Sunday, December 14, 2008

Of K's and T's...

After my first, and only, experience with the institution that is the Karapoti Classic, I swore I'd never do it again. So for this year's race, I was only too happy to let Mike and Josh take the day off work while I dealt with the YJA's and FCS's, letting them endure the granny-gear climbs, the shin-deep bogs and the thousands of punters doing their best to make your day worse than it already is.

But as that day back in March unfolded, and even in the weeks leading up to it, I was more than a little curious, intrigued maybe, with the whole aura surrounding the race. Frequent texts to the guys revealed the heartache and jubilation that can encompass one's day out in the Akatawaras. While Josh had a race he'd rather forget (and which I've probably just facilitated in opening up those wounds), Mike had a storming ride, getting oh-so-close to the coveted three hour mark. It reminded me just how close I had come myself, and the voices in my head were telling me that I needed to have another crack. As I normally do when the voices talk, I quickly dismissed their ramblings as nonsensical gibberish, and went about my day.

With the deadline approaching for the latest issue of SPOKE magazine, Eleanor (our fearless leader and tormenter of contributors) appeared at work one day with an offer, or more like a desperate plea, for Josh to write a piece on the 2009 race. He'd have two days to write it, and as a bonus, he'd get a free entry. Probably still unable to sleep at night from wrestling with his DNF demons, or possibly because he has a slight disdain for being put under the pressure of an unreasonable deadline (coupled with a strong aversion to not being paid until months after the fact), he declined on the spot, and as I happened to be in the vicinity (and having been conveniently branded a 'staff writer') I was the designated sucker. I wrote the article, took the entry and tried not to think about the actual painful part (the riding).

Now I knew there would come a time when I would, indeed, have to start thinking about that actual painful part. And I've been thinking about it a lot, to the point that it is starting to dominate my riding thoughts, rather than just the usual "I can't wait to have a beer after this" which is about the only time I give credence to the voices within. Even the 'T' word has crept into my psyche... training. And training for the Karapoti always seems to involve that other horrible 'T' word, the Tip Track. Ian suggests doing repeats up it, three at a time. That's almost the total times I've ridden it! Ratas wanted us to climb it yesterday at 8am... of course we pointed out his stupidity and left him to acsend alone. But I concede that I'll have to face up to it sooner or later.

So the entry is in, there's no backing out, and the sub-3 is the goal. I'm entered in Pro/Elite class, the idea being in the first wave of riders gives you no traffic to battle with the later start of the age groups (and being so old, that's a lot of riders to wade through). There's talk of the major sponsor Merida loaning me a bike to ride, either for the race or a pre-race photo shoot, and the bike will be a Ninety-Six, a light XC weapon. Not sure which spec, but I'm hoping it's this...

My other thoughts have been to maybe getting a new Epic and tricking it out with my nice bits...

Or the Stumpjumper 29er is still in the back of my head too, I could build it up nice as well...

If money was no object (and it is) then I'd pony up for one of these (frame and fork only)...

Whatever bike I'm on, the only certainty is that I'll be suffering, and when it's done in under 3, I'll be able to walk away from the K word forever... or will I?

5 comments:

Mike & Karen said...

So there doesn't appear to be a chance that you'll do the race on the bike that you actually own at the moment? What's wrong with that one?

brettok said...

There's a good chance of it.... If I buy a Stumpy S works or a 29er or an Epic, then I'll be on a bike I own.
It's all speculation, and I'll probably still have my current bike, which is still awesome....

Josh said...

Podium.

Josh said...

Surely your current bike is a bit porky for that sort of thing...

Flametop59 said...

Sounds like fun. At least it is a good opportunity to justify buying a new bike. You are living the dream.

Getting to ride and write about it at the same time.