Tag Archive: offroad

Summer adventures in Canterbury

I'm off home again tomorrow but I've been chilling down in Christchurch for the summer and in amongst working and surviving aftershocks I've been out and about exploring. Now Christchurch itself is basically flat...flat as a pancake...except for the Port Hills which are anything but flat. I hate flat so fortunately Michael lives pretty close to the hills.

We've been riding up Mt Pleasant in thick mist where you could only see a few metres in front of you. We've cruised up Evans Pass and along to Godley Head with a lovely (haha) headwind all the way up.

We've ridden out to Halswell Quarry. We've raced out to Sumner several times (with a couple of dips in the ocean for good measure). I ventured out on my own up to the Sign of the Kiwi (and didn't even get lost for once!).

We've watched the men's New Zealand Road Cycling Champs and see local boy, Hayden Roulston, blitz the field. Oh, and seen them come tearing so fast down Hackthorne road that it was scary!

We've also been running up in the Port Hills via several different tracks. We've jogged along the river. We've run in circles round the park (oh intervals, how I dread thee). We've run a 5km race at Hagley Park.

Top of Mt Vernon, oh yeah!

Then we've run up and around the Port Hills a bit more for good measure (and battled strong headwinds and long grass to get to the top).

We've been climbing several times at The Roxx, even giving some bouldering a go for something a bit different.

We've even managed to escape from Christchurch in between work and head out towards Arthurs Pass, exploring the hills around Craigieburn, this time without the snow unlike in TWALK (but there was an awful lot of wind...threatening to blow me off the hillsides).

We spent the night camping amongst the trees in the rain at Mt White.

Then run through the bush the following day to the Hallelujah Flats (up up up then down down down) and bashed back down through the river (which was freezing cold).

Canterbury, you've been awesome and I can't wait to come back! Oh wait, I will be back next weekend...awesome :)

SummerNav - Western Springs

This was the last SummerNav event for the year and also the last orienteering event for year...it's crazy how fast Christmas is arriving! Anyway, my street is actually on this map so it was always going to be a little bit exciting to have an event here. It also meant I got a nice little 5 minute warmup on the way to the event (and I was so hot by the time I arrived the thought of doing a course was a little crazy - humidity is going through the roof at the moment).

Unlike some previous events here, it was definitely a runners course which didn't really suit me. None of the usual scrambling around for ages in the bush wondering where the hell you were or the legs crossing over the river which either meant getting soaked or taking forever to go round. Oh well, still good fun.

I didn't have any speed in the legs tonight (the heat and humidity probably played a big part) but at least I could keep running. The first legs were around the lake then we went into the stadium where there was a rather cruel control at the top of the hill. Then #8 and #9 were in the dodgy bush bit that really needs remapping. Then it was off to the other side of the map with some fairly straight forward legs through a couple of schools. Then it was back over to the far side of the map and a quick loop round the lake.

I felt really slow but managed to cover the ground a bit quicker than expected. Felt like I was melting out there though. Now to start some proper running training for next year!

SummerNav - Epsom Campus

The last time I ran on this map (or at least the Epsom campus bit) was a Nationals sprint race a couple of years ago. My big memory is that it is a maze of buildings and impassable fences! It was blisteringly hot, even in the early evening and there were a lot of street legs to make up the distance on course 1. Fun times. As usual, Allan, Owen and I all turned up around the same time. Allan was first, then Owen and I started about 2 minutes after that. Got confused in the buildings on the first control which is always a brilliant start but things picked up after that and I had caught up to Owen by #8.

We both proceeded to run round in circles for the next few controls with the buildings causing a little bit of grief! Then it was a long leg out to Mt Eden. #15 wasn't in the right place so the group of us that had eventuated at that point just gave up and headed off to the next one. That happens at these events sometimes and it's really not much point bashing around for too long if you know exactly where you are. It was then a bit more street and building nav then up the side of Mt Eden where I finally managed to break away from Owen again.

Another long leg to the final couple of controls which were in the web of buildings again (and again I didn't exactly have the best route choice). Oh, and then a sprint finish...I was pretty much dead by the end! Got a bit mauled by blackberry in one patch of bush which is always fun. The little kid at the finish who saw all the blood kept asking me if I was sure I was okay! So cute.

SummerNav - Craigavon

The Craigavon map is probably my favourite summer series map. It's deceptively complex despite being made up of tiny blocks of park with stretches of street inbetween. I was still not feeling that fabulous (still tired and had started feeling nauseous and dizzy quite a lot) but it's course 1 or nothing baby! As per last week, Owen, Allan and I turned up at the start together so we set off at minute intervals with me starting first. I made a few crazy mistakes and stupid route choices early on starting at #5 where I must have been standing right on top of the control but didn't see it so went searching for it!! Then I had a bad route choice to #8 which cost me a lot of time.

Allan caught me on the way to #12 so he must have made even more mistakes at the start than I did (turned out he had a disaster at #1) 'cause he runs a lot faster than I do. We ran together for a while which was quite fun. Together we had heaps of trouble trying to find #15 on the mythical stream bend...what stream bend?! Then at #17 he took off as it flattened out (he hates hills) and I was way too tired to even try and keep up. I still found myself walking most of the hills...and there were a lot but they are pretty steep. Lame but I think I'm not quite recovered yet plus I haven't done very much running in months! I did beat Owen by miles though!!

SummerNav - Point England

What was I thinking letting myself get talked into running course 1 only 2 days after the World Rogaine Champs?! I just set off at a fairly casual jog with Allan, Owen and Steve setting off in minute intervals in front of me.

I was reduced to a walk with a bit of jogging after #12...any slight hill and I was completely done. Oh man, if I could have finished by then it would have been great! But then I caught up to Owen at about #14 so that meant I had to run again! I was so dead by the end that it was ridiculous (Owen and I raced each other across the field to the finish). Nice to see that my legs sort of still work though!

The Great Forest Rogaine - Rotorua

The Great Forest Rogaine was an 8-hour rogaine in Rotorua in the Whakarewarewa Forest (also known as the Redwoods) organised by Brent from the top adventure racing team Orion Health. I was racing with Michael again (how does he put up with me?!).

We had an hour to plan our route and when we got the maps it was pretty daunting 'cause it was HUGE! It was also really unclear just how much of the bush you'd be able to bash through and what the terrain would be like. I've been to the forest a few times before but only for mountain bike orienteering so I had never really paid attention to the forest. Our planned route turned out to be way too ambitious but you never really know until you get out there and we didn't know how my foot was going to handle it.

I must have been pretty happy at this point!

We were pretty much walking the whole way in order to look after my foot and also because I haven't been on my feet much (spending the last 6 weeks almost purely on bikes) which meant there was plenty of time to suss out routes and work out what we were doing.

Navigation seemed pretty easy as most of the controls were on tracks or clearings just off tracks, and if they weren't then they were on pretty obvious features like tops of hills (obvious but not always that easy to get to through the bush). We discovered fairly early on that bashing though the bush didn't save you that much time and, if possible, it was best to stick to the tracks. It was frustrating because we are much better at tricky navigation and sticking to tracks when you can't go fast just feels tedious.

Unfortunately I started to feel really ill after only an hour which was probably because I hadn't hydrated nearly enough before the race (it started at 2pm). There were some pretty painful periods as I struggled to keep going and I was finding it next to impossible to get food into me even stuff I normally race with fine. This is something I'm really going to have to be conscious of for the Worlds since that starts at midday.

Changing your socks helps your feet feel better again for a little while...perhaps I should have gone round with 8 pairs of socks!

I started to feel better eventually (maybe 2 or 3 hours later?!) but by then my feet were screaming at me. Not good. They had gotten so soft from not being used! And I wasn't super comfortable in the shoes I'd chosen but they did have more support and cushioning for the balls of my feet which I figured would be important to keep from refracturing my foot.

At least the scenery was pretty right?!

With about an hour and a half to go I got pretty moody and got really pissed off at Michael when I thought he was bush bashing to try and cut a corner. Turns out he was following an indistinct track to the control but hadn't told me and I hadn't been concentrating on the map so it was a classic case of miscommunication. Sigh.

We had about couple of hours of darkness as the race finished at 10pm

We were 3 minutes late back which was frustrating but oh well. Michael told me I was crazy for running the last section despite how much my feet hurt but I am terribly stubborn sometimes. Luckily it does appear my left foot is mostly okay still.

The Worlds are in 2 weeks. ARGH!!!