Uphill Battle: Diabolic ride

01:24, Jul 23 2014
Jo McKenzie-McLean
TIME OUT: Reporter Jo Mckenzie-McLean gets a massage from Jo Laughton of Harmony Skin & Beauty after competing in the Winter Quest mountainbike event at Lowburn on Saturday.

Mum and reporter JO McKENZIE-McLEAN is taking on one of the biggest challenges of her life training for the Northburn Station 50km mountain run in March next year. She reports on her progress.

I was warned . . . next time I'll listen.

It has been about two months since I first put on my running shoes and started training with Terry Davis for the Northburn Station 50km mountain run.

Uphill Battle column

As the weeks progress, I am completing training sessions with a bit more ease. With this bit of new-found confidence, I took it upon myself to enter in the Winter Quest mountainbike race. After doing the 10km rustic run last month, I thought a 10km loop around a winery would be relatively easy.

When I told Terry of my plans about a week and a half out from the event, he warned me to do some mountainbike training because I might find it a bit hard. Well, time sort of got away on me, and though I had been out doing running and hill climbs with my little support crew (Debbie and Glen), mountainbike training got forgotten about.

When I turned up to Quest Farm for the event on Saturday there was a good-sized crowd, a couple of food tents, a DJ and to my delight a massage tent.


Jo McKenzie-McLean
ALMOST THERE: Jo McKenzie-McLean approaching the finish line of the Winter Quest mountainbike event on Saturday.

Out of a team of four, it was decided I would go first - which in hindsight was probably for the best because if I had heard how hard it was before I set off I would have probably hid in the massage tent with a warm cup of mulled wine.

The fast ones were told to get up the front, so I pushed my bike right to the back and watched on as competitors took off.

With a good frost on the ground, and plenty of ice for my wheels to skid on - I took off with gusto. Shortly into it, I started to seriously question my judgement. I don't know how to use gears properly, I'm not sure how brakes work (ie - if I should be using front or back) and it became obvious early on that I probably needed to know these things. It was slippery, it was rocky, it was steep, it was horrendous.

It felt like 100km not 10km and just when I thought I had hit a straight run home to the finish line, a marker would sent me around a corner up another hill.

While the uphills were gruelling, the downhills were absolutely terrifying. I screamed down several hills wobbling so badly it is a miracle I never came off my bike.

It took me 60 minutes to do the loop and I have never been so relieved to get off my bike. Without a moment's hesitation, I bolted to the Harmony Skin and Beauty tent for a free massage, going straight from hell to heaven.

The Southland Times