Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aussie Kona Camp Report

So the point of our little soiree to the Sunshine Coast of Australia was to give Jess (aka The Hammer) some company while she trains for her third time in Kona.
It was mostly swim/bike focus since the running around where we were staying wasn't great.

8 x swims
Pool's a bit crowded today
Our swimming hole was a quaint little 50m outdoor pool which we had to ourselves most days.  It was lovely and warm - between 27 and 28 degrees - something GI could learn from, and nice and clean.
We did 3km sets every day after riding so wasn't anything too strenuous but good to be doing it regularly.  As we got towards the end of the week and my little arms and legs were starting to feel quite weary I would think to myself I'd start swimming and see how I went, but I always made the full 3km - its amazing what you can do what you think you can't do any more.  If you get my drift.

Time: 19hrs15
Distance: 518km

We rode a lot. 2.5-4hrs everyday bar one no-bike day and one easy 60min ride.  The Hammer took us all over the hills from Caloundra up to places called Maleny, Montville, Landsborough and Bald Knob.  That's right, Bald Knob.  The Australian's have some funny place names.
It is pretty hilly once you get away from the coast, although we did a ride up to Noosa which was flat until we got to Coolum and then it was big chainring, little chainring, big chainring, etc, every minute or so.  Lucky RooRoo was in good working order.
Some of the towns we rode through we pretty old and looked a bit like time had forgotten them but very nice at the same time.
Our last ride was pretty epic - The Hammer mapped out a ride for us which involved some unknown territory.  Based on the terrain around that area we thought it would be a bit undulating but nothing worse than what we had already encountered.  We started off well and found the roads we were to take, things were going well until we hit the 'Gravel Road' sign followed by a wiggly 6.5km sign.  We didn't have much option other than turning around and aborting our loop so on we pressed.  And a wiggly it was. In fact it was pretty much all downhill and slightly terrifying - not much fun on a TT bike.  I tried to remember that going faster downhill on gravel is safer than going at snails pace but it was very scary.
Starting the descent into the unknown
We saw a couple of kangaroos at the end of the gravel section which was exciting and there were a few rustles in the bushes as we rode past which were a bit ominous.
So finally back onto the tarseal and I began to wonder about the 6.5km of downhill we had ridden knowing that our final destination was up in the mountains and what was the profile of the rest of the ride would be like.  This question was answered pretty quickly with a 2.5km climb sign, it started off as a gradual climb - nothing too difficult.  Then it got steeper and steeper and every corner I got to thinking I must be at the top it just carried on and continued to go up.  I have NEVER been so close to getting off my bike and walking in my life, in fact, one of the members of our group who will remain nameless, actually did get off and walk for a section.  The last section was the worst, my handle bars were creaking so much with the force I was pulling on them that I thought they were going to snap.  The hill maxed out at 21% gradient - eek!  It was very, very steep.
That ride ended with a trip to the Montville Bakery which we felt was very well earned.
Nom nom nom
Time: 3hrs55
Distance: 45.3km

We did one long run in the Noosa National Park which was actually quite hard.  It was either soft sand or knobbly rocks underfoot and I rolled my ankles so many times I lost count.  I did an extra hour by myself and once I was a bit tired I rolled my ankles so much it was ridiculous.  I had to stick to the main tracks because I was worried I would roll an ankle so bad that if I went on an empty track no-one would find me and I would get eaten by snakes and crocodiles.  Luckily it didn't come to that but my right ankle was a bit sore for the next day or so.
The other runs were around Caloundra and were nice and warm.

Nice view from lunch post-run. A surf club without a fish burger on the menu?! Unheard of!
Midget bikes were the norm on this trip
BMW and MINI represent
So we are home and are VERY cold!! We are experiencing a 'once in a lifetime polar blast' as the people on the news keep telling us.  It even snowed in Auckland for about 30 seconds which is just crazy.

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