Tuesday, June 12, 2007

12-6-07 TT 28.57. Splits 6.30, 13.47, junct 26.07. Southerly, cold. It was sunny with a mild southerly while I climbed, but the wind picked up and a front of cloud and drizzle came in as I reached the Golfball.

This was an odd ride because I rode the first quarter very fast (6.30) and then ran out of oomph. I think I was motivated by the previous ride and wanted to see if I could get under 28 mins. But I was perhaps riding a little too soon after it, not because I wasn’t recovered, but because of the boredom factor. The splits tell the tale – I had my 15 seconds in the first quarter, which meant all I had to do was maintain the pace, which I couldn’t do. By halfway I was a couple of seconds down on my previous time, and I actually dabbed (once on the left foot, probably only cost a couple of seconds) on the 3rd test, which indicates tiredness and lack of focus while recovering from the hard 2nd test. By the junction I was 14 seconds down rather than 15 seconds up, which is still pretty good considering how crap the second half went, but, because I knew there was no way I’d get anywhere near going under 28 mins, I somehow suffered a major form slump. In the end I was lucky to make it under 29 mins, given I got stuck on the top barrier. My time from the junction (26.07) to the sealed road (28.57) was particularly disappointing – I should have been in at least 28.45, if not 28.30 if I’d really hammered it and done a clean gate.

Went up to the Golfball and was promptly engulfed in southerly cloud and drizzle, so headed north to the Sanctuary, then to the Turbine. There was another mt biker coming up the road who was heading down Car Parts, so I waited to let him go because I’m a slow downhiller, but he was stuffing around so I went up and chatted to him. He was heading down Car Parts and the Rollercoaster and I told him I was heading down the illegal Planet Track. I let him go first, then found him waiting for me at the turn-off to Pol Hill on the Rollercoaster. So I took him down the Planet Track, which he loved. It is a great single track because it’s not too hard but not easy either – especially in the wet (it was dry). We parted at the bottom and I headed home via Durham St and Happy Valley Road. Southerly strong, but those Ground Effect hats are great for cold weather riding.

This was one of the many days when I wished I lived nearer Makara Peak. I didn’t really need to go up the TT. In bad weather Makara Peak offers shelter and allows you to warm up before hitting the exposed bits. On the 5-6 it would also have been good to go up Makara Peak. You warm up, then can really attack Aratihi if you feel like it. And going down there are plenty of options for challenging single track. I sometimes find the TT too hard (remember I’m going as fast as possible – it’s not hard to just ride up) at the beginning when I’ve only been riding for 10 minutes on the road. It’s also exposed to any northerly wind. Then, once you’ve made the top, there isn’t a great choice of single track descents. You’ve either got Red Rocks, which is great on a good day, but just fast 4WD with only the last 100 metres providing any technical challenge. The Bunkers track is the same, with one very tough loose 4WD descent. The track south into Long Gully is easy 4WD. The best option is north to Car Parts and Planet. Or further over to the Scout Hall or Deliverance (which is too hard for me in the wet). There’s also the Bird Street Track further round the Sanctuary, but that’s largely an exercise in impossible switchbacks, which I know some people can do, but you need to have trials skills to get round them, and I don’t. And once you’re over into south Karori, you’ve got to get back, and ride can become more an exercise in time and endurance than descent practise.

I really like cleaning rides. I’m not a fast downhiller, but I don’t like dabbing, and there just aren’t enough technical single track options from the Golfball.

8-6-07 A first-time TT-Red Rocks no dabs!!! TT 28.15. Splits 6.45, 13.45, junct, 25.53. Steady NWer that increased with altitude so that it wasn’t a problem in the first half but hit in the second. Sunny. The best time I’ve done since the Tip Track race (14/4/07) when I probably went between 27 and 28 minutes. I wonder how I might have gone without a full load of water and with a favourable southerly wind?

I think part of the trick, apart from just feeling strong, is not to go out too hard at the beginning so that you can maintain your pace or get stronger. The first quarter is actually quite steep and it’s easy to go too hard and have to spend the next quarter recovering. I’d actually had a poor night’s sleep the night before, so felt a bit tired, but my head wasn’t full of to-dos. It also helps not to have done the TT for a week or more – too often and you become a bit bored.

I trundled straight on up to the Golfball, but didn’t stop, as it was too windy at the top, and just carried on back down to the top barrier intending to put on my polypro there. But on the way down it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually put me feet down and that this gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve always been meaning to do: go up the Tip Track and down to Red Rocks without dabbing. Now, I’ve done both many times, but have always stopped at the Golfball or had to dab at the top barrier because you haven’t always been able to squeeze past it on your bike. I’ve always been meaning to turn left at the Junction and not go right to the top, but because I time myself from the bottom barrier to the sealed road, and I always time myself, by the time I reach the Junction I just want to get to the sealed road. But now, here I was, wiggling past the top barrier and heading down without dabbing. I made the first short climb easily, then the steep climb easily, then hopped right onto the grass verge past the gorse bush on the third climb, and, concentrating hard, got down the final descent without incident. So – no dabs from the bottom TT gate until my front wheel hit the barrier at the bottom of Red Rocks – including visiting the Golfball in between. Back round the coast home - well pleased. The whole ride took about an hour and a half.

5-6-07 Went up Happy Valley Rd, this time avoiding the TT because of the poor ascent on 30-5-07, when I went up when I only half felt like it. Also there was a gale NWer, which I was carefully avoiding. Up through Brooklyn and onto the Rollercoaster to the Turbine (the Rollercoaster hurt), round the Sanctuary to Wrights Hill, then down the Scout Track (very smoothly, no dabs), through Karori and up St Albans Ave into Makara Peak and down SWIGG/Starfish. I wasn’t sure about the time and had to be back by 3 for the kids, so this was just a quickest way I could think of to throw some single track downhill into the ride. Ate a sandwich at Makara Peak car park, then whizzed up Redemption (funny how it seems to take me a while to warm up, and now I was in the zone), round the Sanctuary and hopped onto the road out of Long Gully due to gorse cutter on the Sanctuary fence-line. Up the road, taking full advantage of the gale force NWer, and down TT and home via hill rather than coast (quicker). Whole ride took 2 ¾ hours and was much more fun in the second half.

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