Sunday, May 31, 2009

How good is XC?

.... Motorcycle XC that is! I raced, survived, and had a ball yesterday at the 2nd round of the Dirtguide XC series at pylons near Atiamuri yesterday. I have to give a huge thanks to the team at Kiwi Rider magazine, and Kawasaki NZ for allowing it to happen for me. Big Kermit has now gone back to them, so I can get back to the MTB now.

Moto XC is just like MTB really. Mass start. Long loop, and a 2hr+ race. The main difference being the distance isn't set. It's as many laps as possible in the 2hr (or 3hr for nationals) time period. Whoever is leading when the chequers comes out wins. Might be a cool concept for MTB nationals? Allowing beginer, expert, and eite to all race the same track for 2hrs. Distance becomes self determined by ability.

Anyway, I hid myself at the start, way down the back. Which I soon regretted as the track hit singletrack after about 200m.... I felt really slowed up, but lacked the ability and/or confidence to make passing maouveres... despite spotting lines and opportunities every 30sec. Nevermind. Traffic cleared out eventually, and as the track cut up, most peoples lap times dropped off 3-4min. The fact mine stayed consistent indicated my increasing confidence!

When the flag came out I had been out there 2hr27min covering 80km of pretty tricky, but super fun forest singletracks. I was loving it and would've happily raced for another 1hr! I was "good" enough for 75th (I think) of 120ish. Right in the middle of the intermediate field. Loved it, and super keen for more. But that'll have to wait a few months or more I suppose. Back to using my legs and lungs to generate speed....

Looking the part at least? Who knew it was a useless MTB'er hidden under there!?!
And I thought MTB starts were chaos. 120 bikes, 100m up hill to 90 degree right hander....

Cabin hidden in there somewhere. About 110th round the first corner... Just like an MTB world Cup!
Almost 2hr30 later and looking a little worse for wear

Friday, May 29, 2009

Who wants a new bike?

For Sale, one Giant XTC Carbon size small. One careful lady owner....

Nic's race bike of the last 12mths is for sale. It's in great nick, and needs a new owner who'll love it as much as she has. It's light, stiff, and very fast. For sale as pictured. Fork is a Reba Team. Wheels are Mavic 819/DT Tubeless (literally hardly used at all as she has other bling wheels). Magura Marta SL brakes. Sram X.O gripshift, X.9 rear mech, and Shimano XT front. Raceface bar/stem/post.

Worth approx $4500 new (with brake upgrade). If interested, make a reasonable offer to Nic at

So we are home (briefly) after a busy few days on the road. Taupo, Tauranga, Auckland, Rotorua and home again. Did some cool stuff, hung out with friends, had some meetings, were guest speakers at Team Shorebreak's prizegiving (Tauranga Swim and Triathlon club), did some riding, and.... Cabin raced an Enduro, survived, and didn't come last.

The Enduro was one of the hardest things I've done in ages. Basically a long intense trail ride for 4hrs+. You have to keep up a certain speed average and whilst not super hard... it wears you out as the day goes on. And throughout, there are a number of Special tests, were you guy as fast as possible.

I stepped up to intermediate, instead of novice (despite it being my first ever real motorcycle race!). Rode ok and managed to maintain the required speed average. However was all over the show in the special tests, crashing, stalling the bike etc... so lost plenty of uneccessary time there! Ended up 39th out of 50 overall in the Intermediate classification. So plenty of room to improve!

Ironically I seemed better in the tighter more technical going. And rubbish in the fast open (should be easy?!) stuff. I'm obviously just scared.... So not sure how tommorrows race will go. Its an XC. 20km lap, mass start, go nuts, and whoever is leading after 2hrs wins.

Cabin feeling smoked. Who knew even with an engine it'd be so hard?
Cabin's soft "inside worker" hands didn't like the abuse
Nic meanwhile tried out a sweet new ride courtesy of Tim Mill's kids. Good fit eh?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where did summer go?

So we haven't checked in with you all for 10 days or so now. We've been enjoying the quiet life. Working, back into training (in the gym and on the bike), and enjoying a respite from the hectic racing schedule and catching up with friends instead. While I've been having a great time thrashing around on the KX. So all in all, life is good.

This morning we had a bit on, so had planned training for early morning. Great plan. Until we woke up and saw this out the window.....

Never had to deal with that back down in palmy north!?!
The committed ones headed off to do the farmwork.....

.... while the overgrown kid stayed home and practiced donuts and powerslides in the snow....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rainy Day Distraction #2

Wonder why the last post was title raing day distraction #1? Well there were other things distracting me on wednesday also. Like the impending rival of Kermits bike brother. This fella's wheels might not be as big as the Niner, but it still goes pretty fast.

Thanks to Kiwi Rider and Kawasaki I have this nice toy... ah... I mean cross-training utilise throughout May. Building up to a couple of enduro and XC races at the end of the month. From which I'll be doing a couple of magazine articles on how I go. Just how hard these events are. And whether or not MTB has taught me any worthwhile skills that carry over. Time will tell.

And.... it'll give me an opportunity to try and emulate one of my favorite kiwi sportsmen right now, Paul "the Axeman" Whibley. My good friend and neighbour at High School, who regularly made me look pretty inadequate on a dirtbike in comparison.

And I swear it's a valid method of cross-training. The Caveman rides regularly and he seem's to go ok in XTERRA's. If it goes well I might have to find one for Nic as well? She's already hinting.

While Fox make a pretty nice fork that is attached to the front end of Kermit Jr.... this front end is just a little bit more confidence inspiring. Think I'll be hard pressed to find the limits of this set-up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rainy Day distraction #1

XTERRA Worlds are go....Maui here we come!!! The cost of the race was making it look a very unlikely proposition for us this year, as Nic's MTB Worlds appearance (and preparation) being the priority focus. Until today.
.... The weather is really quite crappy here today. Cold, gloomy, and wet. My mind was wandering off to happier, warmer climates. White sands. Beaches. Maui. I couldn't help but search airfare costs. Just in case.... imagine my surprise when a ridiculous special flashed up from Air NZ. The magic plastic came out, and we now have tickets. Game on. Better let this foot fracture heal properly then!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Swine Flu?

So while the world goes into a panic over "Swine" flu. Apparently they've traced the disease back to its origins.....

... On a more serious note, whilst Nic doesn't have Swine flu, she wasn't feeling her best on Saturday. Which for those of you were wondering what happened to her assault on the famed Crazyman Multisport event; is why she was a reluctant dnf.

She paddled bloddy well for someone who was on an 18mth taper (her last paddle was Motu 2007)... heading onto the run 2nd women, only 2min down. She soon erased that deficit, but things just weren't right. A nagging virus, and the end of a hectic season had caught up with her. So despite leading onto the final leg, her specialty MTB, she made the tough decision to call it a day.

Yes, she's gutted. But sometimes it takes more courage to pull out (especially whilst leading) than to push through regardless. She has bigger fish to fry. She'll be back, better and stronger. Crazyman 2010 better look out. Hell... even I'm keen to learn to paddle having stood on the sidelines on Saturday.