Saturday, 3 October 2009
kona diary - day 4
trouble on the queen k (and goodbye to a turtle)
They say ‘bad luck comes in 3s’, well they do if you think of it like that – though I’m sure I could think of other events today which might be classed as ‘bad luck’, if pushed to justify a saying that bad luck comes in 4s or 5s…and in any case ‘bad luck’ is just one way of looking at today’s events. All along it is possible to see the positive benefits, so “good luck comes in 3s’ would be another!
I did not join the others to swim in the ocean this morning, but accompanied them to the pier to take some photos and who was around. Each morning it gets busier there. The plan was to get out on the Queen K highway for 8 – about race time- and get an out and back ride to Kawaehae before the winds switch direction – which I believe happens at about noon-1pm. Easy ride out then 2 x 45min race pace intervals on the return. As I was wheeling my bike out of the hotel room I noticed the rear tyre was semi-flat. Bugger. Pulled out the piece of wire that had caused this slow puncture and changed tube. Bad luck no.1 – slow puncture, the second flat in 3 rides! However what GOOD luck it was that I discovered this before leaving and was able to fix it in my room. The valve extender was being a bit fiddly and did not have access to Russell’s track pump, so I’d be riding slightly soft, but was not too much of a delay.
The ride out on the highway felt great initially, with a tailwind, but soon turned into a real battle as the road rounds to face the increasingly strong winds side/head on. The second hour was a real slog and I felt totally drained by the time I could see Kaaehae in the distance. 4 miles to go seemed just sooo far into those winds and I was flagging. But I knew this feeling, and have learned the remedy lies in a great big cake. This has happened to me twice recently – feeling lousy on a ride, pop into a shop for a banana or nuts or other healthy snack and coming out with huge greasy packaged patisserie item, packing 800kcal pure sugar and I’m feeling right as rain again! Not the optimum solution – that would be to eat ore real food before heading out, or even better refueling after the previous day- but one which works. Now that I recognize the symptoms I am able to make better choices about the food that I buy too – so 2 Sweet and Salty peanut bars and a packet of cheese pretzels at the store and I’m in a far more positive frame of mind. Plus, I feel pretty sure that I’ll benefit from a push from that ghastly wind for part of the ride back.
Again, I’m about to head off when I feel hat the rear tyre has gone down again. Crap. That explains part of why the ride out felt so bloody hard, too. Figure that if it’s a puncture it’s pretty slow and decide just o re-inflate it. Easier said than done with the valve extender being temperamental, but I get a bit of pressure in it and start the second leg of the ride. I decide to ride 30 min to let the food digest before starting the first interval – after which I’ll check see if the tyre needs air, before doing the second.
What had been a driving head wind before is now a strong side wind coming slightly from behind and is pretty damn scary. Don’t care about race effort here – if I was racing perhaps I’d be a bit bolder under the influence of adrenaline but don’t feel like taking the risk as these gusts sweep me right across the shoulder, I’m braking. Not sure what that achieves other than that I’d be hitting the lava at 20 mph, not 30….through the worst of it, stick the tunes in and start the intervals. I’m feeling pretty good now, enjoying the effort and the heat and the rising and rolling road. The side winds have eased off; I have a tail wind and am moving at speed. Feels good. Frequent glances down to my rear tyre though and I can see that I’ll need to put a bit more air in. Break for 10, and hop off to sort it out. Figure that the valve is leaking through the extension. About 10 min into the second interval the tyre is real flat again. Pull over and decide to change the tube and check tyre just in case of slow puncture. None – it is the valve extender which has lost its thread and is leaking air almost as fast as I can pump. Shit. Fiddle fiddle ..snap. shit.
The tyre expels all air and I now have no means to inflate it. Game over, out comes the thumb. Bad luck no. 2. GOOD luck no. 2 – after about 2 minutes a very nice couple pulls over, stick my bike in the tardis-like trunk of their hire car and give me a ride all the way to my hotel. Added bonus – this all happened in good time for me to figure out a better valve/extender solution before race day – otherwise I would not have tested it. Gonna go get me some long valve tubes and f**k the extensions.
So, all this kind of ruined my bike session and it wont quite be a brick run now, but make the best of it. Pretty quick transition for a 40 min run up the Queen K with 30 min at race pace which today seemed limited to 4:50 – slower than I target in training but I’m thinking to myself that I’ll be pretty happy if I’m running that pace on this stretch if road in 10 days time!
So bad luck no. 3? Well this is the one that pissed me of the most – loosing my ‘lucky’ turtle earring. Just finished an easy 3km pool swim and noticed turtle was not there. Gutted. Lucky Kona turtle – I’ve been wearing it for 2 years since my last trip here, a symbol of why it’s worth all the effort, discomfort, compromise. The fact that I’ve been wearing it fro two years makes it pretty hard to make claim of any ‘lucky charm’ status – good things and bad things and have happened whilst wearing it!! I guess the GOOD of that is having to detach my self from superstition, or lucky charms..and facing the fact that there is no LUCK. Things happen – we may not have chosen that course of events, ideally, but there’s always a solution and something we can learn from situations. But i really like that earring :o(
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