Sunday, 28 November 2010

Taupo Cycle Challenge... photo heavy

Arrived in Motuapa (approx 30 mins before Taupo) on Thursday afternoon - beautiful clear blue sky, very warm... Friday turned out to be warmer still - boding well for Saturday... awoke on Saturday to a stunningly gorgeous morning. Chris dropped myself and Sandra off to my girlfriend Heath's motel around 7.30am - then we biked to the start line (3.3kms) - from there we queued, chatted about how hot it was already, found other members from GearShifters, then went for the nervous toilet stop and by 9am we were 3,2,1 GO... about 46km into the ride I got my first puncture in rear tyre!

Now I've ridden on these tyres for 1,500km and never had a flat or puncture and so why does it happen on the most important day! LESSON # 1- make sure next year fit new super-duper puncture proof tyres week before event.

Thank goodness a crash course on tube replacement shown by DH a couple of months previously came back to mind - checked the tyre, put in new tube, inflated with stupid handpump. LESSON # 2 - buy some of those gas bullets or better pump! Got back on the bike and started peddling.... about 10kms later - thud, thud - puncture number 2 on the rear tyre again. So off comes the tyre completely this time - running finger around inside and out - can't find anything wrong, started getting ready to put in another new tube - then blessings were answered "Service Van (SV)" arrives - yes please we'll have a lift (me and Heath), Sandra was way ahead of us by now, SV drove us 20kms to the 76km relay change point where a cute bike mechanic was there fixing damsels in distress (and the distressed blokes)! So he checked the tyre and couldn't find anything wrong, put in a new tube, pumped up tyre, then after a shovelling down of food and drink we headed out again.


Me & Heath - approx 120km into our challenge, reapplying sunblock and getting cold drinks from DH and girls...

Sharing a laugh along the way...

In the finishing chute...

About to cross the finish line...

We did it!!

The day was HOT, heat from the road made your feet feel like they were burning, the tar was melting on the roads which made for a sticky ride, water stops were like heaven. DH and the girls were waiting at about 120kms with ice cold drinks and words of encouragement. Hatepe Hill loomed at the 135.5km mark - OMG it is a nasty hill! Heath and I managed to bike halfway up then common sense and total lack of energy meant we got off the bikes and walked the rest of the way to the top... after managing to get the coordination together and swing the leg back over the bike, it was a magic downhill most of the way to Taupo with only another wee mean hill to keep you honest right till the end.

We both crossed the line in 9 hrs 4 mins... was disappointed I didn't get past the finish line in 8hrs and miffed that bike cost me an hour in repairs... though every cloud has a silver lining... the SV ride meant we missed two nasty hill climbs! So in all we rode 140km which is the longest I've ever biked. I have no idea what the temperature was yesterday in Taupo though it was so very hot!

Highlights were: Heath sticking with me through 2 bike breakdowns, repair and then the long ride to the finish; seeing my family waiting with cold drinks, hugs and 'you can do it' at the 120km, seeing the people on the roadside in many locations cheering us on, the amazing riders (especially the enduro, unicycle, hand bikes & heart kids), coming down the finishing chute (to tired even to cry), the volunteers at the water stations. Sitting in Lake Taupo after the finish that cold water was amazing on a tired body, then we went to DeBretts Thermal Pools - heaven, this worked magic on the body and am sure that is why I feel pretty damn good today.
We drove around the course before we headed home today - gosh it gives you a true appreciation of what we achieved.

Would I do it again... damn right I am... I have unfinished business with that Taupo Challenge - one I've got to complete the whole 160km and two, I'm determined to do way better than 9 hours... watch this space!

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Good on you - congratulations!!!

Pity about your puncture, though.

MrsC said...

Way to go Julz!!! You are the biz. xoxo