NZ - Day 11 - Hawkes Bay to Hamilton

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

The last day of the Sprint the Bay competition started with a lot of packing up. In a house full of knick knacks it's hard to tell if you've left something (or someone) behind.   But we managed to get everything loaded into the van by 8 so we were up at the event centre on Te Mata Peak by 8.15. All my start times have been very early, which has been good as it's meant I've mostly been able to get photos of everyone else.

Te Mata Peak features the map called Sleeping Giant - which is the shape of the ridge when seen from a distance - it's a pretty good resemblance actually!  

The courses ran all around the ridge and had a lot of very steep up and down legs.  I thought it was pretty fun and I had a good run on my very short (1.4k!) course.  I managed to beat Zali and Julia, although Julia was still pursuing a hill-climb victory, so she was walking lots of legs to prepare herself for the hill climb legs.  There are lots of athletes just going for the green shirt (sprint) victory who stop before punching the last control and wait for the finish chute to clear and a slow clap from the crowd before taking a run up and flying through to the finish line. It all makes for a fun arena atmosphere.

The final hill climb leg on the course that counted was the finish chute which wound it's way up the hill on a concrete path. The organisers gave us chalk to write messages of support on the ground like in the Tour De France.  Most of the messages were positive like 'Go VIC' or 'Keep Going!' but I did notice that a few were vaguely threatening such as 'Emma - You'd better still be running!' 


Between events we had a few hours to kill so we went to get some things that Paul had asked for from BunningsNZ

While we were there we also got lunch.


Then we hung out in a park in the shade until it was time to go to the event. By the time we arrived for the final event of the series at 1pm it was really hot.  Luckily these races are short so it's possible to cope with the heat for the short amount of time we run for.  The final race around the streets of Havelock North was good fun - we were only allowed to cross the streets at certain points which added to the route choice dilemas. The car traffic was very patient with runners darting across street crossings like they were being chased and the people trying to enjoy their outdoor dining experiences must have been bemused by the stream of over 200 runners coming past their table at speeds not normally seen in a village shopping centre.

Zali's crash (see later) cost her some time but otherwise we all had good runs although Julia sacrificed some time to make sure of an overall series victory in the hill climb.  Jett and Riley finished within seconds of each other - they've both had ups and downs through the series but also some really good battles between themselves! At 14 they are both the youngest competitors in their class which goes up to 18year olds so they've done really well. Julia and Zali have had some results to show that they can mix it with the faster runners in their class too.  


Jon and I had easy overall victories in the end - we both ran around the last race petrified that we might mispunch as so many people in the event had. It was a relief to get a clear download when we finished!

Aside from the heat, today was a day of injuries. In the morning Riley fell and smashed his hip against some wood and he had to walk the rest of the course. He's got some good bruises from that.  In the afternoon Zali failed to clear a lowish chain fence (which even I managed to jump over), and she crashed onto the gravel, scoring lots of grazes and a few bruises. And in the most ridiculous injury of all, during the afternoon race Jett went to wipe some sweat off the bridge of his nose but he forgot that his thumb compass was attached to his hand. The pointy part of his compass went right up his nose and he instantly gave himself a bleeding nose. I saw him run into the finish chute with a bloody face and I though that he'd hit a pole, or a person, or maybe even a car on his run around the village of Havelock North. The truth was far more hilarious!


And so the Sprint the Bay came to a close. It was good fun and although the courses weren't always totally amazing, the commentary and sprint legs and hill climbs and videos all contributed to making a great atmosphere for everyone involved. The organisers did a really good job and I bet they are exhausted now!  Jon and I won some vouchers for o-gear which was cool.

We still had a 4 hour drive to get back to Hamilton for the night, so as soon as the presentations were over we headed off, stopping in lovely Taupo for dominoes pizza on the way. We arrived in our dodgy motel at about 9pm which wasn't too bad. 


NZ - Day 11 - Hawkes Bay to Hamilton Tuesday, 4 February 2020
NZ - Day 9 - STB - Day 2 Saturday, 1 February 2020
NZ - Day 8 - STB Day 1 Friday, 31 January 2020
NZ - Day 7 - Taupo to Havelock North Thursday, 30 January 2020
NZ - Day 6 - Rotorua Wednesday, 29 January 2020
NZ - Day 5 - Part 2 Tuesday, 28 January 2020
NZ - Day 5 - Part 1 Tuesday, 28 January 2020
NZ - Day 4 - Lonely Mountain Sprints - Day 3 Monday, 27 January 2020
NZ - Day 3 - Lonely Mountain Sprints Day 2 Sunday, 26 January 2020
NZ - Day 2 - Lonely Mountain Sprints Day 1 Saturday, 25 January 2020
NZ - Day 1 - Auckland to New Plymouth Friday, 24 January 2020
Hello NZ! Thursday, 23 January 2020