Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Oceania MTB Champs

The 2013 Oceania MTB Champs were held in Hobart, Australia - a new part of Aussie for me to travel to but unfortunately it wasn't the hottest of places to visit like you would expect!
First of all I would like to thank the Beavens for being a superb help with taking me in and looking after me.  Made for a super easy trip!
Practise days on the track went well.  First impressions of the course were that it was pretty tame.  All that was technical was a couple of rocks to hop over up the climb but this meant it would be a fast and powerful race.  One to really test the fitness of all the riders and see who had what.
With a mostly single trail climb broken up with one section of about 50 metres of super steep firebreak road positioning would be vital on the first lap to not get held up.  With a similar matching downhill it would take a good bit of handling skill to hold that front wheel down on the ground around many tight switch back bends.
Race day came around and the start line saw us lined up with the Elite men.  The gun goes and we are off!  First corner saw someone pushed into the fence barrier and everyones head swung around for a brief moment before knuckling back into it!
I wasn't overly aggressive from the beginning and suffered up the first climb because of this.  Stuck behind slower riders who have punch at the start but can't hold it.  The beauty of the start of an XC race!
Nevertheless I managed to nail it up the firebreak and pull myself back onto the end of the front train.  This was allgood but then an Aussie rider blew up and backed right off on the single trail leaving me stranded behind.  Finally just before the downhill I got passed and pressed on for the next couple of laps.
While I felt I was riding at a good pace I knew I was starting to fade and my last lap I had hit the wall.  The problem was I simply was not drinking enough fluid and with the intensity of one of these events letting a silly yet easy mistake like this leaves too much of a short fall with performance.
Anyway over the line I came holding a solid 6th position in the Under 23 field and the third kiwi home.  All in all it was a good trip and I am looking forward to next years events with a few changes lined up!Thanks to Matt Bailey/Cycleways for the use of a fantastic set of Envy wheels and to Maxxis Tyres.  Running my Aspens has been a superb choice this year, such a great tyre!  Also a big thanks to my Coach Marc and of course mum and dad!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quartzopolis Challenge

This event was a new one for me this year and with high reccommendations from Phil at Cycleways (who won last year!) I thought this must be a cracker of a race to get  amongst!
We drove up Friday evening to Reefton town and enjoyed a nice bar meal.  I was after a good pasta to fill the tum and luckily they had it!  Once ordered and on the table it was about the size of a kids meal and I was  starving so it hardly touched the sides.  It was down to the fuel station and there in the warmer was a shabby looking pie ready to be indulged on.  It wasn't exactly satisfying but it helped fill me up along with some of Bev's bacon and egg pie.  Interesting dinner meal before a race!
The race start was nice and casual and I was looking forward to seeing what this course had to offer.  I took off hard as soon as we took the first turn staying close to the lead car who wasn't exactly holding up (everyone else stayed back) and as soon as the horn sounded I had a good push up the first climb already way out the front.
The course then started getting into rougher 4wd terrain snaking its way through the forestry until we came to a super fun downhill!  Very much like the Karapoti type descents, loose and fast and it made for a full on ride to keep the bike not skating all over the show!
After this it was a long climb up the same type of terrain I had just came down so holding momentum was key to try and stop wheel spin.  At about the half way mark there was a neat board walk section and then into some great pack track trails.  Ited was like riding on ridable walking tracks nice and tight but not over the top with dismounts and rough patches.  I felt like I was on this track for a while and nearing the end I was glad to see a change of scenery out of the bush and back into the open but I sure enjoy getting amongsome proper mountain bike terrain!  Finally along a gravel road for about 1 km the finish line popped up around the next bend and I came over the line winning the event with a great time, pleased with my ride!
Next event for me is Oceania's this Saturday - looking forward to some Aussie competition!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Geraldine Challenge

In the weekend I competed in the Geraldine Mountain Bike Challenge race which consisted of 50 clicks of fast paced riding.  I was hoping to see a few of the quick Canterbury boys competing but none of them were there.
I started hard and was on my own straight away.  I knew that this event was all about pushing hard thinking about that finishing time so I kept pressing on and going as fast as I could.
The first few k's were along fast (but a bit bumpy on the hardtail!) grass tracks amongst the forestry and next to a dried river bed.  It then had a couple of long stretches along roads (tarseal and gravel) and then there was a neat mid section of the race that got stuck into the hills.  A nice change from all the flat and the lungs got to really start burning!  The course then followed through some cool tight singletrack through a series of trees and then all the back the way I had come from.  It went along the opposite side of the river we originally came from and then crossed back over to finish at the racecourse where we had started.
I had a good hit out winning the event and was glad to have pushed myself even without the top end competition not around, although it always makes things more exciting!
Just under 2 weeks now until the Oceania Champs - things are looking good!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Motutapu 2013

It had been a couple of years since I raced the Motutapu and the one thing I remembered was the awesome river crossings toward the finish!  I sure was feeling excited about getting to ride through water that was almost the height of my wheel!  Not so good for the bearings on my bike but great fun for me!
Race day saw a bit of a delayed start to the event so while everyone had minimal warm up that didn't slow things down at the start.  As soon as the Safety Vehicle pulled over we were off!  A few K's on the flat lead quickly to the first climb and my intentions of the race were to stick on Anton and Dirk for as long as I could.  I somehow found myself pushing the pace up the first climb and then second climb an attack was made by Dirk.  I don't think the rest of us were feeling quite as good as him at that stage but shortly after we had caught Dirk back up as he was adjusting his handlebars on the fly.
By that stage there were about 6 of us fighting it out until the following climb saw Dirk fire another attack.  Carl went after Dirk shortly after with me following suit a few seconds later.  We had dropped the rest of the lads and Carl had managed to bridge the gap to Dirk and the two were knuckling down to work together and  get away from me.  I get the pressure on and was waiting for a steep climb to appear as I knew I could graft my way up and close the gap.  That just happened and at the top Dirk had to make another final adjustment on the go but in the meantime Carl had made his attack.
With Carl in my sights and realizing I was in a position I could potentially win this event I kept the hammer down and fought my way back to the lead.
With about 16km to go with very little climbing left I thought Carl was still behind me but next thing I know the big DP (Dirk) made an attack!  Carl had dropped off and Dirk had been hot on my tail.  Unfortunately the pins were starting to feel scratchy but I kept my focus on keeping a good steady pace and managed to pull the gap back abit however that gap stayed all the way to the finish.  Every river crossing I entered, Dirk was leaving.  If only I had held on for that final attack!
Never to mind I was thrilled with my result and I would like to thank the Nick and his family for accommodation.  I great weekend was had and the superb weather really topped it off too!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pass2Pub 2013

This years Pass2Pub was looking like it was going to be another great event run by Chris and the team at Special events.  While travelling down South to get to the start we encountered a few drizzly patches so a good warm up was required to get the blood flowing in the old pins before kick off!
After a good miss-clip at the start (must of been a good bit of moisture on my pedal I reckon!) I quickly shot up to speed and was up to the front to lead the pack.  A drop down the paddock and through a fence and we were battling up the first climb off the race.  I wanted to start hard so got the lungs burning in the cold temperature we were competing in.  The race shortly showed who had what it took and Logan Horn and myself were smacking along the farm tracks.  Being a fast point to point event neither of us got away but we were able to work together and push ourselves for a good time in the conditions we had.  We came along the final stretch of road, up the final climb and through some rough paddocks and riverbed and it was all on for the sprint!  I lead early but Logan came around me on the corner leading onto the tarmac and had a powerful grunt to the line, a bit stronger than what I was able to throw at it so it was a good second place for me.  Well done to Logan, great race and well deserved!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kaiwara Classic 2013

Last year I didn't get to compete in the Kaiwara Classic Mountain Bike race so I was looking forward to racing again in an event that always gets a great turn out and has a good name for itself.
The course now has two options, the challenge and the bigger course being named the Epic.  The Epic follows the same course as the Challenge but ventures off up into some steep farm track and along the top before meeting up with the bottom of the first major climb in the Challenge course.
The race started off with a bit of a game of tiddlewinks with a few riders not wanting to pull there weight on the road.  I made a cheeky attack to get things moving but after that it went back to how it was until Jeremy Inglis had a nudge up the front to get to the hill.  I was wanting to hit the first climb hard and I quickly opened up the field to just four riders, Logan, Ben, Craig and myself.  I was working the pace hard but the boys held on up the first climb, I was thinking these boys might be hard to crack today!  Once at the top we dropped down then started our climb up the Epic farm track.  The course took a steep left and I kept in my big chain ring and I looked around and I was by myself.  The lads had started to drop off.  I kept the pressure on and rode strong all the way over the tops and along the middle gravel road passing the Challenge riders and hunting down that finish line.  The final climb was good and after a traverse along the top of the hills and down the final descent it was a tough head wind along the tarseal just to keep everyone honest all the way to the line!
I held onto my lead and took the line honors really happy with how I rode as I also now have the course record for not only the shorter course but the long course also!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 National Championships

This year the National Championship was held in Rotorua amongst some of the finest trail network New Zealand has to offer.  The course started off the same as last years Oceania set up firing up the tarseal climb but shortly after snuck up into the trees and followed around until the first downhill section.  Continuing on through some fast trail blazing sections it then climbed up and into a valley climb and onto the shingle road and nailed through another short downhill.  After a quick skid on the shingle road again then came one of my favourite parts of the race course as we fanged down a small drop, launched over some rocks and into a bermed corner,  onto the next banked one and so on for another couple of times!  Super fun!  As the course came toward the finish there was one final pinch climb in the trees around a dogs leg corner that then flowed onto the final downhill.  It was full of ridable drops and tight corners and I was sure glad I had the big 29er wheels to cope!  Not only was it rough but was a bit loose so my Maxxis Aspens got to use there side bite and keep some serious momentum flowing on down.
The race for started off rather interesting.  I was seated at the back of the start grid, a bit confused to say the least after finishing 3rd last year but so be it.  Not alot I could do 2 minutes before the start of a National Championship!  Anyway all that was required was a bit more gas off the start line.  I managed to sneak up the side and gain a few places and once onto the single track I was sitting somewhere in the top 10.  As the pressure went on the Rotorua boys were taking full advantage of there home course and were flying round and I couldn't quite hang onto the pace.  As I battled on I started to make up some ground and entered the Top5 of the race but just after the half way point I lost a position and struggled to gain it back.  The last few laps completed saw me come over the line in 6th Elite but 4th Under 23.  A little disappointed but all things considered and ok result for the year being.  Big thanks to Mat Waghorn for helping out,  the Millers for getting some accommodation for us, also to  my sponsor Matt Bailey/Cycleways and Maxxis Tyres!