Happy Anniversary! It's officially four years since I landed in the Land of The Long White Cloud. It was a day that left an impression and a feeling that we're not in Kansas any more, Toto. They say you can't beat Wellington on a good day. And whoever they are, they're right. All along the harbour there were people out running, cycling, paddle boarding, surfing and generally doing outdoorsy stuff. In the sunshine. Kiwis, this is how the rest of the world imagines New Zealand. Maybe with the addition of Mt Cook in the background and a couple of hobbits running about. Oh, and sheep. Lots of sheep.

This weekend felt a lot like that first day four years ago. While this winter's training has been a more isolated affair - somewhat inevitably due to the inclement weather conditions, early morning starts, and long routes in the Wairarapa (which definitely satisfies Johnny foreigner's view of New Zealand and sheep) - Spring has finally sprung and both training rides this weekend involved cruising around on some of Wellington's most scenic roads. Makara Valley. Eastbourne and the bays. In the sunshine. With people everywhere doing outdoorsy stuff.

The other thing I remember that first struck me about Wellington was that there were hills everywhere! Having never visited New Zealand, my in depth pre-emigration research had been a combination of Google Earth and watching Lord of the Rings. Google Earth did not disappoint, I was gonna like living here.

I'm not sure why I enjoy riding my bike up stuff so much. I always have done. My mum reminded me recently about how I'd ask to get driven out to the bottom of a long climb and dropped off there so I could ride up it then back home. Aged 12. I think it's got something to do with watching the mountain stages of the Tour de France as a kid. My Dad used to wake my brother and I up so we could watch the 30 minute highlights package on Channel 4 late at night. We'd huddle under a duvet and watch in awe as the peloton flew up the alpine passes. Then we'd go out on our bikes the next day and pretend we were doing the same thing.

Riding with my brother made me strong on my bike. He didn't treat me like a sister. He didn't carry stuff for me and expected me to ride like the guys we went riding with. There was a strong mutual respect but equally strong sibling rivalry. It was a lot of fun. And also incredibly painful. We'd give each other a whole heap of banter on the flat sections of the ride then smash up every climb we came to. There are a lot of them in Wales. He'd inevitably get a gap and give a glance back over his shoulder with a wry smile. Just to let me know he was kicking my ass. Very occasionally, I would get the opportunity to return the favour. He has a sweet tooth, the upshot of which was that he could be bribed to clean my bike in return for chocolate. Riding together lasted right through University. Although, by that stage the bike cleaning stakes were a bit higher than a Mars Bar.

Wellington hills were a baptism of fire, in the form of quad burn. Three months off the bike, while it was stuck in a shipping container cruising from the other side of the world, didn't do much for my leg strength. In an "eyes bigger than your quads" scenario, I planned out rides that included the roads that looked the most wiggly on a map. Among the first was Moonshine Hill Road. I had to do little circles in the road on at least two occasions before the summit. You know, the ones that allow you to get your heart rate down so you can actually start pedalling again but you can kid yourself that you didn't stop or get off the bike. Yep, those ones.

Two years later, at the same time of year, I decided to get a coach. It was in a bid for a faster Karapoti time and a decision made immediately after suffering my way through the Whaka 100 having done no rides longer than 2 hours. It was an uncomfortable way to race 100 kilometres off road in the Redwoods and not a strategy that I heavily endorse. Riding up hills ad hoc on your own and being fit enough not to do little recovery circles in the road on steep climbs gets you to a certain place but some fine tuning was in order.

And it's been a lot of fun. And hard work. And all worth it. And I ride Karapoti faster than I used to, which I think will remain an annual goal for some time.

Of late, there's been a nice moral of the story bit to my posts. I guess this time it's that everyone has to do circles in the road on steep climbs at one stage or another. And with the help of a whole heap of other people you can get to the place you want to. And, while there's no place like home, there are places that do a beautiful bottle of pinot, fantastic coffee, great hills, and make you pedal faster. Those are the places that feel like home the most.


PS See you guys in the UK for a visit in less than a year. I told you I'd make it back in 5 years, sis!

Penulis : Unknown ~ Sebuah blog yang menyediakan berbagai macam informasi

Artikel Anniversary ini dipublish oleh Unknown pada hari Saturday, 2 November 2013. Semoga artikel ini dapat bermanfaat.Terimakasih atas kunjungan Anda silahkan tinggalkan komentar.sudah ada 0 komentar: di postingan Anniversary


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