I wrote the below account not long after completing the event. I met some fantastic people at that event that I often am catching up with now – Why is it ‘Multisporter’s’ (and their support crews) are so easy to get along with?? Yet to meet one that isn’t a friendly folk… One wee memory I haven’t forgotten was that I was made to scull a beer in front of everyone during the Mid race Dinner. I had misplaced my timing chip and this was my punishment. Proof that beer doesn’t affect performance! (in moderation :-))
Anyway this is my personal recollection of the two days:
27&28th AUG 2011 – The Coromandel Classic is a two day Multi-sport event that takes place across and around the Coromandel Peninsular.
Day 1 Starts in Thames at the Yachting Club for a controlled Mountain Bike through the town before letting us loose once the gravel of Kauaeranga Valley Road began. This leg separated the individual competitors from the teams who clearly weren’t worried about sustaining their energy. A high tempo, 22km ride that only lasted an hour.
The cool morning caused numb fingers making tieing shoe laces a difficult operation and a slow transition for the run. The 27km mountain run past The Pinnacles was tactically hard, especially the downhill, very steep at times and terrain was mainly angled rock or slippery clay. I gained many placings and timing was only 4mins off the record. My quick leg meant I had got to the kayak transition faster than anticipated and Glenn my support man was still getting my gear out of the car when I arrived.
Having Run so hard the Kayak was very hard to endure, a very slow and demeaning 17km paddle down a river into a harbour then around some heads to Cooks Beach. A shallow river and a low incoming tide caused my boat to bottom out frequently. I passed one boat in this leg but was passed by about 5 others myself. Getting out of the boat was challenge, getting to the bike which was up off the beach was even more difficult.
I spent the 30km road bike to Tairua Township by myself and was passed by a few more. Really suffering on the uphill, I sensed I still had some kick left in me that I wanted to use, However I knew I must savour these energy stores as I still had another whole day to complete.
I Finished Day 1 in 6hours 22mins and was sitting at 7th place in the Open Men and 17th fastest time of day.
Day 2 was a slightly later start than the first day so meant for a small but highly desired sleep in. Body was very sore from previous day but it seemed to have recovered a wee bit since yesterday’s finish line and my energy level gauge was back to full so I was ready as I could be.
Today began with a deep water start in the Tairua harbour for a 15km kayak up Tairua River to Hikuai. I felt this went really smooth and was confident I had positioned myself well. Hoping out of the kayak this time round seemed much easier and the run to the road bike was a good chance to warm the legs up.
The 30km bike hit us hard early on with a steep and long ascent, however once it was over I found a fast group of riders and made it to Whangamata very quickly with an average speed of around 44kmph. The more frequent ‘Multi-sporters’ seemed to have transitions sorted out as I once again ended up slightly behind the guys I came in with due to slow changing into running shoes.
This 21km Mountain Run that took us back to the other side of the peninsular was much easier than the gnarly run the day before. Running seemed to be my strength of the weekend as I once again passed a large quantity of people on this leg with no one passing me. Happy to finally finish the run as pain was really starting to set in, a few in the support crowd were surprised to see me, just disappointed I wasn’t the competitor they were expecting. This only motivated me.
Quickly mounting my road bike for the final leg I knew this where I need to squeeze every last drop of energy and strength from all the muscles in my body. A fresh legged cyclist from a team quickly passed me at the start and I put every effort in to keep up with him and use him as a vortex to protect me from the headwind. I knew if ended up alone, I would quickly lose time and placings, I worked hard to catch him. I struggled but hung onto this cyclist for about 20km of the 30km keg until a faster cycling group past us. They kindly offered us to join in on their quick pace which we did. Unfortunately their pace of around 48kmph was too much for my weary body and lungs and the back wheel of the man in front of me got further and further away from me. I was alone and near exhaustion with 9km still to go. My speed progressively got slower despite that I was putting in 100%. Drooling as well as loud raspy breathing from the mouth was external indications of my internal pain. Finally the finish line came, no one had caught me on my lone section, I was very happy. Roughly hooking my bike onto its stand knocking several other bikes over, I stumbled/shuffled my way through the finish line, collapsing immediately after to rest my body on the support of the soft grass.
Time of the day was 4hours 59mins with an overall time of 11hours 22mins. I found at the prizing that I had earnt a 4th placing in the open mens division which I am extremely proud of. I was overwhelmed with just finishing the race.