Scorching Duathlon had an away trip to the delights of Upper Hutt. Or is it Lower Hutt South have always been perplexed by the area around the old CIT campus as to where it is. Really, it is more of In-betweenie Hutt, or No-man’s-land Hutt. Either way, the common sight of a Mullet reminds you that you are not at Scorching Bay. We have entered the twilight zone.
Not that there were any mullets about at 7.45am as Ember excitedly made his way to the rack his bike and prepare for the battle ahead. Training has been variable for Ember lately. Personally keen, but undermined by machinery. I did an aerobic session at the gym, but managed to get a puncture on the cycle machine, rolled an ankle on the treadmill, which had speed, incline and terrain settings, thus spat rocks out under my feet, while I ran up the equivalent of mount Vic at 40Kph, then finally to the rowing machine, which I managed to capsize. Gym management was not very thrilled at my attempt to create a sense of realism to the rowing machine area by opening a fire hydrant to create a current against the rowing for a more quality workout. Needless to say, I am persona non gratis in yet another gym. This does mean getting out the wetsuit next week and into the sea for the free gym called Wellington Harbour. Love this place so much.
Once again, the Angels switched on the cracking weather which probably hit 18/19 degrees today. (Note to self, sun block season early.) Wellington weather seems to be improving with this global warming malarkey! Good to see a lot of the regular Scorchers and Scorchettes, but field was a bit low. So, in a blatant example of plagiarism from an Aussie tourism campaign of a few years ago, “Where the bloody hell are you?” If you decided bed was the better option, wrong answer. Today was the second event on the trot for perfect weather. Wish you were here!
Ember entered in the longer event as per usual to get value for money rather than athletic glory. Two rides up Wallaceville hill, easy as! Yeah right! Two hurls down Wallaceville hill priceless! (More plagiarism?) Before the pleasures of Whiteman’s Valley the reality of the run.
10k, but flat. 10k, early in the morning, not for us, but for the population of middle Hutt. 10k in middle Hutt. Welcome to the alternative dimension which is Middle Hutt. The normality of an early run for us, is greeted by a local population who think getting up at 9am is an early start and the walk to the end of the drive to retrieve the newspaper is akin to a trek across the Tongariro Crossing, after which inevitable requires an extra hour and half in bed to recover before driving somewhere for ‘brunch.’ Who invented brunch? The truly lazy person’s breakfast. I take it as a credit to see locals in PJ, s looking bemused as we clock 10k in distance before they can clock what time it is post Saturday night.
And to my favourite place, transition. Something is wrong. Transition Police are ‘nice’. This makes me uncomfortable as such pleasantries are unknown, which leads me to think “I will be stopped at the border to the cycle leg and be arrested for not carrying the correct papers.” None of this occurred, I waltzed through no problem. Angels obviously sorted some nice marshals today.
The cycle leg visited the Wellington Cycling Mecca of Whiteman’s Valley where you get a real sense of being miles away from Wellington. In the countryside. I do have to confess, I have cycled in this area many times but have never been down Katherine Mansfield Drive. Why would you, it is a dead end. The new route is because last year during this same event, some naughty triathlete was very, very, naughty. Apparently, somebody, (a Scorchette most likely!) did not obey the road rules around the tight single lane bridge on the old course and cut over the centre line, hence the new route. New route is great except the turn around, on a slight downhill when picking up speed with a tight hairpin requiring hard braking, with a gravel margin for those who swing out a bit then a shallow ditch for those who swing out a bit further. At this point, the gear selection for a downhill is forgotten, meaning that unsavoury crunch from the gears as you change down on the turn for uphill at 4kph reduces the life expectancy of the drive train on your flash bike.
Flash bike gear crunch not a problem for Ember but the enthusiastic Collie was! No bitey bitey, but get out of the way mutt! Anybody else encounter this? Talking of which anybody encounter ducks/geese/moa meandering across the road in front of you? Obvious plot from Angel’s 1, 2 and their minions to derail Ember from his Scorching glory of victory. Yeah right! Have I used this one yet? Apparently, Angels even unleased a herd of cows on the cycle course to upend Ember, ha you missed! Alas, Ember did not miss the sloppy turds left behind by the bovine intruders, the resultant splash of cow muck in the face gave Ember an unpleasant repugnant fragrance
To transition again, papers in order, through! Another run in the twilight zone then home. Another Scorcher in the bag. Loved the day once again, loved the exercise, and loved the banter. Thanks to everyone who beat me again, thanks to all of you, who did not beat me again, “not many, if any, …… I don’t know anybody.” “Doh!” More plagiarism.
Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers who stand out there for a long time watching us go by. Without you lot, Scorchers would not happen. Remember du/triathletes, we have loads of fun doing this but the organisers and volunteers are there before us and after us and make it happen for us. We all disappear while the course is cleared up, stacked up and stored until next time. Thanks Angels.
Finally, when it is all over, I go for lea, (new word meaning, a combination of lunch and tea, for those of us outside of the twilight zone who skip brunch and lunch but are overly knackered for supper!)
PS. As per usual, this report is mostly fictitious, except for the bits which are.
So who is Smouldering Ember? Smouldering Ember is the “Scorching Ambassador”. Someone who “got the series”. Who understood what it was about and who could best share this with other participants by the way of helpful blogs and any other way in which to best spread the word on the street about the Scorchers throughout the season. They are just a regular punter at the Scorchers, who loves a little mystery around their identity.
Look out for more from the Smouldering Ember as the season progresses.
Smouldering Ember is also happy to take questions, so don’t be shy..