It’s Thursday at 8am here in Auckland and we’ve just woken up from our first long nights sleep – which was very much needed!!
Total travel time was 23 hours from the time we arrived at the CLT airport until the hotel here in Auckland. The flight to LAX was actually more “painful” than the flight to New Zealand. I’ve officially decided US Airways is the worst airline in this world. Between the ridiculously hard seat, zero leg room, and lack of amenities, it was pretty miserable. But, another one of my coach Leigh-Ann’s athletes whom I’ve met before, Sandy, was also on our LAX flight and we were able to swap seats and sit next to each other for the 2nd half of the flight which made it much much more fun!
Air New Zealand is very very nice, however. The staff was NZ based and was super friendly. The plane looked brand new with great flexible headrests, dinner, breakfast, free cocktails with dinner, blankets, pillows, individual TV’s and plenty of leg room. It was also almost 10pm LA time when we boarded so sleeping was without a doubt.
We arrived at the hotel about 8am feeling not that great. I had only slept on and off for about 5 hours which isn’t enough to fend off my “tired headache” that I seem to get when I don’t get sufficient rest. Unfortunately, our rooms weren’t ready when we got to the hotel so we headed out with Sandy to the race site (The Cloud) to check stuff out. We had some time to kill so we got hour long massages in the race tent – my therapist was a PhD in muscular something so, needless to say, he was awesome.
After we checked into our room, I tackled the project of assembling my bike which went very very well considering how stressed out about it I’ve been. I think I can say I’ve officially mastered assembly…TBD on taking it apart solo after the race. Dawn and I did a quick run on the treadmill to shake out our legs and then Sandy and I headed out on a ride to test out our bikes.
That. Was. Interesting. Auckland is windy. Very, very, very windy. Like today weather is calling for “gale force winds”. And they also drive on the opposite side of the road. And Auckland is a major city. I brought my Zipp 808’s with my disk cover on the back wheel which upped the interesting factor 10 fold. We rode down along the race course for about 10 minutes with the wind to our backs, which was quite lovely. We headed around a bend and hit the wind from the side. I death gripped my bars, said no less than 10 cuss words and immediately decided I was heading back to the hotel to take off my disk cover.
We rode back at no more than 10 mph on the bike path on the sidewalk and I headed straight to get my disk OFF my bike. I’ve never ever been so scared on a bike in my life. After my massage, my run and a spin on my bike, I feel great and ready to race!
We ended the night with a great local dinner and glass of wine and barely made it till 9pm before we were out cold. Its rainy and more winds today so we’re trying to figure out what our plans will be. Sandy and I will get a swim and a run in before we tackle the rest of day 2 here in Auckland!
My thoughts on NZ so far are:
1. It is extremely Americanized – I kind of feel like I’m on a business trip in a new US city vs on the other side of the world.
2. There are a lot of Asian people in Auckland
3. It is very windy
4. Auckland is a huge, busy city. I think I pictured more “tropical” or “island like” vs. a hustling and bustling city.
5. Drivers on the other side of the road makes crossing streets and bike riding very tricky. I almost got myself hit once, so far.
6. Our waitress at dinner last night made us feel like we were on a practical joke TV show. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
7. I love the Kiwi accent.
I’ll check in again when I can! Good day Mates!