Since I had a fail on the Taupo Enduro last year and confirmed what I already knew, that I don't enjoy or do well at long bike rides, so I entered the K4. Go figure. Anyway, I drove down on friday afternoon to be ready for the 10pm start. I was using my steel Ritchey CX bike with 28mm tyres and set up for comfort as I wasn't interested in speed (did I say that!).
We set off and a fast group instantly went off the front while the rest of settled into their own groups. I ended up in a group of about 6 and after a bit we merged with Peter H and his group of a similar size. Made a point of not trying as I was in survival mode from the start. Split from Peter and co at the top of Kopu when they stopped for food/break/mechanical/whatever. Had a couple of short stops and one slightly longer at the top of Pumpkin Hill on the first lap. It went nice and steady and there ended up being 4 of us working together plus one other guy that hadn't entered and was using it for a training ride. He was of no use whatsoever. Did the first lap in 7.10 + 15m for stops. One animal encounter with riding over a rabbit.
After the first lap we split up and did our own thing. I went back to the van and had a break for 45mins. Had some food and drink and let my stomach settle a bit as these long rides don't seem to agree with it. Set off at 6.30am for the second one.
Did the whole second lap solo as I didn't have the energy or desire to try and go at anyone elses pace. Stopped at a coffee shop in Thames for a while and had a filled roll with some fruit juice. Just kept pedaling at a very sedate pace with the odd short stop. Was getting a bit worn down. Had my second animal encounter, except this time it was a Magpie hitting my back (gently). Had my last break at the last drink station before Whangapoa. Took a seat for a while and they kindly gave me a Muffin. Saw Nick T sort of power past (haha). Then I set off for the final stint of chugging up that last hill. No problem with cramp but it was only because I kept the effort very controlled, i.e minimal. Would of been sidelined instantly if I tried to go at a normal pace.
Second lap ended up at around 8hrs ride time + whatever stops I had.
Satisfying to get it done but not really my idea of a good time.
Interesting to hear your thoughts. I usually try and cheer on any Enduros I come across at Taupo or K1 (I'm too soft to do K2) and often wondered if it makes any differerence to the competitor. From what you say it does give encouragement even if the reaction is muted by exhaustion. Great write up as you have shown how much of your race is mental as much as physical.