Day 6: Up and over

Today we left Collingwood and went back over the Takaka Hill climb to the beach at Little Kaiteriteri, where we did an “aquathon” consisting of a 2k swim and 8k run. I had some mechanical issues with my bike that started yesterday; John the bike doctor fixed one of them, but my front brake requires a part that wasn’t available in Collingwood, so I was riding with almost no front brake. That meant I couldn’t do the descent off of Takaka Hill, but I could do the ride out of Collingwood and the climb up Takaka Hill, then put my bike on the van for the ride down. So I did just that.

The ride up was hard; I got spit off the back of the group about 5 miles before the climb started, so I was doing it on my own. I did catch up to the guy who sat on my wheel the other day up the other side of the climb, and sure enough he glommed on again. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the strength to drop him &mdash I tried a couple of times. 😉 As we approach the summit, I turned around and said, “I guess you’re going to sprint past me at the end just like the other day, so go ahead.” He made some mumbling statement about needing the points and getting his ass kicked every day. Whatever. Fortunately, I run a lot faster than he does, so I figured we’d see what happened in the aquathon.

Kaiteriteri was really a day at the beach &mdash it was hot and sunny. The water, though, was great, and we got some instructions for the course that I kind of half paid attention to. Bad idea, because since I’m the weakest swimmer in the camp, I got spit off the back pretty quickly and had trouble following the course. I found the first set of rocks we had to turn at, but then I couldn’t see any of the buoys (small and black, so not the easiest to spot when you don’t exactly have eagle eyes), so I swam in the approximate direction and hoped for the best. I finally found them, but once past them, I headed back to what I thought was the right set of rocks (the same ones we had gone around at the beginning), but it turns out they were a different set of rocks altogether &mdash much further out.

Once I reach them, I realized my mistake and headed back in, but I was last out by probably 10 minutes. Probably too much to make up in a 5-mile run, but I headed out and went on the hunt. I saw the entire field going the other way, but my wheelsucking friend was in the back and looked catchable. By the beginning of the second loop, I had indeed caught and passed him (I was doing maybe 6:30 pace). I realized, though, that there was a short out and back section that I had inadvertently skipped on the first loop, so I knew I had to do it on the second and therefore needed enough time on the guy to avoid a next-to-last placing (one of the campers was injured so was walking). Mission accomplished, with minutes to spare. 🙂

Then we had 16 or so miles of pedaling again to the Neudorf winery, where we enjoyed several glasses of wine each and some snacks. I thought I’d still be full from lunch, but I was ravenous.

As nice as the end of the day was, the camp is far from over. Tomorrow is a very hard 180k ride; hopefully I will have working front brakes by then.

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