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Mt. Climie Repeats

Training for Northburn 100 stepped-up a gear this weekend, with a full eight hours spent on the trails. I managed 50km of repeats up and down Mt. Climie (Tunnel Gulley), running in Northburn-style….walking uphill using the poles and jogging the flat and the downhill.

Mind was numbed, toes were munged…..but it felt great to knock-off 1/3 of the total Northburn climb in one outing. Looking forward to doing it again soon!

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Aorangi Undulator

There’s a few new trail running events emerging in the greater Wellington area at the moment, and one of the very best is the Aorangi Undulator.

The Undulator has an intimidating tagline; “It’s Not For The Weak”, and it certainly lives-up to it. Distance-wise it is “only” 30km, but this race is all about the terrain and the climb. Heaps of stream crossings, gnarly root-covered tracks, and navigational challenges all await those brave enough to take the event on.

I made this short video of my day on the course, it shows a bit of the climbing and fun in the rivers. It also shows what happens when you fall on your arse whilst filming yourself running up a hill šŸ˜‰

This is a great event. Even though it was the first year of the race everything went very smoothly. Race marshals were present at crucial stages, the course was mostly clear, and everybody had a fantastic day out in the sunshine. I’ll definitely be back in November 2014!

You can learn more about the race here: http://chrismartinc.wix.com/aorangi-undulator

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I bought myself a great little gadget called a “StickPic”. This ingenious device lets you stick a camera on the end of a trekking pole (safely!). The end result? It’s like having a miniature helicam following you on your run šŸ™‚

Check-out my test footage taken from a run up the Lower Hutt firebreaks. It sure made the run more fun, and I was amazed at how easy it was to get good footage using the StickPic. I was using a US$50 camera bought from The Warehouse – cheap!

If you’re interested, you can get you own StickPic at http://www.thestickpic.com/

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Running up Mt. Climie

Had a great training run up Mt. Climie last weekend. The run is a 800 metre ascent (altitude of 900 metres). The track is accessed at Tunnel Gulley, near the Te Marua turn-off, just a few kms out of Upper Hutt.

The start of the run takes-in the beautiful Tane’s Track, with plenty of native bush and a nice smooth surface. About 2km in a signpost points the way to the “Steep route” up Mt. Climie – and then things get nasty! The next 500m is all steep, technical terrain with very little opportunity for actual running. Lots of mud and tree roots with some scrambling over fallen branches for good measure. Good fun!

Once clear of the rough stuff we emerged onto a gravel road.The track is in great condition, very easy to follow, and runs all the way to the summit.

Take a look at the video, which was captured using my training partner’s camera. There is a bit of camera shake at the start, but it does give you a good idea of the kind of terain you can expect, and also the stunning views from the top. The weird moving text at the bottom of the picture is a side-effect of YouTube’s imageĀ stabilizationĀ feature – won’t be using that again!!

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KeenĀ OchocoKeenĀ OchocoKeenĀ Ochoco

On holiday in Australia I picked-up a new pair of Keen Ochoco trail running shoes. They are my first pair of Keens; in the past I normally have run in Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6/7 and Icebug trail running shoes. Although I have only owned them for a short period of time I thought that I would write an early-bird review.

My first impressions when wearing the shoes were that they felt very snug and stable ā€“ more like a low-cut walking shoe than a pair of runners. Cushioning across the shoe is good, the base is nice and supportive, and the sole has plenty of gnarly grip.

I took the shoes for a couple of runs over the past week; one in Sydney and one in Brisbane. I was pleased that they seem equally at home on both tarmac and track. Grip was good on the downhills, even on some steep, potentially slippery sections of wet asphalt.

Keen push these shoes for their waterproofing (they brand the fabric used ā€˜eVentā€™). In Brisbane I had an ideal opportunity to test this out ā€“ a 70 minute run in a tropical downpour J Within ten minutes of running I was completely drenched ā€“ but my feet remained dry. The shoes performed very well in the wet terrain, offering a very stable and confident ride. No shoes can keep heavy rain out forever, but my feet stayed dry through the rain and running through small creeks for an impressive 40 minutes. If this had been a run through similar terrain on a dry day I am confident that I would have stayed dry throughout the run.

Drainage on the shoes was not great ā€“ I was stuck with heavy, sploshing feet for the rest of my run. So if you are planning on taking on river crossings then these shoes arenā€™t ideal ā€“ I would recommend the Teva X1 Racer instead as an excellent quick-venting trail running shoe. But if most of your course involves dry land, with perhaps some shallow water crossings, then the Keen Ochoco are definitely worth considering.

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Doctor, Doctor

Well, after waxing lyrically about how great the 2nd Melbourne show was, the first gig in Sydney was actually *better*. I got a great place, just off the barrier and right in front of Dave and Adrian. The Sydney crowd was fantastic.

There was a wonderful moment during the show when bassist Steve Harris locked eyes on me and held my gaze as he sung along. A brief, but special memory. It made me think about how I have been into this band for twenty one years now, and just how much being able to see them play live means to me. I turned around and looked at the thousands of people around me – fists in the air and singing along to every word – and I realised that every person there was thinking the same thing. Again, a very special moment.

No problem with dehydration this time – the security staff at Acer Arena were handing out plenty of water to those at the front. This is something that they don’t do in Melbourne – becuase it “makes the floor slippery, and that is dangerous”. Yeah, right – rather than dropping a little bit of water on the floor, let’s just watch everybody pass-out from the heat!!

Ā Found a great quote from Maiden’s manager on their website (regarding the current Aussie tour):
“Had a good long meeting with our excellent promoter Paul Dainty about general future plans — yes we will be back and we will be in Kiwiland which we all regret just not being able to fit in the schedule this time round, with England playing cricket there right now (and badly losing the first 50 over match — the 20/20s don’t count!) you can be sureĀ I would have got us there if it could be made to make sense this time round.”

Unfortunately I came down with a nasty 24 hour bug after the first Sydney show, so I spent pretty much all of yesterday in bed. I missed the 2nd show which was disappointing; but honestly I felt like death warmed-up so even if I could have controlled my bodily fluids long enough to make it to the venue I would have felt miserable. Maiden shows and throbbing headaches don’t make for a good combination. Feel much better today though; off to Brisbane tomorrow for the final Aussie gig.

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My Melbourne Maiden experience is now but a sweet memory; two great shows played at the fabulous Rod Laver Arena.
Ā 
It all started with an organised meet-up for member of the IM fan club at a pub in Richmond. There were Maiden fans from around the world there, and the atmosphere was top class. Plenty of laughs, nice people, beers, and loud music ā€“ just the thing to get us into the mood for that nightā€™s show!

The first show was very full-on and I struggled in the heat and chaos of the mosh pit. About an hour into the bandā€™s set I nearly passed-out and had to leave for some Powerade ā€“ thatā€™s never happened to me before. Either Iā€™ m getting too old to mix it with those at the front, or this was the hottest, sweatiest show Iā€™ve ever attended. Rehydrated once more, I rejoined the crowd on the floor to enjoy the rest of the set.

Show number two was a very special one. Not only was the band in stellar form, but I was the lucky recipient of a First to the Barrier wristband. Watching the show from the very front row is a fantastic experience. I got some great video footage and some good photos. The crowd was once again hot and rough, but having the barrier to cling to makes a world of difference. Maiden put on the best show that I have ever seen that night, they really seem to be enjoying being back in this part of the world, and the crowds so far have been excellent. To top off a great show, Steve Harris threw me his sweat band after the show, which made me a very happy boy indeed.

AdrianĀ SmithĀ BruceĀ DickinsonĀ JanickĀ GersĀ SteveĀ Harris

Iā€™m in Sydney now staying with some friends. Iā€™ve got tonight off, then its two more shows at Acer Arena on Saturday and Sunday.

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