First off, Beth is starting Grad School next month. I said she couldn't get another undergrad degree and others agreed. So she is going to for a Masters in Predictive Analytics. This is directly tied to the role she has been doing for several years. She is also heading back to the States for 3 weeks. She will be visiting friends and family. I may be generous and have her carry back some treats for you guys. Place your orders now. She is busy juggling 3 contract jobs at the moment and flying down to Christchurch at a moments notice. Maybe she'll blog and tell you why.
I didn't get to Woodland Park, instead Jason and I hit up Te Aroha for some riding. It was pretty bad in my opinion. It was raining and the track is a bunch of short punchy climbs over wet roots, rocks, and plastic strips. If you were lucky you might be able to get some traction otherwise it was walking up some gnarly obstacles. I'm quoted on a video saying I think it would be safer to play with razor blades. I don't think I'll be back there to ride. I'm spoiled as I got lots of selection of trails to choose from not to mention the ones we are building. If I don't like a place, I can just go to another place that I enjoy. We are just finishing up our 3rd trail and we already have our 4th trail marked out. We did this about 4 months ago. It takes a bit of time when its only 4-5 guys with hand tools, but the trails are a lot of fun.
Since my last post, we went to Tauranga and stayed with my friend Phil. As I hate to come in empty handed I baked some pumpkin whoopie pies. For those who have eaten my pumpkin cupcakes, I used the same powdered sugar filling between two thick pumpkin cookies. Needless to say they were a big hit. In fact, I had so much pumpkin left after roasting a single one that I made several batches of the whoopie pies for work and had pumpkin pancakes for several meals. If the pancakes weren't good enough already, a little dab of left over frosting melting over the top of the fluffy cakes really soothed my sweet tooth. Since I do bake and give most of it to my co-workers, I suspect that they think I spend all my free time baking, but I tell them only when it is raining. Even that isn't exactly true. I bake when I crave something. It just so happens to coincide with the rain as I don't like to ride that much in the rain. The reason for our trip down to Tauranga was to see our friend Faye before she headed back to the UK to work for Marmot UK. We had a nice dinner on The Strand. The usual cast of characters from Macpac were there as well as a few new comers. They work in other stores or started after I left. Talked to Faye about what she'll be doing and wished her luck. We ducked out around 10 pm. Back to Phil's for some stories and to wish him luck as he and a few other friends were doing the Okororie Winter Ride, 70km of country roads.
Beth and I left fairly early as we planned on doing some hiking. We had several options, most of which I had already done. Instead, we opted for a hike that neither of us have done and is less than an hour from our place. We ended up doing the Karangahake Mountain Track, which can be found between Paeroa and Waikino on the Hauraki Rail Trail. In my opinion it is the best section of the trail for viewing pleasure. If you want to do a straight ride for fitness then ride from Thames to Te Aroha and back as you only have the Coromandel Forest and Kaimais on the East side of the trail. We hiked up to the top of the trail and were given a stunning vantage point of the area.
|The view from Karangahake hike.|
The next week, I believe flew by and we had awesome fun on tap for the weekend. For the past year and a half we have been trying to get out kite boarding. For Christmas 2011, Beth and I coincidentally exchanged the same present. Kite boarding lessons. The winter was basically a bust because of the freeze/thaw cycle we experienced. Then we moved over here. So we never got to utilize our lesson vouchers. So when Beth found lessons on a group-on like site over here, we pounced. So last weekend, we went up to Auckland and learned how to fly the kite and do a bunch of different techniques in the water with our teacher Roger. It was a lot of fun and I even owe Beth and Roger a beer! You owe someone a beer if you hit them with your kite. That's right, I dived bombed my kite and smacked the fools. I then pretended like I didn't know what I was doing.
|Pumpkin Whoopie Pies|
|These beef ribs are awesome.|
On my Tuesday night run, I ended up doing 12km in under an hour. They guys asked if I had registered for Ironman yet. I responded that I'm still debating it. Several of the guys that I run and swim with are competing this year. I was told that the word on the street is that the race is 90% full. If I want to race, I got to register soon. I feel rather reserved when it comes to registering as its a lot of training and I have plans for our summer already that includes a visit back to the States. On Wed night I did a mountain bike ride with Graeme and we discussed our upcoming weekend trip to Taupo. We are planning on doing W2K with the Headland loop along with the K2K on Saturday and then doing several of the local trails on Sunday. On Friday I registered for Ironman. I've got some big training on the horizon as I have K2 (Oct) , Port of Tauranga Half (Jan), and now Ironman New Zealand (Mar). So Steve, I hope you step up and do something more than just a marathon! I'm sure I wont be able to say no to some other events not to mention my personal list of things I want to do.
|My meat platter.|