A few words on my experience of the caper this year! The search for climbing is an easy one being a Westie and usually the trying to find a flat ride is the a more difficult task. Though as the beginning of the season roles round again it is now tradition to leave the hood and head down SH25 for The Coromandel Caper. My prep for this big training day had not been great, with maybe 5 sessions in 4 weeks. I had lost in an altercation with a wrench and some 3 mm steel - resulting in a trip to hospital, followed up with twisting my neck resulting in limited head movement. I tried riding a couple of times that week but had resigned myself to driving the support vehicle and being a seigneur for the day. My quest to be the next Dan Jones had begun. After rain rain rain all week we were greeted with perfect conditions. 7am and we were off. The Black Sands peleton followed by mini bus, trailer and Regan’s rowdy groupies. My first task was to fix the annoying tick in the van… then coffee. The whole group rode together as planned to Whitianga, making awesome time. Once at Whitianga it would be another 2.30 hours riding of more "gentle" undulations like Kuatuna and Whangapoua that would split up the group. With some good banter, trash talk and words of encouragement we met at the summit of Whangapoua to draw the free entry competition. It was very fitting that the first to top, climbing demon and QOM Lesa won!!!! Lunch!! Did I mention I packed my bike just in case? Well after Coromandel township the ex-pres was is in the van. I thought I would give riding a go even if it was for a few km. Neck hurt but not too bad. I thought I would do my bit into the wind towards Thames and off we went. The road surface was comically bad after Manaia, unsure which pot hole to point at. There were plenty of cyclists out and even seeing fellow clubbie Murphy coming the other way from Auckland. We set a pretty good pace into Thames and ratio of supporters to riders was starting to go up. More caffeine required. Only the Hughes and Regan were left from the group that started from Hahei plus a couple of “part laperes” like myself as we climbed Kopu. The legs were starting pay for the lack of training and maybe the Sydney Marathon at a stretch, which was a pain in the neck. Speedily descending down to the Pauanui servo there was only one thing for it, pie, coke and mars bar…… this would get me to Tairua and break a 100km, the fanfare awaits….ha
Super pleased that I had even ridden my bike at all, let alone for 4 hours, I was cooked. Back in the van it was awesome to cheer on the guys up Pumpkin Hill not far from completing the full lap and breaking a double ton. We finished the day back in Hahei with Regan, Marc and Leticia completing the full lap. Awesome day, great support and a great concept…. It is not everyday you can share an experience and ride with a group that are completing different distances…..now where is the pub……but that deserves a report of its own.