Sunday, 18 March 2012

The race that was

After Karapoti was cancelled, due to extreme weather conditions, I was left feeling deflated and like my season had ended on a very sour note.  I kept telling myself things like 'it's for the best, your health probably isn't up to it' and 'Don't worry, it will be better in the long run'.  However, I couldn't help feeling disappointed and was finding it hard to take the time off I know I was in desperate need of without feeling like I'd really earned it. 

Next thing I know, Karapoti is back on!  I was so excited but very nervous as well knowing that my body wasn't coping well with anaerobic activity and that I hadn't been able to train for more than 2 hours in over 2 months.  I also made the call to shift into the elite grade due to lack of entries in expert women.  This was to be my debut in elite and made me even more nervous.

Race day arrived and I was stoked that the organisers were able to pull off a Karapoti style event- a few less riders but still a great atmosphere. On the start line (the middle of a river) an extra competitor showed up- an EEL!  Someone managed to catch it and free it to make sure it didn't get trampled at the start but it certainly added to the normal start-line chaos!

My start was a significant improvement on last years disaster when I face planted in the river.  I made it across slowly but safely and made my way up the gorge being careful to stay out of the anaerobic zone.  Of course, that goal went flying out the window the moment I hit the infamous "warm-up climb".  As soon as I went anaerobic the dizziness and nausea returned leaving me feeling very green and slightly frustrated at having to get off my bike. I have always made a point out of riding the entire way up this hill.  Things got even worse on the descent on the other side.  The dizziness and balance issues meant that I was unable to hold my line and I had to make a quick dismount to avoid disaster.  Riding deadwood, the rock garden and the devil's staircase was fairly uneventful.  Steep hills, large rocks and bogs threatening to swallow me up whole are just all part of the Karapoti fun!

The next big moment for me was Dopers.  Dopers is thoroughly enjoyable for me on a good year- I love the feeling of riding past everyone pushing their bikes.  However, on a bad year I join the masses in slogging up the hill on foot and wondering 'why?'.  This year was strange.  I  was not feeling good, and couldn't ride up all of the pinches.  However, I rode the majority of it.  I had to keep telling myself that, even though the riding hurt, it was still better than walking! 

I eventually made it back to Karapoti Park in 4 hours and 3 minutes. That's about 10 minutes off my best time, but almost 20 minutes faster than last year so considering my health issues I was stoked!  I managed to place 4th in elite (just don't ask how many riders there were!).

Hard day out on the bike!

Now it is time to rest up and get my health sorted.  I really feel like I have earned a break now and can't wait to compete again in some of the more low-key winter events (running and cycling). 

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