Sunday, October 03, 2010

O for Oarsome October: Week(end) 1

What a weekend! Phew! I think this is going to be a two-parter!

On Saturday morning, Phil and I woke up early (6am) to drive to Tauranga to meet Mike for a long ride adventure (Mike, like many others, knows that I'm pretty much up for any ridiculous workout if it comes packaged as an adventure).

We'd dabbled with the idea of riding a (n imperial) century, but each decided it was probably a bit much of an undertaking at this stage in the training (also, since I hadn't cleared ANY long ride with the coach, I thought 100 miles was pushing it....) so I started researching metric century-ish rides in the Bay of Plenty. The full 160 will have to come later (Mike, how about a post- Tauranga Half summer adventure?)

After weighing up various options (actually, I made a "short list" which repeated the same loop three times) we settled upon a Bay of Plenty standard, the Tauranga / Rotorua loop, going out through the Oropi Gorge, and coming back through Paengaroa and Te Puke, finishing along Welcome Bay Road.

It may not have been 100 miles, but it was 120ks of awesome, as illustrated by this elevation chart.

I hadn't appreciated quite how hilly the first half was, and since it was quite a gradual climb (a good 30-odd ks), I found my slow pace very frustrating, especially since I was aware that I was slowing the others down too. I really don't know why I'm so slow!! As we rode on, I stopped letting it bother me- I wanted to get to the end in one piece more than I wanted to show off for the boys!

After the long climb, steep climb up the gorge, and nail biting descent, we rode around Lake Rotorua, following the iconic marathon course for a few ks. We had our first proper stop at a local dairy, and cruised around the lake, enjoying a break from climbing and head winds! We picked up our pace enough over the next 15 or so ks to bring our average to a pathetic 20km/h for the first half. If my AHR hadn't been 160 at that point, I'd have been feeling pretty rubbish- but I knew I was working about the right amount, and feeling OK, so I felt confident in blaming the terrain, at least partly.

Riding around the marathon course was great. Mike and I both ran it in 2007- it was the first time I'd *met* him - though I'm not sure spotting someone at the finishing line and giving him a whoop really counts as meeting - and it was amazing how vividly I remembered it having only ever been there once. It didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous day and the lake was glistening, unlike race day '07, when it was pissing down.

Then the downhill back to Tauranga (sea level) from Rotorua (one of the higher NZ cities) began. As the profile shows, it was pretty much downhill all the way home- but with an awful lot of wee, and not so wee, rollers. At one point it was just hang on and cruise for 5k- such bliss, and after the grueling climb it didn't even feel like cheating ;) The downhills gave us some time in the bank if we wanted to maintain our first half average (... we HOPED we wouldn't be slower than that overall!) By 4:00 we had 15 minutes in the bank, and by 5:00, it was 30.

We had another longish stop in Te Puke at about 4:15. By this time I'd ridden further (and for longer) than I had since last year's half ironman, and although my legs and heart were still doing OK, my shoulders and nether regions were starting to feel it. The time from 3:40 (when I suggested a break at 4:00) and 4:15 (when we found a good place to stop) seemed like forever. I was well dropped, but I was happy enough with my own exertion and pace, so I ignored it.

It wasn't long before I reached my personal distance record of 100.31km, reached a VERY long time ago in the Taranaki. I think passing that gave me enough oomph to get through the next 20ks. Riding Welcome Bay Rd and back through Tauranga also helped- great varied terrain, and the scenery's OK too. I did let the men go on ahead- I felt much better being proud of my own pace than feeling frustrated at being so far behind.

We arrived back at Mike's at 3:20pm or so, with a total ride time of 5:35ish. Our average speed for the second half was about 24 km/h (.... or 2:30/k!), which is actually faster than I often average for a weekend ride. Not too shabby for my longest ride ever!

Nutrition note:

I followed my normal nutrition approach to long training rides- plenty, and random. Closer to race day, I'll practice a more sensible nutrition strategy, but for a long, slow ride, with no goals other than surviving, I prefer to just eat what I have to hand and what I feel like. As it turned out, I think our food served us well- I was never hungry, and my energy levels were mostly OK (in the overall context of my longest ride ever.... I can't say I was a box of birds the whole way!)

So, here's what I had:

1.5 bottles of Lemon /Lime "Red 8: Sports Hydrate"
A few Natural Confectionery Company dinosaurs (Don't chop the dinosaur, Daddy!)
A peanut butter sandwich on Molenberg (with Pic's, of course)
A piece of banana and date loaf (left over from our week's lunchbox baking)
A sausage in a piece of white bread (how could I not- they were selling them for $1)
Part of a curly wurly
Half a bottle of Raspberry Lo-carb Mizone Isotonic (I wasn't being carb conscious on a long ride. I have loved this for ages, and hate it's rebranding as lo-carb...)


Westy said...

Adventure rides are awesome Kate! You can do as many of these as you want, great fun, challenging AND you get fit too... more riding is always better... let me know if you have any others planned, you should try the Rotorua, Matata, Manawahe loop...very cool or the legendary 200km Galatea loop. May be I'll put one in for you atleast every month/

Britt said...

That elevation chart gives me the heebie jeebies! Way to go! That's an impressive ride :)

Also, I have no idea how you could eat all that and not be entirely sick. My stomach would have betrayed me!

Tri Saint said...

Way to go Kate that's a great ride.

Now it's starting to warm up I think it's time to start getting away from town for long bike rides.

You look like you'll be fine for your upcoming Half's.

Keep up the great work.

Mike said...

I like Westy's idea of including Matata ... I've been meaning to ride out to there for ages. Drove it so many time on way to Kawerau and would love to ride it.

@ Westy - Def put one per month for Kate/Phil and make them all start in Tauranga! :)

Love the elevation chart! The rolling hills of Welcome Bay just disappear in the scale :)

I checked my cadence and it looks like I didn't pedal for about 6 minutes coming down that hill on the way home. That was the best bit of the ride!

I'm intrigued by the 200k Galatea loop. Where is that?

Pip said...

Phew that's an impressive ride profile! Don't forget you're riding with boys, so you may have a distorted view of how slow you are! I have been pondering the same though. You know how I feel about my speed on the bike. I figure some people just have the genetic gift and some don't, and I quite clearly don't. I'm making it my mission to be comfortable with my slowness.

By the way, there are races round these parts nearly every weekend from here in till the Taupo Cycle Challenge, so if you're in the area ....