Friday, 19 December 2008

Battle Hill prize winners photos on Flickr

Well, it's been a bit of a marathon, but finally, we have a wrap. I've placed a low resolution photo of each of the five class winners on the Photos page, but if you click on any one of them, it will take you to the full set on Flickr and you can find the original photo in the set.

The set includes everyone who turned up for the post prize-giving shoot, so even if you don't see your photo on the WATRC photos page, check the set - you'll be there.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Battle Hill Results and Newsletter 116 published

The last newsletter before Xmas was emailed today, and with it the results from the Battle Hill ride.

Battle Hill is always a challenging venue, and the hot mid-day and firm tracks have been reflected in higher than usual vet-outs. Well done to the survivors, and commiserations to those who didn't qualify - better luck next time.

From the ride base, the hill itself looks quite tame, and indeed the clockwise direction of the Puketiro loop takes the worst of the steepness out of the up-hill section.

But the steepness is not really the issue - it's the height and the length that take their toll. The climb is close to 400 vertical metres over an unrelenting 3 kms, and it has to be approached with respect. Add to that your descent from Water Point 1 into a valley and a climb back out of it (mercifully not the whole 400 metres) and you begin to get the picture. Of course the Open and Intermediate 1 classes do yet another descent and climb on their extended section of the ride. Although it's a little out of date, the 2006 trail profile gives you a rough idea of what you tackled.

Nor is the homeward section of the Puketiro Loop to be underestimated. It is at least downhill, but downhill throws enormous strain on the horses' forelegs, and combined with the additional weight of a rider on their backs leaves them less ability to pick their way through stones, which is one reason many riders get off and lead their horses on this section (and it's easier on the rider if they have to trot the horse to make up time)

Bright's Farm is a similarly challenging venue. The trails are not as firm as they have not been constructed to carry logging trucks, but they can sometimes have long grass which can be slippery, especially if wet. High steep hills are a feature of this ride also, making it one of the toughest in the WATRC calendar. Again, an out-of-date trail profile is available, but do not rely on this as a guide on the day - the course may cover different ground or go in different directions.

Think about a ride strategy. Doing your speed work and covering distance up-front lets you take the end of the ride more slowly, allowing the horse's heart rate to come down, but remember that course layout and conditions can force you to re-think on the fly. If the underfoot conditions are good, that's an opportunity to make up time and distance at any point in the ride. If the underfoot is bad, slow down regardless - you're better to vet through late than to arrive lame on time.

Never forget your horse - most CTR competitors only have one mount - look after them and they'll look after you. Plan to finish this ride and be back for the next - don't blow it all on one day.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Photos from Battle Hill uploading

It's taken a bit longer than usual to get the Battle Hill photos organised, and it's still a work in progress - I'm trying to wrap up all sorts of work stuff before the Xmas break, and meeting the usual seasonal social obligations has been diverting my attention. However, we are getting there.

The Battle Hill set is partially uploaded, and the balance of the set can be found in the photostream as it uploads over night, if you just can't wait. Once the upload is complete I'll put the finishing touches to the set and it will be done.

Sash and ribbon winners - I'm still working on your photos and hope to have them ready by the weekend. I'll put them into a separate set with their own link from the photos page.

Unfortunately, I missed a number of the later starters due to my timetable (I had strapping and final vetting duties back at base) and the route I followed on the trail (cutting across from Water Point 1 to the Puketiro Loop homeward section) put me well ahead of any who hadn't passed me on the hill climb. Maybe next time.

Merry Xmas and a safe holiday to everyone, and we hope to see you all in the new year.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Newsletter 115 Published - Battle Hill details confirmed

The latest newsletter is now on-line and has been posted to subscribers. Included are further details of the Battle Hill ride. Due to pressure on the venue from other users, times allowed will not be available until a final course measurement can be taken, probably the day before.

Overnight camping and grazing is available. Anyone needing this should contact the ranger in advance. Contact details are in the newsletter and on the calendar page.

Battle Hill hosts the club's "Rhona Frazer Challenge" event, a club premiere points ride (double placing points to count towards club end of season honours) and is the pre-Xmas wrap-up ride for 2008.

Hope to see you all there.