Long post alert – A lot to cram into today, as finally some action worth raving about.
I can kick off today with a decent Celebrity Watch update! It just so happened last night that I ran into Steve Hansen (All Black Coach)! Learning from my previous star struck experience in Whistler with Mr Shandro, I was well equipped to manage this situation. Here’s how it rolled:
- Me: “Good work on the weekend maaaate”
- Steve: “Yeah… Thanks”
- Awkward silence as we stand waiting for the lift…
- Steve: “Is there a bar in here?”
- Me: “Yeah, its on 3”
- Steve (deadpan): “I only need one”
- Me (nervously): “He he… yeah… Yes.” and then “Make sure you pinch the Wallabies noses on Saturday”*
So, no gushy outpouring of weirdness from me this time, but a mental note that the AB’s coach has a deadpan sense of humour. (*last comment may have been in my head as opposed to verbal)
Right… to todays cycling action! I really needed a tune up today… Not a long ride, but I needed to get the heart rate up and be FORCED to ride in a way I didn’t want to ride… I needed some suffering and a session when you’re close to vomiting and begging yourself to give up. How to achieve such a wish? Easy:
Every town has one of these rides… The hell ride. You know the one, its the same day, same time and same course every week. Its where people front up to hurt themselves and more importantly, hurt others. This is where your hometowns hardest mofo riders can be found each week, rubbing their hands together at the prospect of slaughtering whichever lambs happen to turn up. In Singapore we have ‘Crazies’, every Sunday at 8.30am on the same course. Here in Welly, its Wednesday worlds, lunch time every Weds.
I had heard a LOT about this ride from the boys… It was becoming folklore for me, so I was very curious (mixed with some nervousness) to check it out. The more people you talk to about it, the worse it gets. Then you start to get the “Are you going to Worlds?! Oh man… It will be a hard one today!“. Then the mind takes over and starts to make it feel like a fucking Grand Tour stage! Compounded by being a virgin to the local hammerfest. I had concerns about the gang unleashing a bang.
As such, it was important to get the day off to the right start with the best coffee in town from the best little coffee bar around… This is the place where literally everyone knows your name (well, its just Brandon running it, but his ability to remember his regulars names and coffee orders is nothing short of brain melting, he is a Mensa level Barista):
A few nervous turds later and it was time to front up to the party… Turning up for the first time in my Cannasia kit and it resembled a dog park, there is the usual ego fuelled silence, sniffing around butts and then the odd question as people try to size you up or see what’s going down. I was therefore pleased to see Glenno and Tijs rock up to have a rap. The group was bigger than I expected and apparently, bigger than usual as well. As per usual with these “I am going to fuck you up” rides, the herd moved off in silence and slowly started to form on the ‘neutralised’ section around Oriental Bay.
This is where bike cam will take over telling the story (until the fucker fogged up and ran out of battery). Kick off time:
Apparently the etiquette is that no one really attacks until the Burnham Wharf turn off, but that didn’t stop a rogue Capital rider going early in a doomed attempt. Worlds is the premier training ground, so the perfect place to make blood burst out of your eyes.
I like to get an attack in early to get things working properly, so when someone went early post Burnham into the light Northerly, it was time to bridge across. Like I usually do, too much effort into the jump and bridge, leaving me to fingered to carry on properly. Here I am making contact:
I then went on solo and started to realise this was a BAD idea, so was rather pleased when the Cavalry arrived in the form of a pair of BMC’s (as common as fuck here), with one Tijs on board, pleasing to see one of my ‘Home’ team mates to come and lend a hand. Everyone loves buddies:
We lapped it out as a dirty threesome, I was absolutely getting more hard training than I bargained for, so just had to block out the suffering and carry on. Soon however, we were joined by a MONSTER… That’s right, Dan Waluszewski powered into our little huddle and started to smash us with massive turns. I tried to match him turn for turn, but while mine felt like I was shitting out a fat angry porcupine, Dan looked like he was doing it easy. As we started to get caught, he then attacked us to form a new break… Scary, here he goes:
At this point I was bleeding my own blood and realised that in the words of Detective John Mcclane I had definitely joined the party:
I had to remind myself that this was a Training ride, even though it felt harder than a race, so up to Pass of Branda with 3 guys clear I forced my burning ass to the front to lead the chase, managing to close in on the escapees but not catching Backy who took the KOM on his beautifully appointed Dogma, close but no cigar, or rest:
By now I was breathing like a Rhino giving birth, seeing HR numbers that I haven’t seen in a long time and wondering if I was going to suffer the embarrassment of being shit canned at the half way point. Perfect time then to get into another 2 man break away… WTF? Yes, unwittingly I ended up off the front again in a two up smashfest around the bays to the airport… I knew that we were doomed though, with the Airport sprint coming up. This is where I ended up in serious shit, as once we were caught, I was swamped and couldn’t hold a single wheel:
All sorts of warning alarms were going off now and I was seriously shitting that I was going to have to tell an embarrassing story of being dropped at Lyall Bay, massively uncool. So, I made some grunting noises and hurt myself to fuck to stay on, getting some slight respite before the final stanza. Here I am glued to Backy’s wheel around the final bays run:
Into the final gunfight up happy valley road and we had 4.4km’s @ 2.7% gradient to go… Not steep, but a slight head wind and suffering the effects of punching each other in the face for 30km’s or more.
Someone clearly wasn’t happy with the pace at the bottom, yelling out something that resembled “Get the FUCK on with it”, which resulted in some red mist for me, so I jumped off the front in one of my most idiotic and unsustainable attacks of the day… It didn’t take long to realise that I was in the shite, so I sat in to 6th wheel and just tried to survive.
A couple of km’s to the finish and I found myself second wheel to Backy, his rear wheel starting to fade from my eyesight as my vision blurred and failure alarms rang in my ears. I wanted to give up, pull off and eat Kapiti Ice Cream… I didn’t want to be second wheel bleeding like that pig carved up in Predator. Clearly the rider behind me could see my body language and I heard this low growl and command come my way: “Hold that FUCKING wheel”.
This embarrassing instruction seemed to do the trick, as I held the wheel, but more embarrassingly had nothing left to come around and take a pull like I should have. Nor did I have anything at all to throw down when Dan Wanasmashyourlegsin attacked with 2 others with 100m to go to take the win… I managed to get out of the seat and looking like a seal humping a couch I got across in 4th place I think. Serious summit happiness that it was over:
After 10 minutes of getting my breath back I realised that this was a fucking awesome ride and hit out… An excellent course and group of hard as fuck riders, what more could one ask for every Wednesday? I can see why its so addictive. Today also happened to be a new Strava KOM for the WW course, so just my ‘luck’ to turn up on a day that was fistingly fast and hard. What did my heart think of today? It thought it was mental:
How do you recover from such an effort? Well, if I was pro I would have gone home, vomited, swapped a blood bag and slept for 7 hours, but in true Dirty Nomad fashion I rebalanced the emotional hammering of a sufferfest by turning to comfort food. As I am in NZ this week, I had a list of key items I wanted to tick off:
- Foxton Fizz
- Violently flavoured Salt & Vinegar chips
- Kapiti Ice Cream Boysenberry calorie massacre ice cream
- Garlic mussels
My mission for the afternoon – Hunt down and consume. I executed this with extreme prejudice, even backdooring it into a trade show for some complimentary Foxton Fizz:
Not content to stop there, it was time to take it up a level… BOOM:
So – In summary, if you are in Wellington with your road bike and want to find the limits of your suffering ability, head to Circa Theatre at 12.15pm on a Wednesday, stay away if you are allergic to BMC’s, but if you like pain and knife fights with dwarfs in a telephone box then you will fit right in… Enjoy!