Saturday, 30 October 2010

K2 2010

The K2 is one of the hillier single day rides that one can find, yet even as incredibly slow hill climber I find it to be one of my favourite events over a wonderfully scenic, 185km coastal course.

Ride Data:
Distance: 184.8km 9292 Calories
Time: 8h08m 22.68 km/h (87.26km/h MAX)
Cadence: Avg: 78 rpm Max: 144 rpm
Ride Data: Summary data only. GPS data borked on this ride sigh
Location: Coromandel, NZ 30 October 2010
Being a hilly course I haven’t really performed on the course in the past so I entered in the last and slowest group (9). With a three minute gap between each starting group. Approaching the start of the group 9 start a quick calculation in my head made me realise that I was going to have take a whole hour from my previous two rides in this event to be finished before the prize giving began! Today, I was delighted after taking a full an hour and half from my previous two rides in this event.
On the first hill (Manaia) I passed a rider who had the unfortunate mishap of having already broken their chain (and derailleur hangar?).  On the way up the second hill of Kerata, Brent whom I had met the previous week on the GWALoop  caught up with me. It was not a surprise for me to see him ride straight past me as we travelled uphill. However I saw him stopped as I flew down the other side of the hill with my chin on the handlebar stem. I never saw him again until the final climb over Whangapoua where I learned he had punctured coming over the top of Kerata.
I then spent most of the ride along the coast to Thames in a large group, but to be honest the rotations were not particularly smooth and at times even scary. I reached Thames about 50 minutes quicker than I did in 2008 making it my fastest ride over this leg. With the rotation of the starting towns, this first leg this year so fresh legs no doubt helped me gain the my personal best time for the leg.
Once through Thames, it was the climb up the Kopu-Hikuai Hill (425m) for the highest point on the ride. This is a gradual, rather than steep ascent and I unusually found myself near the front of the group that gradually disintegrated on the way up to the summit. I was mostly riding on my own, or in small clusters of riders for the rest of the ride from here. I reached Tairua 2h11m after leaving Thames, now 2 from 2 for personal bests for each leg. I was now on target to be about an hour ahead of my previous best time for the whole ride. Finishing before prize-giving began was now obviously not going to be an issue :).
Estimated section differences 2008 / 9 & 10 2008 2009 2010
Coromandel Town to Thames: 2:44:48 2:51:41 1:54:22
Thames to Tairua: 2:30:00 2:36:30 2:11:36
Tairua to Whitianga: 2:02:02 2:17:01 1:41:35
Whitianga to Coromandel Town: 2:21:01 1:52:19 2:21:12
9:37:51 9:37:31 8:08:45
Improved form followed me over Pumpkin Hill and down to Whitianga, placing me another 20 minutes ahead of my previous best for this leg. 3/3 for leg personal bests. Undoubtedly, a PB for the whole ride coming right up.
With the revolving start beginning at Coromandel this year, it left the hilliest section to last. The Whangapoua Hill was far more challenging having already ridden 170km! For some reason my GPS data was corrupted on this ride and unreadable afterwards. All evidence of my use of the ‘two-foot’ gear is thereby erased forever! Finishing with the climbs of Kuotuna; Myundermans; Gentle Annie and then Whangapoua really hit the legs and this was the only sector that I did not ride a personal-best sector in.
All up, I took about 90 minutes off my previous times in this event, and had my best time for 3 of the 4 individual legs that make up the event.. 8h8m was good for me on a hilly course. The moderate climbing efforts have improved greatly, the steep climbs need some work yet. Once it reaches a certain level of steepness I am grinding it out far too slowly. This may require more strength training.
Can I find a sub-7h30m in 2011?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The 204km Gisborne–Wairoa Loop (GWALoop)

At a distance of 204km, GWALoop is the longest supported single fun ride in New Zealand. The course is very rurally scenic with most of the motorised traffic encountered generated from the event itself via relay teams moving bicycles and supporting the team around the course. 
Ride Data:
Distance: 204km 9954 Calories
Time: 8h31m28s 23.8 km/h (74km/h MAX)
Elevation: Ascent: 2,419m Descent: 2421m
Cadence: Avg: 80 rpm Max: 117 rpm
Ride Data: Garmin Connect / RideWithGPS
Location: Gisborne, NZ 23 October 2010
There are a couple of sizable hills, which are always a challenge for me as “clydesdale” rider. Having now ridden the course, these hills probably were not as big they appeared when studying the elevation profiles in advance of the event. The event rides around the loop in a clockwise direction which is sensible as not only does it mean that the ascents are generally more moderate, and the descents steeper but the the first section on the busier state highway 2 is completed early in the morning before there is any traffic to encounter.

With 204km to cover and three hills in the last quarter of the ride I was surprised at the speed that most left the startline with a cracking pace over 40km/h. I knew I would not have the legs if I kept that up and soon found myself in a group of four riders that were able to rotate and work together. Unfortunately I was dropped after a 50km on the way up the 490m high Wharerata Hill. This meant a lot of solo riding until a relay rider wearing a ‘LOOK Pro team shirt’ caught up to me help me along. We soon caught up with Brent from Toronto. After 107km ‘LOOK’ pulled out to swap with his relay partner and Brent I rode together until about 140km when like most/all? riders in this event Brent proved to be a far better climber than I and I couldn’t stick with him up to Tinorito.

GWALoop Elevation Profile

At Tinorito I stopped briefly to refill my water bottles and ground my way up the 430m high hill. There was some respite from hill climbs for the following 20km with a 230m net descent before the climbing back up to 400m at the Kiteroa Hill. At about 185km there is a rapid descent back down to 85m, although one of the corners needed care due to bouncing over rough seal.

Once at the bottom it was back into the wind that has turned 180 degrees during the day with a further 12km solo slog into the wind. Just after a rubbish truck stalled in front of me I was able to reach the finish line in 8h31m28s, at which point I was pleased to be camping at the Showgrounds Motor Camp with just a few metres to crawl to find my things and get into a hot, clean shower!

There is some debate among riders as to whether the K2, or the GWALoop is the harder ride. I think it comes down to if you are not a strong hill climber K2 will be harder, but if you a good climber but not as strong after a long day in the saddle then the GWALoop may be harder with an extra 20km of road travelled and a lot of coarse chip-seal on the road surface.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Tour of the Bay

The 2010 Tour of the Bay was a ride of differing weather with beautiful Hawkes Bay sunshine in Hastings and dampness in the hills. Seems to be a nice course. I would like to come back and maybe get more views over the top next time?

I started reasonably strongly but could soon feel a few of the wines in my stomach after a mere 25km. I had been staying with a few of the guys from the Onslow Tarbabies whom had introduced me to a different form of “carbo-loading” than I was used to the night before. This was very normal to these seasoned veterans, but as for me The Hawkes Bay wines were tasty but, whilst not being a tea-totaller I am a seldom drinker and usually I stick the brews which may have been kinder to my belly. Meanwhile, this was normal for these seasoned campaigners.  
Ride Data:
Distance: 108.72km 9292 Calories
Time: 3h53m24s 27.9 km/h (66.7km/h MAX)
Elevation: Ascent: 857m Descent: 850m
Cadence: Avg: 90 rpm Max: 115 rpm
Ride Data: Garmin Connect / RideWithGPS
Location: Hastings, NZ 17 October 2010

After the climb up Clarksons Hill and my usual uphill loss of the bunch I rode alone for a short time before riding small paceline for four heading heading toward Tikiokino. I thought we were travelling well but we were soon chased down by a large bunch that caught us after about 50km. This bunch circulated well until it fragmented a bit over a long undulating section where I dropped off the back at about 75km. After a quick descent, I slogged my way into the wind back to the finish.

Tour of the Bay Elevation Profile

This year I have twice ridden days over 300km, but today I was happy to make the finish at a mere 110km.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Lake Wairarapa Fun Ride 2010

The Lake Wairarapa Fun Ride, organised by the Wellington Veterans Cycling Club traverses a relatively gentle course without a lot of climbing and at just 80km long offers a good option for the first ride of the spring fun rides to blow out the cobwebs from winter.
Ride Data:
Distance: 80km 4,268 Calories
Time: 2h 20m 21s 34.2 km/h (54.3m/h MAX)
Elevation: Ascent: 226m Descent: 224m
Cadence: Avg: 86rpm Max: 110rpm
Heart rate: Avg: 81%of est. max Max: 95% est, max rpm
Ride Data: Garmin Connect / RideWithGPS
Location: Featherston, NZ 3 October 2010

It is a time of year where the wind can be a bit of an issue. I last rode this in 2006 (2h36m5s), with the 2007 called off due to dangerous winds. For 2010, it was fabulous day and the only problem was I didn’t have the legs to hold the 40km+ group down the road to Lake Wairarapa.

The return journey was a bit dramatic with two crashes around me. The first occurred when I was in a group of three, and the rider in front of me briefly stopped pedalling to look behind him. When I stopped pedalling too the third riders front wheel touch mine and we stopped briefly as he climbed out of the ditch with a juicy scratch on his hand.

The second incident happened when I was leading a large bunch that caught up to us. Not sure what happened I just saw multiple bicycles going down together behind me. With plenty of the bunch helping others back up I kept riding through this time.
Craig's Lake Wairarapa Results
2006 2:36:05
2010 2:20:21

After sitting in a large bunch behind a tandem for an unfair amount of time, I took a lead slightly too early at 3km out and watched everyone ride past me over the last 500 metres.

It was pleasing to knock 16 minutes off my previous ride in the event. Nice to start the spring with a PB!