Day 1; AM Swim followed by a 100km Ride around Taupo roads and a 60min off road run.
Day 2; Ride from Taupo to Tauranga, 150km via the Pye's Pa Gorge, then run to the top of the Mt and back down.
Day 3; N-Duro off road Half Marathon, then return 80km ride via Te Puke to Rotorua.
The starters for the weekend were Andy MacKay, Cam Durno and recently crowed National Single Speed MTB champ Tim Wilding. A quality group of athletes and a good laugh to be around.
Day 1 was completed only by Andy and I. Both Tim and Cam had done some big miles the weekend before so were keen to save the legs a little for Sat/Sun (...soft?). It was a solid day marred by some technical issues with Andy's bike but we got through it with some mid ride Top Gear Cycles assistance. We had to rug up pretty well as it was single digit temperatures and frosty conditions but only light winds which helped to not freeze us totally. The run off the bike was great with us heading up into the Craters of the Moon mountain bike park to run some single track and keep away from the pavement.
Day 2 was aided by a stiff tailwind which allowed us to steam into the Mt in only 4hrs 20 min's. I had not done this ride before and was expecting 5hrs minimum! The tempo was set early on by T-Rex Wilding firing up his massive shanks to make every rise uncomfortable for the rest of us! We rode as we felt with no real plan for how things were to play out. It was a good fun way to ride and with some 10min TTing on the front from each of us were were soon at the Pye's Pa Gorge. This is a solid climb, not sure on the % gradient but it was granny gear all the way with T-Rex disappearing of up the road. All heart rates were well up to (and beyond) threshold and the legs were stinging. I couldn't help but think how much the race tomorrow is going to hurt with how my legs feel now! Once over that we got some wicked views of the Bay of Plenty and the Mt looming in the distance. After negotiating the Tauranga traffic we met Mand's and Alex at the base of the Mt, packed our bikes into the Taupo Intermediate School van and headed off up the Mt. I had never been up the Mt before so it was a great opportunity to use some of NZ's great landscape as our personal training facility. Geez its steep! Cam "Billy Goat" Durno trotted off in front with Me, MacKay and T-Rex following behind. Great views at the top and a group hug and pic, then barrelled back down for Eggs Benedict lunch and a soak in the Hot Pools, ....mmmmmmm toasty warm:)
Day 3 was here and I was knackered. My legs were actually quite good but the combination of Alex's teething and Amanda's cough combined for a relatively sleepless night! I moved out of our room and onto the couch at 4am only then to have the resident cats wanting to curl up with me! I think I got 2-3hrs sleep max so was not in a "lets go get em tiger" mind set!
The race was held at Sunnyville Recreational farm. It is a privately owned farm that has opened itself up to the public with MTB and walking tracks for anyone to use. All they ask for is respect and a gold coin donation for maintenance. Tremendous views and an excellent course which they think was 16km (I reckon 14km??).
Once again the Billy Goat left us in his dust with Mackay following, then Me with T-Rex finishing it off. The weather had really turned nasty during the run turning the course to a bog not suited to racing flats or roadies! The "Goat" appeared unaffected by the conditions and was the only person to go under the hour. We pulled of 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th overall, not a bad effort considering the days previous. A group consensus was met, as we huddled away from the elements in the Mongolian Ger that housed the prize giving, to can the final ride back to Rotorua. We had nailed some solid miles and all come through unscathed and will all come away with some more strength to pull out and smack our opponents with in our major races later in the year. Respect to the bhoys. Cam "Billy" Durno has my vote for top dog of the weekend, will he defend this lofty ranking at next months round 2 in Rotorua?