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Piper Runs Again

Piper went for her first post surgery run this morning. It was only about 5 minutes long but it was long enough for us to see that she still favours her damaged leg a bit. We will do the same run with her for a while to see if the leg improves some more. She has a bit of muscle to build back up.

After work we went for a lake swim after work out by Waitara. It is a handy location as it is only about 10 minutes from the house.  We met up with a group that often swims at the lake. At first the water felt too warm for a wetsuit swim but after a while I got used to the temperature. Not a large lake but a swim from the where we entered the water out and around and island near the far end and back was about 800 metres. Was a nice change to a ocean swim in that there were not waves or currents to deal with.

Round the Mount Done

We did the Taranaki Cycle Challenge yesterday in 6:15. A bit slower than last year. The weather was hot with minimal wind. The first three legs out along the surf highway to Opunake went well with Emma and I having no trouble staying together and at times joining other groups of riders. As usual though there is very little effort by most of the riders to take a turn at the front of the group. Emma and I made an effort to share the work load.

At Opunake we turned inland towards Kaponga. It is a slight climb the first half of the way from Opunake to Kaponga. This was an area that I had trouble with last year, this year Emma had her turn. We backed the pace down a little till she recovered and once the road flatten a bit we were able to power on to Kaponga.

Kaponga to Pembroke School (just out side of Stratford) is always my undoing. It is a long gradual climb. I am getting better but long gradual climbs are on of my weaknesses on the bike. We rode part of the way with two other people at a good pace but then I got a stone jammed in my front break and had to stop for a second. The group broke apart and I lost some momentum. I was looking for Pembroke School around every corner and was thankful when we got there. We had a short break to top up our water bottles then were off again.

Pembroke school to highway 3 is a fast easy section that went well. Once on highway 3 just like last year the inside of my right thigh cramped a bit. All I could do was ride it out. Highway 3 climbs a bit to Midhurst. We tried getting in with a few other cyclist but it just did not pan out. Just outside Midhurst we got a small group of 4 going at a great pace then my tyre made a loud bang and I had a flat. I cut my rear tyre which caused the flat. When repairing the flat I did not notice the cut in the tyre so when I put a new tube in the new tube blew out just as I was mounting the wheel on my bike. A support vehicle had stopped to help and had aired up the tyre for me. As I went about fixing my flat again I found the large cut in the side wall of my brand new tyre. Lucky the support van had tyres so I was able to mount a new tyre and tube and we hit the road. We had to stop one more time for a few seconds as when we had stopped to fix my flat Emma had opened but not shut her saddle bag. Off again to Inglewood. Near Inglewood we latched onto another a group of riders.

Inglewood to New Plymouth I was pumped for but that would not last. The first rise we hit both Emma and I had leg cramps in the inner thigh. We backed off a bit and had to let the group go. We soldiered on and soon were at Egmont Village. The last challenge of the ride is Burgess Hill just outside of New Plymouth, then one other small climb then it was a easy few minutes to the finish line.

We notice that we see many of the same people through the day. Seems that we (actually I get passed on the hills, Emma is a better climber than me) get passed on the hills, then catch and pass them on the flats. So one way to improve our time and overall placing is to get better at climbing. Though at the moment can’t imaging doing a 6 hour ride again.

Today we had a sleep-in, then went for an easy swim to get the blood flowing. We will get a bit of rest then start training for our first Olympic length Triathlon (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run) in late March to prepare for.

Big Day Tomorrow

The bikes are ready to be loaded up in the car. Tomorrow is the Taranaki Cycle Challenge. We are in the solo class so we ride the full 148 km course that starts and finishes at the horse track in New Plymouth and takes us around Mount Taranaki. This is our longest and biggest cycling event of the year.



First Triathlon of 2015

On Sunday the 16th we did our first triathlon of the new year. Emma did the sprint length event and I did the shorter super sprint. Forecast had been for poor weather but the day turnout to be great. We both had a good time and were pretty happy with how things went.

Piper has healed up nicely after getting her knee fixed. To limit her activity a bit I put a gate up to keep her out of the back yard. For now the gate is held closed by a bungy cord. Need to sort out how to hold it open which is how long term it will stay. Since the gate is just outside our bedroom it cannot be allowed to rattle and keep us up at night.


Coastal Walkway extension

Over the past few years there has been talk about extending the New Plymouth coastal walkway. Last year the council talked about some options on where through Bell Block the extension would run. This spring we started to see some construction in Hickford park for a walkway running parallel to the road. We had also seen a bit of work being done at the old boxing club, and down at Bell Block beach.

Tonight we went for a run by the old boxing club and were surprised by all the work that had been completed. They had poured a concrete path down to the old boxing club to a new bridge that lead up hill towards Hickford Park. We followed the new walkway towards Hickford park and hugged wetlands then along the park to connect to the existing pathway leading to New Plymouth.

We can now take the sideway to Mangati Road, cross the road and be on the Coastal Walkway. It we hang a right after crossing Mangati road we will have a new concrete pathway to the beach. Another right at the beach will take us along the beach to new a new stairs and ramp access to Tiromoana Crescent. So lots of new options for us to walk and run, or even use with our bikes.

Tuesday Night Bike Race

We have been doing the Tuesday night criterium races at the cycle park the past few weeks. Tonight was a blind handicap race on the short course so we would not have the steep climb at the back of the course to do. Everyone took off at once for 10 laps. Based on our first lap time they handicapped us so the first person across the finish line after 10 laps would not necessarily be the winner. After the final tally Emma was second and I was third.

Tuna Season

Was in the grocery store to get a few bits and saw some nice chucks of Tuna at the fish counter. So of course I had to get some and we had out first feed of fresh Tuna. Depending who you talk to December / January are said to be Tuna season so nice to see fresh Tuna mid November.



We ended up skipping our Saturday ride last weekend as we had a birthday party to go to plus a few other things going on. But Sunday was a great warm only slightly windy day which made for a great 50 km ride. Should be my last ride on my current chain and cogset as they need replacing. Using the opportunity to change my gearing a bit by adding approximately 3%  to the highest and lowest gear giving me a slightly broader range of gearing. Could do without the higher gear but the low gear I will take advantage of.

Another change I have made is the way I handle the gels we use to provide energy while we ride. Normally the gel is in a little single serving that you keep in your pocket and eat on the go. I find handling the packaging a pain especially in events where I am going hard. So I have been testing a plastic flask to hold multiple servings of gel. With a little water added to thin the gels I find the flask quick and easy to use when on the go. Added bonus is the gel I have been using is sold in bulk form the this significantly cheaper than the single servings.

Yesterday I changed my gearing and installed a new chain on my bike. Instead of using the Shimano pin to join the chain, I used a reusable KMC quick link. The quick link was easy to install and has the bonus of being removable which is handy. Tested the new setup on the trainer and all seemed good but out on a long ride today the chain was noisy. A quick shifting cable adjustment sorted that out and I did find I could feel the difference with the lower gear when climbing.

Surgery Appointment

We got confirmation of for Pipers surgery. We will drop her off at Massey University on Oct 22nd and the team there will evaluate her condition and use the appropriate technique to repair her knee. In the mean time we are doing our best to keep her off her leg.

Emma and I are trying to keep some fitness, but is hard as we both just cannot kick the colds we have. Some nasty bug going around that keeps people down for weeks on end.

Unbridled Enthusiasm

The title describes Piper to a T. This past Wednesday morning Emma heard a yelp and Piper came in the house on three legs. Her right back leg held up and when Emma checked it out in made a loud pop (no Emma did no break Piper). An unscheduled trip to the vet found that she ruptured the ACL in her knee. Now Piper is on enforced low activity, no freedom to chase birds, run like a hooligan about the house with a shoe in her mouth to convince us to take her for a run. But she still has unbridled enthusiasm. She could teach us a few things and lord if we could bottle some of her energy. Surgery is being investigated, most likely to happen at the vet school at Massey University in Palmerston North where they have the resources to evaluate the knee and use the best fix for the knee. The local vet has few options to offer for repairing the knee. By all accounts post surgery and post rehab Piper will be able to run and jump and play again.