Howdy friends! Here we are day 3 in Auckland – I still can’t get used to the time, I have no idea what day it is and the weather is still freezing and windy as all hell. But we are managing to have a great time!
The main event of yesterday included the Parade of Nations and the Opening Ceremony for the event. The Parade was very cool to be a part of – there are over 5,000 athletes here for this event which makes Ironman events feel small. It’s really awesome to see all of the country’s represented and to be a part of the “most popular” nation, if you will. We are continuously amazed at how much New Zealanders are plugged into the American way – there is constant news coverage on the election, American football, sports, etc.
Sandy and I got up today and attempted our second ride on the bike course. With my disk removed, this ride was much more successful than the first, however, my Di2 battery died mid ride which decreased the success level a bit. It made climbing interesting.
The bike course is really great. It is super flat and fast along the water, which is beautiful, but certainly adds to the wind factor. There is one curve in particular on the way back where the wind hits at such an angle that it leaves you white-knuckled on your bike for about a mile. There are three climbs on the course which we will ride two loops. A perfect course in my book. I’m looking forward to hitting it hard on Monday with less traffic and no intersections (with traffic going the “wrong way”) to worry about.
After our ride and run, we took a short ferry ride to Waiheke Island for an all day tour. The tour started at the estate of a (obviously very wealthy) couple on the far side of Waiheke Island – they own an entire cove including about 60 acres of water front land. The couple commissioned different Kiwi artists to create various abstract sculptures along a long walking trail through the estate. The couple was very down to earth and walked with us to each of the 30 sculptures. It was very interesting to hear the story of each one. After we left the estate we stopped at vineyard for lunch and a delicious glass of wine before making our way to an art and music museum.
It was great to see a different side of New Zealand – the more green, tropical, less populated part – more of what we envisioned.
My thoughts as of today include:
1. I’m not a huge fan of riding my bike in a major city
2. New Zealand is a very diverse, beautiful place
3. People here are really really nice
4. Wind is annoying
5. Auckland is pretty expensive
6. Baby sheep are adorable
7. I still love Kiwi / foreign accents
Until I get time to check in again – thanks everyone for reaching out and all of your well wishes!!