Friday, 9 January 2009

down under 1

Admittedly we did not get off to the very best start to the year, and rather than arriving in Christchurch full of beans and ready to hit the ground running, we arrived full of cold and exhausted from the last minute exertions of packing up and moving out of, and moving my sister into, my home. During the 30 hour flight via LA, on the plus side I managed to catch 4 movies, an entire series of Gavin And Stacey and several episodes of Peep Show, on the minus side I also managed to catch conjunctivitis and so my first views of Christchurch have been through eyelids stuck together with green goo…..

However, the weather has been beautiful since our arrival – yesterday being the hottest day of the year with unofficial reports of 40 deg in places, which takes some getting used to when the last time I was out training it was below zero all day- so we could not wait to get out for a gentle ‘shake down’ ride. We rode a lovely loop south of the city around ‘the bays’ which surround an area of high ground, which is traversed by a couple of pass road offering various length cuts back over the hills and into town. We had not noticed when planning our little excursion that these passes were considerable climbs, and in our fragile states were pretty done in after the 3 hour ride in that heat!

Today started with a jog to the pool, and for me ended pretty promptly with an about turn and jog back to bed with my throbbing head and sore throat whilst Steven knocked out a 5k swim without me. A bit of sulking and a couple of Lemsip tabs and a cheese omelet later we headed out on the bikes to explore the other direction, north out of town. Christchurch’s situation on the coastal edge of the Canterbury plains means that in every direction other than immediately south, it’s flat as far as the Southern Alps. It is possible to ride for hours along a perfectly straight, and all-but flat road for 2 or more hours without coming to anything to break the monotony. We spotted a town 50km up the road called Oxford and headed toward that (it’s amusing us that many of the places names around here are called after British towns – last night we had tea on Brighton beach!). Not my preferred sort of riding, especially into a headwind, but these will be fantastic roads for training in aero position and similar to the racecourse at IM NZ. I made my return by a parallel road back into town (slightly downhill and tail wind) whilst Steven took a more exciting but longer loop back along the foothills of the Alps.

So, already we have stumbled across 2 great and very different training routes and have plenty of ideas for longer variations of these to be tested once we are fully back to health!

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