Saturday, 7 February 2009

Cycle: 2009 Ruapehu Classic

I had intended to ride in an event around Taranaki two weeks earlier which I missed due suffering from bronchitis.

It was touch and go as to whether I would make the start line for the Ruapehu Classic. With a perfect weekend of weather forecast I made a late decision to go for it anyway.

With the start at 7am I thought could make it through to Waiouru (30km) by 8am. After that it would be time to climb up the Desert Road. I was apprehensive at riding the section along the Desert Rd since it is the main north-south highway in New Zealand and many drivers seem to drive fast there. Rangipo (80km) by 10am was in my thoughts. From there with downhill in reserve I thought I could pull out a 6-hour finish time.

I hit Waiouru at 7:59am, right on schedule - yay me! Then it was onto the Desert Road. I have to say riding along here was a pleasure. In the morning in the middle of a 3 day weekend (Friday was Waitangi Day) was a pleasure. Generally good, smooth seal and plenty of sun with awesome views as I rode with the mountains of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro to my left.

I was finding myself drifting to the back of the bunch on the climbs and easily back to the front on the few downhills. This mostly being due to keeping my head much lower than those in the surrounding pack, so the aerodynamics took me straight through the bunch each time.

My heart briefly raced as I went downhill approaching a 25km/h signposted corner. It was all sweet and under control until my rear wheel rolled over a small rock on the apex of the bend. I saved the fishtail and stayed upright but slowed substantially as I regathered my senses and saw the entire bunch ride straight past me on the immediately following hill.

Of course riding by myself made it a bit harder, but I was still through to Rangipo at 9:45, well ahead of schedule - yay me!!

By myself, once I turned left at Rangipo it got very tough going. Heading up hill past the Ketetahi exit from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing I was really struggling. The rougher chipseal was of no help whatsoever either. In agony I persevered on to yet more climbing up to the Mangatepopo entrance to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Soon I was done. Regardless of mostly downhill ahead of me I was shot. This is the first time I haven't finished, and may it be the only time! I found some shade and called on my parents bring my car around and rescue me. While I was waiting another chap was pretty exhausted too. So we gave him a ride back to Ohakune with us.

Garmin Connect doesn't provide options to embed ride stats yet, but here is some HTML fun that should return the correct Adobe Flash object?

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