Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts on Yesterday's Ride

Do I ever have a major case of hill scorn now! Walking to the dairy to buy a paper this morning I couldn't help but look down on Mt Crawford, on Mt Victoria and the other hills that once caused me to suffer huge palpitations of fear, and laugh. I turned and looked up, and up, and up some more to the Turbine and the radar station. I feel like I've 'knocked the bugger off', to use a certain iconic New Zealand phrase. What bigger hill is there to climb?

I rode a smart ride yesterday. We begun by riding up Brooklyn Hill. I wasn't feeling that fantastic and was probably a little dehydrated. We had the option of riding down Ohiro Rd and back up again but I wanted to spare my knee as much as possible, so I waited opposite Helen Street for the others to return. From there it was another climb up to Karepa Street, where I stopped briefly to put the glove back on that I'd accidentally taken off and put in my back pocket with my arm warmers.

From Karepa Street it was all uphill to the turbine. The first 100m or so of the access road are very steep and several of the squad stopped here to walk. Pip offered to grab me so that I could unclip and stop as well, but I insisted on continuing. Shortly afterwards it levels out, and although there are patches where it steepens a little again, that first bit is the worst of it. I used to live nearby and have driven up to the turbine several times, so I had a rough idea of what I was in for.

I made it to the turbine feeling quite jubilent and then Dee told us we were riding all the way to the radar. I had a brief 'what am I doing?' moment. I considered using my knee as a get out of jail free card, but my curiosity was piqued. I've walked all the way to the radar before and I remembered there being steep patches. I decided I'd rather feel like I'd done all I could and that I'd feel worse if I wimped out.

Only a small group of us rode onwards. Rob was a small red blip on the horizon - a good 100m or so ahead of the rest of us. Dee and I climbed together for a while. I took my cue from her and stood on my pedals for several minutes. This was the first time I'd really felt like I had climbed out of my saddle effectively. I managed to find my balance and put some power into my climb. All the same I really felt my quads! Climbing out of the saddle is something I need to work on.

It's only six kilometres from the turbine to the radar station and it's undulating, but there are some gnarly little steep stretches, a gate to climb over and a nasty patch of gravel. We rode past the castle with its snarling dogs, and past the ostriches. Finally we made it to the top. I was glad to see the top of the hill. I was starting to feel some serious fatigue by that point!

I really enjoyed the roll back down to the turbine, despite one small mishap. At the entry to the carpark is a gate. Before the gate there is a hill then a short, small rise. I unclipped as I was rolling down the hill, then somehow managed to put enough pressure back down again as I was cruising up the rise to the gate that I must have clipped back in. You can guess what happened. I stopped at the gate and toppled straight over onto my right side. Thankfully I did it with as much grace and dignity as possible, and even managed to land in the grass on the verge!

From there it was down, down and down. Downhill always seems so much steeper than uphill, and I always find myself marvelling at the heights I just climbed. It never seems possible that I could possibly have gone up that way just a half hour or so earlier.

Down Happy Valley and Stu stopped for a flat tire so Dee told us to do a loop up Murchison Rd. I opted out of that climb as well, knowing my knee was pretty much had it. I stopped, put my arm warmers back on, and waited.

After a short while everyone regrouped and we cruised off around the bays. It was a simply gorgeous spring morning. The Southerly and wind that were supposed to have kicked in didn't materialise. We rode two-abreast, cruising at around 30 to 35kmph. I rode next to Angela for a while, then moved alongside the other Pip. We chatted most of the way, sitting behind Phil and Rob.

On that ride back around the Bays I got another glimpse of how much my cycling has improved over the last few weeks. I think the Waikanae ride really made a difference. I'm much more comfortable riding in a pack with the faster riders in the squad. I'm not killing myself now to keep up with them. I'm holding my own, holding the paceline and feeling good.

I still felt good afterwards, though I was pretty tired last night. My knee wasn't feeling too good though. I'm continuing the ice and Voltaran regime. Julia and I were going to ride this morning, but after an hour of debating with myself I had to force myself to stay in bed. Thankfully it took a while for the Southerly to roll through and a bit of rain made my decision easier to take.

Later, once the rain had cleared and the sun come out, I walked into town and went shopping. All those ugly helmet photos finally convinced me it was time to hand the monsterous thing back to Hamish. I am now the slightly dubious owner of a rather pink helmet. Pink I tell you! I do not want my Cleo to become all girlified, but somehow this helmet would not take no for an answer.

I had so much fun walking around town, something I almost never do these days (being that I'm always out riding). I bought myself a fabulous wrap dress on sale at Boutilicious for $35, and a black and hot-pink tunic top from Fruiti. All that and my real intention had been to shop for Hamish's upcoming birthday. Oops.

I'm not sure that the walk into town was really that good for my knee, but it was good for my soul. As I was walking through Central Park a Kaka flew squawking overhead. I wondered whether it was one of the four kaka I've seen flying around Mornington every day this week. As I walked down the hill I was swamped by a group of young boys on their skateboards. Everyone everywhere was smiling.

After walking down Cuba Street and Courtney Place I wandered back up Tory Street, Tasman Street then over the hill and down into Vogeltown. I stopped at the dairy for a cold drink then wandered up a pedestrian accessway back up to the Ridgway. By this time all the layers I was wearing had become a real burden. The sun was out, there was no wind to speak of, and it was distinctly warm.

Wellington on a good day, and Pip still marvelling at a weekend where she went for a huge ride. Three years or so into my fitness obsession my mind still hasn't caught up with what my body is capable of. Thankfully I have people like Dee to show me! I'm just sad I can't ride today, when it's so wonderful out there. My knee comes first though and I'm determined to be sensible. I got to spend a wonderful day wandering through town, and it was nice to do something different for a change.

I had to laugh though. Dee amitted to me yesterday that she had never ridden all the way up to the radar station before herself. She and Duck went up there once but she turned back halfway. Great!


Sass said...

Things to say:
-WOW! Go you:)
-The castle up there is awesome - I went to a wedding there once:)
-I hope your knee improves!
-Where is Boutilicious?

Pip said...

Boutilicious is on Cuba St, sort of about halfway up on the lefthand side if you're walking towards Mt Cook.

Stupid knee. I nearly told it to HTFU this afternoon. It was so nice out there Cleo was begging me for a ride!

SUB6 said...

Awesome ride (and report - love the pictures!) ... how far up is the climb ... sounds like it might be a good one to do. I'll mapmyrun it :)

Pip said...

Heya, I just did a Google search because I know there's an annual road cycle race up to the station, and it says it's a 450m climb. I think Dee said it was 6km from the Turbine to the station, which sounds about right. It's the steepness of some of the sections which really hurts!