The last Du option I did was in 2006 and the new longer run nearly put paid to me. The run was a good 20 minutes longer for most people and the result was that most suffered from cramp at some stage when they got onto the bike leg.
Michael Jacques has been constantly tweaking the course and now he makes use of the Wainuiomata Trail Park which really evens out the course, makes it heaps more fun and achievable and eliminates one of the most heinous sets of hills.
There was a lot of interest at work this year with with a few teams and a few ex GNS employees doing the Individual, all of the them the duathlon option. Myself, Marco and Mark Hearfield were lucky enough to have masters multi-sport record holder Dave Ross ferrying us around and doing our transitions - a very important job.
|The start, 400 odd nutters looking in vain for a firm piece of sand to run on. Photo by Martin Crundwell|
I grabbed my hidden water bottle from a bush and as we hit the tarseal Chris "Navy Seal" Martin and Paul "Grimly Fiendish" Grimwood caught me. We legged it along the flat for a km or two until we neared the Ferry Road climb. Paul disappeared behind but we caught Daniel, and Chris seemed to be gaining on me. Jason McCarty was faking a pretty good run and I could see him about 2 corners ahead of me. He stayed that way until until I got to the very top at Mt Lowry. Jase was 10 paces ahead, but he nailed it on the descent and I didn't see him again : (
|Callum Kennedy on his new Yeti. Photo Martin Crundwell.|
Dave passed me a camelbak, a lid and shoes and I was off - in well under a minute. I sculled a half bottle of drink, a gel, started sucking on my camelbak and tried to tell my legs to pedal all at once. Eventually I caught my workmate Jim (count the vowels) Chrzeszczyk who kindly let me passed on the Labyrinth track. Jim was teamed up with Chris Martin. At this stage it was important not to do anything that was going scare my legs into cramping, so anticipating gear changes well in advance, and not spinning to small, or too tall a gear was the best strategy. Out onto the main firebreak I eventually came across a small bunch with Lee Campbell - last years multisport runner-up, and Elina Ussher. Lee was still gas-bagging as he had been all through butterfly creek!
My nutrition must have started to work as I dropped them and carried on smacking it up the hill, looking for signs of the elusive Jase. Nothing to be seen. It was raining lightly as it was most of the time (I think), well, everything was wet anyway, and I started to notice the ineffectiveness of my tires. They were the same ones I used at Xterra, hardly mud tires, but I figured they would be worth the extra speed along the flatter river bank section. The Stans Raven on the back and the Spotted Cat on the front. Semi-slicks at best. Its not like there was anywhere where I wasn't riding straight up and down so I didnt think traction was that much of an issue.
The mud and water was making my drive train feel and sound terrible, but it never stumbled, no chain-suck or slippage. Getting towards the Stokes Valley end of the course I caught a guy who looked reasonably fit. I wondered if it might have been the record holder for the veterans, Andrew Wheatley (a good runner) so I smacked it on past him. No response. I put my head down and kept nailing it while I still could. Up until then I hadn't seen much of anyone else. To be honest the visibility was pretty bad with foggy mist but I do recall teams rider Wayne Hiscock and Rodney Wallace passing me - Hiskey was standing up and smashing it.
I had been managing to keep the cramp at bay so far but on the descent approaching the Stokes Valley fire roads my quads were getting hammered and they seemed a bit marginal. Ed banks told me later he had to stop at this point and stretch, it was so bad for him. I couldn't help but wonder how Geoff Notman was coping on his Cyclo cross bike, at least I had the luxury of full suspension !
|About to climb up the near vertical bank. Photo Martin Crundwell|
The end was in sight but I was starting to feel a bit off colour. My worries about mixing it with the saturday morning market shoppers in the Hutt Riverbank carpark were unfounded as I only encountered one pedestrian on the footpath. Maybe it was too wet for them?
Any feelings of jubilation at having finished were largely over-ridden by those of nausea, but within a few minutes they had subsided. About 10 minutes later I spied a very grottty looking Jason McCarty.... He had been behind me since the bike transition while the whole time I was trying to chase him down, thinking he was in front !
Awesome. I was very happy with the win in veterans class and only 3 mins off the record set on a pretty dry year. I am moving up to the masters class next year so I wont be taking another crack at the veterans record. I know I couldn't have gone any faster on the day, but I also know I can be a hell of a lot fitter.
Its a good thing I checked my seat-post height on friday night because somehow it had slipped to be almost 20mm lower than it is supposed to be. I have no idea how long it has been like that for, Karapoti? Xterra? I wondered why my feet were sticking out like a duck on my daily commute.
Matt's team mate, Mick Finn, also from my work, was the MC and somehow found the energy to MC the whole event after they won the vets Duathlon team option ! This was probably a short event for Mick who does a few ultras as well.
One thing was evident through out the event, the organisation was incredible. There seemed to be 4wd and first-aid people all around the course, not to mention video-graphers and photographers. The course marking was excellent and there were marshalls where ever you thought you might have needed them. Thanks to Michael Jacques and and his very extensive team of helpers. Hope to see you all again next year.
Results in excel format.
TV3 news video
|One of these guys used a crud-catcher. Photo by Jase's mum, Karen McCarty|