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The BIG training session - a full race simulation with support crew and transitions from bike to run & back. The idea was to travel from work at Theta to Karekare with as many transitions on the way as possible. A flurry of activity at work had us away on the bikes by 12:30. Alan led the way showing his knowlege of urban bike trails & MTB options near the central city.
After a quick photo stop in Te Atatu in front of the Outrageous Fortune house we were heading out the back of Henderson & climbing up to the first transition on Mountain Road.
Leaving the bikes we climbed up steeply past Fairy Falls then hundreds of steps to eventually come out on Scenic Drive and the 2nd transition. Support crew got us back onto bikes & we were off biking along the power line maintenance track. We were quick on the bikes but the support crew were quicker in cars to drive round to the next transition on Anawhata Road.
Now well ahead of our estimated times we went for the big trek section dropping steeply down Quarry Track then Mackenzie Track into the Piha Valley. Time to get wet! We climbed up the Piha Gorge (or Son-of Pararaha as cristened by Paul). We enjoyed the spectacular canyon with steep rock walls with plants clinging on. The wading & climbing gave way to an optional swim & waterfall climb. Higher up the swims became compulsory as we crossed multiple pools between the vertical rock wall.
Eventually after an hour in the stream we were very glad to arrive at Black Rock Dam and a track. The steep climb up Centenial Track was good to get the blood flowing and warm us up before running via Home Track and Winstone Track to Piha road and another transition.
A slick transition including a quick change to a dry top had us back on the bikes for the short ride to the end of Ahu Ahu Road. The final leg had us running down into Karekare in fading light, dropping out of the bush just before we needed headtorches for a run along Karekare beach in the sunset.
6 hours all up & we were back to Alan & Julia's for beer and pizzas.
Thanks everyone for a great day.
Race team: Alan, Julia, Paul & Jon.
Support crew & pizza making: Dave, Dan & Sua.
2nd level support (Karekare): Trish, Tim, Ryan & Kyla.