Monday, July 27, 2009

XTerra Race #4 (Waiuku)

XTerra Race 4 Waiuku
Last weekend was race four in the XTerra trail run series. This was the furthest I've had to drive so far. The race HQ was a ways south of Waiuku, nearly two hours from the North Shore, where the Waikato River meets the Tasman Sea. I'm glad I made the trip. Unlike the last race, this time the weather was perfect, and I think this was the best course yet.

That said, you can see from the photos that it had been raining right up to the day of the race. There were a number of large puddles out there, including this one right at the start.

The course itself was amazingly fast. It's almost 3km longer than the Riverhead course, but I finished over an hour faster, and that's got nothing to do with anything I did between those two weekends. ;-)

I actually thought for a minute that I might break two hours for the long course in this race. But once again I'd underestimated the sadistic streak of the race organisers: in the last few klicks some horrific mud pits appeared out of nowhere, and the finish was a load of sand hills. I was so shocked to be struggling with what had seemed an easily reachable goal a few minutes earlier, that I neglected to grab any pictures of the mud pits. They really were one of the nastier surprises of the series. Nice work guys! ;)

So even if I didn't manage to break 2:00, I'm still quite happy to have knocked an hour off my 20k time. I've noticed that I've also broken into the top 10 in the overall rankings for the series long course. As with the Beach Series, mainly by virtue of attendance. But hey, swag is swag (if I can sneak a few places higher by the end)! ;-)

XTerra Race 4 Waiuku

Sunday, July 05, 2009

XTerra Race #3 (Riverhead)

XTerra Race 3 Riverhead
Last Sunday was race 3 in the XTerra Trail Run Series. This time it was right in my backyard, just a 20 minute drive down the road to Riverhead forest. A couple of my co-workers decided to do the race as well: Marco (one of the members of our lunchtime running group) and Steve. That was probably a good thing, as I was pretty close to going back to bed when I woke up to pouring rain. ;-)

I'm glad I didn't, it's always good fun splashing through the mud and puddles once you're out in it. With the rain, this course was quite tough. We pushed fairly hard, but still came in at 3:03:11. Marco's wife and two little girls did the short course, they came in just a bit after us, with their umbrella's and gum boots. :-)

Next race is down at Waiuku, where the Waikato River meets the Tasman Sea. It's not far from Port Waikato, where my friend Tony and I once went to have a look (from a distance) at the Weathertop location from the Fellowship of the Ring movie. Hopefully the weather's nice that day. I wouldn't mind grabbing some photos, as that's another part of the Auckland region that you'd rarely have any reason to pass through.

The Watchtower of Amon Suil