Wednesday 26 December 2012

Xmas Tree Decoration

Probably a bit late for this but we had too many good photos to waste. Lea, Bianca, Caitlyn and I had fun decorating the Xmas tree this year and it was a team effort.

The girls had great fun putting on tinsel, coloured balls, drums and bells.

I think they did a good job that was enhanced by the flashing coloured lights.

Caitlyn had the honour of placing the star on the top

A scientific approach was needed

Couple of tree custodians were assigned

 A full report will be given shortly on Xmas Day soon! Hope all our readers had a Happy Christmas!

Friday 21 December 2012

A very unlucky day

At my work I start really early.  I start work at 7:30am and then I finish at 4:00pm.  Then I have an hour train journey back to home.  But yesterday my friend who works with me offered to take me half the way to Porirua where there is a Spotlight (a big store with lots of craft and sewing supplies and so on).  I thought this would be a great opportunity to get my mum something for Christmas.

So I waited around until 5pm when she (my friend at work that is...not my mum) finished and in that time I quickly finished up one of the somethings I am making for Paul for Christmas (but shhh...don't tell him I said that).

At 5pm we left and we went to Spotlight and I found something that I thought would be cool for my mum.  My friend then dropped me off at the station.  I texted Paul that I was almost on the train and not too long after that the train stopped, people got off, I got on and I sat there texting and waiting for the train to go.  The doors then closed and the train started moving.

Except it was going in the wrong direction.  Suddenly I realised I was all alone in the train carriage with not a single person in sight, no way of getting the train to stop.  Finally one of the staff came through and much to my disappointment and frustration I was told that I would have to go all the way back to the Wellington station as that train was not one that went to where I wanted to go and probably a few minutes before the one I was supposed to get on. 

It was one of the most frustrating journeys all the way back to Wellington just so I could get on another train for a 1 hour train journey back home.

Got back to Wellington Station and then managed to get on the 6:44pm train.  People got on, doors closed, off we went.  This time in the right direction.

All went well until we got to Pukerua Bay station.  We stopped.  People got off, people got on and then the announcement that there was a freight train somewhere ahead of us stuck and we would be delayed for at least 30 minutes.

By now Paul and the kids were waiting for me at our station.  And we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Eventually they arranged for a bus to take us to the station before my station and then from there we caught another train.

What a day!  Left the office at 5 and arrived at my station about 8:20pm.

So I think that was my fair share of bad luck now and I should only have good luck from now on.

Monday 17 December 2012

Cycling Club's Christmas Climbing Challenge

I competed yesterday in the Kapiti Cycling Club's Hill Climb Championship. It was a tough 2 km grind up to the Summit of the Maungatukutuku Rd. Don't believe this sign as it was obviously done by someone who was in a motorised vehicle.

I found it really tough as I'm no sprinter but do climb the hills well and finished in 6th place with the top 5 all being quite a bit younger than me. I was pleased to be only 46 seconds behind a very talented and highly recognised and successful rider, Mark Donald who took out the race.

Lea was kind enough to come and support me and take photos. Getting on the course was difficult due to the narrow roads so there were limited photo opportunities. Here are the photos that Lea managed to get of the event.

Calm before the storm

Definitely tougher than it looks

Meeting point

Showing form at start before hitting the climb

First hill bend

A pretty place to be riding

Much happier now race is over

Time to tell stories and find out placings

Here is the link for the results

Thursday 13 December 2012

Taupo Travels

Lea, Caitlyn and I had a wonderful trip to Taupo last weekend. As reported earlier we travelled up for the Half Ironman where Lea did the 90 km cycle leg. It is a new experience for me to be a supporter as I am usually the one competing.

We left at 3:00 on Friday for the 4 hour trip to Taupo. I had made ham rolls to help us on our journey. When we got to Waioru we stopped for Subway. Unfortunately Caitlyn is not a good traveller and felt violently sick during the rest of the drive to Taupo with the windy Desert Rd.

On arrival at Taupo we got ourselves settled in to our unit at Birchlands Motel and had an early night.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny though we were up before dawn so Lea could get down early to the bike transition area. After Denise completed the choppy 2 km swim Lea nervously set off on her bike for the biggest physical challenge she had ever faced. Caitlyn and I followed her for the first 5 km until where the road was closed off.

After a few hours Lea arrived back rather happy to be finished in just over 4 hours. She tagged Rose who had a half marathon to complete in warm conditions. We had KFC while we waited for her to finish.

Later in the afternoon we decided a soak in the hot pools at De Bretts would do everyone a world of good, especially Lea who had a few aches and pains as a result of her ordeal.


After a pleasant few hours we had dinner at Dixie. I had a splendid plate of pork ribs.

The next morning armed with camera I had a short run and took some shots of Taupo.

The trip home the next day was a pleasant drive as we were able to get some beautiful views of the volcanic plateau as we drove along the Desert Rd.

It was a great weekend and I felt proud and priveleged to have been able to support Lea in her Big Race!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Taupo Half Ironman Event

Saturday was the big event.  Well I should say BIG event.  It was probably one of the biggest things I have ever done.  One of those bucket list things.  Except it wasn't really on my bucket list.  It was really a moment of insanity and a backfired joke that lead to last Saturday.  A what-was-I-thinking kind of moment.  But now I'll add it to my bucket list and tick it off.

On Friday afternoon I left work early and met Paul at school so that we could leave around 3pm.  Caitlyn decided to come with us and so we loaded up the car with the last few things including the breadrolls Paul organised for us.  Paul was a bit disappointed (okay a lot...) when he realised about 45 minutes later that he left his guitar behind in his classroom as he was looking forward to having some free time to play.

It is nice that we have daylight savings time because even though we arrived about 7:30 at night it was still light.

We checked in at our motel and then once Caitlyn was settled in bed, I started getting all my things ready for the big race.  I then went to collect my race pack from my friend Rose and Denise at Denise's place.  They were kind enough to get my bike checked in and collected my race pack.

My race pack and helmet - all ready for the next day

Lollies for the road
Once I was all packed it was time for bed.  Except I didn't sleep all that well to be honest.  The guy next door decided at 2am to watch some or the other music show on TV and then some people came walking past the motel having quite a noisy discussion. 

I got up at 4:50am as transition was going to open at 5am and I wanted to quickly install my new little bike computer that I bought and didn't have a chance to install before the time. Paul kindly gave me a lift even though we were maybe only a 10 or 15 minute walk away from where the race would start.

I must say that at this point the nerves really hit.  I knew that this was it, that there was no going back and that I was going to put myself through quite a bit of exhaustion and pain.

I met Rose and Denise at the transition and at 6am when transition closed we set off for the lake where they would have the safety briefing as well as the start of the swim.  It was so nice to see Lynley there.  She has been our excellent Saturday morning coach taking us under her wing teaching us some skills and techniques.  I haven't been for a while as I've been so preoccupied with everything else happening around here.

Me and my awesome team! Photo thanks to Lynley

The morning was really cold and the lake quite choppy.  I believe in the end about 20 swimmers pulled out, but Denise stuck it out despite a few ashtma attacks and getting sea sick and she completed her 2km / 1.24 miles swim in about 1hour 30 minutes.

So proud of Denise! Photo thanks to Lynley.
Once she got out she had to climb up some horribly steep steps and finally made her way to where I was waiting in the team tag area.  We swapped the timing device and off I went.

Lynley watched me as I started my leg of the race (90km / 55.92 miles) and Paul and Caitlyn followed me around as much as they could until they got to the point where the road was closed.

Off I go

I was surprised that the one hill I thought I would really struggle with was not as hard as it was during our practise session.

Going was not too bad and I managed quite well although by the time I got to the turn around point I must be honest I started feeling a bit tired.  During the race I kept bribing myself with lollies and to hopefully boost my energy levels a bit and I suppose it worked to some extent.

Turning around and heading back was hard.  Suddenly I didn't see any other cyclists around other than the occasional one and with rural landscapes all around it became a real struggle as I had little sense of how far I have gone and how much further I still had to go.  To make matters worse my bike computer wasn't working well as I set it all wrong and it showed me going at speeds of well over 70 km / hour (43.50 miles per hour) (probably about 50 km / hour / 31.07 miles per hour faster than I was actually going).  With about 20 - 30 km to go still I could really feel the exhaustion set in.  Everything was sore and I struggled up the hills (I could probably walk faster than I was cycling at that point).  This van followed me and I thought that I must have been last. At one point I stopped to catch my breath and I asked the guy driving the van how much further and he told me that there was only about another 8km to go and of course if I already put myself through 82km of pain and suffering I wasn't going to quit with just 8km more to go.

4 hours and 9 minutes later and it was with a huge sense of relief when I got back into town and headed into transition.  When I had to dismount my bike I wasn't able to run so I walked in and I suddenly felt really emotional as I realised just what a big thing I did.   I racked my bike and then passed on the timing chip to my friend Rose.

Denise, Paul, Caitlyn and I went for lunch as we waited for Rose to get through her 21km (13.05 miles) run which ended up taking Rose around 3 hours 30 minutes.  It was really hot by then so I really felt sorry for Rose.

So proud of Rose! Photo thanks to Lynley.

Around 3pm Denise and I waited for Rose and then we jogged with her as she had this last horrible uphill waiting for her so that all 3 of us could cross the finish line together. 

What an event!  It was incredibly hard, but what a sense of achievement!  Denise, Rose and I have come from nothing and with little more than sheer determination and a sense of not wanting to let our team mates down, we did it. About 116 teams / individuals didn't start or didn't finish and the 3 of us not only started, but we actually finished and that in my opinion makes us winners!  Both Lynley and Paul truly believed in us throughout the process and it made such a huge difference.

Post by Lea

Monday 10 December 2012

Come Cycling

Lea survived her big ride but I'll let her tell you about that later in the week.

Today I want to take you on one of my cycle rides I do regularly. It is only about 25 km [15 miles] so I hope you can keep up the pace. We are going to be riding about 27 kph average but can slow a little on the up-hills. For those of you not feeling so energetic I hope the scenery will make up for the extra energy you are expending.

The ride leaves from my school on the outskirts of Waikanae.

We head now towards Reikorangi on a mainly flat part of the course but I'm sorry today you have a little wind to contend with...head wind I'm referring to, John if you are reading this! Hopefully the views help compensate if you can catch your breath to take it in.

As you can see there is a short uphill ahead. This takes us to the Reikorangi Church before we take in some rolling countryside.

This next part of the course I hope you will enjoy. We have a 7 km [5 mile] ride to the Mangaone Track which will be the turnaround point. Don't forget to take in the wonderful vistas in between breaths and on the pleasant downhill sections.

You've now arrived at the Mangaone entrance where the road ends.

You're on your own now! You don't need me any more as you are returning the way you came. It is a straight forward ride back to school. Enjoy the mainly downhill terrain and you have a nice tail wind to help blow you back.

Hope you enjoyed the ride and be sure to join me again soon! Thanks for coming along and keeping me company as it can be a lonely sport at times.