|Summer means cruises and lots of tour buses.|
|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.|
|Port of Tauranga, wonder how much for a container.|
|Crushing small bikes since 2012.|
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.|
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.