It started with a conversation with James W. I had assisted James and his wife to buy a property in the Waitetuna Valley. He said that he was taking on the Karioi Classic, Raglan’s famous winter cycle race around Mt Karioi, and asked if I would like to join him. I was interested. Upon questioning he told me that the race was about 30km and the terrain would be one big incline to begin with and the rest relatively down hill. So with some guts, I said yes.
A couple of weeks later I jumped on the website to register. Imagine my surprise when the race lengths to choose from were 43km, 57km and 85km. I thought maybe the 30km race had sold out, but no, there never was a 30km race. I went ahead and registered for the 43km. My training leading up to the event was fairly light, riding around town on the flat (no hills). Big mistake!
Race day arrived. After getting up early, having a good breakfast and packing my supplies, I headed off over the hills to Raglan. After finally finding a park, I rode my trusty steed up to the Raglan Old School Arts Centre to meet up with James.
James and I started together and it was my goal to keep up with him. James made his way to the front of the pack on the flat and I kept up with him until we started on the first incline up Wainui Rd. Dropping down the gears I slowed, and all the people I had passed, now passed me.
I got into a sustainable gear, encouraged myself, and decided that I’d just have to catch James on the down hill sections. The down hill sections were few and far between as it happened! But I kept going. The views were amazing. At the half-way mark I was pleasantly surprised to find a refuelling station, complete with water, bananas, jet planes and wine gums. And then there was the hill of all hills!
The hill was colossal! I think the worst part was you could see the top of it with little ant sized cyclists riding over the top. I got down to the lowest gear and slowly climbed the hill. Stopping twice for drinks, I eventually made it to the top! One guy was walking up this hill faster than I could cycle. We did end up racing down the other side which was fun, zooming back down into Raglan to the finish line.
Finishing time 2 Hours and 55 minutes, 45 minutes behind James W. I’m keen to do it again next year. If you want to find out more about the event you can go to https://www.karioiclassic.org.nz/