With only 6 weeks to go until GODZone I am getting nervous. The training is still needed, gear and nutrition sorting. So far the build-up has been fun and exciting. I love adventures so I decided that was what I wanted to do for training this summer and that is definitely what I got.
It’s been a busy few months of build up. When study finished in November I went from Christchurch to Australia for work and then afterwards moved straight to Wellington to start a new job for the summer. I thought it would be challenging having a full time summer job and balancing training. I had it all planned out with shorter trainings on weekdays and longer training sessions and missions on the weekends. I discovered it was actually easier to train around the job than my degree.
After my first week of work, I headed off on a weekend mission with some fellow adventure racers. We drove to the Tararua Forest Park on Friday night and then biked and hiked into the hut, arriving about 1.20am. The next morning we had another day of hiking, then biking/hike-a-bike and another hike. Our final day was a bush bash hike and then biking back to the car. I made it home at 10pm and had time to sleep before work the next morning. It was a great first weekend mission to the Tararuas.
The next weekend I went whitewater kayaking on the Otaki River followed by a hut bagging day trip to secret huts the weekend after that. Then, just before the Christmas holidays, I headed to the Tararua Ranges for a specific hut-bagging mission so I could add huts 46, 47 and 48 on my list. This leaves me with only two official DOC huts left to bag in the Tararuas.
I headed away from the Tararuas for the rest of break, exploring some new areas. I took my Mum with some friends whitewater kayaking on the Tongariro river (that counts as training right?) and she loved it. My teammate Tom and I also did some whitewater kayaking and went to the Redwoods in Rotorua for some fun and technical mountain biking. I also enjoyed a day trip mountain biking on Timber Trail with some mates.
I then headed down south for some training with my teammate Nathan. We did a day trip into Nina Hut and Devil’s Den Biv in the Lake Sumner Forest Park on our way to the start of the Old Ghost Road. After a wet and rainy day, we were glad to have the rain stop when we set up camp. The next morning we set off at 7.40am aiming to ride the entire Old Ghost Road (85 km) in a day. It was a fun and challenging day. This was the first time I had ridden with a lot of weight on my bike and was surprised how much difference carrying a pack including overnight gear made for riding. On the first ridge, the weather packed up and we were blasted with wind and rain. We stumbled into Ghost Lake hut as icicles and took some time to warm ourselves up. The weather improved, making the rest of the day enjoyable. Along the way I bagged lots of new huts which was exciting. We passed through some incredible terrain and riding it in a day seemed way too quick to let us enjoy it fully. With tired bodies, we finally made it to the end of the Old Ghost Road and found a nice spot for the night and enjoyed some sleep.
We had a slow start the next morning and headed off on our bikes towards Charming Creek Walkway. This was fun but I started wishing I had a full suspension bike when the track was super bumpy with railway tracks. A fantastic waterfall was one of my highlights of the trip. We continued on to the Denniston short cut, which was a big change in terrain from the Old Ghost Road. It involved rocky four-wheel drive tracks with some steep ascents and descents. It was good fun but by this time, I did not like sitting down on my bike much. We finally made it back to the start of the Old Ghost Road after two awesome long days training on the bike.
After that, the break was over and it was back to full time work. I swapped the long missions for shorter after work training sessions and hit the longer stuff in the weekends. Sadly, a weather bomb thwarted my last big hut-bagging trip in the Tararuas. Now I’m sorting gear, food and nutrition and starting to get everything ready for racing. For now the training continues and I keep counting down the weeks.