Monday, November 26, 2012

Challenge yourself daily

Summer means cruises and lots of tour buses.
 I've not posted lately as I've been very busy.  My body is feeling good since the accident.  My bike has a new set of wheels on it and it runs fine.  Actually I had a little issue with it this past weekend, but I'll get to that.  The weather is starting to feel like summer as it was 23 (~73F) degrees today.  I've also received my Road ID and the title of the post is my new mantra.  In order to grow you have to push your limits.  My US version is "Only count on yourself".  Nobody is going to make you do anything and if you want something you have to work for it.  Just my point of view and what drives me to do what I do.  Enjoy reading and getting tired from my past week.
Welcome Bay, side hill.

So last weekend I did my first real ride since getting hit.  We did a casual ride of ~80km leaving at 7:30 on Saturday morning.  We rode down Welcome Bay Road and did a couple of the hills for good measure.  I stopped and took some photos of us going up.  It ended up pissing down (raining) once we got to Papamoa and I was pretty chilled by the time I got home.  Overall it wasn't a bad ride, but I was nervous in traffic.  We got buzzed a couple times pretty close, but I kept on straight line.  We had a lone puncture, but it took 3 people to change it.  It looked like a pit crew. 

The following day, we went out to the Redwoods for some mountain biking.  We spent over 3 hours going up and down the various trails.  We hit some of our favorites and hit some trails we hadn't ever been on as well.  Tim introduced me to a guy from Virginia, who happens to work at a rival outdoor store.  We had a good time and as is custom I put the bike down and got a little scrapped up.  I was going to slow and my tire slid out on some roots.  Oh well.  I'm really enjoying riding the trails and decided to make my old mountain bike back in the States a single speed.  Why?  Its old and the cost to fix the worn components would be more than the bike is worth.  I can convert it pretty cheap and there isn't all that much elevation change in MN so I could just get the gear ratio right and power through anything that might challenge the chose ratio.
Climbing at the Mount

On Monday, I met up with the guys from Koop's for a gym session.  These things can be brutal, but I can feel my fitness getting better.  Every workout is different, but you can be guaranteed to sweat a lot.  In the afternoon, I went out for a run around the Mount.  It was a relaxing run and not too many other runners.  Unlike yesterday when a cruise boat was in the harbor and the Mount was packed with tourists.  Ugh.  They can't decide which side to walk on.  I decided to do the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and secured a ride and accommodation.  The race is on Saturday and consists of 160km around New Zealand's largest lake.
One last climb before dusk.
Tuesday, we got together and did some climbing at the Mount.  For as many times as I've gone to the summit, I've never noticed the bolts.  Tim and I were out there a couple weeks ago and since then I can spot the many routes from the trail.  There were 4 of us doing this night and we had enough light to do 4 ascents apiece.  We did 2 short and 2 medium length climbs.  With practice my grip strength will improve so I can last longer as it didn't seem to last that long.  The others didn't even get pumped but my forearms were giant.  I also need to read the routes a little better before ascending as I got myself stuck at a dead end when I should have branched to the right about a meter below I got stuck.  Down climbing wasn't really an option as I kept trying to navigate to the hand holds to the right, but it would have been a crazy dyno.  Oh well, next time I will get it.  I've got the time to climb, just need to find more partners that are also as open with their time.
Port of Tauranga, wonder how much for a container.
Wednesday, I went to the gym again in the morning and Beth had informed me from across the World the previous day that there was a splash and dash event going on.  It was for a team of 3 to do a relay of ~400m swim and ~1.5k run.  I quickly emailed around to some friends and found out that the teams were randomly assigned and you just had to show up.  I was incredibly sore from my latest activities, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway.  I walked down the beach to the start and ran into Matt and Sarah.  Sarah ended up doing a long ride while Matt did the "race".  I was partnered up with Sam and Sara (different one).  Sam and I were rocking awesome facial hair and Sara unfortunately didn't get the memo about the team uniform.  We gave her a pass this time.  Sam was rocking a lemmy.  The event ended up being closer to 300m of swimming and 2k of running and it was a good test for me as I haven't swam in my wetsuit for a race.  My transition wasn't the greatest as I struggled to get it off my wet feet.  Things to practice I guess.
Crushing small bikes since 2012.
Thursday would have been Thanksgiving if I was in the States.  Instead I took it easy and just did some yoga and stretching.  I also started to get my gear organized for the weekend.  With all the rides I've been doing, I wished I had brought more cycling gear.  I brought 1 jersey and 1 pair of shorts.  I bought 2 more jerseys and 2 more pairs of bottoms, but it doesn't seem like enough.  I just ended up doing a lot of laundry during the week.  Nothing like lots of sweaty clothes in my laundry basket between working out, running, and biking.
Massive chain

Friday (Thanksgiving back home), I called family and wrote emails to friends.  I'm trying to convince my dad on coming out and visiting during Christmas vacation.  I get about 2 weeks off.  There is a list of things I would love to do.  Right now I've been invited to an Orphan's Christmas with other ex-pats and then Matt invited me to Taupo with his friends and family to enjoy the bounty that Taupo has to offer.  I did a little stretching and Rob stopped by to pick up my gear for the Taupo ride.  When I talked to my family, they got tired just listening to what I have been doing and what I planned on the weekend.

Saturday was an early morning, 4:00 to be exact.  I took a quick shower, ate breakfast, and then rode down to the intersection of Totara and Hwy 2 to wait for my ride.  Colin swung by shortly before 5 and we then met up with Rob.  I hadn't met either of these guys before Friday and Saturday, but they were willing to give me a fair shake as I'm a mate of Martin's.  I wrote about Martin from my K2 trip.  We had to be down in Taupo shortly after 7 to get organized for our 8am start.  I met up with Matt and a couple of his mates and started the race with them, but quickly separated myself as I was riding at a faster pace than them.  There were a bunch of inexperienced riders and heaps of people on the side of the road changing flats.  I felt like I did much of the ride solo even though I was in the "lead" of a pace line.  I say this because nobody wanted to share the burden of riding in the front.  I tried to slow my pace to force someone to take the lead, but it didn't work.  I just kept to my pace and took in the scenery.  It was a pretty scenic ride.  You got to see a snow capped Mt Ruapehu and Mt Doom in the distance and a beautiful blue Lake Taupo as you descended Waihi Hill.  I finished in 5:25 which is what I was aiming for a sub 5:30.  Martin thought I should be doing a sub-5 with the size of my legs.  I'm sure if I had been doing intensity training rides, I could have ridden harder, but my rides consist of commuting at about 30 km/h and then a long ride here and there at the same pace.  So to keep pace of 33+ for ~5hrs isn't something I've trained for at all since moving here.  If I'm here next year I would toss in several of those sessions to improve both my K2 and LTCC times.  Here is a cool time lapse video of the course
My food is wandering about.
Sunday we came back midday with  a stop at the Waiotapu Mud Pools.  Pretty cool to look at, but I was more interested in the tramping behind the pools as there looked to be some cool bush tracks.  We left later than planned from Taupo as getting breakfast turned almost into lunch as all the places were packed with cyclists.  How could I tell?  Guys with shaved legs of course!  Once we got back to Tauranga, I felt like a cat nap (Kiwis call them nana naps).  I didn't though and instead decided to tackle the summit of the Mount.  My legs were a little tight from the ride, but I decided I would take the steep fire road to the top.  I came across a lot of tourists and we played the game of what side do I walk on?  I figure that you mimic car traffic.  If you drive on the left, walk on the left and vice versa. 

This week I have a holiday dinner with the folks from macpac and we are doing a little secret santa gift.  Then this weekend I might volunteer at the Tinman Triathlon.  The triathlon group said they were short on volunteers during the splash and dash.  Later that day work is having a holiday BBQ at Jen's house.  I'll have to find a ride out there or ride my bike up the Kaimai Range.  I've driven up that way once and its steep, but manageable if you pace yourself.  I don't think traffic would like it too much though.  So that is what I've been doing.  I'll be back in the States in about 8 weeks and we'll start a new adventure shortly after that.


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