Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Auckland to Coromandel bike ride and Auckland 70.3

I had planned to keep up to date and do a little blog about our super fun bike trip from Auckland to Coromandel but time got away on me like it does.

So the week before the Auckland 70.3 was pretty normal in terms of training from Monday to Saturday and then we had a monster ride planned for Sunday.  It seems to be all the rage to cycle from Auckland to Coromandel and then catch the ferry back, so like little lemmings we too had to do it.
It was actually instigated by the Lawson's who then piked on us a week before having been away for the last few weeks away from their road/TT bikes.
So the 3 Amigos plus one headed off with gay abandon on Sunday morning.  There is not much to report on really, it was about 180km and 6 hours to get to Coromandel town where we gorged ourselves on pizza, garlic bread and chips before creeping back to the ferry which was full of like minded tri-geeks.
My phone ran out of battery so no fun photos I'm afraid.
The ride itself isn't too hard just a bit unfortunate that we were faced with a headwind from the 120km mark onwards, having a tailwind along this section would really have made such a difference.  There are pretty gnarly hills in the last 25km or so and the oppressive heat (my Garmin got up to 35 degrees - HOT!) didn't help us to feel so fresh.  Lucky I had Jared and Kezzle to hide behind into the wind (our plus one was last seen at this stage when we left Thames but he made it in the end) otherwise it would have been a pretty slow slog.

The leggies were a little bit wasted heading into race week so I just did a couple of easy pootles on the bike and running.  I had run the viaduct section of the course and along Tamaki Drive the week before for a total of 14km which is the longest I had done since Taupo Half and I wasn't quite 100% but figured if I kept it pretty easy in the weekend then I should be ok.  The last thing I wanted to do was stir up my little hip/groin issue and disrupt my IMNZ plans.


This was a pretty exciting race for us Aucklander's being in our hometown and as it was the Asia-Pacific Champs people were making a big deal out of it.  It was also exciting because we got to bike over the Harbour Bridge and swim in the Viaduct which are things that we are not normally allowed to do.  And it was even more exciting because I would finally get to see how fast Taddy really was.  I felt I was pretty prepared for this race (maybe a bit lacking in the running department) and thought that maybe a Kona spot could be within my grasp.
How disillusioned was I.

The swim was wave starts which I am not a fan of, so the 18-34's started 25 minutes after the Elite men who went first.
I honestly thought I swam well.  I had feet to swim on most of the time and I seemed to go straight.  There was a bit of chop in one section but conditions on the whole were good.
I wasn't timing it but had my sexy green Garmin on, I checked the time as I got out and assuming we started on time I figured I had swum about 32 minutes.  Yeah, I rock.  I was a bit alarmed by one of my friends who came out of the water just behind me and she usually swims quite a bit slower but thought maybe she'd had a good swim.
Turns out I swam a sloth-like 36 minutes.  For 1.9km. Holy crap.  I think there was some tidal activity which affected the weaker swimmers like me but I was still beaten out by people who have never beaten me out so tide or no tide - I sucked.
Oblivious to my sloth-like swim
The bike didn't get off to a good start with my Em's Bar (my main source of nutrition) dropping out of my pocket and me having to turn around to get it and then losing my second bottle about 30 seconds later, which I picked up on the way back when I saw it on the side of the road only to lose it again about 10 minutes later.
Taddy in action
Once I got into it all was good, I was passing a lot of F35+ people but no F30's.  The Harbour Bridge was fun, the weather turned a bit icky which made the tight corners coming back through the viaduct very scary and I think I lost quite a bit of time here especially since we had to do it three times.
There was quite a headwind coming back along Tamaki Drive and I had no-one to hide behind so just grinded away and stuck to my power.  Everyone was complaining about the huge bunches - they should have ridden with me, there were no bunches where I was which was a bit of a relief since I was worried that if I got another drafting penalty I may disowned the triathlon community.  A three strikes and your out type of scenario.

I had hoped to ride about 2.35 but came in to T2 with a bit over 2.43, hmmmm.
Off for a trot
Since I was so far down and there was no way I would even be close to a Kona spot I was happy just to chug away at an easyish pace.  After the run the week before I figured if I could hold 4.45 per km then I shouldn't put any undue stress onto my leg.  The first couple of km's were a bit quicker but once I settled into my 4.40-4.45 pace I was all good.
Remembering to smile to produce positive feelings are per "The Triathlete's Guides to Mental Training"
I had a couple of leisurely toilet stops and stopped twice to attend to an ouchie on my foot and then rest of the time pootled along smiling at people who cheered for me and giving people high 5's.  At the end of the 22.4km run  I had averaged 4.45 and the groin didn't seem any worse off.  For a flat run course it wasn't particularly easy with lots of twists and turns in the first 4km which we did another 3 times for the two lap course.  And the bricks in the viaducts were pretty slippery in the wet so I ran very easy around the corners.
Davo where is my vasoline?! And who is this creepy man stalking me from behind?
It seems that Coach Poo has disowned me so I am still unsure if I paced myself badly in the bike or if I did what I was supposed to, or has everyone else gotten faster - not so likely.  But I feel that this was a major let down for me especially since I really thought I would bike well.  The swim is always pretty hit and miss with me but I am taking some extra steps before IMNZ to try and figure out if there is anyway I can go faster.

It was a pretty disappointing performance in general, not because of the Kona spot but more because I felt like I let myself down and my little team who supports me, and now I have no confidence coming into Ironman New Zealand.  I pride myself on being a bit of a hardarse and trying not to take too much to heart but I will admit that a few tears were shed on Sunday afternoon.  Nothing like the feeling of being a washed up has-been (or never was) to get you down.

So now that the sore legs have healed and the dust is starting to settle again on my aero helmet I am trying to forget about it and focus on what is coming up.  Ironman New Zealand is what matters now, and not for a Kona spot but to prove to myself that I can put it all together.
The groin issue has flared up slightly since the weekend but I can still run so now need to keep it under control and get used to some long runs.
And I need to learn how to swim.

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