Tauranga Half and Bike to Morrinsville

This morning was the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman and Andrew, Ben and I had taken Craig’s (of Hobsonville Physiotherapy) entry and transferred it to a team entry for the race today. Team Hobsonille Physiotherapy.

This was my first visit to Tauranga and I can understand why people enjoy it so much.  Sun was shining, plenty of good cafe and eateries and the surf was loads of fun. 

The plan for my day was to do the swim for the team then jump on my bike and do my planned 180km TT back towards Auckland (originally I was going to ride all the way back to Auckland but it was decided that it would have been more detrimental to my training).  The boys were going to complete the race, Andrew on the bike and Ben on the run, then they were going to drive back up and pick me up around Mangatawhiri.

The day didn’t start as well as we had hoped with no facilities to cook any breakfast, so it was bread and peanut butter (spread with a spoon) and creamed rice to get us going. 

Our race didn’t start until 20 minutes after the individuals  so I had a bit of time to see where the course went and watch the tide movements before I got in for my warm-up.  My nerves didn’t really start to kick in until I got in the water and someone asked me where the swim went “I thought it went all the way to the white marker but the age groupers are heading for the red one?”  Well that got me doubting how I was going to attack the swim. I needn’t have worried.

Just before the start I spotted Brent Foster (a fish) and thought I would sit on his feet for the swim.  The nervous energy started again, 3 minutes until the gun and everyone started to edge forward, 2 minutes and everyone started to get horizontal in the water, more edging forward.  1 minute, people looking serious now, no more chatting.  30 seconds, everyone looking forward.  10 seconds my heart is in my throat and GO!!!!!

I quickly jumped on Brents feet hoping to stay there for a couple of minutes and get a drag along but, alas, no.  There was no staying on his feet for me, he was off like a rocket and my heart rate would have been through the roof.  1 minute later I had to slow it down a little which was a little disheartening but it was the only way I was going to survive the 1.6km still to go.  The first buoy was a fist fight to get around but once around things started to thin out.   The course was 2 laps, a small one first then the second on of 1.2km to finish with a run onto the beach in the middle.  

At the turn around point it looked like I was in a group of about 6 or 7 people with a group of about 10 or so 50m ahead.  There was no way I was goig to catch the guns at the front but I needed to start stretching out and getting into my stroke.  Sure enough, once I started to relax I started to pull away.   By the end I had dropped the others apart from one and ran up the beach to hand over to Andrew. 

Top 20 finish in the water and we cam 9th overall in the Teams (7th in male teams) so Andrew and Ben did amazing jobs in the bike and the run, well done boys.


Next it was time to jump on the bike.  The plan was to go out of Tauranga the way we came in, over the Kaimai’s to Matamata but things didn’t go quite to plan and I am ashamed to admit, its because I did the normal bloke thing of not reading a map. (well not often enough anyway)

Firstly I started to follow a rider on the road I thought was right and 30 minutes later I realised the hills were not in front of me getting closer but to my right and I was passing them by.  A stop to look at the GPS told me I was heading towards Whakatane (way south of where I was meant to be.)  I managed to find a route through the farm land to get myself back on track without doing to many extra kilometers. 

Right, back on track and only 1 hour lost.  I saw a sign for Bethlehem which I had seen on the way in so I thought I would get myself some water for the trip over the range. After a quick refuel (and a small brag to the service station attendant about my ride to Auckland) I got on my bike again and headed down the road. 

About 20 minutes later I could see the hill staying on my left for some reason, this wasn’t right…. another stop, another consult with the GPS and I could see I was now heading to Waihi.  WTF!!!

U-turn was the only option.   20 minutes later I was on the main road to Matamata and about to climb the Kaimai’s.  Only 1.5 hours behind schedule.

PUNCTURE!!  Oh Comon!!! 

The climb up the Kaimai’s was awesome all be it long.  The only way I can describe it is like doing 3 hill repeats up Scenic drive and the view at the top is exquisite.


And decending down the other side was amazing.  Matamata was my next stop for a pie and refill of bottles. 

The next 10km were flat and fast but my knee started to give me trouble.  5km later and the pain was unbearable.  I had to make the call to Andrew to pick me up. 

Turns out it might not be too serious just my ITB being a little tight and causing friction on my knee.   A little stretching and care over the next few days should have it sorted.

Overall, a good day but a little dissappointing to not have finished my 180km.  I will be back!!

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