Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Huka Diaries

*tap tap*

Is this thing still on?

Hello again, it's been a while.

Things happened. In particular, my knee happened. And my back happened. Specialists happened. The marathon didn't happen. In fact, quite a lot didn't happen for a while. It wasn't a good time.

Thankfully, medical science has stabilised my back to the point where I can watch a movie without having to pause it while I get up and walk around to alleviate the pain, the doctor has given me a high chance of osteoarthritis in my knees unless I Do Something (thing not specified) and eventually demotivation brought on by the medical profession and chronic pain gave way to the grit-teeth fuckyouness of realising that my knees are like my tattoos. They might be shitty when I'm old but I may as well enjoy them know.

Which brings me back to the mountain bike. I have a new one, which fits and cost a not-tiny amount of money and gives me no end of joy. I also have a new ridiculous thing to aim for: the Huka Challenge. 85m off-road MTB event, held on the same day as the Taupo Cycle Challenge at the end of November. It's a bit terrifying.

And exhilarating. In terms of effort, the marathon pretty much compares I think. However, this feel different. My training schedule consists of daily workouts on the bike (road or spin), regular weights session at the gym and at least one weekend day out at Woodhill or one of the many other fine parks of the muddy and sweaty persuasion (which will increase as we get more daylight and I can go hit up Totara after work). Where running felt like a clockwatching exercise at times (the blog became a reason to run, I'd formulate posts on the long sessions), being out on the bike is a joy. Every time I go out I'm improving at something, every time I take on a track I manage an obstacle that I didn't before. It's a bit addictive.

On the 15th I have my first event, the first in the 20-25km Auckland Challenge series. There are three of those taking me up to a fortnight before Huka, as well as the 60km Taniwha in early November. The calendar is starting to fill up with weekends away and club rides (I actually joined a club this time) and my washing line is increasingly neon and containing funny-looking shorts.

With all this in mind it seemed right to reopen this blog of adventuring, just to keep tabs on the whole thing. At the moment I'm managing about 16-20km on long rides and I'm working on getting my cardio and lower body strength up (this weekend saw my legs go to jelly while the rest of me felt fine, which was a new experience!). MTB seems to have a bit less of the mystical waffle that surrounds marathon running, and at a recent training weekend the wizened cycle guru's sole advice was just "Ride more". Works for me....

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