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.