Saturday, 28 March 2009

Cycle: 2009 Le Race - warning: Mountainous

Knowing I needed to work on my hill climbing I entered Le Race to get some more practice. And yes, there was hill climbing. In fact, at one point I did actually dismount and walk. I have never done that during an event before.

The even began with a controlled start, and a green wave to get us through the traffic lights in Christchurch. The controlled section ended abruptly with the first climb of the day up the aptly named Summit Hill. In thick fog, I took the descent cautiously due to limited visibility.

From here there was a long flat section to Little River in which I had the support of a large bunch. That said it was one of those large bunches where the rotation at the front was not working as well as it might for optimum speed. That said, I was pretty happy with how things were going until the ascent up to Hilltop where I twinged my back slightly. In most cases this would not have been a problem, but for the steepness of these climbs needed 100% commitment. Yup, I ended up walking and having some short rests. Duvauchelle Peak, near killed me I tell you!!! Most of those around me were able to make it up these hill on this day either. I have never, ever seen so many cyclists walking during an organised cycling event before.

I would like to improve on my 4:37 next year and make it up all those hills. It was a tough and challenging course and one of the most scenic I have ridden. These are serious hills, you need to be ready for mountainous climbs to do well in this event.

I also have Garmin data for this ride, but Garmin Connect doesn't provide options to embed ride stats yet. You can find my full Garmin Connect data of this ride here.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

2009 Kapiti Cycle Challenge

2009 was the year of the inaugural Kapiti Cycle Challenge. It was an enjoyable and well organised event that I am looking forward to entering again next year. The course includes some of my favourite road cycling routes in Wellington. I love riding the Akatarawa Road, even though my hill climbing is so often found wanting - especially lately.

This is a great course, starting with 18km along the flat before the dramatic climb over Paekakariki Hill, with a long descent before a less dramatic climb up SH58 over Haywards Hill. A quick descent into the Hutt Valley and another flat 12km, before the long climb over the Akatarawa Hill and a technical descent back down to Waikanae. Click here to fly over the Kapiti Cycle Challenge course in Google Earth.

This report is from the back of the bunch. You can find an excellent write up from the front of the bunch at

We started in the sun in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, a rode into a southerly to Paekakariki with plenty of bunch protection. The climb up the Paekakariki Hill is steep and arduous, and at on the ascent of this hill most of field rode straight past me. Many thoughts about if I lost some weight and why are so many cyclists entered my head as I approached the summit.

We hit a damp, drizzly wind tunnel on the decent into Pauahatanui, which saw me get past a some of the underweight anorexics who didn't like riding into the wind much. Soon I found two helpers and the three of us worked into the wind together, past two sizable bunches before the ascent the Haywards Hill. Unusually, on this occasion it was the two riders that dropped off the pace rather than me. This was refreshing for me, but we had been working so well it was a shame they could not hang on.

It was raining as I rode up the Hutt Valley and the Akatarawa Road. Once again as I neared the summit of the Akatarawa Road I had a number of other riders come past me, although I picked up a couple of them on the twisty descent back down to Waikanae. It was a pleasure to be back on the sunny Kapiti Coast.

As usual, I would have liked to have gone faster, especially as in comparison to my training rides over the same course without drafting or traffic control. All the same I thoroughly enjoyed the days riding on a great course.

Garmin Connect doesn't provide options to embed ride stats yet. You can find my full Garmin Connect data of this ride here.