There is a good chance Ken and Kate Telford, of Waiwera South, were the only ones who climbed volcanic mountains in Ecuador as part of their preparation for the Coast to Coast multisport race which was held at the weekend.
Mr Telford said their training schedule was interrupted by a trip to South America which included a wedding they attended in Colombia.
“We spent the whole of January in South America,” Mr Telford said.
“We weren’t actually here to train.”
Part of the trip involved a two-week volcano-climbing expedition in Ecuador.
“Two weeks ago we were standing on a volcano 6300m high.
“The altitude certainly helped our lungs but it didn’t help us sitting on a bike seat,” he said.
“We were conscious we needed to do as much training as we could while we were on holiday.”
The couple competed in the event last year in the teams category. They shared the biking, while Mrs Telford completed the mountain run and Mr Telford the kayaking.
“We watched a lot of people come into the finish line with a lot of pain and a sense of real achievement and we thought ‘actually we’ve only done half of it’, so that’s what put us back there this year,” Mr Telford said.
In the tandem event athletes needed to stay within 50m of each other throughout the race.
“That was no problem ’cause we looked after each other pretty well.
“We started slow and got slower,” he said.
The couple, who had an average age of 60, were in the two-day event.
The hardest part of the race was the run over Goat Pass.
“I got a bit of cramp going over the last bit,” Mr Telford said.
Their goal was to pace themselves so they finished the race.
“We’re the tortoises – we just keep going.”
Whether they would compete next year was hard to predict.
“Too early to say.
“It’s a great race – it’s iconic,” he said.
“It’s just amazing.”