Didn't have a partner but ran the sprint relay anyway. Was in the opens and, somewhat to my surprise, was not last to the start triangle, but was definitely off the back of the pack, and a steep stair climb to 2 reminded me that my body doesn't like these at the moment. Managed to get through the rest of the course (though walked the remaining steep climbs) - a bit disappointed that two of the three men I beat across the line mispunched...
Definitely good to have a relay like this, with the number of competitive teams in double figures - much better simulation of a WOC (or JWOC) situation than a domestic relay which might have at best four or five contenders.
Generation gap moment: Fredo and Tara ran in a team together and wore French tops. I made a remark to some of the Australian group about how France might not be so popular in this part of the world and then realised no-one I was with was old enough to have heard of the Rainbow Warrior incident
. (Perhaps there's still an enduring curse, because Fredo mispunched).
A lot of the others headed off in the afternoon to make attempts on Taranaki (there will be some sore quads tomorrow), but I was moving on in the direction of Ruapehu, via the Forgotten World Highway - not as wild as I was expecting (mostly hilly farming country with a 15km forest gorge section, and no peaks much above 500m), but interesting nonetheless. The side trip to Mount Damper Falls revealed some nice country but not much water; the scenic highlights were the views of the central volcanoes from every high point on the road. Also saw the aftermath of a motorbike crash, but the situation was under control by the time I got there and the rider was conscious and talking, so hopefully whatever injuries he got are not life-threatening.