Sunday 9 March 2014

It is not all beer and sausages - Part six

It is not about beer and sausages - Part Six

Yesterday I competed in the Tararua Mountain Race. I don’t consider this a race, although those nearer the front do. It is an event for those of at the back of field - we are happy to finish. There was a new route this year, starting from Kaitoke, north of Upper Hutt, to the Holdsworth road end, inland from Masterton. The track went through around 40km of tramping tracks, across three ridges and up 2300m of vertical climb on the course.



What was at the end of all that? You guessed it…. I am creature of habit, so it was the usual beer and sausages.

But before I get onto these, a quick recap of the event. I felt quite good up to the check point at Totara Flats Hut and at this stage I had been going for six hours. The running conditions were very good with mild overcast weather. On the climbs I got to the top of each ascent in a quicker time than I had anticipated. I thought I was on to finish in less than eight hours, a result I would have been very happy with. However once I started the final section I realised the knee that I knew was sore was beginning to play up. Going downhill it hurt. Once I had completed the steepest ascent on the course, I was very slow on the downward section. A guy who passed me took pity on me and offered some anti-inflammatories. I took these when he reassuringly that they were the good stuff. After twenty minutes or so I knew they had kicked in. At end when I was talking to him he said they were his wife’s arthritis medication. The good news is they didn’t have drug testing at the end of race, although the organisers could easily have had a psychiatrist on hand to certify the mental state of those who took part. I made it to the finish in 8.36. I was satisfied, but left with the feeling that I could have done better if not for the knee.

I asked my wife to bring the sausages I had cooked the night before to the finish. They were Dutch braadworst from Park Avenue Quality Meats see link, and wild pork sausages from the Waikanae Butchery.

Between Cone and Totara Flats I had seen a couple of groups of hunters, I hope they managed to get a pig or two, so they could enjoy their own wild pork.

Waikane Butchery has a mobile truck at the market in Chaffers St every Sunday morning. The friendly and affable butcher told me that they source their wild pork from Premium Game in Blenheim. The sausage is made from wild pork, and apple cider is added along with spices. This is a very coarse and chunky sausage, it has a wild rustic feel, it has not gone through a fine mincer or a bowl cutter. These sausages will appeal to people who like to know they are eating meat. There is a tactile sensation on the palate as you masticate the sausage. Flecks and chunks of red and green can be seen in the sausage - this may be capsicum but I can’t be completely sure.

When the sausage was cooked a lot of moisture, including some fat, came out. When eaten hot it is a very sweet sausage and the flavour of pork and apple predominates. When eaten cold, pork is dominant flavour and the apple component is diminished. I consider these sausages to be the sweetest pork sausages I have reviewed to date. I enjoyed this sausage and would buy again.

I offered the sausage choice to a variety of people after the event and the consistent response was they preferred the Dutch braadwurst, as they liked its meaty taste. However both these sausages are quality sausages, but the wild pork sausage is better hot than cold.

I washed the sausage down with a pale ale Dead Canary from Parrot Dog brewery in Vivian St. This was a refreshing hoppy and malty pale ale with a bit of acidity.

So after a hard day’s slog it was great to sit down, munch on a few saussies, and wash it all down with a beer.

On the drive home one of my running mates looked out the car window between Greytown and Featherston, gazing towards to the Tararuas, he said, "We ran right along there today." When you looked at the ranges, saw the height of the ridges and thought that you ran the traverse of horizon, you can reflect on a satisfying accomplishment.

Cost per kilo: Wild Pork $17.95
For links to other parts in this series. 

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