It’s Taper Time

I have this uneasy feeling that’s sitting deep in the bottom of my stomach, and it won’t go away. When I think about it, my palms get sweaty, so I do my best to not think about the thing I don’t want to think about. Stressful, and confusing. The reason? The Kathmandu Coast to Coast. Eight days and counting.

I’ve been a bit slack on the update front lately, but trust me, it’s not because there’s been a lack of adventures. Quite the opposite. Finding time to sit down and put a blog together has somehow been bumped down the list lately. I’m OK with that because my top priority over the last month has been training. And Say Yes to Adventure magazine. As they say, ‘When it rains, it pours.’ Or something like that.

Volume Eight is due at the printers the Tuesday after Coast, with a write up about my Coast experience. I’ve also held off writing the editor’s note as I don’t want to jinx it. I am pleased to say I am on the final editing and layout stages, which is super exciting. Again, it’s another bloody ripper volume.

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I’ve also somehow managed to keep a New Year’s resolution that lasts for more than the first three days of January. Looking for a way to document my year, I decided 20 press up a day was a good challenge, and so @pressup365 was born, which you can follow on my Instagram account. As I sit here, I have successfully completed 34 days and finally, it’s starting to get easier. A new month has seen five added to the daily quota, so for February, it’s #25aday. I’d love for you to join me, and if social media floats your boat, add a #pressup365 to your post!

The thing with Coast is so much of what happens comes down to the day. You can be as fit as you can be, but the weather plays a huge part in how the race unfolds. I’m confident I’ve put myself in a good position to get to the finish line. Yes, I wish I’d done more kayaking, biking and running (read – just more in general), but after ten years of competing in events, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is just part of racing (for those of us who don’t have the luxury of being a professional athlete).

And the weather has been less than ideal. Those nor’westers can [insert swear word] right off. But it’s all part of racing, and everyone is in the pretty much the same boat. In a way, I am one of the lucky ones having easier access to the course when it suits me (weather permitted).

I had a great Christmas break, which involved chasing the sun and getting out on my mountain and road bike, down the river and through the Pass with Scott. We managed to tick off part of the Old Ghost Road and I can’t wait to head back to complete the whole trail in one go. Grant told us about the Coppermine Trail in Nelson as another good day trip and I couldn’t agree more; I loved this track – highly recommend it if you are in the area with your mountain bike. After a few nights camping at Klondyke corner, the nor’west got the better of us after I literally got blown off my bike on New Year’s Eve. I now have a good gravel scar to add to the collection. Thankfully no lasting injuries but aside from that, I am all tickety-boo and ready to roll.

Last weekend I managed to get through both the run and down the river, which has done wonders at easing the nerves. Especially after the slight panic attack I had on Friday night with a mindset along the lines of “Why? Why do I think these races are a good idea?” The weather bomb has shaken things up, especially on the run. All the well-worn paths and cairns are now a bit harder to spot, with a few more boulders and trees to clamber over and around too. I’m hoping the river level drops between now and then; crossing with water up to my nipples is not my idea of fun. But high rivers through the pass mean a fast trip in the kayak, and I’m swaying more towards a faster trip in the kayak as the better option.

But please, no alternate course. The idea of running 33 kilometres on tarseal up Arthur’s Pass viaduct has my shins screaming at me already. And let’s not even go there with kayaking down the Avon.

I heard Nathan Fa’avae share his memory of his first 1-Day Coast to Coast and I feel the same. “I know I can get to the finish; it’s just how that plays out that I’m unsure about.” I’ve broken each section down into realistic goals, and if it goes to plan as I hope, I will be crossing the finish line in 16 hours. Shuks. Don’t think about it.

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Well worth the early morning start. Will go down as the best sunrise I have seen to date.

Support crew this year consists of my ever-supportive parents and the Scott sisters, Scottie and Juj, who have somehow been roped into it. I’m sure mum is already having sleepless nights. And if she wasn’t before, she will be now after reading this. They will (hopefully) update my progress over the day on my The Adventurous Kiwi Facebook page, so give it a like if you haven’t already and keep tabs on my race. And in a good omen, my race number is 1007. In the words of Bond himself, “You only live twice: Once when you are born. And once when you look death in the face.” Maybe my second life will come next weekend?

There are still a few items on the to-do list before we set off for Kumara, such as my sister-in-law’s hens party this weekend. The perfect preparation for a 230-kilometre multisport race, right? Hydration and low-strength alcohol are going to be key I think. I’ve already nominated a good friend Alex to be my drinks police, giving her full permission to confiscate any alcohol as she likes. On second thoughts, I should have chosen someone who doesn’t egg me on at these types of occasions! And as my cousin kindly pointed out I tend to get a little over excited sometimes (she’s dead right) so I am not too sure what I’m more nervous about!

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I just want to finish this off with a massive shout out to Kathmandu – who have been so amazing in supporting me in the build-up to this race. While I do feel the added pressure of being an ambassador, it’s a good thing and has kept the drive alive to do the best that I can. Also to the New Zealand Sock Company for the best socks (a new pair has been put aside for race day), Suunto for my watch so I know just how far I have got to go and Bicycle Concepts from Timaru for my kick-ass Cube bike. Thank you. I am incredibly grateful for your support.

Here we go…

“Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

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8 Comments on “It’s Taper Time

  1. good luck hollie! i always wonder what the f*$k do I do these races for during the taper phase…if I don’t think that it’s not a big enough challenge (:
    =

  2. Go well. Next weekend I am running the Buller Marathon – its always on at the same time as the Coast to Coast, and I enjoy seeing all the kayakers & bikers lined up at Klondyke corner. Will be thinking of you.

    • Thank you and all the best for your marathon. Look forward to hearing how you go. I am sure on Friday night I bet I wish I was doing that instead of Coast!

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