Hawke's Bay Today deputy editor Grant Harding, who will be participating in Ironman New Zealand 2013, having completed the event in 2010 and gone to the start line this year only to be denied by the weather, shares his Ironman life.
I now understand why the organisers of the Tour of the Bay don't allow on-the-day entries.
Because if they did, nobody would have entered yesterday.
Talk about bitter conditions - wet and cold. I'm certain it was colder than at any other time I have ridden this winter/spring. Mercifully, the strong winds of Saturday had disappeared.
This is how it went: rain began to fall as I drove from Napier to the Regional Sports Park - I hadn't been able to locate my rain jacket before leaving home ... no jackets available to buy at the event ... got ready and started to warm up on bike; so miserable I considered heading home to bed and a run later in the day, but looked around and decided to go with all the other mad people, and not waste the money I'd paid online on Friday ... froze during the briefing ... and then at 9am we were off ... down Evenden Rd, Raupare Rd, out on to Omahu Rd, into Taihape Rd, then Ohiti Rd, Matapiro Rd, Otamauri Rd, back into Taihape Rd ... generally managing to stay with bunches but getting pushed to the front too often for my liking ... feeling good at 60km other than the fact I can't feel my fingers and I'm soaking wet; my protective glasses were covered in dirt early and stored ... at Pukehamoamoa School we're through 70km - very attractive woman on the corner (not relevant I know, but thought you'd like to know that I was taking in the scenery) ... along Matapiro Rd which I know well from IronMaori ... didn't know the new course - this is just the second time they've used it - was as tough as this; some solid hills and lots of undulation, and in these conditions hitting speeds in excess of 60km/h downhill feels dangerous ... into Ohiti Rd again, and starting to hurt ... sick of hills by 90km and then we're done with them ... just a stroll down Taihape Rd, before ridiculously the run-up to the Fernhill bridge feels like a hill, then back onto the flat, into Omahu Rd and spinning all the way home to Ormond Rd ... thumbs up to the photographer at the finish line - frozen but happy ... 214th out of 282 finishers in 3 hours 40 minutes 32 seconds; my first 100km ride since Ironman New Zealand 2012 training was banked and I hadn't thrashed myself - well, not completely anyway ... even better, the drug-free Lance Armstrong was behind me; even funnier, former Hawke's Bay lock Grant Mitchinson was placed in the woman's results; not funny - didn't win a spot prize.
It was a tough end to a poor week of training, school holiday duties (harder than Ironman training) and a rugged work roster - evening (1.30pm), morning (9am), evening-morning - having drained my energy.
However, it was an excellent week for thinking and gaining motivation. The media build-up (mostly on the web) of the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii yesterday, provided food for thought and inspiration, especially on social networking site, twitter.
The pro athletes and the age-groupers are machines. But they work hard.
One article which resonated was about Ken Glah, an Ironman legend, who qualified for Kona for the 29th time.
Due to work pressure he can't train much these days, but he can train smart. What I particularly liked was his statement that if he didn't have to work he would happily train five-eight hours a day.
I watched Hawke's Bay's Brett Mudgway finish at Kona on www.ironmanlive.com. I know Brett would have been disappointed with his run, but he and John Moriarty, who finished a bit further back, are the athletes I look up to.
With 20 weeks to go until Ironman New Zealand 2013, yesterday was a useful building block. The shower after it was hot and longer than normal!
In association with Hawke's Bay Today