Monday, October 31, 2011

New team bike

Feeling pretty pro here in Rotorua. Not only do our MTB's and Roadies finally match, but the KTM seems to be breading. Just have to get the BMX's matching now.

Bit of an upgrade for Nic. Mint condition SX85. The thing is a wee rocketship. Beautiful afternoon in Rotorua yesterday so what better way to help speed the recovery from Cape to Cape.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cape to Cape MTB Stage Race

Geez... been a bit busy since touching down back on Rotorua soil so still haven't managed to type up a story here on our adventures from our awesome week in Western Australia for the Cape to Cape MTB stage race.

So in order to get something out asap, here's the link to the report on Sportzhub

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blowing up @ the Motu 160

I would rather have titled that "blowing up the Motu160".... except it was me that did the blowing up. One bloody tough day at the office; that’s what the Motu160 is. And we are paying for it today.

The concept sounds simple enough. Do the MTB leg of the Motu Challenge, then hop onto the road bikes and blast back to Opotiki. Easy enough, except the MTB is 65km of gravel, long climbs, and often nastily wet/cold conditions. The road bike undulates, slaps you in the face with a stiff headwind, and depending on your race smarts and/or luck my leave you solo TT’ing for 90km+. Not easy.
Certainly so early in our season we thought we would get a good hard workout. We were confident we were fit. Speed and speed endurance had a question mark hanging over it.

Nic’s race was a bit of a character builder. Motu’s first 20-25km is generally a bunch ride till it hits the first real climb... so when she punctured just 10km in and watched the free ride disappear into the gloom she was in for a long day. Without the group to work with, and motivate it’s not so much fun. Isolated, she gritted her teeth and made the best of a bad day, holding 3rd overall till late in the road section when a recurrence of some vision issues forced her to cruise to the finish a disappointing 4th. Frustrated, gutted, but with a solid 160km in the training bank to be withdrawn later, hopefully with interest.

I on the other hand blew spectacularly with a bit of a death or glory approach. It was a pretty slow trip for the first 40min while all the hitters watched each other, or more likely watched Richard Ussher. Carl Jones made the first attempt to split it up as we hit the first real climb, and feeling surprisingly strong early on I followed Carls example and kept the pressure on. We soon went clear and set about extending the lead. We worked really well and I was happy to match his pace. The danger was Carl was a team rider, I was on my own. I was committed so we pressed on.

Carl distanced me on the final climb, but still I started the Road ride with almost 3min on the chasers (teams and solo’s), and set about my best impression of a Time Triallist with “only” 90km to go. It was tough knowing that some would be working together as team and individual riders shared the load in the chase. It worked for 70km till a strong Scott Thorne (also on his own working solo) caught me.

We tried to work together and he was very patient, but with about 12-13km to go my lights went out. I lost 5min in that last period, and even got caught for 2nd with about 800m left. Ah well. 3rd it was. It was a bold strategy, and I was off the front for ¾ of the race. Didn’t work, but I won’t die wondering. The positive is that I was good for 4hrs... much longer than any race I have coming up in the immediate future. Silver linings....?!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pukeora Adventure Races

A fun few days down in Hawkes Bay over the weekend, as we lined up for the Pukeora MTB "Adventure Races". A pretty cool concept that saw both XC and DH events, along with a unique Sprint/Jumps Time trial event. Something for everyone, a low pressure environment, and lots of mixing between the disciplines came together for a really enjoyable concept.

The event was put on by the Senior PE class from Central Hawkes Bay College as part of their NCEA course work. Led by their enthusiatic teacher Jamie Welch it really mad ethe vent attractive to us as something we wanted to support. Fantastic initiative and exciting for the future. Last time I was invovled with CHB College in a sporting sense was about 15yrs ago in a 1st XV Rugby Match. I came away with a gashed knee and a broken nose so was hoping for better this time.

The DH was first on the Menu for us, and it had some really fun stuff. Nice jumps, some sweet berm sections, roots, and a random rock garden. Thankfully for us plenty of pedalling meant it was quite Super D like, which was good as we were on our XC hardtails. Nic had one practice before posting a race run time. Not too shabby she was only 3-4 sec off Madeline Taylor. I had the benefit of two looks at the course before deciding to lay down one solid run before the XC. It wasn't too bad, and I even made a last sec decision to hit the stepdown. I took the chicken line at the last drop/huck thinking I'd preserve my bike. Time was good enough for 2nd just 1sec behind the winner. Solid.

Sprint/Jump course was mean. Just over a minute of full noise TT with a Moto start gate, step up and down gap jump options, Dh, bridges, and uphill. I went safety and missed the gaps, thinking I'd come back later for a 2nd crack (I didn't), but was still 5th overall and 3rd senior. Mean. Nic cracked out the best ladies time, and and so nearly beat Gav as well.

The XC? Hard. We'd never rideen Pukeora before but what we were met with were awesomely flowing trails, and zero flat. 5 x 7.5km laps was gonna hurt, and it did. Matt Waghorn, and Fiona McDermid laid the smackdown on us during the first lap of our respective races as we struggled to get out of 3rd gear. I slowly started to pressure Matt mid race before he gapped it late. Still some encouraging signs for both of us early in our build up. 2nds for both of us, but enough points for the overall King/Queen of the Mtn titles for the day. Mean.

If you haven't ridden there, Pukeora showcases some fantastic trail construction. Really fun and flowing... but there are a few steep pinches!

Nic's first XC MTB race in over 10mths. Bit of a shock to the system, but nice to be back amongst it and see how the body responded. Tough to back up just 6 days after the 11hrs of Spring Challenge Adventure race, but a good platform to build from for the season.

The finish, and not sure what this face says...? Either happy to be done, or "geez, I have a bit to work on". Probably both.

Next up, the Motu 160 this weekend. Consequently lots of resting and very little training this week. Thanks CHB College for an awesome day. See you next year.