Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Festival of Cycling

Well, we are back home again, after one of the most fun cycling weekends we've had in a long time.
As Nic alluded to in her earlier post about the Huka.... one of the most exciting things for MTB at the moment seems to be the frequency that it is being recognised and included in Festival style events. Following hot on the heels from Taupo, was the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling in Christchurch. Now in its fifth year, Simon Hollander and his team decided to add in an MTB event so we showed up to try it out.
The festival is impressive. And while the MTB event was maybe a little short, it was certainly demanding. Our races didn't go quite to plan. I felt really strong, but lacked a top gear. So when Brendan Sharratt and the impressive Richard Anderson jumped away I could only watch. I had the tiny Anton Cooper for company. Turns out he wasn't much use to draft off.... and then I made the mistake of letting him lead me into the singletrack.
Turns out Port Hills singletrack takes some time to adapt to. Its narrow and rocky. I didn't see Anton again till the finish. 4th it was then.
Nic on the other hand stormed up Rapaki track into a commanding lead. Relaxing across the top she didn't notice local Sarah Taylor working well with some of the guys to bridge across to her. Making the same mistake of letting the local into singletrack, she couldn't find a way past. And had to settle for 2nd.
We soon forgot all that though on day 2 of the festival and the event we'd all really been waiting for. The celebrity tandem crit (on singlespeed tandems). 10 cycling celebrities were paired with 10 businesses for a pretty fun (and intense) race. There was a bit of carnage off the start line but things soon settled as we started to test how well these things braked and turned. Kashi and Jack Bauer weren't as agressive as we might have hoped, but Nic was making up for things. Meanwhile Heath Blackgrove and Robin Reid proved pretty adept and aggressive pilots and pulled off some strong passing manouveres under brakes. I tried to line them up into the hairpin into the last lap only to drop our chain.
Nevermind... we still hit 46km through the speed trap. Awesome fun. Thanks to Simon Hollander for an awesome weekend. We might have to investgate a few more tandem events I thin?!
Cabin and his shadow.... until the shadow got away
Nic displaying impecable DH form
Before the start of the tandem race where all form went out the window
Lean angles were surprisingly good....
While Nic decided pedalling wasn't really neccessary

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Taupo Huka Wknd

Just like 11'000+ ppl Cabin & I made our way to Taupo on Friday afternoon. Amazing - isn't it? That many people participating in a cycle event! Each year it grows I am in awe of the effort, organisation and community spirit Taupo demonstrates to host such an iconic event. It is quite remarkable.

Cabin & I were there to participate in the Huka MTB race. It was a mixed bag for team n-Duro. Cabin had a fine ride, carving the craters single track at a very consistent pace riding up to third place in the open men's race behind Stu & Mikey. Congrats to these guys who battled it out on the home straight for a photo-finish...kinda close huh. Awesome. And top ride to Poppa Cabin, letting the younger riders know he is not over the hill or even close yet!

Meanwhile I was on the side of the trail trying to come to terms with a DNF. I had a return of my vision problem. Off the start Annika & I rode out to Craters at a comfortable pace & I was thinking sweet, legs & lungs will go the distance well today. Not long into the single track I was aware that my vision was a little 'blurred' but thought it was just a dim day & I was adjusting to the light. I stopped to request riding glasses & lost touch with Annika although on the open climb I could still see her & set about a good pace to hopefully get closer. But I didn't see her again, in fact I didn't see much. My eyes got thicker with white cloud/fog and my vision was all but gone by the time I got to the 55km mark at Heli-star. I had been battling with the decision to w/draw as I was crashing frequently through the last trails in Craters & getting really agitated. When we popped out of the forest into the open, the glare seemed to make it worse - I could see white & bright but that was all. I put my bike down & sat down on the grass unsure of what to do next.

It is pretty hard to deal with when your legs are strong, you feel good & then have something like this occur. I was extremely frustrated and disappointed. I just wanted to ride & finish but I couldn't even do that. So for me, it wasn't the day I wanted. Of course we are investigating further & hopefuly we get to the bottom of it fast.

Even with the generous help of a supporter finding some riding glasess for me (if you are reading this please let me know!) to use, my vision deteriorated pretty consistently once it had set in. I doubt that having the riding glasess helped, but it was definately worth a shot. Thank-you!

The thing that did cheer me up however, was that my eyes recovered within 4hours (previously it has taken 8-10hrs) and I could go and participate in the 5k Heart Childrens ride which I had been looking forward to too! This was a truly fantastic way to turn the day around. Heart Children NZ is the official charity of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Along with Bevan Docherty & Eroni Clarke I had the pleasure of some quality bike riding and hanging out with these courageous Heart kids. They are inspiring, you would never guess the great deal they have been through. I am sure you will all agree that prizegiving had a particularly 'feel good' factor to it. It was a celebration of participation, riding bikes and fulfillment. It was also a wonderful fundraiser for the most deserving children & families in NZ. Go the Heart Kids!!

So all in all it was a great weekend. We had fantastic accomodation at the Rahui Racing HQ - thanks Marty & Tristan! We liked your racing tales :) We caught up with a good few friends & spent some quality time with sponsors & fellow bike riders.

Someone said the other day that... 'track is for racing, road is for training, and dirt is for potatoes'. I think the addition of the Huka MTB race to the Taupo programme is fantastic & I reckon we will see a few changing discipline to 'see how the other compares'. Let's hope so! 300 starters in the Huka MTB race on Sat... no doubt there were just as many tales and heartbreak in the Huka as with the road event. I don't mind being called a spud if I get to hoon around 70-odd km of single track getting some mean drifts, physical & technical climbs, no bunches and crashing w/o suffering from road rash...suits me fine. See y'all next year (and I will be SEEing you at the finish)...

Photo's to be added :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get Lost

Or should that be, try NOT to get lost, and get round the forest as fast as you can in the meantime. What am I on about?
Sunday saw a random edition to my training plan. The NZ MTB Orienteering Champs were on in the Whaka forest, so I figured why not give it a nudge. I was super experienced afterall..... with a stellar performance at some primary school orienteering event in Naseby back in, oh, about 1985 I think?! Best case scenario was I'd do great. Worst case.... I'd get lost, ride in circles, and as a result get a solid days training in.
Aparently you need a mapboard and compass. Since my preparation was so good I didn't have either on Sunday morning. So bugger the compass.... but I did fashion a magnificent mapboard out of random stuff around the house. See pic below. Reason #126 for regular ice-cream consumption.
The event? Well I started great, and was leading apparently till the 4th control which I messed up pretty good. Then rode and navigated steadily and slowly brought the gap down until the last control which I made a monumental error on and lost an estimated 7min. Oops.
End result? Well it was an NZ champs, which means obviously I finished in the regular slot.... 2nd. Andrew Bott rode/navigated awesome and smashed me. Great fun though and certainly something different. Recommend all to give it a shot once if you can find an event.
For a proper event report click here
Looking focussed? Well I still knew where I was going at this point!
Only the most technologically advanced equipment for me thanks.
How much sense of this do you make?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whirinaki Quest

So there is now a new addition to "Cabin and Nic's must do, highly reccomended NZ MTB events" list. The Whirinaki Quest.
We enjoyed an awesome comeback to competitive MTB after a wee break with this great event, now in its second year, which all going well will become an iconic NZ event. Organiser Nick Reader does a great job drawing on his experiences with Motorcycling to bring together the key elements for a great ride.
We turned up on Friday night for the free camping on the sportsground. BBQ dinner, a few beers, and great company made for a very relaxing start to the weekend. Rolling out of bed literally at the start line made things so much easier the next day too!
The event? A great mix of purpose built singletrack, old logging roads, and 4wd trails added up to a challenging ride for all. The final addition at the 30km mark of "Grovel Hill" will go down in Folklore. A bike carry/push to rival the Devils Staircase proved the final kicker.... but led straight to a fresh cut loamy singletrail downhill that in Gaz's words "after two corners made you forget the effort in getting there."
I managed to take a comfy win after being chased hard all the way by Rotorua junior Nigel McDowell. Nic won the women's and managed 10th overall. Making it all the better was the relaxed social atmosphere afterwards. The BBQ cranked up, burgers on offer, and smashed competitors in varying states of "smashedness" relaxing on the grass and telling tall stories of their battles with the course.
Worth the trip? Hell yes. Will we be back? Definately. These guys run an awesome event and have plans for more, so keep your eyes pealed. And we'll see you all at Whirinaki 2010.
The Night before
Post race and organisers Nick and Deb's enjoy a well deserved burger in the sun
.... while Marty goes for the trusty beer and chips combo.
One of the more relaxed race venues you'll come across
The local catering crew was awesome. Steak & Egg burgers anyone?
The "wise" men? Nick and Gaz deep in discussion. Judging by the Gaz's hat I can only assume it was about the best format for a backyard cricket match?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finding Balance..

It's been pretty busy here in Rotorua for the last couple of weeks. In between working back at the farm in Raetihi, Training, and shop work in Rotorua; Nic managed to find and negotiate a deal on a mint house for us here in Rotorua. So we are now home owners! (Well we will be mid december).

So we'll be expecting visistors a plenty. Are you reading this Conrad? MTB, Dirtbikes, and awesome fishing... and no clashes with XTERRA's NZ & Sth Africa in 2010. No excuses.

In other news, reports of the impending Bushlove/Wgtn December assault on Rotovegas will certainly have the locals concerened. Fortunately we won't have possession of our new house then so at least that is safe.

Other than that its just been fun times mixing work and play (also known by some as training). Road + Runs + ice-cream + MTB + Swimming (even used up a 10swim card in 3 weeks!!) + Pizza and Beer + BMX + great friends to catch up with and hang out = Awesome.

And a wee bit tired..... Resting today. Whirinaki Quest MTB on Saturday, which added to Road Crit racing on Tuesday night, and BMX club racing wednesday will make a great week of bike racing. Life is good.

Tuesday Crit. First Road Race in a loooong time....
.... As it was also for proud mum Sonia
And getting in some sneaky BMX practice

Monday, October 26, 2009

Labour Day musings

So it's a public holiday, it's a gorgeous day here in Rotorua, and I've spent the morning staring at the laptop.... partly because I trained lots last two days and I'm a bit smashed..... but more so as I've been being the avid sports fans following the fortunes of a few of my friends who also happen to be pretty classy at what they do. So big congrats to.....

Paul "The Axeman" Whibley. It's a long way from Pahiatua to the East Coast of the USA and big time professional motorcycling. But Paul put in a strong and consistent ride this morning at the final round of the prestigeous GNCC series (reputed to be the toughest off-road series in the world), to secure the overall title for 2009. Awesome work. And I hope the Suzuki team who cut him from their roster after 2008 are feeling a little sheepish now.

And these two. Richard Ussher and Scott Thorne. No nicknames needed. Just genuine hard men. Tough as nails, shown here smashing each other at XTERRA NZ, they have just finished 11th and 13th respectively at the 2009 XTERRA World Championship. In what was perhaps the deepest field at the event to date..... Rich put in the equal fastest run split, and Scott the 5th fastest. Doing NZ proud.
And Scott.... competing at that level, amongst big name professionals, in spite of a full time labour intensive job....So perhaps unofficially the Amateur World Champ? No excuse for the rest of us. Right then, maybe I should go training them.
In other good news. Apparently, outlets in the Bay of Plenty have on average the most generous servings of cone ice-cream in NZ. I knew there was another reason I moved to Rotorua.... :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Toys!

.... so pre-season training is underway, and while theres a few tried and true methods to get fit and fast for summer I think we are all well aware I'm not really one for following traditional training methods. Always keen to throw new things into the mix, so when Nic decided she wanted to take up BMX who was I to argue?

Bloody good way to work on strength and power. Great skills, and a hell of a lot of fun. So after aquiring her very own ABD Pro BMX on wednesday there was no stopping Nic. Turned out to be a long training day!

My Haro Cruiser (I'm an old man after all) hadn't arrived yet, so I went running instead. Will have to wait for next week. Actually, we also got a Powertap wheel for the roadies this week too. Pretty serious training investment there.... but the BMX is far more fun.

Nic even managed to fing a helmet small enough
Bit more scary start view than an MTB race?
Just in case you were missing Pattle.....
Nic on the gate with the boys. Thats Tom Holland on the right, and Aaron "bling bling" Perry in white beside Nic

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just Living....

Time for another blog update, and really, we're just living.... !

Another fairly hectic weekend, even with the absence of racing. This time with a whistle stop visit back to Palmerston North (via Raetihi and Wanganui). Friday night I was guest speaker at the Sport Manawatu Grassroots Sports Awards. Kind of cool honour to be asked. Firstly, in that it recognises I might have something valuable to say. And secondly, I must be getting better at them?!

Seriously though, it was a great opportunity to give a bit back to the sports community where I developed myself as an athlete. And also where I hopefully made some impact on the youth too.

So Cabin got a haircut, and a real job!!!

Was a great opportunity to think about and acknowledge all the club volunteers whose tireless work allows us to do what we do. Fittingly, a number of the award winners on Friday have directly influenced me over the years, and I was able to acknowledge and thanks these people on the night.

If you compete at all, can I suggest you take a moment to think of all those that assist you.... and perhaps say thanks. Without them we don't have a sport/sports.

At least I thought I was entertaining?!
Finally, we moved into our short-medium term accomodation on Sunday night (until we find a suitable house to buy). Residing in the basement of the Diproses new place. Must say it's awesome to no longer be living out of bags (as I kind of have been for about 8 months now), and having some sort of regularity back in my life.
Guess that means it's time to start a proper training program again then? Wonder if I can still remember how to swim?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Whaka 100....

Fot the third time in three years I'm feeling a little broken from chasing Scot Thorne all around the forest during the Whaka 100. And I didn't even race! It was a little different this time...

.....after a good break (like a whole month of complete laziness for Cabin.... a wee bit less for Nic), we hauled the bikes out again last week thinking a 100km race wasn't too smart, especially with a desire to do a long steady build up to the 2010 season. So Nic decided to race the 50km option, whilst I strapped a helmet camera to my head with the intent of capturing some good in race footage for future highlights/promo films.

Turned out to be a fun (and a little bit painful) day. Happily stayed with the lead group for approx 30km, before taking a shortcut to relocate to another filming position. All the while watching an inpressive Scott Thorne control the race.

Jumped in and out of the race and captured the crucial moments (I think... haven't watched the footage yet), and experimented with a few shots as my creative side came out?!

Stopped for a break at 60k, and joined in behind the 50km race, following Nic, as some poor chap desperately tried to prevent himself being beaten by a girl. Nic's mean. Despite a gnarly crash early on she ended up winning the womens easily and nabbing 3rd overall in the 50km. Amazing what a decent break and feeling fresh does for you.

Meanwhile I decided to keep Mr Thorne company as it looked lonely at the front. After another 40+ mins following I decided the last hill was a bit much so left the man to it and shot back to the finish for a rest and a much needed feed. And in time to watch a very impressive and strong looking Thorne take his 3rd stright title. He's looking good for Maui and am excited to see what he does.

Looking forward to ressuming training now. Looks like I've got some ground to make up

The Cameraman hangs on for grim death behind Thorne
Nic waaayyyy out front of the womens 50km

Thanks to Alan @ Fotoengineers for the images

Monday, September 21, 2009

Team N-Duro Shirts Available

Need a new riding shirt for summer? Or possibly some xmas gifts for someone? Anyway, we are getting ourselves a few new Team N-Duro shirts made up in the next few weeks, so leaves the option open to include orders for anyone that wants one (or three).

$130 delivered. For orders e-mail by Friday Sep 25th to get yours.

Shirts will be available end of October

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weekend Reading

Looking for a bit of weekend reading? Or some fresh mags for the coffee table? Let us make some reccommendations. Turns out we've been fairly active on the media front in recent times, and have been asked to make a variety of contributions to a number of great kiwi publications. So in the interests of blatent self-promotion..... Can we reccommend the October issues of the following :)

Lot's of interesting Kiwi Motorcycling content as always. But this time includes a 4 page feature on my attempts to crossover to dirt biking this past winter. Hopefully makes an interesting read to others and prompts a bit more MTB vs Moto crossover

Okay, so this is the current cover.... but look out for the October issue of NZMTB'r on the shelf soon. Includes cover of Nic's Worlds campaign, a "getting fit for MTB" feature (yes, I wrote it), and of course my column.

And Endurance Sport, with its ever improving content. This month featuring Nic's veiwpoint on stepping up to World Cup level as "Team N-Duro goes World Cup racing"

Happy Reading

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Part of an interesting campaign/experiment today. Currently Ridestrong is driving a petition for law changes requiring drivers to give cyclists 1.5m of space when passing. The reality is most drivers tend to give more thought and consideration to animals.
Thus, an experiment was devised. For results, over the coming days keep an eye on Ridestrong
And of course an opportunity to add your voice, and signature, to the petition

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worlds wrap from nic...

Smooth through the rocks.... Thanks to Jo for the pic

'35th elite women'. It doesn't quite have the ring to it that I was after. Did my aspirations outweigh my capabilities at this point in time? Maybe. I had a good race, and put together the best I could on the day, so I am happy enough. I shouldn't get too hung up about the end result if the process was as good as I could deliver, so I won't. End of story.

Ok I will tell you about my race though...

The course was a tonne of fun. A few of you might be aware of the rock infested 'cardiac climb' for which I had made the specific 'big ring off and bash guard on' modification to my bike. It worked a treat and I was stepping up, around and over the 1-2 foot high rocks neatly in practice. Oh for practice... b/c come first lap with O2 debt, deprived legs and in a fluster fest I suddenly lost my finesse!

The second half of the course had a beauty bermed descent, several table tops, short dual slalom sections and heaps of flow - wicked! But it was fast and therefore gaining a decent speed differential to pass was tricky.

During the week I had constructed a start plan, as you must. I was called up in 42nd - i.e. back of the grid. There was a bit of a chicane before we swung right onto a fire road that was a gradual incline of about 1km before we hit the narrowed single track of 'cardiac climb'. Your position here would be crucial, and sure enough everyone else had figured this too.

My master plan was based off a similar one I used at Mte Ste Anne that worked a treat. In this case I would line up in the left, stay out of trouble through the first bend then slingshot around the outside on the right hander into the fire road. Unfortunately as the big space opened in front of me to gap it up the side I got cut off and ended up braking hard to avoid a prang. I recovered ok, & pinned it to get across to the bunch that had formed up the fire road.

Note to self, female MTB bunch = absolute shocker. We surged, braked & sprinted for the next 500m and even managed a crash! No shit, a pile up on a 6m wide uphill fire road. Craziness. So my start was not brilliant and I was not where I needed to be as we hit cardiac climb. Hat off to Katie Compton (USA) though, as she was on the same row as me & was apparently 6th going into cardiac. It can be done....

Out back there was a second section of fire road of maybe 500m, a great opportunity to pass. But again it was a gradual incline (not a strength of mine)... and the Euro/road girls just hauled up this section. I tried to hang tough, but I was eating dust. I need some road quads and a butt to boot. I'll be working on it!

I definately took a bit to settle, but by mid-race (lap 3 of 5) I felt I was riding better. I was enjoying the technical sections, taking the 'hot lines' and managed a few passes. It feels so good when you romp a section, make a pass and the crowd goes wild. I had heaps of support out there, it was fantastic.

Another positive from my race was that in the 5-laps my individual lap times differed only by 6-seconds! Yay for Ms.Consistent, just need to get consistently faster now. I am excited, I feel I have a whole lot to look forward to in the next chapter, I have weaknesses to work on and strengths to build upon. Bring it!

Right now though, I have a short break from biking practice. In this time Cabin & I will get ourselves established in Rotorua, I will go hunting and spend some quality time at home on the ranch before settling into a new physio position in the big stink of Roto... yayaa!

Thank-you every-one for your continued interest and support, it is hugely appreciated. Also to my sponsors... Avanti Bikes (DT Swiss & Kenda tyres) & Avanti+ Mt Maunganui, n-Duro events Rotorua, Balance Nutrition, New Balance, 2XU & Ridestrong... these people literally spin my wheels. Thank-you all!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

World Champs....35th

Quick update.... many will already have seen, but Nic put together a very strong ride yesterday at Stromlo for 35th in her Elite World Champs debut. She seem's happy enough, but always wants more so pretty motivated for what comes next.

I'll wait for her to write her own take on the days events, as all I did was stand in the feedzone and yell!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sneak Preview: Nic's Worlds Weapon

So riding Worlds can have it's advantages. I've just spent the evening building up Nic's weapon for World Champs, after Avanti arranged advanced delivery of the improved 2010 Team Competitor frame.
I have to admit it looks pretty mint. Along with a few new pieces of bling from Uncle Sam at Litebikes and some Canberra specific mods and presto.... one pretty cool looking, light, and fast Nic Leary World Champs special.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A little insight

The MTB World Championships are now only a week away. In fact for 4 of our best XC riders, it's only 6 days until the Team Relay kicks things off in Canberra. So as I type this, there are a number of nervous riders around the country. Second guessing themselves as to have they done enough intervals? Is my bike as 100% as it could be? Have I done too much? Have I got the right tyres? And a thousand other questions running through their minds.

The question I am most regularly seem to be asked relates to the level of racing on the World Stage. Just how good are these riders? And as NZ riders, are we anywhere near their level at all? Are we really that bad that many of us get pulled 2 laps doen in a World Cup?

If you want to know, then click here Hopefully it provides some insight?!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Returning to our roots

Cabin on his new rig.... Not at Santoft though. This is Makara

Great fun (but bloody hard) hitout for us today..... returning to the old stomping grounds of the Manawatu and taking in the latest round of the Manawatu MTB Club's winter series, we put ourselve in the mix for 24km+ of suffering on the undulating sand based trails of Santoft Forest. Interestingly one of the first "races" Nic ever did back in 2007.

Being our first race since Bromont World Cup, it was a key training day for Nic looking ahead to Worlds. Fiona McDermid raced as well, to ensure it wasn't easy. A great chance to try out some new equipment on the Avanti, and try to beat as many of the guys as possible at the same time. Worked out pretty well.... 1hr24 or so of very high intensity riding and managed about 7th overall we think.

For me, it was a chance to debut my new bike. Will post a photo later in the week, but it's pretty light, nice to ride, and it goes pretty fast. Details later, but it's a Niner, and it weighs 9.2kg (as raced today).

So far as the race went I was pretty happy. Was a bit concerned about the Palmee juniors who continue to develop. I spent the first 15mins or so observing as 4 of us rode away. But it was under control really and once I rode away I was comfy (well, as comfy as you can be with heart rate about 10 beats off max for 1hr+). Pretty nice hit out, winning by a couple of minutes as Paul McDermid followed me home to add to the coaches lessons for the Juniors. We better enjoy it while we can as the juniors will continue to get faster. My days are numbered!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So we've been a bit quiet for the last week or so. Partly because there hasn't been any exciting race news to report on. But there has been plenty of other stuff going on.

For Nic it's been head down, and training hard to ensure she is as prepared as possible for MTB Worlds. We had a key training day on our "secret" race prep loop at Craters in Taupo, and also some time on the SRM ergometer at UCOL. Both proved what I already knew...... Nic is faster than she used to be.

On my side of things there have been some exciting developments too. I now have a job. A career in fact. Shock horror. What it does mean is that we will soon become Rotorua residents. Fitting, as it's kind of become our second home anyway. The job? Regional Cycling Development Manager for Rotorua. It's a BikeNZ employed role, and is probably as exciting, as it is daunting, as it will be challenging. And just when Nic had finally trained me up with the Tractor and Wagon to look after feeding out duties on the farm too. Pretty extreme lengths to go to to avoid that huh?

It's been a pretty hectic two weeks since we returned. In that space I was interviewed, offered a job, got into training, tidied up other journalism and coaching tasks, all before heading down to Wellington here I've been all week learning the ropes. Rotorua next week, then off to Canberra the following week for MTB Worlds. I'll stop for a breath sometime soon.

Looking forward to this weekend where we'll be back in Palmee North for a couple of days, and I can get out and test the legs (and my new bike) at the Manawatu Clubs Winter Series MTB event. Bit scared the Juniors I used to coach are going to smash me after a week of pretty much nothing.....should be fun?!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well, we made it home safe and sound. The return trip (also known as "Cabin's international junk food tour...) was broken up by two nights in Vancouver so wasn't too bad. After spending all my left over Canadian $$ on a good Tim Hortons feed of donuts, we enjoyed a pleasant flight home with AirNZ.

Arriving home Friday morning we were greated by fantastic (but pretty bloody chilly) weather we're wondering what everyone at home was complaining about? It was a hectic few days though after returning. Kicked off by a guest speaker engagement for Cabin on Friday night in Palmee North, watching the Wanganui Club Rugby final in Wanganui Saturday, Nic doing the farm work in Raetihi Sunday (while Cabin followed.... and was somewhat useful, maybe?), and then a return trip to Rotorua on Monday for a job interview.

Phew. But life is returning now to some form of normality. Nic's got some hard days training ahead to ensure she's in peak shape for Canberra. Meanwhile I might start running, swimming again soon. I've still got 10wks+ till Maui after all :)

Bye bye Bromont. And Bye bye summer
Nic enjoys one last Moose encounter... 2-3 days later she's back to mustering sheep
The dog's watch Nic work.... much like Cabin
Mt Ruapehu. Just 15km away from the farm. A little better for skiing right now than Bromont. There's a mint 17km road climb up to the ski-field, but I think in this weather I might pass on that for now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

World Cup Top 25? Check

Nic put in a great ride today, in fairly trying circumstances, and achieved her first World Cup top 25 at Bromont (Quebec) today.

She was a bit pissed off to be held up a lot on lap one through the technical singletrack, and as such perhaps lost a shot at a top 20. But rode strong to climb to 22nd on lap 4 (of 5), with her sights on the top 20...... before getting a bit keen manualing through a water crossing and flatting the rear. The replacement wheel (tubed) then flatted again, forcing a long run for 1/2 a lap to the 2nd tech zone. Losing plenty of time, but still. Top 25? I'd be happy. And she certainly is. Mission accomplished.

Mens race? Was super wet. The heavens opened in a big way pre-race. I didn't even bother with a riding warm up and went running instead.

I ended up 72nd. Quietly, I had my eye on top 60, and I was definately fast enough, but I messed it up with a very poor first lap. Just couldn't get going, or that excited. Losing far too much time, and the only guy behind me after the first lap was there because he'd crashed.

But I got my s*&% together after that and raced strong consistent laps for me. Closing down on bunches in front pretty steadily. Unfortunately just missed out on a 5th lap, as if I had, am pretty sure there was another 10 spots of so to gain. But wasn't to be.

Pre-Race.... Pretty focussed.
Nic putting the hurt on the top Aussie riders.
Post race, still smiling after the last lap "challenges"
You could say the men's race was a little wet.... Amazingly the stans raven tyres actually gave pretty good traction (yes I am serious!).

Friday, July 31, 2009

Some travel pics...

So we're back in Bromont. Pretty much killing time awaiting this weekend's world cup. This bit sucks, as when there's back to back racing you have to be careful to recover well, so you end up resting a lot, which is not always great.

Anyway, course has changed a bit since Canada Cup. Some great new technical sections. Course was riding fast yesterday...... until the massive thunderstorm that struck whilst I was out running the course last night. I haven't seen rapids running down a track like that since the infamous K-Loop DH of 2001(?!). Sunny again today so it might dry out. Or not. A few selected pics below for your viewing pleasure.

The 'local' Tuesday night crit in Montreal. Pretty cool set up. Stands, big crowds = Awesome.
All was going to plan for Theirry till some clown chopped him at 50km/hr+. Ouch.
Nic demonstrating what happens when an athlete anxious to race gets almost too rested...
....whilst Cabin contemplates methods to help get to the front of a World Cup XC
Seem's the founding fathers of Quebec City had good taste in beer?
Ever wondered what the front of an XC World Cup race looks like? So does Cabin.