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!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Rae. Why not add your race reports from last year - they're an interesting read!