Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Back on the OTGK circuit!

I never got started on as much training as intended, as the promising spring weather in September turned to nasty stuff in October/November. So much Wind in particular, driving us all insane! However, time has been marching on, so I decided on the weekend of 16 November that I had to go on a decent long walk whatever the weather. I packed my goretex raincoat, and my woolen hat and gloves, and by 8am I was out on the road, ready to hit my old OldWest-Turitea-Greens-Kahuterawa Circuit of about 20km.
Heading up Turitea Road towards the ominous looking clouds
It was a windy beginning, and the clouds looked ominous- but in fact the weather wasn't too bad after all. The roads had so many twists and turns, and the terrain was so hilly, that much of the time I was sheltered from the worst of the winds.

Some of the animals were quite curious/alarmed to see me pass by.

The 'real' climbing on Turitea Rd began once I had passed the turn-off to the water treatment plant., but I have walked this road many times now in 'training', and know how it goes...

My favourite section of this part of the walk is when the metal part of Turitea Road narrows to a track, surrounded on both sides by mainly native plants. This tree fern was putting on a wonderful display of fronds, and they were all at 'my height' since the tree itself was perched down a steep bank.

I was wearing my new pair of Merrell walking shoes. (My last pair was well and truly worn out in 2012, and I was lucky they held together as far as Santiago.) At the 10km mark, as I emerged from Turitea Road onto Green's Road, I sat down for some lunch, and stripped off my new shoes for a breather.

At this point I was starting to feel quite cocky, as if all this was a trifle easy, and that 10km had been nothing, and that all I needed for training was a few stiff hill climbs. But reality was about to hit home. There were more hilly bits of road to walk up when I restarted, and I had to really coax my muscles into action! Of course, I was nearly 10km from my car, so actually had no option but to keep going...

I love this high point along Green's Rd where I can look back and see where I have come from. A few metres in the other direction and you look down onto the flats of the Manawatu Plains and out to sea. What you can't see in this photo is how very windy it suddenly became at this point as I was briefly exposed to the full brunt of the winds, and holding the camera still for any kind of photo became quite a mission!

The hardest part of the day was over by now. I descended from here down to Kahuterawa Rd. Then, with four kilometres to go, I felt some 'hot spots' on my heels, and knew I was getting a couple of blisters because of my new shoes. You'd think, with all my walking experience, I would have taken some plasters to slap on some protection, but no.... However, I survived back to the car, though I was glad I didn't have to go out and walk the next day as well!

I loved the walk. This whole circuit is so rural, and I remember from my previous two training times (2007-8 and 2011-12) that one of the joys of this route is seeing the seasonal changes. I will walk this route a few times in summer, and will see the changes into autumn before I leave home for Assisi- where of course spring will be beginning...

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