Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 4 at worlds - roaring again today

Roaring 40s? Maybe? Day 4!

I'm wondering if NZ is located in, what's known in nautical circles, as the roaring 40s.

It's the part of the southern ocean where the wind and storms seem endless.  It's where sailors thank their lucky stars when the wind drops to ~only~ 50 mph.

We were greeted again this morning by alternating clear blue, and then black rainy skies, with a perpetual hurricane force wind.  I needed to get in a last ride before before the big race, so when it was blue above at around 9am, I took off hoping I could get in a quick 1 hour hammer, and get back before the next squall hit... HA!

Well, in the hour and 15 minutes I was riding, it cycled between blue sky and torrential downpour 4 times..!   Really?!  And the bleedin' gusty winds kept threatening to send me into traffic or a lamp standard at 40 kph.  I reaffirmed that it's a scary course, after trying to convince myself otherwise: wet crowned roads with off camber corners and lots of metal lids and such on the road surface.  Yeesh...  The other kicker is that I realised that combining the P4's crappy brakes with a wet carbon brake surface and my stopping power is suspect at best.  So I'm worried about other racers getting nervous and braking hard and me not being able to decelerate fast enough.  Hmmm....  One other fun thing: the rain intermittently got so hard the hammering noise it made on my TT helmet got deafening.

I finally rolled up to home sweet hotel just as the sun re-appeared, but with every part of my kit and shoes thoroughly soaked and squishing.  A hot shower kind of put things right, but knowing the afternoon plan was a recon of the swim course left me with a slight feeling of dread.  The whole of Auckland bay is solid whitecaps.

We chilled around the hotel for a couple hours - then when the course opened up at 1pm ish, we walked down to the blue carpet starting docks at queens wharf where we start the race from.  The weather was a little better, it only rained lightly and alternated with sun.  The wind howled as per the norm.  Swimming in whitecaps and very cold water isn't quite as freaky when you do it with thousands of other people, so it didn't seem as crazy as I'd first thought.  I stepped on a small shard of glass when donning my wetsuit, so I figured if the blood attracted any sharks there was a good chance they'd bite someone else, unsure of who exactly it was coming from.

Swimming out to first bouy, I noticed there was quite a strong offshore current.  I briefly stopped to look around, but with all the other challenging conditions you couldn't really tell, which was for the best.  After a couple loops and around 2 km of swimming I happily climbed up the ramp and jogged up to Dad who'd been keeping my bag.  Somehow he'd gotten some axle grease or something on it while I was swimming, (oh, dad...) but at least there was some dry clothes and towels ready to go.

Another long hot shower when we got home, and then lazying about the hotel for most of the rest of the afternoon suited me nicely.  In the evening Dad babysat while Sato and I nipped out to explore the harbour and we enjoyed some cups of tea while out on the town: par-tay!!  Living like a monk for a few more days before I can start testing the local craft beers...

rolling out the carpets...

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