/h.  Willie hit 94 according to his Garmin.  It was at the aid station where I was busy making a bottle of Accelerade and chowing on some food that Clive and Willie caught up.  I didn't get to see Martin until the end of the race.  Clive and I left together, but his chain dropped twice and I caught the wheel of a bunch pacing at 30 km/h.  I decided that 7 hours on my bike was long enough and kept on their wheel. I was joking with a group of K1 riders that if a K2 rider had enough energy to sprint at the end of the ride that they didn't ride hard enough.  There was a girl from group 6 that decided to sprint to the finish.  I finished in 7:18 and burned 7500 calories.  As I was checking my watch I saw English Pete, who rode the K1 training ride with Koop's, finish along with Clive, Willie, and Martin.  We then changed and waited around for the awards and spot prizes (door prizes).  We were still missing Matt.  He ended up finishing in 8+ hours, but his goal was just to finish. 
My room for the weekend.  Bunk beds!
That night we had bobotie and tumeric rice for dinner and basically polished off the rest of my caramel oatmeal cookies.  My monster cookies crumbled apart, but went over well.  We also stood in the waterway in our boxers and briefs to cool our legs.  We must have been quite a sight.  There are some pictures of us toasting to a well fought day.  People said that once is probably enough.  I'm thinking that I could knock off a bunch of time and could probably do it in 6:30.  It would be one of those races, that I would travel back for.  It is very scenic and the area has a lot of nature to offer.  The race was only part of the fun we had over the weekend.  The stories and tales we told and the welcoming spirit were what defined the weekend for me.  Listening to Martin weave tales of his adventurous past or those of the others, it seems that every country has some jokers and I just happen to find them.

Then on Sunday we had a short recovery ride and breakfast in the happening city center of Pauanui.  Willie had a cousin in town, so she stopped by and chatted for a bit.  After that we cleaned up the bach and headed back to Tauranga.  I fell asleep on the way back and woke up in Katikati.  After getting dropped off, I had to bike to the store for some groceries as I needed fresh veggies and fruit as I missed the Sunday Farmer's Market.  There will always be next week to get to the Farmer's Market.

Now I'm looking at Cycle the Lake, which is 2 laps (42km each) around Lake Rotorua this coming weekend.  Then the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, 160km, on November 24 and possibly swimming 1.2 miles on Jan 5th.  I guess I better start training.  Before you know it, I'll be back in MN for my brief appearance.  You can admire my awesome biker tan then!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Almost feels like summer

The Mount from the harbor bridge
Don't want to jinx it but it is getting up in the 20s and feeling a bit like how summer should feel.  I haven't had summer in over 12 months.  We left MN in April to come to New Zealand to experience their winter (aka lots of rain) and were supposed to be back in September for fall back in MN.  Change of plans and I get to experience summer instead of 3 winters without a summer, sorry Beth. 

The days are getting longer and the temp is increasing.  Unfortunately so in the wind.  We are getting pounded with crazy winds all the time.  However this past weekend was awesome.  I have a separate post for it, but lets just say the weather was stunning.  Today I got the paddle board out for 30 minutes on Pilot Bay before my quads and feet couldn't take any more.  So I paddled in, but I did do 1 full lap of the boats and then half.  So next time, I'll increase either the distance or speed at which I do it.
Slipped off the pedal while going up my driveway. 

We got our first cruise ship in as well.  I was biking into work this morning and the road I live on was busier than normal.  It was lined with taxis and bike hire vans and there was a giant cruise ship docked at the dairy at the end of the Mall next to the police station.  My boss went out for a walk today at lunch and said she heard a lot of different accents coming from the old people today.  So she knew they weren't the typical old people around Tauranga.

I'm getting spotted more and more by people I know.  Its a weird sensation to start fit in.  I get honked and waved at by friends who see me walking or biking around.  I get flagged down while riding to join up with the bunch ride.  A guy I rode with this past weekend was working at my boss's house and he mentioned he was doing K2 and she commented that I was doing K2 and if he knew me.  Of course he did.  Its a small place this Tauranga, but its big enough that not everyone knows me. 
Can you notice the large gouge in my old tire?

I'm in the process of writing a recap of K2 and I have plans on doing several other rides in the next month.  There is the ride around the lake, which is is 2 laps (42km each) around Lake Rotorua and then the 160km ride around Lake Taupo.  After that I might have to find some other rides to do.  The areas I've been riding are nothing like home.  There is elevation and crappy roads.  Its not to say our roads are awesome back home year round, but after construction season the asphalt is amazing.  Here they put down what they affectionately call 'big chip' on top of fresh asphalt.  Why?  I have no idea, but I'm sure it has something to do with pissing off bikers.  On an awesome note and I hope I don't jinx myself, but I haven't had a flat in over 1300km!  I can't praise my Gatorskin tires enough.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Impromptu trip to see ITU World Championships

ITU Flyer

So on this past Friday, I decided to spend the long Labor Day weekend in Auckland watching the ITU World Championships.  For those that don't know or care, I like to do various distance triathlons.  I'm working my way up to an Ironman in the next couple years.  The ITU is keen on the Olympic Distance (1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run), but this weekend had sprint as well.  How did this come about?  Well, I was reading the paper during morning tea and saw a good article on the weekend's events.  I thought to myself, when am I going to be near this type of opportunity again.  So I darted back to my desk and looked at buses to Auckland.  Yes, I know I don't like buses, but they are cheap.  I look at my options and it wouldn't get me there until after the elite women have already gone and most of the U23 men's race would have been completed.  So I contacted the last rental agency that we used and got a car for the long weekend.  They were even kind enough to pick me up from work.  I then booked a dorm style room on hostels.com.  Seemed like I went from doing a little biking over the weekend to darting up to Auckland in about 10 minutes. 

Andrea from the New Zealand National Team.

I decided to wake up early and head up to Auckland before 7am.  The drive was very peaceful and I was graced with some awesome driving weather.  No rain and the wind was almost non-existent.  The sun was out for most of the drive as well.  Driving through the Kaimais is always fun and then looking off the road at various tramping tracks and little reserves.  I put a mental check next to each one to pursue at a later date.  For right now, I'm a man on a mission.  I'm about to see if the Kiwis can defend off some stellar competition on their home turf.  I get to Auckland and locate the parking ramp behind the hostel ($40 for 2+ days of parking btw).  Its early so you can't check in until after 1pm.  Saturday I watched the U23 women and men as well as the elite women.  The course was laid out in the CBD so it was very spectator friendly.  I used it to my advantage to wander to different vantage points throughout the race to get a better feel for the choke points.  The swim was uneventful in the sense that it was 2 laps next to Queen's Wharf.  Not much to see other than splashing and swim caps.  The bike course consisted of 8 laps of a hills and sharp turns.  It reminded me of the Stillwater Crit course for Nature Valley Grand Prix.  The run course doubled up over part of the bike course and the athletes had to do 4 laps. 
Kris Gemmell broke away for 3 laps on the bike ride.  Epic

The weather on Saturday was warm with a chilly wind, but Sunday was cold and at times rain was pouring down.  So the elite women lucked out with their weather and the men got drenched and I believe the bike was slowed because of it.  For both days, I was particularly interested in seeing how the riders would cope with the corner of Victoria and Queens after coming down from Albert Park.  It is a pretty honest descent with lots of generated speed into a 90 degree turn.  I saw a couple people get close to smacking the barrier and a couple shouts for riders to slow down.  I personally didn't see anyone go down, but I saw the missing flesh on more than a few of the junior girls and stains on shorts of both the elite and junior men.  I also so the aftermath of what I suspect to be a mechanical issue for a Russian athlete as he slammed his bike to the pavement.  He then put it over the guard rail and claimed his DNF.  I have to give mad props to the junior athlete from Mexico that was pushing very hard.  I could tell she was noxious and just wanted to puke as she laid crumpled on the ground with 2 fingers down her gullet but nothing would come out.  She was trying to wretch and was shaking a bit, but she was not going to get any relief.  An official came over and I suspect asked if she wanted to withdraw.  Her answer was an emphatic no.  She pushed him away and tried to regain her feet.  She managed to get up only to stumble to the barrier where she leaned for a couple of seconds before willing herself the final 300 meters or so to the finish.  

A flash of Gwen as she passed by.  She went on to claim 2nd.    

I met a couple interesting people this weekend.  The first were Kevin and Lilia from Seattle.  She was an age-grouper racing on Monday in the Olympic distance and qualified in Vermont.  She has also done the 70.3 Championships in Clearwater and Las Vegas.  She also recently made the jump in the age categories to the dreaded 30-34.  Good luck to her.  Next was Mike from Saucony New Zealand.  To say I met him this weekend, would be a lie.  I met him a couple weeks ago at a product training session with Macpac, but we did talk for a little bit.  Next is the woman, I forgot her name, who imports Hammer Nutrition products.  Since my favorite gel in the market is Hammer, I'll be placing an order with her.  We talked supplements for a bit and she asked what I was going to be using for the race this weekend. I told her I was just up to watch as it was basically happening in my backyard.  She also let me sample a product similar to Accelerade, which I can't find here.  It has a combination of protein and carbs, but also includes some fat.  It tasted like a dream-cicle.  If my order of Accelerade doesn't get here by Wed, I'm going for a jug of Perpetuem for my K2 ride this coming weekend.  There were a couple other Americans that I chatted with and I didn't get their names, but they all assumed I was there to race.  I wish I was as it was an amazing course and very well organized.  Its not often that I'm a spectator at these events.  Maybe I'll volunteer in the future if I'm not racing.  Finally, I talked to a gentleman name Bill Vann from Michigan.  He told me about his daughter Kate, who took up triathlons in college after being a competitive swimmer all her life.  Told me about their trip to Hungry and other ITU events and that there are 2 younger gifted siblings as well.  Kate, hope you did well.
The outside of my newish place.
Anyway, I'm back in Tauranga now after a whirlwind of clapping, cheering, and shivering in the rain.  I have to say, I've gotten a lot of use out of my rain jacket.  It has a permanent spot in my bag where ever I go.  It looks like the ITU season is kicking off in Auckland in April and then a race in Japan in May.  Would be interesting to be an ITU volunteer groupie.  I wander if they subsidize travel and of course my fooding bill. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Walker Entry

Lets tramp this.

Here is my Pinterest Board for my entry into the Great Walker Contest.  This is a chance to do the 9 Great Walks in New Zealand over 9 weeks.  The contest is being put on by Air New Zealand and the DOC.  The walks vary in length and are located across the country.
  1. Abel Tasman is 54.4km
  2. Heaphy Track is 78.4 km and the longest
  3. Kepler Track is 60km
  4. Lake Waikaremoana is 46 km
  5. Milford Track is 53.5 km
  6. Tongariro Northern Circuit no distance provided
  7. Whanganui Journey looks to be tramping and canoe
  8. Rakiura Track is 32 km 
  9. Routeburn Track is 32 km 
Each  walk is expected to take at least a couple days and individuals selected will have to blog about their adventure.  It would almost be like a sponsored version of this site!  I would take pictures and document my tramping.  I have only done part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit when Beth and I did the Tongariro Crossing back in early Winter.  It would be exciting to win this, but I don't know the odds.  It is a world wide contest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The little things

CR-V Slap
So this afternoon after getting off the bus at the Hot Pools and starting to limp back to the flat, I came across not 1, not 2, but 3 CR-Vs and there was no one around to slap.  What gives?

Limping?  I tweaked my cadaver knee a couple weeks ago and it was feeling fine on Monday until I tweaked it again. 

What is this CR-V slap you mention?  It's the International game sweeping the World, where you get to lightly back-hand the person you are with while saying 'CR-V Slap'.  There aren't that many rules and most everyone can play.   


  1. One slap per CR-V.
    1. Slap the upper arm to shoulder with a back hand motion
  2. Can only hit once per 24 hour period if the vehicle doesn't move
  3. A miss-slap is punished with a slap from the person on the receiving end of the miss-slap.
    1. Miss-slap is slapping someone while misidentifying a CR-V.
  4. Honda Dealerships are off limits
    1. Used Car Dealerships are free game
  5. Don't hit the person so hard that they can't continue to drive


  1. Don't be the driver
  2. Look in parking lots
  3. Look down side roads
  4. Driver's use the rear-view and side mirror to your advantage

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I saw 5 Angels today

Fitting title of the shelter, this was our stopping point on the 5th climb
So I'm busy getting ready for K2.  I've done several long rides in the past month.  I've also been doing some structured interval workouts.  My legs are feeling better and better each day.  I've also been going to the gym 3 times a week.  The workouts are challenging and typically use only your body weight, but we do get our kettle bell on from time to time.  Toss in some climbing and my days are pretty well full.  Who has time to work 1 let alone 2 jobs?  Well yesterday was my last day at Macpac.  I will miss the job as it was always fun to talk about the outdoors with people and try to instill my love of them into others. 
Doesn't do it justice
So today we did a ride called the 5 Angels that goes up 5 different ascents off of Welcome Bay.  I logged in just shy of 122km and Andy from group said we did just under 2100m of elevation gain over the day.  Based on that, I don't think I would name the ride the 5 Angels.  Instead it should be called legs burning, heart pumping, vomit inducing, sweat drenched hours of punishment, but I don't think it would fly.  Regardless I loved the ride.  The views you got from riding down Welcome Bay Road of the Mount and out into the country side were amazing.  This being New Zealand the weather was weird as.  There was a  chilly wind and rain at the top of every climb that I could have done without.  However once we descended back toward Welcome Bay Road, the weather would fine up and I would want to take off my vest.  I made an impulse buy at Macpac as we got some new adventure gear in right before I worked for the last time.  Its a windproof nylon vest with a mesh back that has been treated with DWR and it performed well today.  I would have preferred the medium, but the arm holes were too tight and the large just had some flapping in the wind that I had to contend with.

We started the day with 11 riders leaving from Martin's house.  We rode down Cameron Road and turned on 15th and headed toward Maungatapu (where I have spin) and Welcome Bay.  We went down the length of Welcome Bay Road and turned up our first climb.  This also happens to be the location of the local Mtb track, Summer Hill.  After this climb we lost 3 riders, who happened to have had enough for the day.  I was told on the 2nd hill that the first was supposedly the easiest hill.  We seemed to lounge around at the top of each hill waiting to regroup and to chat for a bit before heading back down.  This occurred at every summit, except for the last.  I would get a chill waiting around and just wanted to get a move on, but having never ridden this ride, I wasn't going to take the lead.  Once again, my nutrition or lack there of hurt me.  I was out of bars and left the house without eating.  I did stop for a mad Mexican pie on my way over to Tauranga.  It was a little spicy this morning compared to the other times I have gotten it.  Then after 3 climbs, we stopped at a gas station and I got a Nut Roll type of thing and some Powerade.  We had done roughly 75km at this point and I was starving.  On the last climb a few people didn't come up and instead hit the coffee shop.  2 others got most of the way up and turned around.  3 of us waited at the predetermined end point for roughly 10 minutes before we turned around toward town.  I used the last of my energy to do some sprinting up a couple inclines, but these efforts were really short.  We joined up with the rest of the group and had a little meal.  Ok I had a good amount of food, peach iced tea, a BBQ Chicken and Bacon toastie, and a carrot cake muffin.  From there we parted ways as some bad weather was rolling in and the people who didn't do the entire ride were done eating.  I got back home and took a much needed shower and now I get to ride my bike over to the grocery store for some much needed supplies.
This boat shouldn't be leaning like that.

Earlier in the week we had some crazy high, ok Gale Force, winds and one of the boats in Pilot's Bay broke free and was beached on the shallow shore.  I happened to be out walking and took some pictures of it.  This past week the weather was crazy.  It was chilly in the morning and fine during the day, and then super windy at night.  I go to the gym at 6am and then sit at work thinking about paddle boarding or even going for a swim as the water temp seems to have warmed up, but then when I get home I'm almost blown off my bike.  I don't really like biking at a 45 degree angle much less paddling head first into some really strong wind.  This week the weather is looking better so hopefully I get to add some color to my non-tan upper body.  My arms are dark up to my jersey line and then its a drastic change and then a subtle change to my shoulder blades as I still haven't lost my tan lines from last summer.  I have less than 2 weeks until K2 and I'm going to be doing a couple medium distance rides, but first my bike needs a shop visit and I need to replace my cleats.  Ugh, I spent $25 on a pair of brake pads the other day.  I'm glad I have them, but that price just hurts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recap of what I've been doing.

New tan line
So its been about 3 weeks since Beth has left New Zealand and I'm missing a lot of the little things.    Like being able to talk about the little daily things and being able to unwind with her.  We do talk on Skype a fair amount but its either a quick blurb before work or if it is something pressing, I may wake her after I get done with my shift.   Not to say that I'm sitting at home twiddling my thumbs.  For instance, I have gotten this awesome tan line from 2 rides.  Ok, there might be a little burn, but it will be a dark tan soon enough.
Meeting up at the Tect Park on Pyes Pa.

I haven't been idle since she has left and here is a quick recap of the things I have been doing.
Taking off layers in Pyes Pa.
  1. I put in my notice at macpac
    1. I want to experience NZ more than my 1 day a week off allows me.
    2. I do enjoy the people and the fun that the job has brought me, but my sanity will need it.
  2. I've been logging some good miles on my bike.
  3. Martin, Cliff, Clive, Julie, Andy, Me, and a guy who looks like Sweat Man.
    1. Did a training ride with the guys from Koop's for the K2 ride on Oct 27th.  Happens to be the K1 course, which I'm trying to convince Faye into doing.
    2. Did a training ride with some of the same guys this past weekend doing the Rotorua Loop.  
      1. Its an absolutely stunning loop that is a bunch of gradual climbing with some sharp peaks and then an awesome downhill ride.  I was constantly swiveling my head to admire the views.  We went around the backside of Lake Rotorua and I really wanted to go for a dip.
    3. Signed up for the K2 ride and thinking of signing up for the Taupo Cycle Challenge.
  4. Indoor rock climbing.  I've been trying to get there a couple times a week and work on my footwork and strengthening my technique.  I'm going to migrate outside soon as it is starting to feel like summer.
  5. I've started going to gym101 with the guys from Koop's as well.  I will be going there 3 times a week at 6:15.  It is about 2km down the road.  I went and did a workout last Wed with them and buggered my knee (yes the one that has been repaired twice).  I just tweaked it and it swelled up later in the day.  It was feeling good today (Monday) so I went in for another workout.  Still a little sore, but I'm managing to walk without drastic pain.
    1. Finding an ice pack took a lot of time and they are $15.  
    2. I've not been working out other than biking and some running and doing these sessions reminds me of the Brick house workouts.  Oh do I have some pain to bring when I come back.  Well if I come back.
  6. Phil might be joining me for a part of the planned cycle tour.  He is very jealous of what I am planning and I extended an offer for him to ride part of it with me if he wishes.  He sounded pretty keen on the idea.  Started rambling off places that he had contacts that we could stay with.
  7. Phil from Koop's last Tuesday night while dropping me off after spin, stated manner of factly that I should move to New Zealand permanently.  He gave a bunch of reasons, but the one that stuck with me is that I'm a good guy that gets on with the Kiwi spirit.  No worries.
  8. Sunset from in-front of my flat.
    1. My boss also likes this idea.  I happened to tell my co-worker and boss about the conversation I had with Phil and this kicked Nici's imagination into high gear.  She has told me she was looking at the immigration site.  
    2. Beth and I are talking about what this move would me.  There would be a lot of things to cover off on in order to make this a reality.
  9. Running around the Mount and enjoying the weather.  Sorry Beth, but the weather has gotten nicer since you left.  Only 2 days of rain so far.
  10. Enjoying the hot pools as well to recover from my many activities.

So I've been kind of busy, but I've also been looking at flights, bikes, and touring gear.  I'm also looking at other bike tourers on Twitter and starting to make some contacts.  I've found a series of flights back for a pretty good price and I'm researching how much the checked bike is going to cost.  I'm scoping out a Disc Trucker for my touring bike.  Why the change?  After the couple rides in various conditions and over various steep hills, I think I would prefer having disc brakes.  I'm willing to sell my Cross Check in order to partially finance my purchase.  Who wants to buy a 56cm Surly Cross Check?  I don't have the same components as stock as I pulled the group set off my old Jake the Snake.  The frame itself is only a couple years old.  For touring gear, I'm looking at a bunch of things, but I'm not positive on anything yet.  I have had people asking what I want for my birthday and Christmas, but I don't know yet.