Sunday, December 9, 2012

city of sails ... Day 2...!

Another day down!

Don't feel obligated to respond to these mailers, they are kind of just for my keeping a log of what's going on anyway.

First open water swim today with team canada.  We rode about 6km out of Aukland to a beach at 8 this morning.  Nicely organized, they had bouys set up off-shore and bike racks monitored by volunteers.  Everyone had to sign in the book before heading out since they wanted to know if somebody was missing.  First impression: holy crap its cold!!  Hard to get your face wet, it's quite a shock.

Swam out about 500m before turning right and swimming parallel to the beach.  It was difficult to see the shore and thus felt kinda weird to be swimming by oneself.  Finally found a small group to finish the swim with.  Waves maybe 1.5 feet and blowing about 15 knots. 

I realize why sailing is popular here, its always windy.  Great for sailing but a little scary if you are swimming or riding a bike.  Swam maybe 1k or so and headed back for shore, swallowed a huge gulp when the odd wave got me - and almost retched everytime - holy crap its salty!  Water is a weird light green color - kind of like some glacier lakes you see in the Rockies.

Had intentions of another loop when I got back, but only made it 20m offshore before deciding that was a dumb idea and returning to the beach.  Nice ride home chatting with Dave Taylor, a hospital friend (vascular surgeon) from VGH.  Gotta watch the sewer grates, they are about 10cm below street level and really jagged, would flip you end over end if you hit one while your head was down.

Afternoon was the team canada bike practice, just a casual loop of the course so we could see it once before the race.  Big group, maybe 70 riders from team canada came, we noodled along the course checking the corners and hills.  Impression: holy crap it's scary.

Hill descents with sharp corners at the bottom, crazy deep sewer grates, manholes and assorted traffic islands all over the place...  Add a thousand or so fast age groupers racing each other seems a recipe for disaster. Our heats are about 3 min apart and there are about 100 people per heat, so there will be a lot of bodies on the course at once.  Add to that freakish, random direction, strong winds.  Its very sketchy and my goal has changed from 'making time on bike' to 'please, please don't crash' on the bike.  So far race stratedgy is survive swim, survive bike, then race the run.  Hmmm...

There was a team run in the afternoon, but I was sick of 'team' stuff by then and figured a run course is a run course, no advantage if I've seen it or not, so I bailed.

Dave T also invited me and my possee to the leading edge team dinner, but Ame-pooh often makes dinner out challenging and I don't know many of those guys, so we bailed and made spagetti in the room.

team VGH

Also watched the aquathlon chapionships today - basically a 750m swim and a 5k run (I think).  Varga - a pro triathlete who is one of the worlds best open water swimmers handily won the race.  He won't do as well on Sunday when faced by the complete field of pro triathletes.  It was quite a nice buzz watching the race, tons of people, loud cheering, huge grandstand and music etc... should be really something for our race if the weather cooperates... (fingers crossed).

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