Friday, December 31, 2010

Tora Christmas Race

On Sunday December 19th, a group of the PNP Club members drove to Martinborough for the opening of a new track in the Tora forest. The day involved a cruisy group ride around the track, then a one lap race followed by a dip in the pool and BBQ.

The race itself was a blast. It had some unexpected big climbs with tight switchbacks followed by fast flowy downhills with floating jumps and well constructed berms. I finished up 6th overall, 5min down on the winner Gavin McCarthy. Results can be found here 
Marco Renalli kindly mentioned me in the PNP Newletter stating "Rider of the day I’m nominating was Raewyn Morrison who rode very fast up and down & finished 6th overall".
Uphill switch-backs. Photo from Shane Wetzel
I have also competed in a few local cycle races as a bit of fun. I had a nice surprise with how well I did considering road is not my forte.  I came 3rd overall in a 3 person time trail and was the first women in a hill climb up the Maungakotukutuku Hill.

 I am starting to see some HUGE gains from my training: I'm getting faster, stronger, and about 4-5kg lighter than last season.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Huka XL Challenge

The Huka challenge is an 80km off-road course designed to take the same time and equivalent difficulty as the 160km solo around the lake. There were 11,000 competitors doing the Cycle Challenge this year, with over 600 doing the Huka Challenge.
Race day! Saturday saw an early start of 5.30am. The race began with a controlled race start with all the licensed riders at the front. I
had my hardest and longest training week ever the week leading up to the race, so I knew I was going to be racing slightly fatigued. But despite this I still felt pretty good.
The majority of the race was in Craters of the Moon, which I rode mostly on my own. I was enjoying it, making the most of the smooth fast tracks. I knew this was going to be my strongest point of the race, so made the most of it and really started pushing myself.  I dropped a full drink bottle very early on, and in 27 degree heat I knew Id be in trouble. Luckily for me Dirk Peter's Dad and my Mum came to the rescue, and I was able to receive another drink bottle at 2 of the drink stations. 
The course went to the dam, and then up along side the Waikato River, past the Huka falls and into Spa Park. I just put my head down and pedalled as hard as I could with everything I had left for the next 30km. everything hurt, my arms, legs, back, throat, and my legs starting seriously cramping.  5km from the finish the woman behind me caught up, I panicked and was determined not to be beaten by her so I put in an attack and just rode in the big chain ring the rest of the way, engulfed with cramp.
Coming down the home straight towards the finish there were crowds of spectators packed all along the street, cheering me on and clapping. I had a massive grin on my face as I crossed the finish line in 6th place at a time of 4.49 hours for 80km. I am pleased about how well I did racing twice the distance I am used to. I was 7 minutes slower than last year, but last year I actually tapered for the event so am not worried about the slower time.  I'm very pleased with how I am feeling and very excited for the 2011 season coming up. 

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to my Dad, who did TWICE around the lake for the first time!

Single Speed World Championships 2010

A race with only one gear, beer shortcuts, costumes, and tattoos for the winning gal and guy, this is a mountain bike race that stood out from the rest. A chaotic start saw 1050 people from over 30 countries awkwardly riding in a small circle, awaiting the unpredictable randomized start. 
The hooter blasted marking the start of the 2010 World Single Speed Championships in Rotorua. A small entrance was made in the circle, leading onto the open course. Unfortunately I had just passed the entrance so was made to do a full lap of the circle to get back around to the entrance with more than 900 people in front of me. A very unlucky start.
I started trying to pass people, but with everyone shoulder to shoulder walking their bikes up the first hill it proved quite difficult. I ended up grabbing my bike and running up the side of the track through blackberry bushes as far as I could. The frustrating thing was all the bottle necks where the track narrowed, literally coming to a dead stop waiting for the traffic to get moving again.  As soon as the track opened up, I was off to gaining as many places I could. By the top of the hill the congestion had stopped and we could actually get on our bikes and ride. On the down hill to prevent getting stuck behind everyone I took the "alternative" route through potholes, ruts, stairs, and a bit more bush bashing at the side of the track to gain further places without taking anybody out. 
During the race, riders had the opportunity to skull a can of beer which resulted in a shortcut on the course. There were 4 shortcut opportunities within the race, therefore 4 beer skulls for the keen riders. I missed the first shortcut as I was a little wary of how the beer would go down, I ended up losing so much time to those that took the beer shortcut that I did them from then onwards.  The second lap was much better, the field was spread out so I was able to ride fast.  I put my head down and pedalled my heart out, working my way up the field. One last beer skull and I was finished in 2.45 hrs putting me in 8th woman overall.  I am pleased with the result considering the unlucky start.  It is a day I will never forget, the atmosphere at the race was amazing, with half drunk riders in costumes from dinosaurs to super hero's to Animal (from the Muppet's) and numerous spectators cheering everyone on and having a good time. Definitely hope New Zealand will get to host again in the future!