Another busy weekend down. I don’t own a car so usually I rely on getting rides with other people to events out of town…but this particular Saturday I was unable to find a ride out to the Lionel Fox XC Relays at Woodend. So as is usually the case when I can’t find I ride I was left with the only other option…my bike. It’s about 30km from the flat to Woodend, I reckoned I could get out there in about an hour. Tim and Andy however were adamant that it would take much longer, and I think Tim really underestimated how fast I can ride a bike…so task one of the weekend was to prove Tim wrong!
Saturday came and it was raining. I had been psyching myself up for the ride out, but the rain planted a bit of doubt in my mind as I prepared my gear. I suited up with suitable clothing for riding in the wet and eventually got myself out the door in to the rain and into the wet. The first few minutes are always the worst, the transition from dry and a little cool to wet and warm. But once I was going five minutes all doubts had been put aside and I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to be wet for the next 4-5 hours.
I made good time out-of-town and as I made my way through the outskirts the rain intensity increased dramatically. I hooned across the really narrow Waimak bridge then through Kaiapoi and out onto SH1 for a really fast 500m before crossing back with no problems…sweet…that part always feels the most dangerous and the most scary. I made it into Woodend beach in 58mins…take that Tim!
The Cross Country race was a 4 man relay with 2laps each approximately 2.5km winding through the forest. It was a new course this year in a new area and it was as close to Orienteering as XC gets! The rain abated for a while in the middle but as it came my turn to run the last leg the heavy rain returned. My team, the Sumner Senior mens team was out to bet the Masters team, however for this to happen I had to make up about 4mins…unfortunately I could only close the gap 1.5mins. I gave it my best and ran a good solid race with a big smile the whole way…which got me the 6th fastest time overall and dragged us into 4th team overall as well.
As with any trip out to Woodend, orienteering is required so I deliberated brought out a map and compass. I managed to get in a short warm down/orienteering training in afterwards. A good way to warm down and a good way to fit in some orienteering. Then back it was to the tent for some lunch and preparation for the trip home. The rain showed not signs of easing which made getting out there into the wet all that much harder, and by the time I made it out of the dry comfortable tent I was cold making it that much more uncomfortable.
So there wasnt much mucking about in the cold before I was on my way home again. I speed across the Waimak bridge in the opposite direction reaching speeds over 40km/hr then just kept the legs ticking over for the remaining kms on the outskirts of town. Once into town, time seemed to speed up and quickly I was back home in the thundering rain. Drowned like a rat but satisfied I managed to back up my time out there with a 59min trip back….even more gloating rights. By the time I got out of the shower the rain had basically stopped…such is life!
Luckily Sunday gave us all a break from the rain and it was time for some Orienteering out at Orton Bradley way across Lyttleton Harbour near Charteris Bay. After some extreme flaffing about we made it there in Tim’s Car in one piece, only just! I had a good run making minimal mistakes, keeping the concentration up and running hard. About halfway round the course I caught Tim and Andy J then proceeded to pass them on route choice before hooning comfortably into the finish 5mins clear of the rest of the field. Poor Tim spent a further 10mins in the wrong gully looking for the last control all about 300m from the finish…I was happy with my route into this control taking the safe option and coming in knowing exactly where I was the whole time. A good way to round out the weekend!