Old Boys, Young Girls and the Traverse

August 12, 2014

Gisborne, my current location. According to Wikipedia is infact a city and was renamed in 1870 after one colonial secretary William Gisborne. I have chosen to give away the warm winters of the Gold Coast in Australia in order to be kept under the close watchful eye of my coach Stephen Sheldrake (swim coach Matt Martin) as I relearn the fine art that is swimming.

 


The reason I am here..... Swimming. "Rise and Shine its 5.15am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you it’s too early too dark and too cold to get out of bed. Aching muscles lie still in rebellion pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move. But you didn’t ask for their opinion the one you have chosen is a voice of defiance so get up put your feet on the floor cause we have work to do. Welcome to the grind." This is played over and over again as I drag myself down to the Enterprise Swim Complex to get psychologically bullied by the recently turned teenage girls in the lane next to me. I have now come to know that air is a very valuable asset of mine when it comes to swimming and followed closely by the one or two second of well appreciated rest I may sometimes get throughout the 4-8km sets. It is on the improve though and Im sure my hours and weeks of hard work will pay off come summer.

 

 

For cycling I am currently doing approximately three rides a week consisting of a hard, harder and harderer ride all with semi masters riders (as politely as I could put it). Ride one falls into the category of see how hard you can go over a series of intervals on the wind trainer until you either throw up, lose consciousness from blood rush to your legs or sometimes if you are lucky both. Ride two consists of riding around the streets of Gisborne in an “Urban MTB Gang” bunny hoping curbs and occasional, if we are lucky, going off road. I had the privilege of course design a few weeks back so thought I would take the gang proper off roading. It turns out my navigational skills aren’t the best around high country farmland when someone turns out all the lights. Ride three, my favourite of all, I often refer to as the “Pissing contest”. The longest ride of the three where its intensity is all based on a select few riders testosterone levels and often ends in a last man standing format or in most cases tears.

 

 

THE TRAVERSE was my first real blowout race since I had arrived and with “The ALPHA Male” tag on the line there was no holding back. It all started off going directly to plan with The Time Trial train leaving the station with no carriages right from the fire of the gun. The main contenders sat in the main peloton looking at each other wondering who would make the first move. I had taken two boxes of matches (metaphorically meaning number of efforts I could exert) with me today and I used one box lighting it up on the first climb destroying the peloton into groups of one and twos. I went over the top and all the way back to transition having caught the TT train with my coach and we had a handy lead after the 30km road bike. The 18km mountain bike was next and after navigating an easy road section, there stood in front of the lead pack of now two the first obstacle, an electric tape fence.  After receiving three or four solid joints from that fence the rest of the ride went “relatively” mishap free. Next leg was my time to shine with an 8km road run. Over this leg I strung the field out even more with my nearest competitors, The Coach and my homestay Dad, I now held leads over them of approximately 4 and 10minutes respectively. But could this be enough to hold on.....

 

 

Leading into the race, with the last leg being an 8km paddle, I decided three weeks out now might be a good time to learn how to paddle. After starting at the top with the most difficult (skinniest fastest but most unstable) I worked my way down to a boat where I would be paddling more than I would be swimming. This obviously compromised on the speed but at least I would stay dry. I could see my competitors closing in with each stroke and was finally caught with 300m to go but had just enough to hold on for second. My first multisport race had come to a close and after collecting the toys I threw out of my cot in the closing stages of the race, I congratulated a well deserved Craig Hoskin on
the win.

 

 

That concludes my first blog entry I hoped you enjoyed the read along with my new website. I look forward to you tuning in again for the next instalment.

 

 

Kieran McPherson

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