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!).