It’s been a wet day on Epic Camp. Above you can see Jo being a good bike owner giving her bike a good clean and oil. You don’t want it inefficient on a camp like this. I’m still in yellow and have in fact managed to extend my lead.
We’re staying in Collingwood for two nights. A tiny little town at the end of the road at the north end of the south Island. We’ve just come back from the little bar. I liked it cause it was just how I imagined a Kiwi bar to be. Great views over the mountains and Scott telling some hilarious stories about the other three “big 4”, namely Scott Tinley, Mark Allen and Dave Scott. He’s such a great story teller and had us all creased up laughing.
Day started with a run to the outdoor 50m pool in Nelson. I ran with Jo and Russ. As we left we bumped into Tara and Heath heading out as well. The run passed quickly, we chatted whilst running at a comfortable pace. We had time for a 6k swim so thats what I was going to do. Whilst we waited for the pool to open I agreed with Tara we’d do the set of 10 x 200m on 3 mins for 2 points. As we got in to the pool we found that John and Scott were going to do 20 x 100 on 1:30 so we tagged along with that as did Chris. It was all very fair with us going at 10 second intervals. It was agreed it was a slow pool and I had to work hard to come in on 1:22. I told Tara I was going to do a few lengths easy then do the IM set (12 x [100IM, 150 freestyle]) for another 2 points. As I finished my easy I saw Tara doing her 200 fly (for 2 points as well) before starting the IM set. By now we’re the only ones left in the pool. I was almost laughing at how we were each doing all of this to get points but because the other was as well we could just call a truse and head back ! I of course did the 200 fly at the end to get the points and ended up swimming 6.1k. Tara and I laughed about it in the van back to the hotel.
Todays rides was relatively short (about 124k) but in the middle had a big climb (something like 15k to 750m) – this was double whammy as it counted towards the KOM jersey but also it was a competition in it’s own right so points would be scored towards the general classification. It was key for me to finish ahead of Tara to consolidate my lead in both competitions (at the end of the camp the KOM is viewed as a competition and points go to the GC). I felt my best tactic was constant steady hard effort from the off – given my TT result I felt this should put me pretty far up the field.
I was hoping for an easy ride to the start of the climb and that was the case. Another organised group ride. I felt awesome for about 10 minutes and then felt terrible. I felt dizzy and faint and it crossed my mind I should pull to the side for a moment. I didn’t, I stuck it out, had something to eat and with time it seemed to pass. There was an aid station before the climb. Immediately from the off after the aid station Scott sprinted off (there were a few KMs of flat before the climb). I started to chase him down, then Chris came through I hopped on his wheel and we caught him before the climb. I stuck to my plan and rode at an effort I felt I could sustain but since I didn’t really know the climb the plan was to go with John and Scott if they went by. I didn’t look back. Bevan and Chris were way up the road. Piet went off, Heath did and then Lou went by at a rate of knots. I eased slightly and Scott and John went by. I couldn’t accelerate with them so they pulled away. Looking back I could see Tara was gapped and I was reasonably happy. I slowly pulled back towards Scott and John. Passing Piet on the way who had done as expected – hard and then stalled. As I went by he jumped on my wheel so I said “Don’t blow up Piet. I need you to finish ahead of Tara and she’s coming” … next time I looked he was gapped. I got back to John and Scott and stuck with them. I knew I didn’t have it in me to sprint at the end so I just rolled over behind them. Piet finished next then Tara – 1 point gained !
Long descent (we’ll be racing up it in two days) – very hairy in the rain. I was happy to cruise to lunch on my own for 30k. About 10m from lunch the “Tara train” caught me ! Ashame it hadn’t happened a little earlier – she told me she was hungry and cold so had TT”d to lunch – there were alot of happy campers being towed in her wake !
The weather was still pretty miserable but I was warm and happy enough so there was no doubt about tacking on. Getting to 210k was not possible without an unreal TT effort so 180k it would be. I cruised with Jo for a while before I realised I needed to pick up the pace. We bumped into Tara who was out tacking on but she only planned to 150k so I ended up gaining another point. I did a lovely ride out to Farewell spit and managed my 180k with 20 minutes to spend. Not much I can do points wise with 20 minutes so I used the extra time wisely and ate !
Despite my best efforts to track the points I’m not absolutely certain but based on what John said tonight it seems I’m 4 or 5 points ahead. There is some sort of competition now each day and that will be key to the jersey I reckon. In terms of tacking on as long as I do what I can points can’t be gained on me there but having a bad race could be costly.
This is great fun !