John’s Midwinter Madness Camp

Meet the fellow psychos

They were a great bunch of people, learnt a bit from them. But man they were all hard arses!

The “big boys” (no way was I keeping up with these guys)

John – Camp Leader,ex pro and local Coach

Scott – Previous Ironman World Champ, known as “The terminator” (Guess why I was so nervous pre-camp)

Scott – Kona Qualifier

Phil – Kona Qualifier

Gary – Kona Qualifier (see a theme)

The rest

John – Wants to be Kona Qualifier

Brad – Long Course World Champs Qualifier

Dave – Knows these camps inside out

Kylie – Hard arse chick

John – imported brit from Wellington, and good guy to have a chat with in the middle of no where

Support Crew – Axel, he could probably kick the majority of the campers arses, and a super efficient support crew

Day 1-  

Bike: Christchurch – Kaikoura 180K

Run: None,  couldn’t be arsed

We all meet at Johns house in Queenspark, ready to leave at 9. Today was going to be a hard day, it was the longest and I was really concerned about getting in before dark. We set out at a reasonably easy pace heading for Amberly. The big boys turned off early to do an extra long route past Sefton. Where as the rest of us, just went straight up State Highway 1. It wasn’t too bad, except for the rumble lines. Seems to be more and more of them these days and they are a nightmare for cyclists!

Normally you don’t want a southerly, but today was the day to want it, and we got it, so a tail wind all the way. Was a bit cold and drizzly at times, but not too bad.

The big boys caught us just before Cheviot, where we stopped for lunch. After Cheviot the hills began, and we had 70K to go. I was the slowest climber of everyone, so I was pretty much instantly on my own (Dave and John had got in the bus for this section, so didn’t feel quite so bad for being last). Its been a while since I drove to Kaikoura, and in the car you just don’t pay as much notice to the climbs as you do on the bike.

Just when you thought there couldn’t be a another climb, along it came, and the last one is the knarliest. But eventually I was on the coast and making my lonely way the 20K Kaikoura.

Day 2 – 

Run: 35min, trails around seal colony (Awesome!)

Bike: Kaikoura – somewhere before Waiau 35K, Waiau – Hamner 50K

We started the day early with a little trot around the headlands with the seal colony. The legs were not feeling great, but it is a truly magnificent place to run. Seals, mountains in the background.

Then we were off to Hamner. It started OK, if uphill and the legs were feeling really bad. We all started together but the pace was OK. Then we started to hit the hills. Molina tells me, the first hill is the hardest, “you go over a bridge and then climb for about 2K”. So lo and behold we go over a bridge and climb a hill, pfft that wasn’t so hard, what was Molina talking about? Ahh but I found out a couple of climbs later, obviously Molina doesn’t think of those others as climbs.

It was nasty and I was feeling crap, just at this point Axel goes past with the bus. It was just way to convenient, if he hadn’t gone past then I would just have kept going. But he did so I flagged him for a lift. So then I Bus trip to Waiau.

And the hills did not get easier, it was damn tough, and I was much happier to be on the bus. Once in Waiau we got Lunch ready for the others and then I got on my bike for the grovel up to hamner. It might seem flat but its a climb all the way. The Big boy train came past me and I stuck on them for a while but they went up a small climb and the rubber band snapped and I was on my on. I was pretty out of it by the time I got to the Hamner turn off, and not looking forward to the struggle up to Hamner.

But just as I got to the top of the hill after the bridge, Brad and John caught me, and I hadn’t been so glad to see someone. They kindly allowed me to sit on their tail and dragged me up to the accommodation.

Day 3 –

Swim: 2K in outdoor Pool Hamner -1 Frost

Bike: Engineer camp – Maruia Springs – Engineers Camp 60K

Run : 22 min around Hamner Forrest

Another early morning start, and a frosty one at that. But that didn’t deter us from swimming in the pool. It was pretty damn awesome, but man was it cold between the pool and the changing room.

Todays ride was supposed to be an out and back to engineers camp / lewis pass. Me, John and Dave decided that wasn’t for us. We wanted to do the interesting part, I was still feeling shattered from the day before, and really didn’t think I would make it to Lewis. So we got a lift to Engineers camp and rode the 20 odd K to Lewis Pass, then rolled down to Maruia Springs, where we stopped for a hot drink and chat.

Then we climbed on back, that climb is pretty awesome, I absolutely loved it, not so steep to make me suffer, but steep and long enough to be an effort.

Kylie proofed how tough she is, after suffering badly the day before, she came back and cycled further than anyone else that day.

I decided I had been a little lazy today so went for a bit of a trot around the forest, but legs were not co-operating

Day 4 –

Run: 35 min around Hamner in the dark and the frost (brrrr)

Bike: Hamner – Christchucrh 132K

Marshlands Rd has never seemed so long before. The last 40K from Amberly, I was hanging on to the train for dear life. No way was I going to get spat at this point.

I had a great time to Amberly, though, it mostly downhill from hamner with a few climbs thrown in. The legs were feeling good, felt like I had finally come right and was ready for a few more days in the saddle. Umm well, there are other body parts that will not be so happy about being on the saddle for a few more days.

But I struggled through that last 40K and finally made it back to town. Had only taken me 4.5hrs from Hamner. Took the big boys less that 4hrs.


Had a great time, was great to get to know some of the people. It was a tough camp, 5 passes seems a walk in the park compared to this. I am just thankful that I am a strong rider, but I was still spat off the back numerous times, especially when I got to the hills.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! Expect, preferably not in winter, and with a bit more bike k’s in my legs before I start.


2 responses to “John’s Midwinter Madness Camp

  1. I’m very impressed Nadia! As you said there’s some very strong cyclists there but you did it and enjoyed it and it will only make you stronger!

    You can watch the Tour de France knowing what it’s like now!
    Summer will come again soon 🙂

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