Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANZAC Day in Opotiki

Today myself and my Head Boy and Head Girl, Chad and Tara, marched in the ANZAC service to the cenotaph where both students gave great speeches about their view of ANZAC Day. Opotiki has a short, but moving ceremony and it is great that the school features so prominently.

Training Continues

Last Thursday I did a 40 min paddle at the wharf. This made the ribs hurt!

On Friday Barry, lea and I drove to Amokura and hiked up the track and hung a left at the first summit. We ended up in some nice country, but involved a lot of climbing. We climbed a couple of times to 340m.

This was followed by a team meeting and companionship with the A Team at Hunters Bar over a few beers. We invited the A Team to join us for our Saturday evening jaunt which we have just completed.
We met at Margs and dumped our MTBs and then drove to the Ohiwa Harbour where Barry, Lea, Trevor, myself, Hedley, Teleri, Destry and Hilton kayaked onto the very windy harbour. This was Hilton's first time in his boat so he promptly fell out. I felt very unstable and in one lunge to stay upright I hurt my ribs. This blew my confidence. I offered to stay in the reasonably sheltered shallows aned look after Hilton while the others could have a good paddle.

I soon gained my confidence and balance and began to enjoy it a little more. Unfortunately, Hilton had 2 more spills. Twice a large stingray surfaced beside my paddle and gave me a hell of a fright. This also happened to Hilton, which made falling out even less attractive.

After about 40 min Hilton had had enough so I headed off by myself to find the others. Unfortunately as I headed south around the island they were heading north around the other side so we missed each other! I eventually turned around and headed back in the increasing darkness and was met by Hedley and Destry in the double kayak coming to look for me. We all had a good 90 min paddle and I was feeling better near the end, though the pain killers didn't seem too effective.

We then drove back to Margs where we got on our MTBs and headed off into the darkness. We charged up Paerata, down Verrals, up Waiotahe Valley, almost to Challenge Rd, the returned via Browns Rd (the steepest hill in the area!) and flew down Paerata to Margs. Trev was a mad bugger and set a cracker of a pace.

Marg was having a dinner party when we returned and kindly brought us a beer down to have in the garage as we debriefed - a bit like an Upstairs Downstairs scenario!

When I got home at about 9.00pm Kurt and Hine were there for tea. They have finished their house and had moved in the day before. Their house looks great and they will be great neighbours.

Tomorrow I head to Auckland for a week to explore Transitions From School. Should be a chance for my ribs to recover.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Broken Ribs and Adventure Training

I am a bit impressed with myself. Yesterday, after only 8 days of breaking my ribs I donned my pack and compulsory gear and joined Barry, Lea and Trevor for a 20k walk up Upper Paerata Rd to the Trig, along Upper Paerata to the top gate, down the Amokura Rd extension to the ford, up and up through the bush to the gas pipeline, and then through the farmland to our car - 4 1/2 hours.

A combination of strong pain killers, stupidity and supportive team mates made it all possible!

We climbed to 560m a couple of times so it was a good workout. I did have quite an uncomfortable night but there is always a price to pay.

This morning Lucy and I jumped on our road bikes and did the 20k Omarumutu loop just to see what it would be like on a bike. It wasn't too bad, but I was pretty sore for 15 minutes after getting off - must be the deep breathing that cycling requires.

Tomorrow we are hiking up into the hills around the pipeline from the Waiotahe Valley. Might also try a wee paddle in the afternoon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

NZ Secondary Schools MTB Champs at Levin

Originally uploaded by
This photo shows Jared at the bottom of the awesome downhill course in Levin. The other photos can be viewed here.

We had 10 students (one of the biggest teams there - Lucy, Amy, Gareth, Kyle, Jared, Kurt, Joe, Michael, Ben, Matty - along with myself as manager, Hedley as mechanic, Lea as cook, Paul as dentist (for Amy who face planted on the downhill), Delwyn and Dana, and Casey and Doug. Most of us stayed at a neat whare at Waitarere Beach which was mush easier than the camping of previous years.

Everyone performed well, but most would agree they needed much more training. Gareth finished a creditable 15th out of 34 with a strong 7th in the uphill and 14th in the XCountry. Mike also did well with 11thin the Xcountry and the fastest downhill of the team with 3 41. Everyone improved in the downhill with Gareth, Joe and Lucy knocking about a minute off their times.

Kurt was unlucky in the XCountry getting his 4th puncture of the trip! He also had a crowd-pleasing fall at the bottom of the downhill. Most had some sort of fall with Amy's face plant into a tree stump the best.

In the XCountry 4 riders avoided being lapped out - Gareth, Ben, Kyle and Lucy while Mike and Jared just about got there.

Everyone was well-behaved and was great company. Our kids were a credit to us, their school, families and Opotiki community. Some of the students from the so-called 'better' schools around stunned us with their offensive language and stupid carry-on.

We were surprised to see the absence of reps from other schools in the EBOP and the small size of some of the teams. We had hoped to see some of the born and raised Opotiki youngsters who go to boarding schools there so we could catch-up but none were there. Maybe next year!

Our team looked great in their new track suits and cycle shirts. Thanks, Delwyn. A huge thanks to the kids who were great to travel with.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amokura Crash

A great day's training with Barry and Lea was wrecked when I came off at speed at the top of the Amokura track. Broken ribs and mild concussion appear to be the result and I'm surviving on powerful painkillers at the moment.

We left Barry's just after 8am and we rode Amokura Rd and up the track to the gate at the tank trap where we stashed our bikes. It was quite a difficult ride as the uphill was very rutted and the ride along the top was through low hanging gorse and other vegetation.

We then tramped up to Upper Paerata Road and along to the Trig. The track was in good nick, but there were some very steep climbs. After a feed of creamed rice we headed down the fence line and through the bush to our bikes. Legs were starting to get Jelly-like especially with the steep down hill. I was really enjoying the ride despite the low-hanging branches. Lea took a fall in the small creek and split her shin on a rock.

At the top of the last descent Barry gathered us together and warned us to be careful on the gnarly down hill, but then gravity and adrenalin took over. After only about 200m I was hurtled at great speed onto the side of the track whacking my head very hard on the clay. I knew my ribs were buggared and Barry came across me writhing and groaning in pain.

It was a difficult descent from there. Fortunately Barry came across a bikini-clad female volleyball team having a swim (maybe I'm hallucinating!) who texted his missus to pick me up.

I'm now feeling very miserable hoping that I wake up tomorrow and I have made a fantastic recovery as I have too many things to do!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adventure Training Underway

We're well and truly under way with our training. On Good Friday Barry and Lea turned up here and we set off on our MTBs and picked up Paul on the way and we headed off up the Motu Road, over the Meremer and then to Takaputahi. It was a very cold morning but beautiful at the same time.

Just after Takaputahi Lea got a puncture and because we were a tight team we helped her get going again. From there we had this awesomely steep climb through the Torere forest which I really struggled with. However, the charge down to Torere from 560m to sea level was outstanding.

After a feed and chat with Dennis and Colin we headed off for the final 15k home. I really hit the wall and when we farewelled Paul I offered Lea and Barry the opportunity to leave me behind. It did surprise me that they accepted this offer and I struggled home alone! I am sure the team will be stronger as a result of this ride!

Tomorrow we mtb from Barry's up Amokura and then will do a 12k tramp to the trig and down the pipeline to our mtbs. Should be fun!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Restorative Practices

The final week at school is a short one with Good Friday. As well, Thursday is JAM Day so should be a little less pressure.

Margaret Thorsborne is here all week. Tomorrow she will spend the day with those of us who did the three day restorative practices training last year, which includes most of the principals of our contributing schools. From Tuesday to Thursday she will be training 35 more staff from the schools in our district. She will be as inspirational and refocusing as always.

I am convinced that restorative practices are the way to go in schools, but you have to work bloody hard and try really hard not to blink! I have to admit that sometimes it would be much easier to take a more punitive approach, but I am certain what we arte doing is much better for the wider community.

Let's see how the week goes!

Catch Up

Heaps been happening as usual.

It took me a week to get over the Blue Mountain fall. The bruise was spectacular and the bike is still parked in the garage! The next Sunday I ran the Muddy 1/2 marathon in 1 hr 46 which is a great time considering the hip and 2 runs of about 4 and 8 ks each in the previous 3 weeks. Couldn't walk for 3 days!

Last saturday I went for my first paddle in my waka and after a shaky start I realised it wouldn't tip and started to enjoy it. Went out Tuesday night as well and felt as if I was getting the hang of it.

Today I set out for a ride to Maraenui with the Boss, Brian, Destry and Lea. At the Morice's Bay corner my rear tyre blew so I had to hitch hike home. Unfortunately Lea had rung Leigh who came to get me but didn't see me in the car heading home. Caused a bit of tension as she ended up late for her ride.

Gave me a few extra hours at home so did the lawns! Later in the afternoon went paddling with Destry and Hedley who were in their double kayak. I had to work hard to keep up with them but enjoyed the time on the water.