Thursday, January 22, 2009
It's inevitable that in the lead-up to Karapoti that you're gonna have to do a reconaissance ride. Weeks ago, Mike had decided the time, and last Sunday would be it. As the day drew closer, all eyes were on the Wind Guru with trepidation as the winds were to be howling and the rain to be pouring. Mike kept his optimism high, as did JJ, while I was my realistic (read: pessimistic) self, predicting that the day could be a wet and muddy hell. Only time would tell. Rain heavy enough to wake me up fell during the night, and text tennis was being played between all in the morning. Mike and his crew (JJ, Jamie, Roger, Grant and his dad) were packed and going, while my crew (Magnus, Paul and Marty) were still debating the merits of risking drowning in an infamous Karapoti boghole. Paul, being the mental case that he is, predicted that the rain would be lighter in the mountains... Marty, Magnus and I derided him, with good reason. Paul should leave the comedy to his brother. As we got closer to the Akatarawas, it was teeming. But we were there, and with every chance that race day could be the same, we headed off up the gorge. It wasn't long, about fifty metres in fact, before we were covered from head to toe in mud. Now Karapoti isn't exactly know as a fun ride, it's pretty much all fireroad, and most of that is granny-gear climbs that seem to go on forever. Magnus got a flat at the bottom of the Warm-Up climb, and waiting for him at the top we were anything but warmed up. Next up was the Deadwood climb, longer and steeper in places, and at the top the rain was getting heavier, and we weren't even close to halfway. We decided to cut our losses and turned around and pinned it back downhill to the carpark, tails between our legs. Mike and his crew had decided the same thing and were already packing up by the time we got back, after returning via a shortcut. By the time we drove back to Welly, the sun was shining but the wind was nasty, so we weren't too unhappy about our decision. Well, I wasn't anyway, and somehow felt like saying "I told you so"... but I'd never do that. The plan is to go and have another crack this weekend, but with the Tour of Wellington winding up with a criterium in Lambton Quay on Sunday, it seems like watching others suffer might be the better option.