Here’s Jo looking happy just before heading out on todays ride.
Last night laid in bed with my legs aching like b@£!ards and keeping me awake I pondered whether I’d overdone it that day. That running that hard was unwise. The level of cramp I had in the pool was way beyond anything before. My right calf was cramping and the front of my ankle was doing something cramp like which kept my foot perpendicular and also meant I couldn’t stretch either out without cramping the other. I couldn’t climb out of the pool and even ducking under the lane ropes was making it cramp. Climbing out was comical. I thought today is going to be ‘interesting’.
The only compulsory session today was to complete the ride. However with bonus points for completing swim bike run in a day I got up to run my 10k first thing. Gordo had made the plan the night before that since the pool closed at 6pm we should start the run at 6am to give the full 12 hour window. Meet at 5:55am to leave at 6am. never liking to be late I got there at 5:53 and met Clas, Russ, Douglas and Tara waiting as well. Luckily Dave told us Gordo had already left otherwise we would probably have waited till gone 6am. My legs felt pretty tight but eased off and I ran comfortably to get 10k done in 55 minutes. It was now a pretty rushed breakie as the briefing was 7:30. Massive plate of scrambled egg dumped on a slice of toast with loads of peanut butter together with bacon set me up for the day.
The plan today was to try and have a relatively steady ride and not work too hard. I was concerned that I’d done too much yesterday and also know that I will get stronger through individual rides and probably across the camp. The problem with this was the KOM (King Of the Mountains) early in the ride. I need to ensure I place reasonably in each of these as it counts as a ‘double major’ for the yellow jersey. I was going to use the same tactic as in Italy and try and get the group split before the climb so I could climb at my own pace. The last thing I wanted was a sprint finish.
John set a cracking pace to the bottom of the climb, so much so I just sat in. As the climb started and it was just a very gentle grade I got on the aero bars and moved to the front pushing reasonably hard hoping to split it up and perhaps dishearten some people right at the off. I then eased off and settled into just a steady pace that wasn’t going to kill me. Loads of people went by me but about half way up the climb I start to catch and pass quite a few people. I was gaining on Richard and thought I had loads of time when suddenly there’s the finish.
It was raining hard (and did most of the day) so the descent was pretty scary. I managed to latch onto the Tara train with Scott and she put in a awesome effort all the way to the aid station. I start to feel so much better on the bike. Tara and I reminisced about that 270k ride last ride which we managed with a tack on backwards and forwards through this housing estate. Made me think how it’s a shame that this camp won’t have any crazy shenanigans tacking on for points. Feels like I’m getting in to a groove. We continued after this with David and Richard and set a great pace to lunch. Richard made a quick turnaround leaving Scott, Tara, David and I to form a nice little group that worked hard and kept the pace good right to the finish. 180km in a little under 6 hours.
There was a little down time before heading to the pool. I fully intended to do 6km with several bonus sets to get loads of points. Poolside I find Gordo waiting for me and he asked what session I was doing because he was just going to do the same. That way it guaranteed he’d stay in yellow. I just went with it as it avoided the amusing swim session last time with Tara. She was in a different lane and we were fighting for yellow so neither of us would leave before the other and we were looking at what they did. I saw her do a 200 fly so right at the end I did it.
So with Gordo on my feet and Petro on his (for much of it) we did the following:
- 400m warmup
- 200m fly (for 1 point)
- 200m easy
- 1050m band only (for 1 point, I lost count and did 50m too much)
- 750m easy
- 12 x (100 IM, 150 free) continuous (for 1 point)
- 400m swim down
6k for a bonus two points. Took a little under two hours. There was two hours of being on tender hooks waiting for my calfs to cramp. It felt close so many times but luckily stayed off.
It feels weird to say this knowing that Gordo reads this blog but… I remember after my first Kona someone saying I should read “Going Long” and follow Gordo’s blog. What he said made so much sense to me and I held him in such high esteem. Now, here I am with him hanging on my feet to complete swim sets and we’re battling out for the yellow jersey though I’m sure if he really wanted to he’d completely demolish me in that competition. At times it feels a bit surreal but it’s really good fun.
I’ll keep trying for the yellow if only to keep him honest.