More fun, for sure, has been my last week of Middle Earth adventures. Having already explored lots of parts of the South Island, now my focus is on the North Island. I had my last really big weekend of Ironman training so I decided to pack up my bike and head over to Taupo, where the race will be held, check out the scene of the crime, and then meander my way back to Auckland with a stop in Rotorua.
|For my sister and her valentine, who are in the process of building him a man cave in their basement|
Quick aside on Friendly Kiwi Triathlete Jo, which I think shows a little bit about how charitable and awesome people (especially triathletes) are down here. Jo's an Auckland triathlete who is in my age group, did the Auckland 70.3, and is doing Ironman New Zealand. When scoping out the competition for those races, we'd both found each other's blogs and independently reached out to each other-- me asking for some her advice on triathlon-ing, her to offer advice. She competed as a pro a couple years back at Ironman Wisconsin and said everyone was so nice and helpful when she was in Madison that she wanted to return the favor, and she's been an incredible source of information for this slightly-out-of-sorts-feeling American girl. So hooray for international triathlon alliances and helpful triathletes! This is kind of a special sport, huh? And her blog's really funny....check it out.
|Told you Kiwis are laid back|
|My, that's a mighty big bike you have|
A nice thing about New Zealand is that there are so many nomads around that when you've done things like checking out of your motel before a long run that leaves you pretty darn gross and sweaty, it's not that hard to find a place to get a shower. I paid $4.00 for a six-minute shower at this SuperLoo....and it was TOTALLY worth it.
Iceland, the thermal baths were somewhat of a let-down (and the smell of sulfur throughout the entire town kept making me temporarily concerned that the car was on fire), but to soak in warm water did feel pretty good after my big training weekend. Turns out, I realized later, that hot tubs after big workouts are sort of counter-productive and may have actually led to some extra inflammation, but whatever.
|Steam from thermal pools and the car Adam is letting me use (which was never on fire)|
|A thermal lake that is pretty darn hot|
|Parks in Rotorua just have random thermal foot baths for your soaking pleasure|
|A meeting house in a Maori village|
After a long run, few things make me happier than breakfast-for-dinner, and Rotorua did not disappoint.
Also, I took some time in Rotorua to visit a farm. I don't know why, but it was there and I wanted to go. I've grown sort of fond of sheep, having seen approximately 3 million of them since I got here, and this was my chance to get up close and personal. So I did. I had no hesitation getting that close to all the farm animals. BUT, the damn birds milling around, trying to swoop in and steal the leftovers.... those were terrifying.
|Baby llama is only 2.5 weeks old|
|Being a little tri-dork, I keep checking into motels and hostels with my foam roller and frozen peas.|
|This was actually in Auckland during a ride, but I appreciated the honesty.|