Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blue mountains

Following last week's successes on the bike, I was looking forward to the mission of the week. In fact, I spent Tuesday planning adventures on the bike for every weekend until the Half IM. This week, P's coach had set him a time trial up the blue mountains and through Whiteman's Valley out to Wallaceville Hill, so we decided to adventure out together (though I planned to ride the "TT" at a much easier pace).

We set off a little later than planned (about 9am), and cruised around the bays. There was a headwind, but it wasn't too bad (though it did stick with us for a good 2 hours...) We rode along the waterfront rather than along the quays- the quays are fine for the way home, but there isn't much room for bikes on the way out. Not as many pedestrians to dodge (last time, although the weather was average at best, it was around midday and the waterfront was pretty packed).

Our speed along Thorndon Quay and SH2 was nothing to write home about. Spinning, easy gears, headwind. I felt much more comfortable in the traffic (a few lane changes getting onto the motorway). I ate a piece of Clif Bar (mmm- choc mint is my favourite!!!) every half hour, and drank a lot more frequently than usual (I'm starting to get the hang of this thing).

Stopped in Silverstream to take off the arm warmers and have a bit of a stretch and regroup before the TT. Pilfered some water from P, and he gave me some directions. Cyclists everywhere- it's a popular route. There was a race out there this afternoon, so we wanted to be well out of the way before we started.

Then it was time to climb. Here's the "TT" section of the ride:

So, not crazy nasty, but not easy either (note- numbers are miles, not ks). I am not used to climbing (and sadly, my power to weight ratio is not best suited to it), so the next few weeks are all about becoming better acquainted with my triple. Fun times. This climb taught me that I can keep moving up, even when I don't want to. I even caught people. I later saw that they were both relatively husky, so not surprising that they weren't the strongest climbing.

I thoroughly recommend this ride. The climb's a challenge, and the descent isn't really long enough to make up much speed, but it's lovely. Views out over the Hutt and towards the Rimutakas, surrounded by bush, changing to farmland. The roads are narrow, but drivers seemed used to cyclists and were mostly very polite. Apart from one SUV filled with very cool kids, who clearly enjoyed cyclist heckling. I'm not sure what they shouted at me, though it ended in bitch. P got "nice pink jersey, faggot!" (fair point, the jersey's pretty gay...) Just realised that they must have had at least some familiarity with cycling- would a non-cyclist say "jersey"?

I cruised down the hill, and for a good part of the next few ks. The descent, as you can see, is punctuated by tiny ups, and with the wind, it felt like a false flat to both of us. The husky dudes passed me, and I debated joining the back of their back, but couldn't really be bothered- the sun was shining, the chip was pretty rough and there was a slight headwind, so I decided to take it easy. Met P coming back from Wallaceville hill. He said I wasn't too far behind him, but I was. I was a bit worried about the next climb, until I discovered it wasn't really a climb at all- it's just the wee lump at the end of the picture (though I swear it was bigger than that). The descent was OK- not easy, but not too bad. A bit windy (as in corners, not as in wind), and a bit lumpy, but not bad. Still not great on the descents, but getting better.

We headed back to Silverstream the back way- past Rimutaka prison, and through the burbs. It was 12:30ish, we'd done 60k, and we had 35ish to go, so we paused for lunch from the world famous Silverstream bakery. Best chelsea bun ever!

Then back along the motorway. The first bit's quite nice- a big wide verge, and the road's OK. We had a tail wind, but stayed in medium gears and cruised at 30km/h instead of pushing the big cog. Not as satisfying, but I think the right decision.

We rode through Frank Kitts again on the way back. It was a gorgeous day, and the wind had pretty much died down, so unsurprisingly it was completely jam packed. I am much more confident riding slowly than I was a few weeks ago.

Home at 97.23 km. I couldn't be bothered pottering around to add the extra, not least because we live on a hill (like everyone else in Wellington), but I have to say the legs felt fine. It seems food is a very good idea!


Pip said...

That ride sounded like a lot of fun as well! You've really amped your distances up very quickly, so you must be stronger than you give yourself credit for. There's a Whiteman's Valley race on 2 November with a choice of distances from 33km to 100. The 100km route involves a few laps and is supposedly great Taupo training, so I guess I will be there!

SUB6 said...

I couldn't have left that distance so close to 100K if I had known ... I presumed on Buckeye that you didn't know till you got back :)haha Sounds like a great ride ... and planning your weekend rides for the rest of the training sounds like fun :)