However, as you can see by the stylish wee medals pictured below, Team N-Duro's first venture onto the National MTB scene this season at Tokoroa on Sunday proved quite successful. Nic put in a rather dominant display to claim her first Elite National Series win, quite fittingly 3yrs to the day since her first real MTB ride. But the day wasn't without incident.
First up in the morning, I decided to race in Masters so I could test the course for Nic....or maybe because I was too lazy to race Elite?! To make things more interesting I decided to start the race with no back brake (The 50km MTB ride I did with brake part dragging on Saturday had finished off any pads that were left). Spicing things up further were the almost 30 U17/U15 riders that started their race 30sec earlier, making the first lap rather interesting. Showing some interesting styles on the technical descents to compensate for the lack of rear brake, I managed to survive the course. Pushing reasonably hard and taking a comfortable win.
So on to Elite, and a pretty intense race was on the cards. The Cougar Park course was fast, and undulating. Promising a brutal pace and quite literally survival of the fittest. With a good sized field of NZ's best women, Nic was keen to force the pace early and lead out. Sure enough she proceeded to appear back after lap one with a 30sec lead, which she proceeded to slowly extend over 5 laps to eventually contest a sprint finish with Carl Jones. She lost.... but then Carl was in the process of taking a well deserved victory in Elite Mens. Nic had taken the womens race by more than 5min.
Seemingly an incident free race..... that was until I discovered she'd had a big crash early on lap one pushing too hard in singletrack (note to self... stop watching Sam Hill footage prior to races), damaging her wrist in the process, and fighting back through the lead pack. The wrist is really tender now so she did well to keep riding. Adreneline is a great painkiller. Then there was an over the bars down the bridge drop. And....and.... Then she settled down to ride a strong controlled race.
And what about that 3 yr MTB anniversary? Surely I'm kidding? No. I thought it was quite a nice story. You see Nic bought her first real MTB late in 2006 from Crank It Cycles in Palmerston North via some dodgy salesman named Cabin. She didn't actually ride it until Waitangi day 2007 when she ventured over Greens Rd. Waitangi weekend 2010 and she posts her first National Series Elite win in dominant fashion. Pretty cool really.
Finally, big ups to Carl Jones. The potential has always been there, and its great to see it realised. Maybe he listened to us and learnt something useful during his time with Aunt Betty's? Or maybe he didn't. Still, I was stoked to be able to witness his breakthrough ride firsthand.
Roll on the final of the N-Duro Summer series this weekend.
P.S. Those that take notice of our event calender.... yes, I did compete in the Blue Lake Multisport festival's Sprint Triathlon last weekend. Short version of events, awesome swim for first 200m. Then I got tired. It was an average time. On to a fumbling transition, smoked the bike (fastest split), and another average transition. Before an adequate run bought me home to a comfortable win in the open mens. All good, except for the 3 young U20 hotshots were still in front of me.....