Saturday, 28 November 2009

A spluttering and deflated Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge 2009

I knew I was going to be struggling to pull out an always sought after PB around the Lake this year. Not only were my times in the lead-in events far below my PB’s from prior years (which always disappoints me), but I had picked up this awful cough and cold that everyone seems to have the moment. Well, perhaps not quite everyone, but it is certainly prevalent with every bus or train I catch at the moment.

Ride Data:
Distance: 156km 7,543 Calories
Time: 6:06:06 25.6 km/h
Elevation: Ascent: 1704m Descent: 1718m
Ride Data: Garmin Connect Player
Location: Taupo, NZ 28 November 2009
Craig's Taupo Results
2006 5:34:38
2007 4:58:36
2008 5:34:54
2009 6:06:06

 

As I coughed and spluttered my way up the hills that make up the first half of the race. Some time taken pondering if I would make the finish. I persevered on and was fortunate to have two other riders around me that seemed to be ending up in the same place regardless of incline or road surface. This always gave the ability to surge back onto the bunch as we fell a short way off the back approaching the crest of each hill.

 

With a steady south-westerly breeze blowing at 30-40km/h there wasn’t exactly no wind, but among those in the bunches it seemed those whom had ridden in the Tour of the Wairarapa two weeks ago had failed to notice it :>. Complaining of the breeze could be heard from numerous cyclists whose hometowns were not listed as Wellington on their race numbers :).

 

Having never before had a puncture during a cycle event I was mortified and deflated after only 68km - on the top of the Waihaha hills. Not only do I not get punctures during events, but this was an evil and slightly unusual front-wheel puncture! (Rear-wheel punctures being the norm due to higher weight loads on the wheel)

 

From analysing the data from my Garmin Edge 705 I was able to ascertain that it took 8:40 to:

  • Curse at the fact I had a puncture
  • Remind myself that I do not get punctures
  • Pull out my tools
  • Curse the fact that I had a puncture
  • Check for sharp objects in the tyre lining
  • Swap the tube
  • Cuss to myself some more about the fact I had a puncture
  • Re-inflate the tyre.

While the Garmin does indeed collect much data, like all technology it has its limitations and cannot distinguish between the productive time spent actually changing the tyre and the unproductive time spent cursing the fact that I had an evil puncture.

 

Once moving again my motivation was totally lacking and with some rain around Kuratau I really could not be bothered and rode gently and continued moaning to self about getting the puncture. All up, including all the cursing and reduced motivation a puncture is probably an extra 20-30 minutes of time on the road during an event like this.

 

With 50km to go I picked up a sizable bunch to travel along SH1 at good speed, giving me a few glimmers of hope that I could at least make it in under 6 hours. Unfortunately, the rumours of a specially built cyclist-only tunnel under Hatepe Hill were proven false. T

With evil cough and an evil puncture I finished in my “personal worst” time of six hours and six minutes and six seconds. Ugh! 6-6-6!