Day 2: What a difference a day and some salt tablets make!

Yesterday was not confidence inspiring — when you feel like total dogpoo the whole day, including when you’re not training, and then are facing an even longer day the next day, doubts begin to creep in.

Since my goal for the camp is to accumulate bike volume, I’ve decided to treat the swims and runs as “optional” — not good for competing in the camp points race, but then that’s a contest in which I’m not going to place well in any case, so I tell myself to remember why I’m here. With that in mind, I wanted to make sure my nutrition was good today and that I was able to complete the bike leg. So I skipped the morning’s swim session and slept in. Best decision of the day.

The route was from Christchurch to Kaikoura, and it ended with a 70k time trial. Of course, for the few of us who couldn’t stay with the lead pack after the first 60k, it was a longer time trial than that! 😉

The ride out of Christchurch with the bunch was quick, thanks to decent pack dynamics and a favorable wind. Once past the first refueling point in Rangiota, though, the pace picked up considerably, and try as I might to stay on the thinning group’s wheel, I and few others were off the back pretty quickly. So it was solo riding for about 30 miles, and in the rain to boot. The good part was the weather was much cooler, so my sweat rate (and therefore electrolyte loss) was a little more under control.

I wasn’t too keen on going to the well in the time trial, but I didn’t totally sandbag it either. After 75 miles, though, the thought of a time trial effort for 40+ miles is a little daunting, so I started cautiously and then picked up the effort level when we got the middle section of fairly steep climbs, which reminded me of home so I felt more in my element. I even repassed one guy who had passed me. One.  A number of the campers are impressively strong &mdash pro Chris McDonald went by me like a shot pretty soon into the ride (starting a few minutes behind me) as did Tara Norton. Ok, pretty much everyone went by me…

After the steep rollers (which had some awesome descents, though some of the passing trucks made for sporty riding), we were treated to a spectacular coastline for the final 10 miles or so up to Kaikoura. It was quite overcast, but at this point, I didn’t need full-on sun anyway. I started getting really hungry with about 8 miles to go and found one gel in my rear pocket, which was just enough to get me through.

Final tally was a little over 115 miles in 6:38 (including stop lights, etc) and about 3500 ft of climbing, most of it in the last 40 miles. I think I did the TT in just under 2:30; the record prior to today was 2 hours flat, but I’m betting McDonald broke it. I skipped the post-ride run, because I am daunted by tomorrow’s ride — 252k up to Nelson. I have never ridden that far in my life.

But for today, I am stoked! I’m allowing myself a celebratory glass of wine with Molina at dinner.

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