Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swimming down the Mangakirikiri

After a hard night out fundraising for the school multi-sport team Lea, Boss and Teleri headed off with me from Hanaia to bike down the Mangakirikiri and out the Pakihi. This was the first time for me on a MTB for a few months and Lea was a bit hungover!

I have never taken on the 40+ creek crossing with it so deep or swift so it was outstandingly good fun. The Boss and I tried every crossing and some twice to nail them and we got most of them. The Boss' highlight was face plant over his handle bars into a deep pool emerging with his glasses still on. Some unkind people did a lot of laughing.

Teleri, to her credit, listened to my creek crossing coaching and was soon nailing most of them, but shortly after telling her it wouldn't hurt if she tumbled into a creek she promptly did so and landed on a rock and hurt herself. I told her if she had gone faster she wouldn't have fallen off.

Lea was pretty useless and talked herself out of most of them but did impress with one dive into a creek and another dive onto the hard ground.

We were all looking forward to the final hole which Sam O'Dwyer dived into last year (see NZMTB mag for photo). Not only was it deep it was very swift with an electric fence going across it just about where you would surface if you fell off and were swept doen stream. I was the only one who tried to ride across (twice!) and Boss and Lea kindly stood where the fence was to resecue me if I was swept towards it. I was ultimately unsuccessful but had great fun being swept off the bike.

It was a hard ride back to Opotiki into a strong headwind with Lea doing a lot of the work and then a mad dash from Opotiki to Hanaia with Teleri leading the charge all of the way home.

Even them we couldn't rest as Teleri interviewed us for one of her papers. Apparently we area sub culture and Andrew and I had to answer questions about why we did these sort of things, what people thought of us etc. If anyone has answers to these questions please put in the Comment area as I lie awake at night worrying about these sorts of questions!!

Great to be back in the saddle on one of our many great tracks! It was fun and sociable! Go the SOBs

College Third at Secondary School Relay

On Saturday two teams travelled to this relay in Rotorua where teams tried to do as many laps as they could in three hours. Our senior mixed team of Gareth, Kurt and Lucy completed 11 laps and finished third behing Fielding and Trident. We did note that the female member in the Trident team only did one lap while lucy did three!

Gareth set the fastest time for the team of 15.36 with Kurt churning his out in 16-17 minutes and Lucy in 20-21.

The junior boys team of Kyle, Jared and Podge biked well with Kyle doing laps in 19-20minutes, Jared in about 20-21 ansd Podge in about 23.

It was a great day and more photos can be viewed here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Motu Challenge 2009 - a real challenge!

Race winner, Richard Ussher described the conditions as most probably the toughest he has ever raced in. There were strong winds on both bike legs (head wind all the way on MTB and strong head wind to Matawai and strong side gusts from there, but also a lot of tail wind) and the strong gusts from behind and from the sides in the river tipped quite a few kayaks. There was cold rain at Motu, lots of slippery mud underfoot in the bush run, snow falling at the top of Traffords and a Waioweka River which was pumping at about 2.3 metres. In other words, conditions were perfect!!! If it was meant to be easy, everyone could do it!

Highlights were:
Barry forgetting his transponder and having to break a window at home to get it to just make the start.
Shane joining the hard man's club by completing his first Motu solo (Club membership includes myself, Hedley, Kurtis, Mad dog Scotty, Trevor/Terry and Legend Lea). If any one else feels they are entitled to membership let me know by commenting on the post.
Not falling out in the kayak!
All three Abraham whanau leaving nothing in the bank.
All three Taylor whanau with a whangaied Teleri leaving nothing in the bank.
Awesome first time paddle by College student Brooke (only 2nd time he had been in a kayak).
Lea's gutsy performance to get through a grueling run to finish strongly in just under 10 1/2 hours.
Relaxing with the Teddy's and others at Hunter's later in the evening.

The MTBers found the strong and cold head wind all of the way to Motu very challenging with many riders going slower than their normal training rides. The battle between Kids vs Parents and Parents vs Kids began immediately. Teleri (for the Kids) biked strongly for 3.39.22 and handed over to Amber for the run. In the meantime Sherpa Boss came in for the parents in 3.52.49 and handed on to me. Lea had come in at 3.27 13 and after a rapid transition headed off first.

I knew Lea was struggling when I caught her in the bush with well over 45 minutes to go. I was disappointed not to get Amber in my sights but found the muddy conditions in the bush difficult to deal with and despite finishing strongly over the last few ks never saw her. I was disappointed with my 1.32.58 as I did 1.29 in training a few weeks ago. Amber did 1.40.18 and handed over to Lucy who took off into the head wind about 6 minutes in front of her Mum, Leigh. In the meantime Lea came in after 2.16.17.

The wind was brutal to Matawai and sucked the strength out of those biking by themselves. Lucy was fortunate to get on the back of another bloke and they shared the work to part way up Trafford's. Just before the hill we came across a very cold Hedley who was attempting his second solo but was forced to withdraw bordering on hypothermia. While waiting at the top for Lucy and Leigh the snow began to fall! Both hurtled down to Oponae with a strong tail wind with Lucy clocking a great 2.04.36 in tough conditions to hand over to Nicole while Leigh finished in 2.13 23 after riding strongly and determinedly. Both had broken 2 hours in training two weeks prior but the head wind to Matawai took it out of everyone.

I was now in a forlorn chase of Nicole in the river and I had forgotten my drink bladder! Lea, meanwhile, finished the ride in 2.01.11 to hit the river not too far behind. I must admit when I saw Ted's car I was a bit nervous.

The paddle was out of this world. The river was really pumping and the pressure waves were huge. It really boosted my confidence to get through the top rapids while passing some swimmers. Unfortunately I came across Destry who had had a few spills. He seemed in good spirits but he had a few more and was pulled from the race at the gravel pit because he had turned blue.

The wind was the biggest threat on the river with the gusts being so strong I had to brace for long periods of time and get pushed along until it subsided. I came closest to tipping in one strong gust. One kayaker in front of me was tipped by the wind and there were stories of this happening to many others. A helicopter had to be called in to rescue one person trapped on the wrong side of the river.

My near death experience occurred in the rapids above the didymo signs. I was abit confused because the river was so high and I couldn't see all of the normal rocks. I ended up going right over the largest rock in the river, dropping a metre on the other side and then stopping in the backwash with huge pressure waves. My life flashed before my eyes as there was no one else around and I knew if I tipped there I would be trapped in the hole with little chance of getting out. A combination of sheer panic, maniacal paddling, loud swearing and tightening my sphincter I managed to pop out and keep going while yelling at the top of my voice with relief!

I did my first sub 2 hour paddle (1 55) and rode and ran like a maniac to the finish in 2.34.03. Nicole did the leg in 2.28.01 to bring the Kids vs Parents home in 9.52.50 to win the 4 person female category and $1000. The Parents vs Kids finished in 10.13.14. The College team of Gareth, Jared, Kyle and Brooke finished in 10.03.16 with Gareth continuing on to complete the Motu 160 and be the first local home.

Lea completed a strong day with a final leg of 2.43.16 to finish in her best solo time of 10.27.58 (only 10 minutes behind my best!!!).

There are lots of other neat stories from everyone else but they will have to tell them. A huge thanks to Jarrod and Rosalie and team who keep putting the event together.