I went back to our apartment and got ready for a light ride to turn my legs over (they had not seen much action in Christchurch due to the weather). As I did not pay attention to the course route, I spent 1 hour riding around the lake edge. This may not have been the correct course but the views where spectacular to say the least. When I arrived back at Peppers, I met up with the Konica Minolta team. I promptly misled them around the lake until we made a call and got the correct directions.
After a good sleep, I woke to find that the mornings in Tekapo are bloody cold. This made the decision to wear the correct apparel for the event. Lucky for me Blox had just manufactured an awesome weather shell for team Konica Minolta. Charles kindly offered me one to wear. These jackets are the bomb, waterproof, wind proof and to top it off they are breathable. I was able to keep my clothing as light as possible.
I sat on my wind trainer for about 20 minutes before riding over to the briefing. As always with these winter events, you cool down listening to all the safety information. Nevertheless, I would rather get cold than get lost or something worse for not listening.
After the countdown off we went, thought the shute over the transponder mats and along a gravel road to the first climb. The whole idea of the climb was to sort the men from the boys. I was left in puberty, right between manhood and boyhood. All the same, not bad for a +100kg rider. I managed not to put myself onto too much oxygen debt and get with a good bunch on the sealed road.
It’s funny how when you read the course description and ask your friends about the event you do not remember the hills. But there are some nice rollers as you head away from Tekapo. As I watched the leaders pull away I could not understand way my bunch did not work together, coming from a road and track cycling background you know and understand the importance of lapping (taking your turn at the front) it out in a bunch. This is one skill MTB riders could polish up on to help make things easier during a race.
After about 10km, we went onto shingle roads these were still fast and we kept a steady pace going. These roads turned into farm roads and this is where the white cold stuff was lying on the ground. I think we were heading in a north-west direction around the lake. The views in this part of the world are nothing short of amazing.
For me the views took away some of the pain as we climbed and descended on some very rough 4WD tracks toward the head of the lake and the much anticipated river crossings. First we had to ride over this flat but bumpy farmland. My weight took over at this part. I was not able to glide over the terrain and I started to slip off the back of my bunch.
Crossing the riverbed was a fun experience that left my arms crying for a rest. I manage to catch to the bunch I was with when crossing the first couple of rivers, but they would ride away over the rocks and stones of the riverbed.
Riding out of the riverbed, I was looking forward to a gentle down hill ride to the finish. Again, I did not pay attention to the map or terrain. I rode with a couple of other competitors into what I would call a block head wind. By this stage of the event, I was spent. I could not get comfortable on the handlebars my arms were in a lot of pain. We managed to work together for as long as possible, but different strengths would not allow us to work together for too long.
I manage to finish in a time of 4:07, which was about ½ longer than I would have liked, but with a lot more training, I aim to reduce this time next year.
I know accommodation is at a premium for this event so get in early. I must make special mention of the friendly and most organised team at . This year was the 8th year that have held this event and you would be hard pressed to find a person with a bad word about them or the event.