Monday, November 28, 2011

W2K Walk Report

We spent the past weekend in Taupo with a bunch of friends.  Theoretically, it was a bunch of different people doing different bits of the cycle challenge (NZ's biggest cycle event by far), but in the end it was Phil and my brother in law doing the MTB as a team, and 8 taggers along!

We rented a fantastic house in Acacia Bay for the weekend- room for ten, a spa, smoochy cats, chooks and amazing gardens.  If anyone's looking for somewhere to house a big group at a reasonable price, let me know and I'll get the details to you.

After a long day of spectating, and a long night of election watching, I had a lovely, luxurious sleep in in the king sized bed Phil and I had bagsed.  Nonetheless, I was first up, and had plenty of time to relax on the deck with my book, eating my breakfast and drinking my caro.  And admiring the view too!

Everyone was planning non-pregnancy appropriate cycling adventures for Sunday, so I planned to hang out at the house, do some reading, and maybe wander down to the Bay.   But after spending the morning on the deck, book in hand, I realised I was feeling energetic and wanted more.  So I came up with the brilliant plan of having Phil drop me off at Whakaipo Bay, walking W2K and meeting him in Kinloch post ride.

I rode W2K last Labour Weekend, so I had a good idea of what to expect, and I thought as long as I sunscreened, fuelled well, and rested if I needed to, I could make it over.  A perfect endurance challenge for a 27 week pregnant lady!

W2K is basically the perfect trail.  It winds gradually up one side of a peninsula (I guess), and then winds back down the other side, for 14km in total (see the blue trail- the red trail is a 10km, extra for experts loop- the views from the headland are amazing!)

It's a shared use, two-way, trail, and probably just about wide enough for bikes to pass, but it really does work best when everyone is courteous, and everyone pays attention.  I saw dozens of mountain bikers out on Sunday, and everyone was polite and friendly.  It winds up fairly gradually- it's predominantly uphill, and there a couple of steepy bits, but it's all very walkable (and rideable), even for someone who's the size of a small hippo, and there are plenty of stumps and a couple of seats to pause for a rest and a look out over the lake.  It's manageable for all sorts of people, but still fun for super fitties, who can blat up, smash themselves around the headland, head down the other side and turn back (most normal people choose the "two cars" route instead).   There's reasonable bush cover on the way up, but it's very exposed on the way down, so sun protection is a must. And there's no drinking water, but there is a loo just past the halfway point- very important for pregnant women (and, to be honest, most people setting out on a 3+ hour walk).   The sign at the bottom estimates 3-4 hours, but if pregnant Kate can do it in less, so can you!

From about 1km into the trail itself, you've gained enough elevation to get a glimpse of the views you'll be rewarded with, which is wonderfully motivating.  Farmland to one side, views of the Lake, Mt Tauhara, and the mountains (Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe)- it's just spectacular.  

I took a camelbak filled with nuun and two muesli bars to get me through- I also packed an apple and a bottle of water in the car, although I knew my recovery food of choice was more likely to be a big fat ice cream in Kinloch!

I wore my Garmin- not (initially, at least) because I had any goals about pace or time in mind, just cos I was interested to see what distance garmy would give me. But once my pace had hovered around the 5 km/h mark for the first few ks, I set myself the cheeky goal of keeping that pace up for the whole walk- which would have led to 15km in 3 hours (I did an extra k at the beginning because of where Phil dropped me off)It's amazing how sloowly each km passes when you're walking instead of running or cycling, but time ticked on and I made my way up, remembering milestones from previous occasions, getting out of the way of mountain bikers, and keeping a beady eye on the numbers. 

My lungs and heart were good, and I didn't feel tired at all, but the bigger worry was my legs- my feet and hips get quite sore after a day on my feet, and I was worried that the previous day's spectating exertions would start to affect me soon.  At 5k I sat on a stump, texted Phil and ate a muesli bar.  I could feel that my feet were starting to get tired as they dangled off the stump, but I mostly felt pretty energetic and didn't doubt that I could finish.  Long drop stop at 8km, and another stump stop at 10km.  Unfortunately, the second stump stop became a sap stop- it went right through my pants and I had to text Phil to bring a change of clothes to the end!

The last 5 ks is a bit of a tease, really.  The trail feels like it's about to end for a couple of ks, then it does end at about 12 (or 13 for me).  But there's still a couple of ks to go- through a Kinloch subdivision, over a boardwalk to the lake, past the marina to the domain.  My legs and hips/bum were pretty wasted by this time, and part of me hoped I'd run into Phil early, even if that meant I didn't make the distance!  But Phil had taken my delaying texts to heart, so we didn't meet until I got through the domain and out the other side with 60m to go (you don't have to know much about me to know I waved at him to keep driving while I walked up and down a little bit of road to make the distance!).  Finish time was 2:55 for 15km (11.40/km or 5.1km/h).  Roughly twice the time it would take me to run it- but I was still bloody proud!

And my recovery food of choice?  Chip butties from the Kinloch store (who'd run out of fish...really???) and a can of deep spring fizz.  Brilliant.

I would thoroughly recommend W2K to anyone visiting Taupo- walk, run or ride it, and top it off with a picnic in Kinloch.


1 comment:

Lisa @ Bakebikeblog said...

wowza - that is one AWESOME wander!