Epic Camp NZ10 – Day 4 – My Day In Yellow

EpicCampDay4Firstly something I forgot to mention. The “Ripster” has had problems with his bike so yesterday he couldn’t ride whilst it was taken to a bike shop in Aukland. Keen to not lose any points he got in the pool and swam 15.5km straight ! Took 3h40.

Todays photo is our arrival in Coromandel. It’s been a gorgeous day.

Quite a relaxed start to today as we were catching a ferry across to Coromandel. We all cruised around the outskirts of Aukland and spent 2 hours chilling on a ferry across to Coromandel.

First up was a Aquathon. Main aim here was to firstly protect my foot and secondly to protect my position in the points. Needed to get a reasonable placing without doing too much. The first issue was somehow shaking everyone on the swim. I was a marked man by all the strong swimmers so I decided there was no point in sprinting at the start – best go steady and become anonymous and then surge when i judged the others were still maxed out from their initial sprint. It couldn’t have gone better. Turns out Gordo was on Johns feet thinking they were mine. I cruised off to the left and noticed I had come level and I was just cruising. The first buoy was approaching so I redlined briefly to get ahead and to the turn first. Seems John got on my feet briefly but it was killing him. I got clear and probably had maybe 30 seconds on them into the transition.

My transition was slow but I had to make sure my shoes were on properly. I’ve had such a problem with them that I wanted them just right. Both John and Gordo got me in transition. I ran reasonably hard, hoping just enough to prevent Petro catching me. Scott came by then Clas going like a rocket – it was awesome to see. Petro was catching me and did so about a third into the second lap. He stayed with me. I surged a little just to see if he’d done too much to catch me. He stuck with me so I decided that I wouldn’t contest that place wanting to preserve my legs and foot. We had a brief chatted – he said he wanted the spot and I said “unfortunately I do as well” but that was just mind games I had no plan to surge. He came in 5th to my 6th. Happy only dropping a 1/4 point on that. To be honest I’m just so happy with how I’m runnning. I’d thought I’d just be completely outgunned on the runs. I think in the past I would have comfortably held off Scott (possibly!) and Mark but not the others so only being 2 further back is a result as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve now run 4 days on the trot !

Next up was the King Of The Mountains. Again the aim was to just place well whilst not busting a gut. Decided to take Gordos advice that if I just worked steady and hard my strength would see me through. Unfortunately I was chatting with Petro when the turn was made to start the first climb and someone shouted “single up” so we  eased up and didn’t realise the race had started. I managed to bridge up to Gordo, John and Clas by the top of the first climb (the KOM was top of the second climb).  There were  a few games between the climbs but nothing special. Petro and Blanco were with us now. Start of the second and it wasn’t long before Clas and Gordo cleared off. John and I tried to surge each other a couple of times before he pulled away. In the process we gapped Petro and Blanco so I was happily in 4th and stayed there over the top.

After lunch Gordo did a fantastic pull on the front. Fast enough to stop anyone attacking and slow enough to keep everyone together. It was a great piece of riding. I’d cruised forward to check on Jo and she warned me off from going to the front and making them suffer. I had no intention to. I told Gordo later and he said he thought he was riding just right so that the social pressure would stop anyone attacking. After the drinks stop the pace slowed somewhat. I’d been at the back chatting with “The Baron” (Clas) and he said to me “the pace is too slow you should go to the front and pick it up”. Now Clas is the strongest rider here and a great person to ride with (he doesn’t surge) and would be a very useful ally so I went to the front aiming to just pick up the pace a little. The other factor encouraging me was I knew that David had to get a shimmy on to have his pre breakie run to count. I’d not run before breakfast as I’d judged we wouldn’t finish the ride inside my 12 hour training window if I did. I checked  the rules with Gordo and realised at this pace we wouldn’t finish in time for his run to count. Though I must admit that part of me thought I should just leave it  as there hadn’t been “full disclosure” about the run but decided it was the right thing to do to pick up the pace.  Gordo and Petro didn’t change pace at all and with no effort I had a gap. I checked the map to make sure i knew where I was going and just kicked off. I knew Clas would come through and get on. So off we went. Charlesy got with us and did a few ~30 second pulls which gave me a bit of relief. In then dropped off. I pulled us all the way home for the last 30k or so. It was a fantastic road and I was comfortably hammering along – felt strong and was loving it. I think Clas was pretty happy with the pull especially as I knew he’d have no problem with me down on the aero bars so I got to really kick it up for a few K. Both of us were very pleased to arrive before the others to get our fill of recovery shakes before the rush.

That move speeded up the rest of the group and they arrived 3 minutes before Davids cutoff. He was oblivious to the fact !  He’d done a great job at maximising his training time today and got the “Play of the Day” jersey for it.

Gordo’s performance in the Aquathon had put him in Yellow on the road and at various points in the day I’d decided to run off the bike to keep it. Various little reasons added up to me not doing that: 1) foot was a little sore, 2) we’d arrived quite late so  I’d be rushed and late for dinner and 3) thought it would be more fun if it kept switching hands. Scott also pointed out to me it’s a long camp and there’s a lot of time to go.

Tomorrow there are no races or KOMs so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m riding stronger with every passing day so we’ll see about tomorrow …. could just ride steady of if people start playing I may chose to join in the fun.

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