Tanlines & Resolutions

One hundred and forty kilometres of hilly riding 48 hours after illness was always going to be optimistic. Anyway, I figured it was a good way to chalk up some training even if hanging in there at the pointy end of the race was better saved for another day. Plus, the longer course for this year's Rice Mountain Classic looked way more appealing than the shorter option. In hindsight, maybe brutal is a better description than appealing. Dave Rowlands was the mastermind behind the modified course for this year. That explains a lot.

Hills, hills, then some more hills

Despite some very Wellingtonian weather the morning of the race, the rest of the day turned out pretty awesome. So well in fact that I topped up my cycling tanlines, only to be disappointed by a mild infringement of the Euro Cyclist Code of Conduct* caused by having a rogue gel stuffed up my shorts. Phew, for being in the Antipodes where there is hopefully some leniency. Phew (again), for being of Pommie heritage hence all tanning capacity is soon forgotten by skin within 24 hours. The gel line is fading as I type.

Tanlines gone bad
Back to the race report... There were hills. Lots of them. There were kilometres. Lots of them too. The new course was awesome. As long as you liked hills and kilometres. Lots of people were broken, including some who thought they liked hills and kilometres at the start of the day. The large icecream in Featherston on the way home made it all feel better again.

Awesome pic of the race by Adrian Rumney

With some seriousness, this is the third Rice Mountain Classic I have ridden. After moving to New Zealand three years ago, I made a commitment to myself to try to give this bike racing thing a decent go. I raced heaps as a junior then a variety of things like medical school and military deployments got in the way. I always rode my bike but only raced intermittently and training was sporadic to say the least. The moral of this slightly roundabout story is that consistent training works. I spent the first year of the last two riding my bike more and the last one following a structured training programme. This weekend I rode better on a bad day than I would have on a good day in 2010.

So, if you were thinking of some goal setting with the season for resolutions rapidly approaching have a look at the pics below for some inspiration.*

Rice Mountain Classic 2010

Back to 2012

*Rule 11: A prominent line where your kit ends and where your tan begins is essential to your image. Artificial tanning is banned, the tan shall reflect the level of training commitment.

*I'd like to also point out that having a carbon wheelset rocks too so you could always ask Santa while you're at it.

Keep Momentum At All Times

"The aim is to keep momentum at all times"

Wise words indeed and my favourite excerpt from Simon Burney's cyclocross bible. Some time mid kiwi winter, when I was grappling with the concept of learning an entirely new way of ripping it up on dirt, I stumbled across that line. At the time, it struck me that it seemed like bloody good advice for life in general as well as its clear applicability to the topic of negotiating barriers with a modified road bike in hand.

Mid race levitation

Despite considering myself as someone who probably has an above average level of momentum in life, in the last 48 hours I have been forced to come to a complete standstill. It would appear that the cumulative effects of a particularly stressful period could not be overcome alone by caffeine and cycling. Dammit.

While it is a little premature for the customary time of reflection accompanied by a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, enforced rest gifted me an opportunity to contemplate the year gone by and the one ahead, as well as the chance to return to the blogosphere.

My highlight of 2012 had to be discovering the crazy sport of cyclocross. It was a learning experience that taught me a lot of valuable lessons, a handful of which included:
  • Do not imagine that the course you just rode round for a sifty warm-up is gonna be anything other than outrageously uncomfortable for 50 minutes once the gun goes,
  • Do not try to run while your bicycle is still attached to your left foot as you leap with poise and dynamism from your steed just before the barrier and,
  • Do not expect it to be warm and sunny in Blenheim.

Me after a particularly cold, wet National CX Series Finale in Blenheim!

Plus, I got to share the experience with a bunch of cool people. By share I actually mean exchange merciless banter, there really is a cool vibe on that race scene.

Discovering my inner 12 hour soloist at the 2012 editions of Moonride and Day Night Thriller was also pretty cool. Those events always provide a heady cocktail of "Why the hell am I doing this?" and "Let's do that again!" as soon as you recover, which for Day Night Thriller was some time after a rather large slice of cheesecake pre prize giving.

It ain't over til the lights go out...and even then it still ain't over.
Amusingly, when discussing the finer points of 12 hour racing on the road trip to Rotorua in May, I affirmed that there was absolutely no way that I would consider a 24 hour solo effort. Never ever.

Ironically, a certain World Championship event in Canberra is now scheduled as a highlight for 2013. Yes, it does involve pedalling for 24 hours. No, I've never ridden my bike for that long. No, I probably don't know entirely what I'm letting myself in for. Yes, I do intend to throw some stylish cross remounts into the mix... even if only in the first few minutes of the race after the Le Mans start.

So, ten months and counting. One thing is for sure, it'll involve a lot of cookies!

Em's Power Cookies yellow bikini relaunch 2012


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Long time, no blog.