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?!