Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Journey to St James Mountain Man

Just a quick recap of the race and how I found myself entering. The race website is here, and I happened upon it by chance while I was looking for Challenge Wanaka as I would like to do another Iron distance. I know I didn't do as well as I could have last year at Taupo as I came to it injured. This year, I've been lucky I guess and had a few set backs early on. I pulled my bum muscle which laid me out for 6 weeks. Then I had LASIK which was only really 4 days. Then there were little bouts of illness, but I've done a lot of prep work. Is it enough? I don't know.

In preparation, I've done a few bigger events with a lot of shorter training days. I've been to Taupo, Rotorua, Thames, Queenstown, and around Auckland to train. I did Queenstown Marathon wearing a full pack to train with the weight. Coincidentally it also pissed down with a cold rain so my rain jacket and gloves came in handy. I've since purchased a UD Adventure Vest to jockey the weight around and for better fit. The pack I did the run in is mainly used for my long MTB rides, so now I have 2 packs for the race. I'll be transferring the mandatory gear between the 2, but the comfort derived from switching will be amazing. The following weekend I did the Lake Taupo Huka Challenge. A short 85km race with a lot of people. It was not that fun. I would have rather road the road race with the fierce wind. The ride itself is pretty awesome, but not with a lot of people. I've also done trail runs here and there including a 3hr return to the top of the Pinnacles just behind Thames. If I can stave off getting injured in the next week, I feel like I've prepared well. The race is 9 days away and we are starting our journey there on Friday.

We have a short overnight planned in Tauranga for an interview for Beth and visiting my friends Matt and Zenda. Saturday, we'll be heading to Rotorua so I can get one last decent ride in. I'll be meeting up with some friends from Auckland for  morning to mid-afternoon ride. Then its on to Tirangi Saturday night before heading to Wellington to catch the ferry over to Picton. Where we'll be doing an overnight dive trip to see a Russian shipwreck. Then a couple nights in Nelson before getting my feet wet at Lake Tennyson and busting my lungs and hopefully not my ankles during the of the bulk of the St James Mountain Man. All up it will be roughly 90 miles traversed with a course deadline of 16 hours. It doesn't quite measure up to Iron distance, but the elevation and time difference definitely make up for it. I'm sure I'll be spent after the race.

There is no athlete tracking as far as I'm aware as there is no phone service for much of the area. So for those that want to live vicariously through me, I'll be wearing my SPOT Tracker for the race, except for the swim. You'll be able to see my progress across the South Island in near-real time, here. You may have to select the proper activity on the left hand side.

What is next? We have some dives planned. I'm planning an over-night hike to a DOC hut. I may try tackle the Cape Brett Challenge, but we'll see how this race goes first. I may need to take some time off? Yeah right. When do I relax?

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