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.