Tuesday, 17 November 2009
James, Greta, Rebecca and I headed out to Toi's Challenge in Whakatane on the Sunday of the MTBO Champs. Toi's is an 18km trail run from Whakatane over to Ohope and back. It is also the first race of the 2009 North Island Mountain Running Triple Crown. We picked up our numbers and discovered Denis de Monchy was also running so a good crew of orienteers in the race. The race has a road bash to begin then the steepest climb up from the center of town. Includes stairs and some steep bits of trail. In my usual style I took off fast. Once on the steps I started drifting backwards and was impressed when Denis passed me to take 6th or 7th place. He was flying up the hill! The trail from here ducks and dives down to a bay, before climbing again after a little rock dodging. As a popped onto Ohope Beach I could see Denis in the distance and set about catching him. James was doing the same behind me. I managed to get past Denis on the next climb and set about finding a good rhythm for my failing legs. Meanwhile James was starting to take splits on the gap between the two of us. It hovered around a minute for the rest of the course. I came in 10th just over 90 mins with James 40 sec back in 12th. Denis held on to 15th about 2mins down on James. Rebecca ran a solid race and was held back at the end by some stitch. Not going to be drinking water before the last hill next time I think. She was a little disappointed to be 6th, but it was a classy field. Ex-mountain biker Annika Smail took the win in a very impressive fashion. Greta was pleased to finish and be alive. After competing in her first two MTBO races yesterday she was on the start pretty tired. Finishing in just over 2 hours was a good start to her month of running races. We're all looking forward to the Kauri Run next week (except James who is running the Kerikeri Half). Would be cool to have heaps of the national squad at the races, would be some very interesting battles.