Alpine Adventuring

My training is still free-wheeling and the moment and so I’m just running steady base training runs in locations of my choice. I didn’t expect to beat the 9 hours of training which I did last weekend in Rotorua this weekend in Ohakune on the back of cold I’ve had this week, but still had some inspiring adventures and some new experiences.

I didn’t write a post on last weekend but you can check out Saturday’s long run on Strava. We ran out of food on this one and really suffered in the last 5km.

My first run this weekend took me from Old Blyth track on Ohakune Mountain Road, along Round The Mountain Track and then most of the way up Turoa Ski Field. The beach forest along for these trails is as beautiful as any in NZ, but the frozen puddles added a novel dimension to the experience. Blyth Track eventually ramped up into a steady climb and popped me out onto the Round the Mountain Track for a stunning view of snow-covered Ruapehu.

Every day should start like this!

Every day should start like this!

The winter form of the North Island’s highest peak

The winter form of the North Island’s highest peak

I followed the Round the Mountain track for 5km before heading full terrain, weaving my way between patches of smaller dense beech trees and eventually out of the tree line and onto the open dirt and scoria fields. I could move a lot faster over the open stones than over the marshy uneven tussock land, further reminding me that at some stage I will need to train more in this “heavy” terrain to become a stronger orienteer.

Ruapeahu steadily ramped up and I pushed on, onto the steeper snowy slopes. The wind was getting quite fierce so I didn’t go as high as I initially wanted to and bailed down a deep valley to get out of the wind. This was a serious challenge for my Icebugs and they delivered on all fronts! I ran across and then down a very steep 100m high slope of compacted snow, sometimes rock hard. My GPS tells me the decline was 30°, which is a serious slope of compact icy snow! The crags below me meant that loosing traction could put me in a pretty serious situation, but fortunately my shoes kept me from sliding to my death.

My Icebug’s loving their natural environment

My Icebug’s loving their natural environment

After not dying I took on another 200 meters of elevation and enjoyed boosting down the ski field to the Turoa café, much to the surprise of all the skiers who I passed! Garmin tells me this run included over 2100m of elevation gain, but I only got to 1600m counting the contours on the topo map. Either way, it’s up there and is setting the standard for the rest of the year to come!

I also did a less extreme run the next day alongside the beautiful  Waikato River on the Huka Aratiatia Walkway in Taupo. This cheeky 26km in the sun completed the weekend perfectly. Follow me on Strava to see this run and more!

Looking forward to enjoying the trails from home next weekend but still haven’t decided where exactly. Waitaks, Woodhill or Riverhead? Probably all 3!

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