Monday, December 20, 2010

Nic's sweet 2011 ride!

Woo! Check out my new ride for 2011...Avanti Team Competitor. Santa did his rounds early & I was one very happy girl when these two mint bikes turned up at my house last week! I am pretty excited about heading out into the forest to give it a good whirl. I have been getting well acquainted with my roadie in recent weeks but I will be getting this dirty soon - first impressions report to follow!

2011 Avanti Team Competitor...
Complete with XTR 28/40T 10spd groupset, the Fox F-series Terralogic 100ml fork, XTR wheelset w/ Kenda tyres & Zero/Easton components. Love it!

From another angle w/ my preferred 640mm riser handlebar.

2011 Avanti Questa 2.0 all important racing and training tool. Next up I have the Tour de Femme (Nelson), followed closely by the Elite Road National Champs (Chch)...yep, getting amongst it. I expect a damn tough day but a good test for sure.

A very BIG Thank-you to Avanti. They have an awesome range of XC, 29er, dual suspension & trail MTB's for 2011. Plus their ever-impressive road bike selection. Check them out.

In other news, time is fair flying & we have been head down bums up working, training & this last weekend getting pretty wet! Cabin is doing a good bit of running, swimming & riding fitted in around a busy work schedule as he prepares for the Tauranga Half Ironman (Jan 9th).

Hot on the heels of the Huka MTB Race, we travelled to Chch for the Armstrong Festival of Cycling event. We attended this last year and had an absolute blast, so were eager to return. It was a fantastic event yet again. We raced the MTB race on Saturday, approx 3okm including the uniquely testing single track of the Port Hills.

Following last year I was keen to get a bit of practice in ahead of the race. We skipped up Dyers pass on the Friday afternoon to get familiar with the terrain. We ended up riding far more than we should have on the eve of a race, but it was an awesome evening and we were enjoying the views and the trails too much!

This year the start of the course was changed to include some more off road riding in the way of farm track. Thank-you to the Scott Family who allowed us all to race through their property. With a few steep pinches, undulating farm track and a good bit of sheep shit to dodge it made for an interesting ascent to the top of Rapaki track.

The men's race was hotly contested. Defending champ Brendon Sharratt was back and stomped up the climb to take the King of Mountain title. Not far behind was Avanti team mates Richard Anderson and Cabin and youngster's Brad Hudson, Anton Cooper. The single track is punctuated with a couple of road sections, including the last 4km to the finish. As it turned out, Brendon, Cabin & Brad were close at the bottom of Captain Thomas Track. They came together on the road and it was game they lapped it out some until it was time for the sprint finish. Cabin hesitated, Brad jumped, & Brendon came around to take the win on the line. Nice! Cabin was 3rd, but happy enough.

I had a sweet ride, winning the women's race. I found the twisty rocky single track challenging to ride fast. This was brought to my attention rapidly when I was gettin caught & passed easily by a number of men who I had raced to the top. I was trying hard to go fast but didn't quite have the knack for it. There is always something to work on...

Day 2 of the Festival moves down town to the 'strip' with the feature races being the mens & womens criterium races. Oh, and of course the 'celebrity tandem race!'. Brendon Hart & I were racing for Benchmark Homes whilst Cabin & his stoker were representing The Heart Centre. Once again this was super fun and we have some photo's which we will post for you to see.

I had also packed my road bike and jumped in the Women's Criterium race..gulp! It was great fun! Being just my 2nd crit race, I was more than a little nervous but after a few laps I settled in and enjoyed the ride. I finished in the main group, and banked a few notes on crit racing. It was a great training session, and I will certainly look to do more of this too :)

That is all for now, some pictures to follow. In the meantime everybody have a safe & happy festive season :) Train hard & enjoy the goodness of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kids at Christmas Charity Auction: Buy us!

Right, so hopefully we have some wealthy and philanthropically minded fans reading this who are keen to come ride with us in Rotorua next year.

Nic and I are an auction item in the AirNZ Christmas Kids Charity auction (well… a trip to Rotorua, a ride/coaching with us, accommodation, shuttle pass etc…). @Heart are the benificiaries and we'd love to think they can get a good chunk of $ from this. Check it out at the below link.

Bidding closes next Wednesday (Dec 15th)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cabin's big day out - part 2

.... I really would have liked to stay in Taupo Saturday night.... but I had to get home for a reason. Sunday saw the first race of TriNZ's Contact National Tri series at Blue Lake.

I've hardly run or swim in the last few months. As a hint I do need more than the fingers on one hand to count the respective runs and swims. But I wouldn't need my feet....

A demanding hilly bike course, and equally testing run were right up my alley, so what better way to kickstart my 1/2 ironman training? In perhaps logic only I would use I thought racing on smoked legs from the Huka would be great endurance training. Turns out it worked ok. But not after one of my most bizzare race experiences yet.

My swim was average (but to be expected). I would have enjoyed it except for the munter who seemed insistent on trying to read the model name on my googles. I can only assume that is what he was trying to do since he insisted on swimming on top of me for almost the entire 1500m despite my continual movements away from him, and the complete absence of other swimmers around us. Anyway, I survived, 6min or so down on the front, and executed a good transition before getting into my work on the bike. Until my race took the bizzare and unexpected twist...

.... a car on car collision occured at the bottom of Okareka Hill just moments before I arrived. I wasn't first on the scene, but was the first triathlete to stop. Someone quickly gave me directions to go rouse a local doctor who lived nearby. I found the house evebtually after some unsure circling and got him on the way. It seemed to take forever but was realistically only 4-5min. I was at a bit of a loss then as to what to do. Race was effectively over, and there was nothing more to do as accident scene was under control.

So I rode on, in somewhat of a daze, before deciding it was training and to start hammering again. I took a visual check when I passed the leaders on and out and back section. 20km later and it was only Mark Bowsted who had made any significant time on me. So it was nice to know I was one of the quickest on the course.

I got pretty angry with some of the lead (top 10) competitors who were ignoring the race breifing to stay on the walking track and running on the road (open to traffic) and forcing oncoming cyclists to ride wide on the road. I yelled at a few, rode straight at a few, and even paused in transition to ask the tech official to send a roving marshall out. I might seem like a grumpy old man, but organisers have safety rules for a reason and it pisses me off when competitors think they are so special they can do what they want. If you don't want to paly by the rules.... Stay home.

Anyway, when I got running I put together a solid time. Top 10 run split, 15th overall, and when TriNZ correct me time (which they generously offered to do to account for my doctor searching mission) I was around top 10 overall. I was then called up at prize giving for a special prize to acknowledge my mid race detour. So big thanks to TriNZ and huge credit to them for a well run event and their care for their participants. Nice work.

I'm typing this on Monday. It was a big weekend. Not surprisingly I am a little smoked.

CabiNic's big day out

So it was a big weekend for us. The Taupo Cycle Challenge, with its 10,000+ participants it is the event that argueably holds up the NZ cycling industry so it is a pretty big deal. And we are pretty satisified with our respective 3rd places.

Having the Huka XL MTB marathon as a feature really makes it a must do. Rapidly gaining popularity, the (now) 82km single track fest is as gruelling and tough as it is fun (perhaps with the exception of Kergresse.... participants will now what I mean!). This year saw pretty much everyone who is anyone in NZ MTB line up to test their early season form. And we were no different. Despite a lack of "speed" training we were certainly both keen to put a good result on the board. After last year Nic was keen to finish, and do so with her sight.

A 4:40am start to shovel breakfast into our faces in the dark was quickly followed by an hours more precious sleep before rousing ourselves for the 7am start. At least that meant the race would be over in time for lunch. For the guys, the pace was on from the very start, and we took great pride in beating the roadies (who started beside us) to the top of control gate hill. I was pretty focussed on slotting in at the front... the epic abundance of Singletrack meaning positioning is important. Holding 2nd when we reached craters meant I was then in a position to choose my pace rather than play catch up. It was soon pretty clear Mikey and T-Rex had some very good form and they dictated proceedings. Soon it was they and Dirk Peters cleared off, I was solo in 4th...At halfway I got a time check. 2min down on the lead trio, but more than 1min30 up on 5th/6th. So it was a solo time trialled for the next 2hrs. I held it together, railed some singletrack, enjoyed my mint new Avanti Team Competitor 29er, and eventually picked up a fading Dirk and crossed the line 3rd, a mere 2min after Mikey won a sprint over T-Rex.

Nic's race was a little different. She was pretty conservative early and with "junk" feeling legs from the previous weeks training was in her words "creeping" back in 5th for the first 20-30km whilst Annika Smail and Karen Hanlen danced off the front. By 30km she started feeling pretty good and put the hammer down. Legs were better and she was loving the flowing, and challenging Taupo trails. Riding back up to 3rd but running out of time to chase down Karen. Stoked to actually finish, and see some good results from the last months training block.

The afternoon then saw the highlight of the weekend..... our appearance as escorts/celebrities for the @Heart 5km kids ride. These kids enthusiasm is amazing and saw everthing from small MTB's to 12" training wheel equipped bikes tackling the 5km. The boys from Pure Black were on hand to lead out and thanks to Mark Langlands mad skills (inherited from Paul perhaps?) was able to keep the kids in check. I accompined young Josh from Tauranga who wound up his Ben 10 16" and put in some mean passes out on the grass, took some sweet lines (he really wanted to MTB... I could see it) and consistently informed me how much we were "boosting it" to keep up.

Simply awesome to see the enthusiasm and pure joy these kids got and is a pretty humbling experience really. Also big thanks to the boys from the Avanti Plus team (Hisky, Scott Green, and Josh Page) for answering the last minute SOS call for extra guides. Much appreciated boys.

We then enjoyed a great afternoon laxing in the sun and seemingly catching up with everyone we've ever met in NZ cycling..... before finally making it home to Rotorua around 9pm to hit the hay and get ready for round two on sunday......

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So it's been a few weeks, and probably timely for an update. Since SSWC we both had a week off to let the tired and beat up bodies recover, before getting into some regular training again with a view to the 2011 season.

I seemed paricularly messed up... proving that whilst you can get through events like the Whaka and SSWC on limited prep, you do rather a lot of damage in doing so. Theres been a couple of events since then. First up Nic lined up at the K1 Elite road race. Perhaps a wee bit ambitious with no recovery after SSWC but she was keen to measure her current form against the best roadie girls.

Event didn't go brilliantly, but a good learning experience. We enjoyed a great weekend away, I got in some good rides on my new Quantum 2.o (whilst spectating), found a mint fish n Chip outlet, and enjoyed watching the ITM Cup semi final at the pub..... before gapping it home Sunday to mow the lawns and be home bodies....

Another couple of relatively uneventful weeks followed, with some solid initial training shuffled into the working week. This brought us to the weekend just gone and the annual Rotorua-Ohope 100km "fun" ride. While new pro Clinton Avery decided a solo TT for 45km or so was the best move, Nic was working on her road racing smarts with a good solid hit out showing training is on track.
I meanwhile decided to line up at Toi's Challenge. A brutal 18km Mtn run out of Whakatane/Ohope. Real smart as I have run 4 times (all 30min or less) since start of October. A conservative start saw me 25th into the first climb before steady running saw me find myself in 5th and rapidly catching 3/4th with about 3km to go. That was until my claves screamed enough, and my age (wisdom?) kicked in and said to back it off and cruise to the finish (translated... make it to finish without trying so hard you collapse)
This resulted in a 9th overall, just 2min back from 3rd. Not too shabby. When I recover and can walk normally again it should give a good springboard to the half ironmans I have on the calender for summer.
I then proceeded to destroy myself by riding home to Rotorua. 100km with some nice climbing seemed like a good idea.... Save for the block headwind the whole way made it a pretty much tempo effort the whole way just to mainatin the eventual 25km/hr average. Don't think I ever rode in anything that bad in the Manawatu even. A coke stop midway was essential. So a long and testing training day. What ever doesn't kill you........

Thursday, November 4, 2010

.... and Cabin's 2011 ride is....


Pretty exciting news for me really. The guessing game over the last week from the sneak peak pics has been fun, and nice to know that there is 1) so much interest, and 2) so much knowledge of 29ers out there.
As the photo shows my deal is a great package that allows me to enjoy top notch equipment in all my endevours. I'll be piloting the brand new Team Competitor 29er when off road, the Chrono TT rig in selected triathlon events (sprint through to half ironman distances), and the Quantum 2.0 in training and the odd road race.
For the eagle-eyed who were thrown off the scent by the nude carbon 29er.... I am privilaged to have had my hands on the Prototype. It's a very nice handling bike and a proved that Avanti's delayed entry to the performance 29er market has allowed them to do their research. I'm excitied to be debuting that bike at both the Huka XL in a few weeks time, and the Festival of Cycling MTB event at Christchurch as I try to give the bike its maiden win (It will eventually replaced by the actual Team Competitor as soon as they are available).
Think I best get offline and go riding....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cabin's 2011 ride: Sneak peak

So I've got a new deal for next year, and a sweet new ride. All will be revealed next week, but as a sneak preview here are a few pics. The MTB is Carbon, it has big wheels, and it rides REALLY nice. Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CabiNic Racing @ SSWC 2010

So SSWC are done and dusted and Nic and I are World # 2 and 4 respectively. Does that make us the Worlds fastest SS couple?!
Huge event. Massive festival, and seems 99.9% of people had a great time (save for a couple of sad sacks who complained about the start). We had pretty "mint" starts in around the 400-500's.... I had planned on being crafty, but got distracted by the circus on show that is SS'ing and kinda missed the start a bit!
Pre-race and at a whole 5ft Nic "Tall Beast" Leary makes a fitting tribute to SS officiando Andrew Durno of Head Like a Hole.
We had plans of both going HLAH styles, but as Mr Durno himself pointed out that to make an accurate "booga" I would have had to probably wrap Nic around my waist and that may have made riding a bit hard. So having described SS'ing to the newspapers as the Punk of MTB mid week I made an attempt at Iggy Pop. Although even I'm not quite skinny enough for Iggy (I think I'm the late in career, made some money, and can afford to eat Iggy.... kind of like fat elvis?)
On a bit of a charge, trying to get back up the field. Apparently got to 3rd and 30sec off lead late in lap 1 before my legs cried enough (I was running 34-18 on the 29er if anyone was wondering) and my speed rapidly diminshed. Highlight of my race was a back and forth battle with legendary Moto GP/Superbike star Ben Bostrom. It was ironic that I would have been one of the few in the event that knew him and was excited by his presence.... although at the time I was just impressed that someone had dressed as Bostrom.... I realised at the finish.
Pushed pretty hard on the descents as I tried to show JHK and Ben Bostrom my mad skills. Did a few hucks and made the most of any slight whip opportunities. Stayed upright, but fork started feeling a bit floppy on the 2nd lap. Saw this at the finish so guess that was the reason?
Tall Beast Leary put in a huge charge. An early race crash and subsequent rapid air loss from tyres saw a few interesting moments. Reports had her about 3min30 down at one point mid race before an inspired charge got her to within 20sec at the finish. For those interested in such things Nic was on a 32-17 gear.
Tall Beast and eventual winner Heather "Fun Police" Logie
Awesome weekend. Can't quite believe its over and everyone has gone home.Kind of odd rolling down to a World Champs from your house in the morning. I'm just stoked everyone had a great time, enjoyed some sweet trails, and equally sweet weather. Apparently Ireland has the hosting rights next year. Will we be there? Hmmm. Not sure if I could handle guiness on the shortcuts. Will leave that as a maybe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

We knocked the bugger off...

Looking determined? Some serious pain and fixated on the finish.... just 1km to go...

The Super Light Nic Leary SS weapon

60km through Sunday's Whaka 100, my ever changing plans for a costume for SSWC seemed finalised. Ed Crossling was nearly 4min ahead, I was already cramping badly, and it seemed the often joked about bridesmaid's dress was going to have to be used next week.

Just like the Karapoti fairytale this one shouldn't have happened. I hadn't even done a base ride longer than 3hr30 since January, and no MTB races since July. I didn't really want to race until I was somewhat guilted into it by this article with massive 2/3 of a page pic in the NZ Herald

I'd even left the bail out option of entering Nic and I as a relay team (her doing the 2nd 37km leg) also, so if trashed I could pull out. I very nearly did. By the time I reached Old Chevy I was smashed. I'd been on my own for almost 2hr. But after a bit of fun (and the step down gap jump on Old Chevy) I figured I was so smashed what would another 40km do?

So I took a feed bag, handed the team transponder to Nic. Smashed back a few jelly dinosaurs, guzzled some water, and headed on my way in 2nd (with Nic leading the teams race).

Mentally it was a grovel. I felt I was creeping and had to keep reassuring myself. Really I was just trying to beat Nic to the finish, who was smashing it on the hilliest part of the course on her Singlespeed. After grovelling to Billy T I let rip. 1/2 way down Roller Coaster to my surprise I caught Ed. He seemed pretty blown and I figured he'd be regretting the beer he'd turned down the night before, as clearly those extra carbs were now to my advantage.

Climbing Direct Rd it was simply a matter of will power. Ed was blown, but so was I. I just tried not to show it and attempted to make my riding posture look strong and composed when in reality I was cramping badly, really uncomfortable, and starting to see stars. Getting a good gap I hammered HotXBuns. I grovelled Lions Trail, and Katore Rd climbs. Dizzy with blurred vision I actually tried to throw up... I couldn't. Tokorangi Pa was misery, and the finish couldn't come soon enough.

It did... and with it the win. The time? 4hr50 which in the conditions, on a modified and tougher course, riding largely on my own was a complete surprise. I guess I was going fast.

And Nic? She appeared a mere 10min later. Having smashed the course, she very nearly caught Ed also, and left us 3rd overall, taking a huge 38min off the team race record. Not too shabby.

So I knocked the barstard off. Think I'll happily spectate the Whaka next year, and no more bridesmaid either. So better start finishing off those alternative SSWC costume ideas.....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October already? We really should do some training...

Daylight saving has kicked in and it’s as if while changing the clocks over someone remembered to turn the crappy weather switch off finally. Literally overnight things have warmed up, and the sun is out. Just in time really as the carnage in the Forest from weeks of wet and wind was starting to look pretty grim. Suddenly the forest is buzzing again with riders/walkers/runners. The tracks are riding fast, and it’s only all the extra firewood and saw dust (the remnants of some great Chainsaw work by Murray Avery clearing the mess) that hints at the mess that existed just two weeks ago.

For us we’re back into things again after most of September off on rest and recovery (well…. Recovery for Nic. Me? Just lazy rest really). Thanks to UCI and their convenient timing of Worlds, our garden is now looking pretty mint. Nic gets bored not training so has attacked the garden with vigor… just in time for spring.

We’ve resumed training with a pretty simple training plan. Our MTB’s have been Singlespeed converted so no need for efforts. We just ride the Singlespeeds. My gear is kinda big. It hurts. But I figure we’ve got SS Worlds in 3 weeks…. And I may as well go big or go home. Convenient really… because if and when I crack I really can just go home. It’s only 10min ride from the course and the fridge is waiting.

For “training” when we’re too wrecked from SS’ing, the road bikes are there to give us the wuss out option of gears. And there’s also the easier and more convenient running option. Remembering that I’m supposed to be a Triathlete this summer, and that Nic is XTERRA NZ champion….. it’s quite handy to throw the odd run into the mix (and the odd swim… but I do hate doing laps of pools and the lake’s too cold for open water swimming yet so the volume is pretty low).

The long absence from racing ended on Saturday when we jumped in the Tikitapu Trail Run’s on the weekend. There was a ½ marathon, but I took on the awesome 19km adventure run. A very hilly run that was based on the ½ course, with a couple of mint shortcuts completely off track through the bush. I loved it. Apparently ran alrite too as I won by 4mins and clocked the fastest split through Tuhoto Ariki (4.5km of tech singletrack) of all the runners (1/2 and adventure run) by a considerable margin. Nic was 2nd overall in the 10km event to XTERRA Worlds bound Junior Man Oli Shaw. Guess we can keep our New Balance sponsorship a wee bit longer?

Still haven’t satisfied my dirt bike urges. Need to scrape up a few dollars yet. So if anyone wants/needs a new Road bike or MTB give us an e-mail. Currently up for grabs to clear our garage are…..

2010 Malvern Star Oppy C7 roadie (56cm)
2010 Cannondale Flash 29er (M)
2009 Avanti Team Competitor (S…. 2010 frame)
2008 Jamis Xenith Team Roadie (XS)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Garage Sale.... The Cabin Racing bike clear out

Time to clear out the garage, and at the same time clear some travel bills. So we've got a few bikes available. Great chance to score yourself a great bike for summer.

To make any enquiries, ask questions, or make an offer, please email us asap on

Avanti Team Competitor. Size Small. This is Nic's race bike from 2009 Worlds. Largely unridden since January 2010. Bike is in excellent condition. Light, Stiff, and fast.

2010 Team Competitor frame
DT Dwiss XRC100 fork (completely rebuilt, this is a new, unused fork)
Full Shimano XTR (wheels, groupset, brakes etc...)
KCNC Ti post, Zero Carbon bar, easton stem

Bike also has the option of FSA Carbon 2x9 cranks (29/44 and 170mm) instead of the XTR cranks currently fitted (22/32/42 and 170mm)

Asking $4200

Niner EMD Hardtail. Size Medium. This was Cabin's Summer 09/10 race bike. Frame is one year old. Most of the components far newer than that. Again, bike is in excellent condition (with a few scratches on TT)

2009 Niner EMD Alloy frame
Rock Shox Reba Team fork (freshly rebuilt with new stancions)
Avid Elixer R brakes
Groupset - X7 trigger shifters (X.O grip as option), X9 rear mech, XT front, XT Cassette (11-34)
FSA Afterburner 386 Crankset (27/42 and 175mm)
Bontrager X-Lite Wheelset
KCNC Ti post, FSA SLK Carbon riser, FSA OS-150 Stem

Asking $2900

2008 Jamis Xenith Team (size 48) Bike is in fantastic condition. Had little use, well maintained, and has been in storage for last 9mths.

Full Ultegra 10spd groupset
Mavic Kysrium Elite Wheelset

XS Size measures 426mm Bottom bracket to Top Tube, and 515mm (effective) Top Tube in length. 380mm wide handlebars. 170mm cranks

Asking $ 2600

For any further information, or to make an offer, please contact us asap at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The week that was...

I am about to jet home to NZ. This is exciting, but sadly I feel far from content or satisfied with how my last two weeks panned out here in Canada. It is damn frustrating. It is part of racing, but this is the first time things havn't gone well for me and it is very hard to swallow.

Excited about the team relay and putting Windham behind me.

I had trained well in Bromont. I was a little tired from this but I was sure that with a 2-week taper including the final World Cup at Windham into World Champs - I would be humming. The course at Mont Ste Anne was up my alley and I was confident of going well come Sat 4th Sept.

Unfortunately at Windham I did not have the race outing I thought I would. My pre-ride was awesome - I danced up the climb, I felt fresh with a few efforts and was descending clean & fast.

The next day was a striking contrast - I had 'lead in my boots'. I started OK. But pretty quickly I found myself working too hard, my legs were heavy, tiring and I was going backwards. I was groveling, but I trusted that my legs would come right & I would work my way back into the top 1/2 of the field at least. On the descent I was determined to make up for lost time & positions. I entered a wooded section too fast, avoided a rock then heard the sound...pfffft! My rear tyre. The Stan's in my tubeless worked its magic to hold at about 10 PSI. Knowing I would need a wheel change regardless I rode the descent, got to tech and Selby whipped a new front in for me.

At this point I was torn. Do I keep chasing hard and salvage what I can? I had lost a good bit of time, and with my legs struggling as they were I almost felt I was doin 'more harn than good' by continuing...particularly with my World Champs race in 7-days exactly. Undecided and grumblings in my head, Selby helped my decision and said 'just ride'. He was right, a DNF just was not acceptable. I got pulled on the 80% rule after 3-laps. This was immensely disappointing. I have never been 'pulled' from a race before (this is when your time down to the lead rider is more than 80% of the first lap time, so the officials remove you from the course so you do not get in the way of the leaders).

I was upset. I was confused - what had gone wrong? Puncture aside, I was not in the race to begin with and this was concerning. I reckon (and I think I still do?) that if you have 'bad legs' in a race it is because you have not prepared well and it is therefore a poor excuse for a below par performance.

Aware of this, I did a mental debrief of my preparations - knowing I had less than a week to get my ducks in a neat row. Fortunately I was travelling with Stu Houltham (fellow Avanti rider, 6 x National Champ & I learned that he has had a rough race or two in his time). We had a 5hr drive back to Bromont to chew the fat, and this we did. I also had Cabin. From afar he helped me put it behind me and we hatched a plan for the week ahead to the grand finale.

A contributing factor was a very sore tail bone. During the Windham race this really flared up. A week prior I had a 'silly' crash within which I rammed the nose of my seat into my tail bone - yeah, ouch. Sure it was tender to sit & stand particularly on the bike for a few days but focused on the World Cup I did not let it worry me. However, the long rough descent at Windham 'kicked my a*$e' - it hurt like a jack hammer when I was standing to try to absorb the bumps and even climbing out of the saddle. This just added to the misery, but afterward I realised that it was much more irritable than I had realised. Funnily, it reminded of a time when I was little and my brother kicked me up the bum wearing a steel capped boot...owwie. That was probably deserved though :)

Roll on Mont Ste Anne...

Following Windham I was stoked to be participating in the NZ team relay. I needed to get some confidence back - it took a hiding at Windham. I was amped and flew out around the first part of the course riding smooth fast & strong - yes! Then, too eager I had two wild crashes in the later part of the lap. The dust was deep and I was pushing too hard. My head was ahead of my legs it seemed, but the outing did the job.
Throughout the week I had prepared well, I was ready. My nagging tail bone was remedied with a dose of an anti-inflammatory med ahead of riding, and Ant Croucher (The Physiotherapy Clinic) had panel beated my muscles early in the week. I was raring to go. The rain on race day did not phase me, in fact I was even happy about this - the heat & humidity in week had almost been unbearable.

Warm up went fast, call up and count down even quicker. BANG & we were off. I was about 4th row on the start and held this through the first turn sprinting up the road to the next left hander. Positioned well (or so I thought) a rider cut across the corner from my right. I turned early to avoid her....and there was a noise. Like a scrape/pfft/stan's explosion. I totally thought it was the girl on the inside who I had connected with as I turned. Thinking myself lucky I stood up to pedal.

Next moment I glanced down and had a massive sinking feeling overwhelm me...front tyre on the rim. It IS mine. This is not happening. The field spilled around me in waves and pedalled on. I did an assessment - tech is right there! I was running...then realised tech might be 'right there' but I have to run/push the entire 2nd half of the course (used as a start loop) of about 3km to get back to it...I stopped. In need of a complete miracle I grabbed my CO2 and engaged it. The tire rose momentarily then rapidly deflated - I was screwed. I started running again.
I just had to run. I was doing maths in my head...start loop takes 11min to ride, if I get to tech & get a new wheel I will at least be able to ride some of this race. Here on, I just rode every lap like it would be my last, purely for pride and to salvage something from what was a disaster of a race. I could have chucked in the towel, afterall, I was not 'in the race'. But I couldn't. This is the World Champs, I did not come here to throw my toys over a bit of bad luck and sit and watch my the raceI should be in. I really enjoyed riding the course and the crowd were wicked. They knew that I was the poor bugger right at the start running with the tail end moto revving behind me. But by the end of lap 1 proper I had dropped the moto and I enjoyed what I could salvage from my race.

It was a hopeless situation, but I think that was the best I could do given the circumstances. I am no happier, but perhaps more philosophical about it a few days on. Character building as they say. And, I have plenty to look forward to yet.

In the meantime I am ready to get on this plane and tick off the hours on the journey home to Cabin :) And enjoy a 'bit of time off'. Thank-you all once again for your many kind words and support. It has been huge, and certainly appreciated. Thank-you too Thierry & Melissa, you have been so wonderful having me in Bromont and I was grateful to see you at the finish on Saturday after my race. Cheers all!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

World Champs - Not exactly to plan

56th at World Champs was not the way Nic was planning to end her season. But it was a pretty brave effort after a bit of a freak incident saw her with a gashed sidewall 20sec into the race, and 3km from nearest tech zone.... watching as the other 67 women in the race sprinted off into the distance.

Rather than throw the towel in Nic ran/carried/pushed her bike to the tech zone... a long way down. Not detered she salvaged what she could clawing back up to 56th before the 80% rule ended her efforts. Brief report from her below. More to come later.

"Could not believe it when it happened. I was in disbelief. I heard the
sound and said to myself it's not mine, it can't be. Next glance I was on
the rim & realising the stink situation I was in. 20sec into World Champs, gashed open tyre... and almost 3km from tech zone.

What can I say. Could only salvage what I could. I just made the most of it, and enjoyed the racing that I did, albeit with myself. I just rode for pride.

The crowd were fantastic. A heap of bravo's etc flying around esp when
I hit finally tech zone, and then started chasing hard. I decided to just 'ride every lap like it is your last'. First proper lap when I was so far behind I got to the rock garden (which was wet/slick and I don't think many were riding it) I rode it. The crowd roared! That was pretty cool and definately bouyed my spirits."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Truck 'n trailer practice at Mont Ste Anne

Just a quick update. I have spent the last 2-days up at MSA, training on the World Champs course. It was great to get some time on the track. It is a cracker. I raced it last year in my first World Cup and had an absolute blast. It didn't take long to get familiar with it again. The 'tech' rock garden was pretty sweet in the dry...but anything could happen race day! Stu got a picture of me comin down...

OK so it does not look very steep but it kind of is. There are a couple of berms at the bottom to catch you as you literally have to 'let it go' once you line it up.

The course is a busy one with 2 main climbs up or across a ski slope & several sections in the trees littered with mostly rocks & a few roots. Throw in a few tight corners & trees to go around & I liken riding my MTB to piloting a truck & trailer through here. It pays to have some precision in knowing where your rear wheel will track because like a trailer, it shortcuts when you turn corners. If you calculate this well enough a 'line' can be alot smoother depending on whether you go around or over an obstacle, and in tight sections it can certainly help maintain go forward.

So, it is a good thing I am a farm girl & learnt to ride a four wheeler often with a trailer on behind. Precision! What else did I learn? Grunt. To get up and over a short climb, obstacle or pinch give it throttle, but the correct gear is key - wheel spin & you are probably stuck.

I am back in Bromont this evening. I have a couple of days training here before we make our way south to Windham (USA) - World Cup race day is Saturday. Keep you posted. nic :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coupe de Canada, Bromont. 4th Place.

The start, I'm behind Mary McConneloug in an almost identical riding stance. I had a good start position as I was called up for the front row.

Salut! Yesterday I kicked off my pre-Worlds North American campaign with the Canada Cup final here in Bromont. I was fourth. This was OK, not brilliant. Which is exactly how my legs felt in the first 1-2 laps, OK but far from brilliant. Whilst I was pushing hard throughout I wasn't able to contend as I would have liked. Top American & very accomplished World Cup rider Mary McConneloug dominated from the outset as expected. I was 8mins down at the finish, I had hoped to be a good bit closer than this. Amanda Sin of Canada was 2nd & Mikaela Koffman third, 30sec ahead of me. Jenn Smith (NZL) rounded out the podium in 5th a couple of minutes behind me.

On race day I woke early to a bluebird day, clear skies and the mercury already on the rise. With a start time of 12pm & 30deg the predicted temperature I was immediately concerned about racing in the midday heat. I promptly filled extra bottles with water to dump on my head and help cool me down during the race. I also set about ensuring I was extra well hydrated (like peeing every half hour) and I intentionally reduced the concentration of my carbohydrate sports drink (Balance Elite Restore + Caffeine) to increase the absorption rate of water from my gut into my bloodstream during the race.

For those that are interested in a little physiology...
During exercise the vascular system distributes blood to skeletal muscle with the greatest immediate demand for oxygen (my leg muscles) and away from areas that have less demand i.e. the viscera & major organs. However, during vigorous exercise in a hot environment there is an increased urgency to dissipate heat in order to regulate our core temperature. To do so, blood is shunted to the skin to promote heat loss largely via sweat (evapouration).
An increased sweat rate contributes considerably to a decrease in blood plasma volume, making our blood more viscous (thick), and in turn our heart rate increases to be able to maintain a high cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart in 1minute). Our heart rate cannot compensate enough and as a result there is a progressive decline in cardiac output. So exercise intensity increases considerably in the heat, and so too does our percieved level of exertion and sometimes exercise performance (if we are not well prepared or heat acclimated).

Anyway... that is why I wanted to try to keep my body temperature down (water immersion) and drink a more dilute drink (maintain blood plasma volume from sweat loss).

The course was in great condition. It starts with a lengthy climb to the top of the course, punctuated with short steep pinches throughout. We had changed my front (XX) chain ring combination prior to coming to Canada with this in mind & I sure was grateful we did.

I started well, but by halfway up Mary & Amanda were creeping away from me and I was not capable of their pace. I felt pretty awful up the climb the first two laps, the harder I pushed the more my heart was going to beat a hole in my chest & my legs were protesting. However, brain and body managed to agree on a good steady pace and I was able to ride reasonably well here-after.

Going up the climb in the final lap I had a little dig to see what else I had and got sight of 3rd place. Confident of bridging up I let rip into the traverse tech single track section, only to find myself making errors and losing time hand over fist, including a dropped chain. Perhaps more fatigued than I realised I got it together again to finish 30seconds off 3rd. Next time.

Trying to hold good pace into the rougher rocky sections of trail.

Full extension of my arms, fork compressed. Initially I thought my position was bad, but apparently I was going fast through this section. Let's hope so anyway.

It is notably harder to ride smooth and fast on these trails, particularly when you are puffing like a little steam train from a good hard climb and then dive into a rock/root infested descent. Suddenly your fatigue is more apparent as your body position, upper body strength, reaction speed and overall co-ordination are all tested at once. Typically in a race in NZ you can be lacking in one of those area but still descend OK b/c the trail is much more forgiving. Riding and racing here are obviously providing great practice, and I am certainly working on improving in this area.

So in summary I really enjoyed the race, and it is great to have the first one under my belt. I was a little tense lining up, having not had a major XC race since May (Offenberg World Cup) and following my strength block at home it was always going to be interesting as to how I went. I have also enjoyed a couple of hard training blocks since arriving in Bromont and as this race is in the plan to build for Ste Anne in 3-weeks time, things are good.

Post race last night we had a pleasant evening with all the Kiwi crew here (10 of us!) plus friends of Thierry & Melissa's here for a BBQ. Thierry generously cooked a beautiful peice of lamb on the BBQ (rotisserie style) and we enjoyed a good few laughs. This morning I went out for a nice recovery swim in Lake Bromont and this afternoon a spin on the bike is in the pipeline, or just a play down at the BMX track perhaps :) Maybe a French lesson too (got a bit distracted with the race toward the end of last week).

Finally a BIG THANK-YOU to our generous hosts & friends Thierry & Melissa for feeding us, doing tech support and the XPREZO support in the lower tech/feed zone for me. This is very much appreciated. Big congratulations to Melissa on her second place in her category yesterday too! Thank-you Sebastian for taking some great photographs and giving them to us, they are awesome to have. Merci beaucoup!

Thanks for reading, check back soon. Cheers! Au revoir pour maintenant. Nic :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Wrap

While Rotorua (along with the rest of NZ) suffered under heavy rains... Nic was adapting to the heat of a Canadian Summer as she gave her race legs a good test at the Final of the Canada Cup Series at Bromont. She'll report in later, but apparently the race legs were a little flat for the first few laps...

.... so she was a tad dissapointed to only make it to 4th. Nevermind. Good start to the North American campaign

.... Meanwhile back in Rotorua I took to trying out my skills as a post-race interviwer, as the Dean Watson/N-Duro pact with the devil seems to have run its course, and not only did we see the first wet N-Duro in a long time.... the race course was pretty much a river. Winning time a good 30min+ longer than expected. So my woosing out with a sore shoulder may not have been a bad move. And save's me from hours of bike maintainance.

At least my training bike got a good work out though, dragging Tony the Tiger Bushlove to a 3rd place Open/8th place Overall finish. Didn't throw him on the ground like it did to me 2 weeks ago. He must've been nicer to it?!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Becoming a Cyclist & an update...


Yes I am in Quebec, Bromont to be precise. I have been here one week now & it is superb! I have a mountain of interesting, technical trails a short warm up away & the temperature mid 20's most days. I am from Raetihi, a little cold blooded maybe, so the first few rides in the 25-27deg heat I felt like I was going to melt. I am not complaining, I am adjusting. I have completed my first hard training block since arriving and I feel suitably thrashed but good. I like this.

Following my 'debut' in Europe I had a great 2-months home in Rotorua, getting stronger! I completed my first 'gym based' strength/conditioning programme, amongst many an interval session & long ride. It was a little challenging at the time, riding on trashed legs every other day is not the greatest feeling and several times I thought 'S*^#t! I am getting slower not faster'. This feeling was made no better when 7 weeks into it I hop on the scales & find out I have stacked on 2.5kg...woe alright! Too many beef or venison hot pots? Cabin had also put on weight but that was partly before I got back and, he eats pies and ice cream :)

On second thoughts, I was quietly excited. Because when I started mountain-biking (racing) two years ago I watched the Tour de France (for the 1st time) and decided that a rear-end like Fabian Cancellara was what I would need to go fast - power! Sure every girl has a bit of a complex about getting a bit 'choddy' (thicker) but I flipped the coin & decided that a few extra pounds were aok with me as long as my wattage went up. So now I am here in Canada whipping that extra 'muscle' into XCO specific strength and I am hopeful it is working :)

I will spend 5weeks in total here ahead of the World Championship event (Sept 4th). Within this time I have two races - the Canada Cup final here in Bromont & the World Cup series final in Windham, New York. Both of these races I am looking forward to, I am confident I am improving and just maybe I am starting to become a mountan biker...we will see.

In other news, Cabin is at home nursing a very sore shoulder. His housemate/room mate/physio goes away for 6-weeks & within days he has a 'big off' on his MTB. From what I believe it was a wet miserable Sunday and Poppa felt the urge to go ride fast in the forest. Flying around the berms of Dipper (yes the Dipper trail) his trusty Cannondale let go & smack! Choosing to use his shoulder to stop himself, so he is a regular at The Physiotherapy Clinic this week and has had to shop for a new helmet also, busting his in several places - ooh.

Cabin's edit: I crashed on my training bike... The Cannondale is far too good to let me crash

Unfortunately Cabin will not be joining me, following the volcano erupting & disrupting our plans for Europe I guess he figures I am capable & can manage without him! Not so. I certainly would prefer to have him here, he such an integral part of my preparation and he knows what is needed to help me perform my best. But, it is expensive, we have a house & he must work. He is holding the fort, and I am very fortunate to have his generous support. And, the support of my sponsors - Avanti, Nature Valley, 2XU, Balance Nutrition, New Balance, Smith & n-Duro events, Rotorua. It means alot.

The NZ team for the World MTB Champs has been finalised and go the Elite Women - 4 of us! (Rosara, Fiona McDermid, Jen Smith (USA based) & I). Also best wishes to Annika Smail who is racing the World Marathon Championship event in Austria this weekend.

That is all for now & I promise more news soon! Au revoir, nic

Monday, July 12, 2010

Galaxy Travel Winter N-Duro series #2

When you live in Rotorua, and overnight your garage suddenly looks like this, you can be pretty sure there must be a race on. With Race 2 of the N-Duro winter series on we had a full house. Our garage is chocker at the best of times but this weekend was ridiculous. 16 bikes, at an average value of at least $6k (brought down by 2 BMX's and 3 crappy commuter's), and enough carbon to build a new airbus.... it was a little ridiculous.

With one Sth African in residence we enjoyed a fantastic Saturday evening watching the All Blacks give the Springboks a right drubbing. Good work boys.

Sunday morning and beautifully sunny, yet incredibly cold morning greeted us all. A strong field was in attendance, and with a number about to head offshore to try and prove their World Champs credentials we were in for a hot pace. I wasn't looking forward to that, so blagged myself an ubber ghey Bushlove roadie hat to claim I was just sifting...

The bluff didn't work as despite feeling quite slow I somehow found myself in 3rd/4th relatively comfortably as Mikey toyed with everyone and headed off on his own training ride. Think he just wanted to get back to the coffee cart before everyone else.

Managed to catch and fast "fastest man" Ed Crossling in the last single track which was nice. At least I was first home of those camped at our house for the weekend. So a solid 3rd it was. Pleasing with the lack of hard training in recent times (although 100km dirtbiking last weekend helped the endurance).

Nic proceeded to smash the womens field. Had a few issues to contend with which stopped her challenging for a top 15 overall which was a goal, but signs are good for Canada all the same. Only two weeks more of winter for her to put up with before she can head to summer weather and start the buildup proper. Good times.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Santoft Sizzler... in Pictures

I should have waited 24hrs before the previous post... as now I have pics. Never mind, better late than never. The photographer accused me of showing off for the camera.... I told him I just prefer to pretend I'm on a moto at every opportunity (thats the real reason I use gripshift, I can pretend its a throttle).

Nic on the other hand was concerned looking at the photo gallary that she seemed to be the only rider wheelie dropping this lip... need not have worried... thats why you are fast Nic

Enjoying the sweet flowing trails of Santoft. Credit to the Manawatu MTB club members for their years of work on these. A great asset for the area, and I know how many volunteer hours have gone into them. They even raked pretty much the whole 6.5km race loop the day prior! In rugby lingo.... full credit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Winter miles....

Check out those pine cones.... They are actually a trophy. How cool is that?! It's 9 days ago now, but we shook off the winter blues with a trip down to Palmerston North to take on the Manawatu MTB Club's Santoft Sizzler. They are a great club, with great people, and with really cool (relatively low key) events. We kinda miss hanging out with this lot so it was great to be able to get back and enjoy catching up... as well as taking ain a pretty cool event.

The Sizzler was a 5hr teams race (well 4hr30 + a lap). Held out at Santoft which is a sand based riding area with little elevation. This = Hard! As there is no rest. It also pissed down all weekend making it slick and somewhat heavy going in places. Nic and I entered as a 2 person team, with Nic kicking it off with the first 3 laps. Neither of us felt lightening quick, but we were solid enough. Eventually taking the overall win, and with it the two prized golden pincones.

Back home and training is ticking along. Hard work for Nic in the Worlds build up. Miles (Road and MTB), Gym sessions,intervals, and a bit of BMX. I tag along for only some of it.... and not all of it. Great thing about Rotorua is its central location and all the other opportunities to play.

So when Craig Corbett kindly offered to take me trail riding on Sunday my planned MTB session was quickly ditched. 100km ish of high speed "play" on a KTM SX125 later and I think I've got my mojo back (although maybe moto skills, rather than MTB). The video below gives an idea of what my Sunday looked like....

(disclaimer: This is not me. This is Chris Birch. He is very good. He just won Redbull Romanics. I did not. I just went trail riding. About 60% of his speed feel's very quick to me...)

Onboard with Chris Birch from NZ Greenroom Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finding my mojo

It's been a month since we last posted something here..... yes we are still alive! We've been taking a break from racing for a bit. Working, training, and just taking it easy for a bit.

We sat out the first race of the winter N-Duro series last week and by all accounts missed a cracker of a race. My absence in particular confused many as I'm pretty vocal about my advocacy for racing lots. However, I was a little burnt out from so much racing in the last 5 months. If not physically, certainly mentally.

When I line up to race again I want to be excited as this kid....

Nic has another Northern Hempisphere campaign upcoming as she builds to Worlds. So she's back to work as a physio to pay for it. And also into some solid strength and endurance training to build up her engine.

I on the other hand don't have any major events on the horizon so motivation is somewhat lacking. I find I need inspiration to train. Usually that comes from an event. Although at the moment it is coming from reading the blogs of international friends such as the Conrad Stoltz. It is their stories that are motivating me to do some solid base training. So that when I pinpoint an event, I am as excited and inspired as the Italian MX kid.... and fit enough to do the work required.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Offenberg World Cup: 40th

Quick report in on behalf of Nic, as she's packing and getting ready for the long trip back to NZ.

Last night saw the 3rd round of the World Cup at Offenberg, and it went pretty well. She put in another strong ride and finished 40th. Oh so close (and frustratingly so) to the elusive 30's with only 1min covering the gap from 33rd-40th.

Weeks of steady rain cleared to bring beautiful sunshine, warm, and a picture perfect day in the vinyards of Offenberg. The Scenery soon gave way to some brutally fast race on the demanding and technical course. A very fast start saw Nic hold position from her start number of 57. She fought bloody hard and put everything into it, slowly clawing her way up the field to grab 40th on the last lap.

"yeah, I'm a bit smoked" was her text message immediately after the race.

It's been a tough campaign for Nic. 4 races in 5 weekends with some very consistent results on courses that didn't neccesarily play to her strengths. Truth be told we have been just trying to carry her form from Feb/March through... so she is excited to get home and put in a solid block of training to rebuild stronger and faster for the 2nd campaign in a couple of months.

Thanks to everyone at home and around the world for your support and best wishes. It is certainly appreciated. And also to everyone who's helped her out these last few weeks. The various team mechanics, the Sram tech guys, Jeanette/Jase, and....... even the aussies! On behalf of Nic, Cheers!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crank'in in Taupo

Last week it was Kayaks and Road bikes changing things up. This weekeneds activities saw the use of this sweet Nature Valley DH bike (Ok, so maybe its a Norco.... thanks Bike Vegas).

Saturday saw the innagural running of Crank Taupo. The brainchild of Epic Events Nick Reader and JK it was a pretty cool day for all Mountainbiking. A great XC event on virgin MTB terrain. A sweet DH in a unique prologue format of as many timed runs as you wanted over 6hr. And an All-Mountain title for those keen for both.

Taupo turned on the weather. The live DJ spun some phat beats all day. And a couple of hundred keen Mountainbikers had a great day out. Very cool.

First up was a rather gruelling 30km XC. There was a good field on hand, and after a bit of a late reaction on the start (don't know what I was expecting... but it wasn't the van horn tooting that did signify "go"), I set about chasing Mikey Northcott who bolted. I held him at about 12-15sec for the first 7km or so until we hit "Tucks Loop".

Maybe I was still tired from Kaimai 6 days ago, but once on the steady and energy sapping climb, Mikeys superior strength and power showed on the moderate gradient as he slowly dissapeared into the distance.

The course was riding really well, and got better (we repeated an 11km loop twice) as it bedded in. I keep pushing hard. It was a hot pace and in the end I was probably happy to limit Mikey's winning margin to 2mins. Super fast Junior Sam Shaw was third.

XC done and no time for recovery. Quick change of clothes and a quick bite to eat (this is where Nature Valley bars are awesome!) and it was onto the transport for the DH. Afterall the Dh'ers had already been having runs for 2 1/2hrs so I had some catching up to do.

Took a wee bit to get comfy with things. Riding a DH bike is quite different to anything else and takes some getting used to. Being that my first run was also my first ride on the bike (borrowed the night prior) I was a bit sketchy.

Things got better and by my 3rd run I was into the top 25. Not too shabby.

I then started experimenting with hot lines and trying to jump stuff with mixed success. I figured I needed to do these so I could post a competitive time in the Super Final. I was doing runs in the 2min 50 bracket, fast times were in the 2:30's, and I was keen to get into the 2:40's.

problem was I never put in a clean run again. My pace was good... but I made at least one major mistake each run. Turns out I didn't improve my time, and others did. So just missed the Super Final for the top 25. Bugger.

Always had respect for Dh'ers but now even more. So hard to put together a fast and mistake free run. In XC you can make a mistake and have time to catch up again. Not so here. Respect.

DH pro Des Curry deservadly grabbed the All Mountain title after a solid 6th in the XC. I was 2nd.

Great day out. The event will surely grow as word gets out. There is talk of moving it into the coveted New Years holiday period. How cool would that be as part of your holiday? Bring it on I say.

Crank Taupo: See you all there next year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bundesliga 'Bike the Rock' & I like it here...

Hello! Okay I realise I am not getting any quicker with these reports but as they say better late than never & internet cafe's have to be saved for poor weather days in my opinion. One big plus of late is that Cabin has been ace at scheduling my recovery/easy days co-incidently with the rain & cold - less than 10deg & steady rain out today...brrrr. I have however had a good bit of practice on this Offenburg course in the wet as I have been based in the lovely nearby town of Durbach for the past 2.5weeks, staying at a local winery. Great place, nice wine (hic!) & great training most importantly!

The other mucky biking practice came in the form of the Bundesliga (German National Series XC Race) 'Bike the Rock' at a place called Heubach on Sunday. Again, I was as happy as a pig in s#*t as the course was quite muddy & the descent slippery - many a rider tripoding or skiing in practice! So we -Aussie rider Kat O'Shea & partner Ray accompanied me in my little Peugot red rocket - pootled, no, hooned up to Heubach Sat to get in a practice lap/2 ahead of the race Sun. It is an 'HC' Category race which is quite up there in UCI points so always attracts a quality field apparently. My enthusiasm for another wet/muddy race may have got the better of me as I cranked out some efforts in practice & felt great...'til the next day warming up that was!

The course was simple, you climb up the hill & then you come down it - the 'D' was wicked & once again the spectators sensational! A beer tent was set up on the plateau at the top & every lap they got more & more rowdy as the commentator announced us through. All I caught was my name & 'Nusseeland!' then a chorus of cheers. Many other spectators acquire a start list & cheer you on first name basis. Gives you a nice little perk, knowing the whole crowd & all... haha! To give you an idea of the calibre of race Julien Absalon won the mens & Irina Kalentieva (World Champ) was 5th in my race. I think it is fair to say she perhaps did not have her best day.

I managed 16th place. Rosara raced also & finished up ahead in 13th place. I was happy enough, although a little disappointed I went backward up the climb after a great start (if I do say so myself). The legs definately felt flat until the next time up the climb but hey, my first was still my fastest lap so it can't have been that bad. What I did learn was that added weight & effort riding in mud drains the legs more so be conservative in your pre-ride in such conditions. Seems a simple statement but when you feel good it is easy to get too keen.

In other news, I can speak a little French & German & a combination of both at the wrong times! However creative charades remains an essential communication tool. Great fun. Jeanette & Jase Gerrie are in Durbach too so we have been going to the pool & bakery & the bakery again. We went for a drive up to the nearby mountain range, & saw a ski jump like at the Olympic normal & big hill ski jump events. Yeah, they have balls. There were three sizes. We climbed up the launching seat of the big mother & it was pretty daunting looking down not being able to see where you will land! Of course it was just grass, no snow at the moment but you got a pretty good persective on the sport of ski-jumping. Also spent a day in Strasbourg, France visiting a few interesting spots & learning a bit of history about the Strasbourg Cathedral that Jase stirred up from somewhere. It was really interesting. I will have to post some photo's when I get home & relay the lesson to you. Watch this space...

Enough of my jabbering, I'm off to the supermarket (another essential part of my week). The deli meats in Germany are sensational! Being a farm girl I can't go long without a good serving of red meat so this is perfect. I am also going to clean my bike, a bit of a daily occurence at the moment. My Avanti has had a bit of a hiding in the conditions over here but is holding up grand & we are looking forward to another tough but good outing this Sunday at Offenburg...

Thanks for reading, touch base again soon :) Tschuss!

Monday, May 17, 2010

and now for something completely different

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noted the race calender on this blog listing for saturday... "to be confirmed. A few events to choose from". Well, above is the car loaded up and ready for what became my choice. Road bike in TT spec, borrowed Kayak, and my cannondale in the back seat. Yip, it was inevitable really. I am now a multisporter.

I was 3rd yesterday in the Kaimai Classic. A popular, and very gruelling scenic tour of the Tauranga countryside. 5km trail run, 17km MTB, 11km kayak, 23km road bike, and 11km run to finish it (and the athletes) off.

Secret training in preparation? Far from it. I first kayaked last wednesday (10 days ago). I had planned a debut in a few months. But those that read this blog know my thought process fairly well by now.... The best way to learn is get amongst it right?

Long race story short..... Ran well in first 5km and controlled my self. Took lead in transition and built up a lead of 3-4min of which I proceeded to hand 1min30 or so back late in ride when around 1m of rusty barbed wire wrapped itself around my rear hub. Bugger.
Tried my best to look like I could kayak. Dwarne Farley did his best to teach me a few tips when he blazed past (3min lead evaporated in first 10min of paddling). Lost around 17min to dwarne during the hour or so I was on the river and got out of the boat in 12th.... and very tired and sore!
Smashed the road bike and ran as hard as I could. Taking some time back and catching 3rd place in the last 300m. My final run surge must've looked ok. The old boys at the rugby club were yelling out "do you play rugby cuz? We need a winger." I politely declined, said I was a halfback. "sweet bro, we need one of those too." Think they'd had a few too many speights already. Couldn't they see the size of me?
Final result? 3rd. 11min down on Dwarne Farley who won his 6th (?) Kaimai title, and about 1min shy of 2nd. Think I could get to like this Multisport thing with a bit of Kayak training?
And the best bit? Probably couldn't go past the post match (ah.... race) feed. Too much. All events should be hosted at a rural rugby club. Burgers. Beers and more than a few tall tales in the sun. And Mr Whippy was there too. Mint.
I am pretty happy with that debut. And very sore today. Time for some specific training I think. I've been getting by on my february/march form for a bit too long now. Time to rebuild and race less (for a lttle while anyway).
Only after this saturday though. Crank Taupo beckons. XC race, and then a DH as well for a combined all mountain title. Should be sweet.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Moonride 2010

Only the best bikes for us! This bike did only do the last tent village "victory" loop

After a 3yr absence I once again lined up at the Moonride. Filling in ambassador duties for our awesome sponsors at Balance, we fronted up for 12hr duty as Team Balance Elite. I was given a bit of stick for not taking on the 24hr but I've spent enough sleepless nights in that paddock that when you own a house in Rotorua your bed is a little more attractive. And besides, after 5 24hr wins in years gone by we were keen for the sligtly higher speed challenge of the 12hr.

Being only 12 hours we figured we'd only need 4 riders (Myself, Scott Thorne, Brendan Sharrett, and Dave Sharpe). We hid behind the excuse of being multisport athletes as we've all been running a bit recently. And 3 of us were also on those "slow and not suited for XC 29er bikes". Turned out we didn't need excuses as our experience (should that be age?) showed through in the end. The Rotorua XC Development team pushed us very hard for the first 6-7 hours before we edged away to an evetually comfy win. Our 2lap stints at 90% proving a smarter strategy of 100% one lap sprints of our rivals.

Big thanks to my team mates who showed great speed and consistency. Especially Mono who failed dismally in his attempt to sand bag and slow us down. Thanks to Keryn for her impromteau management. Balance for the nutrition products. And Steve for the sweet Supersprint 20" BMX I rode for the last 1km to the finish.
The revised Moonride course was fast. Very fast. Like 27-28km/hr average speed for a hot lap. Perfect 29er territory, so lucky for us thats what 3/4 of the team were on. I was pretty stoked with the performance of my Cannondale Flash 29er.... but then again it would be pretty hard not to be.

First time through the event village on the start lap. After consultation with others it was decided that the start of these evnts is taken far too seriously by many. So the infamous beige Skinsuit was taken out of the mothballs with a lovely pair of compression socks to top off the look. Seemed to work. The fastest lap of the race follwed. Perhaps the embarassment of wearing such a suit forcing the pace so I could get out of it as soon as possible?

I'd say we were slick with team work.... but I'd be lying. Not exactly F1 styles going on here. Thanks to Keryn for deciding to take on Team Manager duties after the race start when it became clear how well organised we weren't. Our sweet wee ezi-up setup must have looked enticing. One gentlemen ran a little wide on the corner and decided to come have a lie down in our foodbox in the middle of our tent. He could have just asked for a feed?!

Mr Thorne hammering on my other bike. He took to the 29" concept pretty quickly. Not sure how smart that was of me.... he now realises my advantage. Thorne, Whaka 100, 29er? Scary.