A Stock-take For Easter

Postby Tinkerbell on Fri 17/Apr/09 2:14pm

For many many years Easter has been a bit of a non-event for me in the traditional scoffing of stupid amounts of chocolate bunnies and eggs way. This is because of an initial traumatic Easter experience when I was about 6 and then a conclusively horrific Cadbury’s factory incident in 5th Form (when I was 15 for those of you who don’t understand old school). This Incident involved a bus load of 15 year olds letloose in the reject egg room and told we could eat as much as we liked, but couldn’t take any chocolate out of the room with us. Add to this a 3 hour bus ride on very windy roads and I think you can guess the result. This one Incident scarred my tastebuds and stomach so comprehensively that to this very day I can’t eat Cadbury’s chocolate. In fact until last year I didn’t eat chocolate very often at all. Say once or twice a year! “My god, that’s unnatural!” I hear you say. Well maybe. But since marrying my beloved husband that has changed. He is a lolly monster and is capable of ingesting amounts of sweets and chocolates that would make mere mortals vomit. Copiously. Because of this there are often chocolates in the house. Early on in the relationship this was fine. I didn’t like chocolate after all. And then came the fateful day when the block of Whittakers Dark Chococlate with Orange came into the house. It even smelt good. It all came crumbling down. Over fifteen years of freedom from the tyranny of chocolate undone by that delicious dark goodness. Still I tried to tell myself that I still didn’t like chocolate, but there is no going back. So this Easter has been the first in many years when I have enjoyed the ample supply of chocolate eggs and bunnies that I’ve been missing out on. With this high calorie chocolate diet I decided it was important to do some biking and to really try and work out where I’m at now, both confidence and fitness wise.

My first goal, a hill climb. I haven’t been on a hill since I broke my elbow so I was feeling quite apprehensive. I decided on Rapaki as I knew it was freshly graded and should be a nice smooth start for someone as unfit as me. My goal was to get to the top, and hopefullyonly stop once or twice. Admittedly we cheated a bit by parking halfway up Rapaki Rd. Still I dropped into my granny ring and spun up and things felt pretty good. OK. This will be doable. I was a little concerned about the burning in my thighs by the first cattlestop, but decided that was just my lazy legs trying to get out of it. The 4wd track was S-M-O-O-T-H, no bumps whatsoever. This did mean there was a new hazard to be avoided. In addition to the usual runners and walkers there were now a large number of tiny dogs. Riding near tiny dogs is always slightly worrying as you never know what they’re going to do, and when you’re crawling up a hill at 4.5kph there’s not much you can do to avoid falling off if they take it into their crazy little heads to run under your wheels. Fortunately there were no small dog acting crazy situations and I spun up to where the climb plateaus out feeling really surprisingly good.

In fact I was feeling so good I re-evaluated of my goals for the ride. Now I wanted to get to the top without stopping and get there in under 45 minutes. My fastest recorded time up there last year was 32min 35sec so that seemed a realistic goal. Also the first few times I’d gone up there it took over 50 mins so it would be good to be better than that. Down the wee descent before the big final climb and I headed to the only rough bits on the track just to see how the bike felt with a bit of speed over the rough stuff. It felt pretty good. A bit weird, but good. Then I was into the last bit of the climb. Bleurgh. I wasn’t really up to chatting with my ever patient husband who had cruised up with me to this point so I told him to go for it and I’d spin up as best I could. And I was very pleasantly surprised with how well it went. In fact with the end in sight I decided I wanted to get to the top in under 42 mins and put a burst of speed on! I made it to the top in 42mins and 4secs (but that included some time on the road) and was stoked. I was definitely puffed, but I felt really good and for a first ride up a hillit couldn’t have gone better. Then came the descent. Oh yes, it was good. I was even popping little hucks of the few rocks in the track. It felt so good to go fast again. I felt balanced on the bike and completely in control. It made me want to head back to Vic Park and play on Sesame St, but common sense will prevail and I will wait till I’m stronger.

Easter goal number one – hill climb. Check

My other goal was endurance. I’m definitely doing the recreational race at Mt Somer’s next weekend. Its 20kms long and the furthest I’ve managed to ride so far is 16km on the road and 13km on the dirt. I wanted to make sure I could actually still ride 20km. So hubby and I headed to the sandpit for 2 laps. Last time I was there I couldn’t even do a full lap of the inner loop so doing over twice that was going to be a challenge. Hubby set off on his singlespeed with the agreement that he’d ride with me when he lapped me. I tried to start more conservatively than my usual all or nothing starts that leave me gasping after one small section. I sort of managed it. I’m definitely getting the hang of my new arm position and felt more balanced on the bike and was able to push the bike through the corners more. Also I did a few more jumps and they all went well.

I feel an aside is important here, just to reassure those of you who are currently reading this and thinking I’m insane to be doing any sort of jump after Christmas. Well, the “jumps” in Bottlelake are very very small, the kind of thing you’d be happy let your small child play on. The ones I broke my elbow on were proper, bigger jumps that required some skill (which I obviously didn’t have) to do well. I will not be trying to do that sort of jumping in the near future, please be reassured.

Where was I? Oh yes, little jumps. The little jumps actually felt better than they had before my crash. I felt really balanced and loose on the bike and seemed to hit them perfectly. This did my confidence the world of good. By the end of the first lap, yes I managed to do a whole lap, I was hurting, particularly in the legs. I decided that I might have to do a reduced length second lap, but I’d see when hubby caught up (which should be soon) before deciding. I was using my gears a lot more in the second lap, but I kept going and even managed to get up the nasty nasty pinch in the middle (just) and just kept going. No short lap for me. I came here to do 2 laps and I would do 2 laps. By the end my legs felt completely spent, but I did it. 26kms and my hubby didn’t lap me. He did manage to do 3 lapsin only a little more time than it took me to do 2, but hey, I’ve got a broken arm. Despite feeling physically ill I was stoked to have ridden more than double the distance I managed last time and now feel quite happy that I can at least complete the race next weekend before the prize giving starts.

Easter goal number two – endurance. Check

All in all, a very satisfying regaining of much confidence. Now I’ve just got to get my outfit for the race sewed up and it’ll be all go for next Sunday. I can’t wait.

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Original Published: 10:23am Tuesday, 14th April 2009 - NZST
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