UltraHumps: Port of Tauranga Enduro

Hi Blog Followers

Welcome to my Blog post regarding my 5th event of 8 as I travel my journey of completing the Cameron Brown Award and IronMaori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series.  The 5th event was the Port of Tauranga Enduro Half Ironman in partnership with IronMaori.  The Enduro makes it more than a Half Ironman, in some ways more than two thirds, but less than three quarters of an Ironman, with the distances of a 3 km swim, 120 km cycle and a 25 km run.  So how did it go?

I headed to Hawkes Bay where my household is (commuting to work in Wellington) on Thursday night, but stopping in Manawatu on the way to say goodbye to Derrick with his next move overseas with work.  Derrick was on my Support Crew for Ultraman in both 2016 and 2017, so it was great to spend some time with him and his family (steal a meal and coffee from their kitchen) and wish them well.  Staying in Hawkes Bay not only allowed family time for myself, but also allowed a refreshing break in travel from Wellington to Mount Maunganui in Tauranga.  Mel had paid for the Airbnb in Mount Maunganui as part of my Christmas present, so I felt spoilt and it was a great place, far enough away from the hustle and bustle, but close enough for the event.

Once we arrived on Friday and checked in to the Airbnb, we headed to Registration and checked my bike in for the event.  I took the opportunity for the Bike Barn Mechanics to give it a once over as part of the event sponsorship.  The bike was in great condition, but it also provided great peace of mind to see them work it over from the front to the back and have it up on their rack.

After this we headed through the Event Expo then to Coronation Park for a wander around the food stalls and music.  When we arrived back at the Airbnb I rechecked my Transition Bag and made sure I was happy I had everything for the following day, mentally dressing myself with the equipment for the swim, bike and run, plus additional items like towel, sunscreen spray, etc for during Transition.  After this I checked my watch and realised Coach Ray was probably having dinner with his family, so instead of calling him as I usually do the night before an event I text him.  He responded immediately with a game plan for the event the next day, then I had an early night.  This is normally a waste in some ways as I’m a chronic insomniac which comes and goes, so after a few hours sleep I was up in the shower for the day ahead.

So how did it go? I wasn’t feeling too flash when I awoke and after four toilet stops within an hour, I knew this wasn’t pre-race nerves.  Mel and I headed to the race area where I went into transition and rechecked my bike, pumped up tyres, placed on my drink bottles and laid everything out in my allocated area at the Enduro Bike Rack Station.

I purposely left my wetsuit off until the last safe moment and got in a quick swim to check my goggles and get a feel for the water.  The race brief was delayed then we were off for the 3 km swim.  I spat out some viral about halfway through the swim, thinking it wasn’t going to be great day and knowing the swimmer who had been hot on my heels had probably wished he swam somewhere else lol, but I felt better not long afterwards once that was out of my system.  A couple of laps around of which the 2nd lap was shorter and I covered the 3 km Swim in about 1 hour 4 minutes which I was happy with, all things considered and knowing swimming isn’t my strong point.

Through transition and onto the bike.  The slight wind before the swim had all but gone and I could feel it was going to be a hot day.  4 laps around of the new 30 km course which I thought was great.  No hills, as flat as a pancake and more time on the smooth tar seal.  I was in the aerobars the whole way round and only came out for the elevated pedestrian crossings or more dicey roundabouts.  I noticed in the later part of the 2nd lap the breeze came up to give a headwind going out from Mount Maunganui, enough to lower the speedo reading, but not enough to cause concern.  The pros were racing past as we did laps of which I wasn’t too impressed when a couple undertook on the left at a roundabout which is against race rules, but if there isn’t a Technical Official in sight they did well to get away with it.  I covered the 120 kms in about 3 hours 51 minutes which was a pleasing time for myself.

Through transition and onto the run.  By now the sun had become blistering hot, so for the second transition I sprayed sun block on myself as I did in the first transition.  The course had been changed for the run also and was 3 laps.  The benefit of this was less time along the straights parallel to the ocean, but the disadvantage was it was 3 times around the course which meant 3 times also around Mount Maunganui hill instead of 2.  For those that are not aware the Mount Maunganui hill is undulated which means uphill and downhill non-stop on a gravel type surface.  I noticed it was taking about 22 mins from the start of gravel at one end to the end of gravel at the other, so that meant up and down for over an hour with the 3 laps.  To add to this, a couple of years ago there was a landslide near the end of the track which was never fixed.  It was replaced with 44 steps going up, run another 20 metres or so at the top of the stairs and almost as many stairs going down.  By the time I got to the third lap, I was completely drained of energy from the previous two laps as the sun was unrelenting, minimum shade and no breeze, so with the temperature in the 20’s I couldn’t wait to get the third time up and down those steps over with.  From there it was about the distance of an Army Fitness Test to the finish line (I was glad there was no Physical Training Instructor at the finish line to measure that short distance time (Coach Ray lol)).

IronMaori Legends SeriesOnce I crossed the finish line I got a hug from Mel as she could see all the athletes struggling in the heat. She had had a great day doing girls stuff (shopping, etc) when not watching.  I went into the finishers marque and there was an ice bath big enough for about 4-5 people to stand in.  I just went straight in laying under the really cold water which had melted from ice to bring my core temperature down.  Eventually I got out and raided the free goodies on offer then headed to transition to collect my bike, wetsuit, etc and back to the Airbnb where I showered up before returning for prize-giving.  At Prize-giving the IronMaori participants were honoured and were to receive the 3rd part of their additional medal and a free hoodie for completing the 3 events that make up the IronMaori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series, which is the IronMaori Quarter Ironman (Nov 18), IronMaori Half Ironman (Dec 18), and the Port of Tauranga Enduro Half Ironman (Jan 19).

Stay tuned team as I head to my next event of the journey, which is a Cameron Brown Award Event being the Kinloch Triathlon on 10 February 2019.

Regards John Humphries (aka UltraHumps).

Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust

Read Humps’ article from last week here:

http://www.coachray.nz/2019/01/08/ultrahumps-trip-to-waimarama/

And all his previous articles are stored here:

http://www.coachray.nz/category/client-stories/ultra-humps/

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