Saturday, 9 January 2010
Cresting my mountain
Today I did what I promised to do and took it very easy - I knew that I was teetering on the edge of breaking up, and I knew another hard day would tip me over that edge, so whatever happened I was going to take it easy,
It all started very sedately - a 4km run to the local pool in Wanganui, a 3km swim set and then the 4km back to the motel for breakfast. Ready to roll at 10am for a 202km ride, I knew I wouldnt get into Masterton until 6pm anyway so there was no point in drilling it to arrive 30mins earlier.
I rolled out with the 'B' train (the 'C'train had left at 8am, missing the run/swim/run and the 'A' train was due to leave about 20mins after us) and to start with the pace was perfect, Russell again provided a steady wheel, riding to power to avoid surging and splitting the bunch. However a few of the faster riders decided to up the pace and soon we were distinctly in the uncomfortable zone - i was holding 240W in third wheel (for those who dont know power - this is a lot to be holding when drafting two people in front of you, it means the rider at the front was doing about 260-270W - not too shabby for the start of day 7!)
So i decided to honour my promise and cut the cord while I could still feel my hands. I let Russell know and dropped off the back with a few others. Best decision I have made so far at this camp. Two riders and I formed a group that effectively rode the entire 202km alone at a very gentle pace. Mentally I was fried, so following a 2 man group was perfect - no pacelines, no jostling for position, no worrying about splits and drafts etc. Just look at the road, look at the wheels and ride. Physically I was fine, my HR avg was 121bpm for the ride and my legs felt pretty strong the entire way through. Sure, i'm not fresh as a daisy, and I would probably struggle to do a max sprint test but as always, when I wanted to push harder, the legs respond immeadiately - no fuss - no drama.
The scenery was a mixed back - a rather monotonous urban selection of towns, 'burbs and cities for the forst 150km suddenly broke into glorious countryside remeniscent of Scotland for the final 50km push into Masterton. Breathtaking views and my first view of large quantities of sheep - I knew the North island had them somewhere!
So a happy day - mentally the past 3 days have been my own private mountain. I am pleased to have gotten through them so strongly and I am pleased that I made a good decision today and backed myself. The next 4-5 days include shorter riding and more rest (this should give me a chance to repack my bag if anything else as its starting to resemble a burst sofa!)
Tomorrow we cycle to Wellington - well I should say 'maybe take a bus' as there are 45kph winds forecasted and we are going over a major climb with a dangerous descent. The organisers may pull the plug if its deemed too dangerous.
POTD is an older photo from Day 1 - the one, the only, Gordo.