Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mudride 2011

Over the years, I reckon I must of spent well over a week camped out in a tent in the paddock at Waipa while my various teams took on the Moonride. Having done more than my fair share of time it shouldn't be a suprise it wasn't exactly high on the priority list... but its hard to avoid!

And after an approach from our good friends at Avanti Plus Rotorua, and a promise it was a casual team with no expectations we again found ourselves on the startline of the 12hr version.

Being a casual team I thought it'd be a good chance to give my brand new Avanti Circa CX bike a whirl. Fresh out of the box, the race start was literally the first time its wheels had rolled off road. Combined with legs/lungs that had done very little in 5 weeks, a track severely cut up from torrential overnight rain, and it was an interesting first lap

"casual?". Connor looking awfully focussed here. I think its more likely a pissed off look as he was hurried into action unexpectadly and had to put his food down when I lost my seat and had to send him out early.

Post riding and look at the state of that. Hard work for everyone pushing through the mud. Made a usually fast flowing track seriously hard work. A tough way for Nic to put herself back into competitive action. The CX bike was actually pretty quick, but after 3 or 4 laps I did woose out and "resort" to the 29er. Not a bad change.

Mid afternoon and the casual plan suddenly got a bit serious when we realised we were leading the bike shop category.... and it was Specialized NZ in 2nd. Suffice to say we made sure a few solid laps were then thrown down. Comfy win in the end and we picked up this nice decoration for display at the new Avanti Plus Rotorua store( Interestingly while we recieved a trophy to display for 12mths, no prize for winning, yet 2nd and 3rd did. Whats up with that event promotions?).

Thanks to team mates Nic, Saul "the Roadie" Webb, Connor "Osama" Corbett, and Patrick "bike destroyer" Corbett.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mud, Shuttles, Hot Chips, and Crowns: Sunday in Vegas

It's officially. XC is clearly the best discipline of MTB sport, as proved yesterday as Nic and Dirk Peters were crowned King and Queen of the rapidly becoming iconic Triple Crown event in sunny Rotovegas yesterday.

Pitting riders of all disciplines against each other over 3 Super D runs the event really is an allround test. Too much pedalling to favour a DH rider, too intense to favour as XC rider, and varied enough to make bike choice confusing. If in doubt, don't change anything. Just ask Carl Jones with full XC hardtail set up in 5th.

Nic hasn't raced her MTB since December but showed her skills certainly haven't diminished. It was a successful comeback on all accounts. Rode some mean trails, did a few drifts and jumps, and talked smack with many equally stoked riders. Threw a trusty Nevagal on the front of the XC race hardtail to give some extra grip, and bombed away on the trails. Won the womens comfortably and scared more than a few of the men with a midfield finish overall. Was gutted defending champ Alice was out with a broken ankle. Showed some pretty sharp skill and hopes to see more top Women take her on next time. The challenge has been laid down.

I was, well, average. I got better as the day wore on. On the first run (that should have favoured me) I was smoked from pedalling so hard after weeks of complete laziness. Nearing the end I must have been sub conciously looking for short cuts and took an unplanned diversion off the side of roller coaster. Wouldn't reccommend the route as was someway down a bank and had trees in the way (Apparently a few others tried the same line with similar lack of success).

Lost way too much time on that run and put muself well out of top 5 contention as Dirk, Des, Pattle, Byron, and Carlos all put way too much time into me. I got better the less pedalling was required. Here I am pretty excited and maintaing good focus and speed as the finish line, and the mean feed awaits.

Quintessentially Kiwi. Not only was I handed a steinlager by fellow riders at the finish, but the organisers had thought ahead and ordered $100 worth of hot chips, pre-buttered bread, and loads of tomato sauce. Mean.

Johnny Click wasn't shy to get amongst the chips. A wee bit of consellation for him after I pipped him for 6th place by 0.3 secs (over 24min)! Big thanks to Stefan Bennett and his team of volunteers for making the day happen. Really look forward to the next one

And a huge thanks to Gavin and Brent at Avanti for the loan of the sweet Avanti Torrent for the week. One very capable bike, and a bucket load of fun to ride. It certainly wan't the bikes fault I missed the top 5. That was simply being outclassed by an awesome bunch of allround skilled MTBers

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stepping out of the comfort zone

So it didn't take long. Competitive people, you can only "participate" for so long. In Nic's case, it seems one week is plenty long enough. Even when it is a brand new activity/sport. I was keen to give the first race of the Dirt Guide XC Moto series a nudge to see how bad I was doing... While Nic thought no point waiting to actually do a trail ride. Why not check it out in a race?

Thankfully I am a scrawny bugger so my Old Moto pant from age 15 not only fit me still, but with a belt did the job for Nic too. Nice. After the realisation of what she'd commited to kicked in at briefing, she coped remarkebly well. Decided during the event she needed to do some strength work so took the chance to lay the bike down frequently so she could practice lifting it. Beat a few people. Now keen as for more.

I lined up in the 2hr senior race in the afternoon. Fired the bike up first kick on the shotgun start and was ready to fly... except for the wall of people in front of me. Must stop being polite when lining up. Frustrated for 10min before making some passes and getting clear space. Until one dude crashed on top of me and did this to my brake lever. Made the next 70km interesting.

Got going again then messed up a corner and almost hit a tree all of 2min later. Glanced it with a shoulder, but twisted so violently away from the possible impact did some solid damage to bicep tendon and muscle belly. Check out this bruising from the strain....

Next 2hr went well. Pretty sore shoulders from trying hang on with bung arm and dodgy brakes. Started to ride pretty decent, but then got plenty tired so took the chance to lay down for a rest on the nice cooling forest floor and also a few bogs during the last lap. Made it to the end though. Maybe just sneaking into the top 60-65% of the Intermediate field. Kinda satisfying to be so well and truely rooted post event and only be able to declare myself as decidedly average. Keen to try and crack the top 3rd of the field by series end. Should be fun.