Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mtb Rogaine 2 - Marquita's Garden

So after thrashing myself on a 90 minute foot rogaine, it was always going to be tough to get on the bike and do another 90 minutes on those grueling hills. A good plan was always going to be essential and I was fairly happy with mine. I knew there was no way I could get the controls further out so I stuck with a route on tracks I was relatively familiar with (I've ridden here a few times this year) and was definitely not going to try and be ambitious...I was knackered before I even started!

Attempting to plan my route.

Even with the route I chose, trying to avoid too many heinous hills, I found myself having to push the bike up way more hills than I would normally (although there are always hills here that you just can't ride up...not in a million years). Having ridden up here a few times I did have some idea on a good route choices and I ended up with a pretty good plan (well, for me anyway). I only changed it a tiny bit to go grab a 50 pointer when I realised I had a little bit more time than I thought.

I could have probably got another 30 points but I was pretty happy with how I did especially considering how exhausted I was by the time this race started! It would be interesting to see how I would do if I was fresh. I reckon I could get quite a few more (heading down to the far end of the forest). My technique and general riding skills are definitely improving though...bring on Aussie!

Rogaine 3 - Slater Road

Oh my god, this was epic! Okay, well I knew that from the moment I heard there was going to be a rogaine at Slater Road but when I got the map my fears were well and truly confirmed. Slater Road is the map of Rob and Marquita's farm...mostly a huge pine forest out the back filled with mountain bike trails. What makes it so tough is just how steep it is (and I mean steep) and the forest is not clean running like much of the pine forest we run in at Woodhill.

So I picked up the map and really had no idea where I was going to go. In hindsight (what a wonderful thing) I probably should have taken the advice I gave my parents (!) and tried to get a whole heap of the farmland controls which were on the flatter area and definitely easier to get to. Instead I headed straight out into the bush and spend a good 75 minutes bashing about in it before picking up some of the farmland controls on my way back to the finish.

Looking down to the event centre (where the hut is under the trees...which are all part of the map).

I didn't get nearly as many points as I hoped for (well, I guess at least I didn't plan too cautiously this time then!) but at least managed to work out a route to get back to the finish without being over the time limit, picking up a few points along the way.

Despite everything it was good fun and I definitely pushed myself physically up some of those climbs. I really love this forest but it is real steep and super technical. I mean, I've run and biked up here heaps lately but I still get confused every time I go out! It's a bit of a shame I won't be around for the final rogaine in the series as I'll be in Christchurch for another event. Oh well, can't do everything I guess!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rogaine 2 - Turkey Ridge

Turkey Ridge is one of the few farmland maps we have in the Auckland region and I think it's been a couple of years since I last ran there (I vaguely remember it was overcast and I stuffed up somewhere stupid but really that's not that uncommon!). It's steep...lots of contours, made worse by the fact the map uses 5 metre contours (that means that it's 5 metres in height between each contour line on the map...does that makes sense?).

Anyway, I was determined to plan my route better this time and be a bit more ambitious. Turns out I was probably still not ambitious enough but we'll get to that. When we got handed the maps it was raining so I went back to my car to plan my route so had no idea what other people were planning and just hoped I hadn't picked a stupid route. Obviously not as there was a huge train of us heading to #54 as their first control.

I got round most of the loop on the right-hand side of the track within 30 minutes so I realised then that I was going to have to head further out to the left than planned. As it turns out, I had a very similar route to another girl in my grade so we were sort of racing each other for most of the time. Every time I thought I was taking a different route she'd show up next to me a couple of controls later! It did help push me onwards a bit though.

Once I got to #36 I gave myself a turnaround time (I think I had about 50 minutes to go at that point) but I didn't stick to it and turned around earlier than I needed to, mainly because the other girl and another guy who'd joined our little party were turning around at that point. I could have at least got #49 and maybe #56 and then dropped #41 later on which was so steep it wasn't really worth it. I ended up crossing past the finish with about 17 minutes to go. Picked up the last 3 I'd left for a finishing loop and was home with about 9 and a half minutes to spare and nowhere to use them up! GRRR! But I ended up with 1020 points which was pretty good really and got me 2nd equal in open women which was quite good.

Can't wait for next weekend though...Slater Road rocks and we have a mountain bike rogaine in the afternoon. Gonna be awesome.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Adventures in Queenstown

I've been in Queenstown all week on a work trip but you can't come all the way down here and not try and see at least some of the cool sights. I've been starting work at 9am every morning and it doesn't really get light enough to venture out until about 7:15am and even then you wouldn't want to be in the bush until more like 7:45am so that leaves me a tiny window in which to sneak in some runs and unfortunately means I haven't been able to do my favourite one (the One Mile Creek/Fernhill loop). But I have managed to sneak in a couple of my favourites so far...

Yesterday, after doing intervals and hill sprints the day before, I thought I'd tackle Queenstown Hill. Poor thighs were burning a bit after the hills of the day before but hey, at least they were still working! It's a bit of a grind to get to the base of the track which is, ironically, not at the base of the hill since you have to climb up some wickedly steep streets first. Then you wind up through the bush loop track which was pretty dark on my way up. Once you get up above the bush you keep following the track to the summit through the tussock...I've never come up here (winter, summer, spring, autumn...I think I might have been here for every season!) and not been freezing no matter how many layers I had...but the views are always amazing.

Anyway, here's a few snapshots of the run (mostly from the open tops section)...

Here is the view of Queenstown Hill from the deck of my apartment. Obviously this is a bit later in the day since, well, you can actually see it as opposed to when I left yesterday and it was still dark.

Once you get above the tree line you can either head back down the loop track or head up to the summit. Why you'd come all this way and not go to the summit though is beyond me.

Looking down over Queenstown from above the treeline. You can see the sun is still trying to make it's way over the tops of the mountains.

Yay! I've made it to the summit! Here we're looking out towards Ben Lomond which I've climbed on a previous adventure here when there was a lot more snow.

Looking down towards the lake and the mountains beyond from the summit. Wicked morning.

Quite possibly the most unflattering photo of me I've ever seen! Trying to take a photo at the summit was was bloody freezing (and I'd forgotten my gloves) and you could only take it from one angle 'cause the sun was still in the process of rising (it has a long way to rise to get above the mountains round here).

Making my way back down the track.

So that was yesterday's run. I was feeling a bit tired this morning (we worked really late last night) and my legs were definitely not in the mood for hills so I thought I'd cruise along the Sunshine Bay track which starts about a couple of ks from the apartment. It's short, gently undulating and through a nice patch of bush along the lakefront. On the way back I nipped up the beginning of the One Mile Creek track which has a link to the street our apartment is on which meant I didn't have to go back along the road. A bit of a tough climb but at least it's short!

Anyway, here's a few snapshots from along the way (mostly on the way back when it was actually light enough for my camera to see anything)...

Looking back towards Queenstown and the Remarkables from a lookout point on the track.

Sunshine Bay track.

The Sunshine Bay end of the track.

Looking back towards the Remarkables from Sunshine Bay...yep, the sun is still trying to make it's way up into the sky. It's going to be another awesome day (I must have brought the good weather down with me!).

Hmmm, this one is a lot better than yesterday's attempt!

Sunshine Bay track...homeward bound.

The bottom of the One Mile Creek track which starts at the base of Fernhill. I love the autumn colours and how the leaves are all over the track.

Hmmm...I wonder where I might get to tomorrow.