Written by Jason Reid
Last year, (2020) after completing the Whaka 100 whilst lying on the ground, still cramping, I was asked what I thought.
My answer was, "I'll never f***ing do that again!". Two days later I signed up to do the Whaka Miler.
A year ago I got told that Hayden Morehouse was looking for someone to ride with. I took him for a few rides. I must admit I had fun making him hurt, but then the change started to happen as he got stronger and stronger and lost weight. My advantage was lessening every ride. He was a very good descender and that helped me lift my game.
We forged a pretty good riding bond over the year, with many gruelling and sometimes funny training days together.
When COVID put off the Whaka 100 at the end of October, Hayden told me he too would step up to the 160km, as he would have more time to get fitter. At the time I thought "you nutter"! The guy's 100kg and we would have to climb 5,000-odd metres.
We trained so hard and did many long rides together, including the double timber trail. 180km and
9hrs later we did it. This was our trial run and we nailed it.
As the weeks counted down, the reality of what we were going to endure was getting more and more real. Under the watchful eye of Greg Henderson (Coach Hendy) we were fit and ready (well, as ready as you can ever be for such a day).
But then came Omicron.
Oh my God, my heart sank thinking surely this will not derail things, but unfortunately two days before the race, the email we had been dreading came. The event was cancelled! You really never prepare for this and it knocks you around, especially when you've put so many hours and dollars into training to get ready.
My first thought was 'f*** this, I'm over it'. Then after a few texts back and forwards with Hayden, we came up with a plan to do it anyway. This really began to play into our favour as in the race, under red, our supporters couldn't be there. But all of a sudden, we could have our very own water stations set up with people to cheer our adventure on. Game on we thought and the plan was put into gear.
Three stops with two CamelBaks at each. The experienced Victoria taking care of me, followed by Julie later. Hayden had the newbie Bess, and her brother in-law taking care of his.
5.00am. We fixed our light to on, and off we went into the fresh morning with our game faces on.
Hayden in charge of navigation and me in charge of average power and speed to ensure we finish. We had done months of training like this. To be honest it took some time to slow the young fella and that big engine he has down. It was a real and new experience as we hadn't really done any riding in the dark, but managed for the 2hrs with no spills despite a couple of wrong turns.
Finally, the dawn of the morning and sun shone through to reveal a stunning day although hot.
We got to our first stop at 47 km’s 5 min late due to the few wrong turns but happy of the timing given. The group of 3 at transition had grown to 7 or 8 I think thanks to Bess’s family. ( great fully received ) the girls had done a great job with cheers, photos, and prep work for a clean transition of new freshly filled CamelBak’s chain lube and cleaned glasses. A well drilled team that turned out to be pivotal to us completing the day.
Off we headed for the second section, the legs feeling fine we went straight up hill road, not the easiest climb but we seemed to get up with ease,
We had a good second sector with Hayden navigating like a champ and pulled back the 5min lost to come in on time. The average power we had worked with translated to the speed we required to get the times we wanted.
The Transition team was once again like a formula 1 pit So organised and accurate it was a welcome relief each time we new we heading to the car.
This time we had my Uncle Mike join us for the 3rd section as he had endured many trainings with Hayden and myself on his trusty electric mountain bike we thought it fitting he do some with us, unfortunately probably not the best section to join as the downhills where tough but he hung in there and that was special to me to have him there.
Some how this section was not mapped right from the course director of the organisers and was an extra 10km’s longer. I had got cramp in my dodgy hamstring just before the climb of around an hour from the bottom to the very highest point of the Redwoods, In true form my riding mate slowed things down but stayed just in reach. We got to the top and I stretched etc to try for some relieve before entering into another gruelling downhill before climbing back to Kung Fu Walrus and out to the loop out the back then around to the transition team.
We had turned up 45 odd min late due to the extra 10km’s in that section but the team was full of vibe and ready.
A fresh lot of supplies and a can of RedBull down off we went for the final few hrs. We rode quite a few new 4 wheel drive tracks we had not been on so was kind of good but hard to gauge distance from home and by them I was beginning to need it to be the end, my poor old back had taken the toll of the countless downhill rough tracks and given up. This made the last few tricky tracks a nightmare to stay on the bike. I had then finally come to the realisation that this is the most I can push myself to. Onto the last track called Rosebank with the final notorious creek jump. I led the us down the track and entered the final drop but decided last min to crash through the creek rather than attempt the jump as feel I would have broken in half. We all rode out to a cheering group and a makeshift medal kindy bought by Bess’s parents. The relief to finally lie down was exceptional as I lay and contemplated what we had just
Completed. 171.28kms of a combination of grade 2 to grade 4 tracks and 4400 climbing mtrs all in 12hrs 2 min.
Once again, I find myself dedicating a special race to another parent that I have lost being my mother Lyn. She thought I was nuts when I told her of this race and probably thought I was continuing the hunt to kill myself I’m sure, Not one to congratulate me but I am sure she would be proud that I completed what I set out to do.
A big thanks to my training partner Hayden, you are a tough lad but like a teddy beer really, Greg Henderson for the training plan and your continued advice and now friendship. Your training plan was spot on mate, and I am grateful for this.
The pitstop team Thanks, a big day for you guys and I appreciate it.