Thursday, May 21, 2009


After the best forgotten tragedy of last Wednesday’s night race I was determined this week to improve. I developed a plan so cunning, and for bonus points, enjoyable, that my feeble legs and lungs were sure to benefit from it. As I type this and look out the window at the southerly rain lashing the trees and glance at the Metservice website to see that the temperature with wind chill is a toasty -1°C it’s hard to remember that only 6 days ago it was sunny and a toasty 21°C. Luckily this beautiful weather was not squandered and I hit the hills with scatter for a bit of hill climbing practice.

I chose the divine and newly renovated Flying Nun trail as my exercise ground. The ride up the 4wd track, down the swoopy flowing Nun and back round the road is a nice 3km loop with just over 100m of climbing. Perfect. I will admit I was nervous on my first run, really nervous. This track is fast and flowing, with some brilliant rocky technical sections, jumps, bermed corners and wooden structures. I’ve ridden it before, but this would be a challenge for my confidence. I was shaking like a leaf the whole way down, but also grinning like a small child who’s had way too much raspberry jungle juice. It was fantastic. I walked a big section, but the rest was sweet and confidence building. Best of all my elbow was no issue at all.

I really concentrated on my pedalling back up the road and then up the hill. I pushed it, this was training for the race on Wednesday after all. It hurt, but it hurt good, which was puzzling as I hate climbing. The 2nd run down was even better. Nerves gone, flowing down the hill and hitting all the bits I’d walked the first time with the exception of 1 rock bridge and rocky corner exit that were messing with my mind. Fantastic. Back up the road, maintaining good speed and gasping at the top. Then down again. Oh yes, so good, faster, faster, oops a bit too fast, easy tiger. I nearly stacked into the bank after coming flying out of a corner a bit faster than I should have. Sussed out lines on the 2 sections that were messing with me, thanks to scatter, but decided I was being a bit muppety to ride them then and there. They’ll be there next time and I know exactly what to do now. Then back up the road a final time. Still had good constant speed, but my legs were really feeling it and by the time I got back to the car I knew that they were done. Even so I was still tempted for one more run down again, how could you not be, its sooo good, but common-sense prevailed and I headed home.

The next day I had even more leg hammering planned with a ride round the race track on my singlespeed. I was surprised that my legs were feeling pretty good after the hill climbing of the previous day. It was sunny and I was spinning madly. It was a brilliant ride with great company, but by the end my legs were toast, just as I planned.

With these fantastic rides under my belt I was looking forward to this week’s race. I was determined to conquer Tip Hill and finish strongly. Nothing was going to stop me. Except an email from the race organisers cancelling the race because of the appalling weather. Bugger. So instead of a night blasting around the forest in the cold I had a night on the couch under a blanket with the fire blazing. I guess tonight I’d better get that horrible bloody trainer out and give my legs the workout they didn’t get last night. Sigh.

PS. Issue 32 of Spoke Magazine is in the shops now, go get it, and read my first ever published article, on Christchurch’s Singlespeed club.

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