Day 2 in New Zealand – Big climbing

I must admit to a bit of doona heaven this morning. The bummer is that it doesn’t get light around here until 7:30am. So the alarm went off and I saw it was still dark. So I turned it off and fell back asleep again, only to wake at 8:30am. By the time I’d had breakfast and got myself ready it was knocking on 10:30am. Not a good start, but still plenty of time to get up the get up the big hill out the back of the B&B here in Cardrona.

I was told by the owners that it’s a 24km road up to the top and around 1,000m at the peak. Now, neither of those statements were true. On my recce yesterday, I climbed 250m in 4kms, up to just over 750m. So either the road flattened out severely, or they were a little mis-guided. Not to worry, I’ll just run and see what happens.

I decided from the outset that I was going to run as much as I could, if not the whole hill. This wasn’t too bad at all, and while there were a few steep sections, the going was pretty good with an average of around 75m per kilometre of climbing. As I climbed, I soon realised that there was no way in hell that this road was 24kms long to the top. In fact, it was just a mere 14kms to the top of the hill, and a peak of 1,500m. Not a bad section to run though, 14kms and 1,000m of vertical – all of it run. Not one stop. Total time up there was 1hr 40mins, so an average pace of 7min 10sec per kilometre. Pretty pleased with that. Put another way, it’s a little like doing two Kedumba reps on top of each other.

The climb up to the Snow Farm in cardrona

Once up at the peak, I was going to look around and see if there were any trails I could head off on, but this was soon put to bed because:

– It was pretty much a complete white-out up there

– It was fricking freezing (snow was just starting to settle)

– I didn’t have a clue where to go or indeed, where I could go

So a little despondently and rather than risk getting lost, I decided to head back down the mountain, after I’d done a little detour around the snow park up at the top to add on a few kms. As I headed down, it felt good to have the effort gone and I enjoyed the first few kms of descent. Then it started to do my head in a little, and the longer it went on, the more my little niggles started to come into play again. For some reason, my calf is hating the downhills right now, and around halfway down, I knew this was going to be the day’s work done, so I continued on my merry way until I finally reached the bottom, and back to the B&B for a nice hot spa.

We’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow, but I’ve found some good out and back trails that start from the B&B. There’s a good climb up the mountain again, and then there’s a few options when you’re up there which stay fairly level, and should make up a good 40km run or so. I want to keep on fairly flattish terrain tomorrow, and if that’s up high, even better. For now, a bit of ice and muscle rub cream on the calf, and hopefully all will be well for tomorrow’s little excursion up to what’s known as ‘Roaring Meg’ and beyond.

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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

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