Thursday, December 5, 2013

Famously Rotorua

It's kinda funny what you see sometimes. Especially what you can (or choose) to read into things. Had one of those moments this week when flicking through a midweek edition of the NZ Herald. Featuring a pull-out magazine highlighting Rotorua. Whilst I am currently residing in Auckland, the pull of Rotorua remains very strong. So obviously such a magazine is going to grab my interest. So I started at the front side of the mag...
 ... "Famously Rotorua" promoting the various activities and attractions the region has on offer. I opened it up and saw this guy ...
 ...then I flicked to the back section. "Proudly Rotorua" promoting the region as a great place to live and work...
 ... which I open up to see this guy...
... can't help feeling like someone is trying to tell me something?!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Exploring something different

Went exploring on the weekend on what turned into a bit of an epic. At a secret location where I know of numerous (and awesome) Moto trails. Had planned on a 45min or so skid. Was having too much fun and started following arrows. After 1hr30 I realised it was the 30km+ loop from a recent 6hr Moto race. I didn't have a water bottle... but I did have jelly snakes
Some brutally steep ups

Some rather exciting downs

And some spectacular views
Didn't think to use the camera earlier in the awesome single track. I think I only pulled it out later. Perhaps to record my last moments if I never made it out?! Almost 3hr, 30km and 1000m climbing later; after a few wrong turns/long grovelly bike carries/and scrambling to safety after disturbing 6 wild piglets (scared the parents were nearby) I made it back to the car. Massively dehydrated, hungry, and exhausted.
Might have to do that again next week

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

People are good

So despite the massive lack of posting activity that may suggest something to the contrary... I am still here folks. During those few months there was also a significant lack of racing or exercise motivation. I did punch out a couple of 3rd places in the N-Duro MTB series, and Mud Warrior CX events, but then it all went a bit pear shaped really. Too many life changes equalling a not so happy camper. It wasn't an easy few months but its all pretty good right now. Thanks to one thing really.... People.
People are good
 People like Louis Crosby, dragging me out for wednesday night (and occasional Sunday) skids

Or Pauly B. Good for a bit of a laugh at the MX track when I can get there

 Family of course. Mum and Dad who got me to hang out for a great week in Noosa. There was also Luke and Lisa but I was too lazy (or talking too much) to pull a camera out

People like this Madman. Ra Bana. Perhaps the most generous person I've ever met, and when I decided I couldn't be bothered racing the last two NDuro events, let me take my KTM into the forest for a good hoon lead moto and track clearance duties instead

My adopted family here who let me hang out on weekends and distract me with childs play

Oh yeah... there were a couple of races in there....
People like Mops. An amazing host in Wanaka for a few days. And of course old man Mikey, my MTB and Moto buddy.
This wild untamed bushman who is always good for some random chat about anything over a coffee

Or the biggest poser  one of the most genuine guys in MTB/Tri. Always keen for a lunch date when in town

These two who'll make a cuppa then happily patiently listen to any inane rambling that comes out of my mouth
Or this guy who is so genuine and appreciative its a pleasure to assist him with his racing
To be honest if I keep on posting pics of the people I could put up here I'll be here all night. So I better stop. Suffice to say people are good. All those countless people who've made themselves available for a beer, a meal, or a cafe catchup as I travelled round the country. You know who you are. Friends are awesome.

And to all those out there I haven't seen in some time... look forward to the next time we catch up for a beer. Or a coffee maybe...depends what time of the day I guess  :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Innapropriate bicycles....

First round of the winter N-Duro MTB series last week. Having been on the road on a sales trip for the week prior I had two bikes in the car to choose from. Potentially both equally inappropriate for a fast XC event. In the end i chose the one with no suspension, drop bars, and 38mm deep carbon wheelset....

Did I mention non-tubeless is one retro set-up i could do without? Two tube changes in the first 4km saw me dead last by a long way. However a rocket ship of a bike up hill (and maybe 36/25 as granny forced that) had me back to 10th by the end (although I only made it to 2nd in the womens race - sonia smashed me).

 riding a glorified road bike in singletrack was a pretty interesting experience. If I'd become lazy with riding habits this is certainly a way to get you thinking about what you are doing! moving time on the GPS showed I could have been pretty close to the front so plenty of positives. And a week later my arms and shoulders have finally stopped aching.

 Will I use it again? Maybe. Although the thought of using 3 different styles of bike bike in each of the 3 races is kind of appealing too. Got a few weeks to decide

Thursday, June 20, 2013

 A change of footwear this weekend, some important lessons, and a only a couple of injuries.....

Needing a bit of a blow out mentally, I lined up for the last round of the Dirt Guide XC series. A 2hr Moto event.  Bit of a change from the previous weekends which had gone XC MTB, Duathlon, then Trail Running. Instead this weekend it was the KTM 125 that would power me around the course.

Not having ridden trail in over 6 mths (or at all since March), lining up on a startline was a bit of a risk. So with no competitive intentions I just kind of followed, and watched what others in front were doing. This is not good. Ride to your strengths people. Lack of focus, and laziness in control led to a number of fairly major moments, that could've been worse. A few tweaks and sprains see me sporting some lovely pink Kinesio tape this week. But it's not too bad.

Generally I was doing 30-31min laps. My 3rd lap was the important lesson. Having had a quick refuel, I headed out in clear space. I focussed on riding smooth and "safe" fast. Riding my lines, and getting clear of others as soon as possible. Suddenly I rode a 28min lap, with far more control.

The lesson? In any activity, when there is risk involved, maintain some focus. You don't have be giving 100%, but that 80-90% commitment is a grey area where your mind wanders and dangerous things happen. Be aware of what you are doing. Have fun, but stay safe.

In the meantime everyone should watch this for an example of what amazing imagination, commitment, and skill can produce...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Working on making my legs hate me a little less....

After a week of hobbling around due to my self-inflicted leg damage from 3D's efforts, I figured my running could do with a bit of attention. So rather than plan a sensible slow base run, I took the usual approach of finding an event. Conviently the 2nd race of the XTERRA Trail Run series was on in the nearby Riverhead Forest.
 I woosed out of the "Super Long" course option, and just signed up for the Long. So 18km all offroad, with around 500m vertical climbing; combined with torrential overnight rain, and clay based tracks, and slippery snotty goodness awaited everyone. It wasn't going to be an easy day. I ran a solid (if a little conservative) race, and trotted in 1hr20 odd later in 2nd place, around 3min down. Happy with that.

Despite knowing full well what the conditions were likely to be, I ran in the totally innapropriate racing flats (my trail shoes are in storage in Rotorua). Still they worked out ok.

 About 1km in and the RNZAF boys have already smacked it off the front. At this point I am already realising that maybe its not that cold and I could be a bit overdressed.

Nearing the finish and I am sure this carefully placed log caused cramping issues for many. While I look clean, its only because I'd fallen in a deep puddle 30sec earlier...

I'm often made aware of how much MTB race courses cut up in the wet and how much worse conditions can be for athletes further back in the field. Apparently running is no different as this young fella in the short course event demonstrates.

And even the photographers couldn't escape the conditions. Fun and challenging times allround. Hopefully I can make a couple more events in the series. Certainly a great way to learn some new terrain.

Friday, June 7, 2013

My legs hate me

There's a saying bandied around in sport that goes along the lines of "form is temporary, class is permanent". I think the 3D multisport festival last week proved to me that a) any past MTB results were the result of well planned training (ie form), and that b) maybe I am really a runner....
After being dealt a hiding in the paddle leg of the Multisport race last year, I opted for the Duathlon option this time around. With some ptrretty stiff competition it was never going to be easy. Starting with the seperate MTB event the pace was pretty hot right through. Sam Gaze eventually skipped clear, chased hard by Olly, as I drifted off to a distant 3rd. Out of sight, out of mind, Olly's gap on me sneaked out to almost 2min by the end of the ride. Although I did score a couple of Strava KOM's. The other boys can't have uploaded their GPS files?!
Credit where its due though, as he smashed it. Accounting for the variation in courses (more on the Du option), he was probably a couple of minutes quicker than both Richard Ussher and Dougal Allen. So it was a bit dissapointing he missed the prize for quickest MTB split. Maybe next year the organisers could put a timing mat where the courses merge?
Onto the run I pushed hard but felt awful. Legs cramping. Forced to walk the stairs. And this was in the first 1km. While I've raced plenty in recent times, any actual training has been next to nothing, so I was paying the price. I started to feel better midway through, and to my surprise caught a glimpse of Olly near the finish as I closed fast. 2nd across the line, and the days fastest Duathlon run (and bettered by just two of the multisporters), saw me close the gap to just over 20sec. Happy with that. Apparently I'm a runner? Even if I have been barely able to walk all week since...

It's been a mad week, as I then went straight to Sydney for a work conference. The super keen (and somewhat mad) Magellan brand manager had arranged a few CX bikes, and before I knew it I was seeing Sydney from the seat of bike at 5:30 each morning. Turned out to be pretty adventurous. TT smashfests on a bike jammed in little ring. Dragging brakes. Getting an opening truck door to the side of the head in traffic. Paniced missions in rush hour traffic running late for meetings. And one legged pedalling missions after Tony stripped the pedal out of his crank. 100+ km in a couple of days exploring sydney in the small hours. Was quite Epic.

The cycling highlight of the Sydney trip was riding tis stair/ramp on the CX bike in amongst commuter cycling traffic pushing/carrying their bikes. Apparently its rarely done, and the bridge security was most impressed. My riding buddy perhaps not so impressed as aparently his attempts ended with stalls and crashes about 3/5 of the way up....

Monday, May 27, 2013


I am rapidly making up for the summer off competition, by stacking the events in in quick succession. This weekend it was the turn of the innagural Woodhill 360. A 6hr event run by Tim Farmer as a fundraiser for his attempt at the years 24hr Worlds. Tim's a good bugger and does plenty for the MTB community so it was only right to show our faces.

Unfortunately the rain settled in. More fortunately, it was woodhill, and sand holds up pretty well to moisture. In fact it often gets better. Having only ridden out there twice in about 6 years or more it took me sometime to establish some flow. Thankfully Olly had already given me a headstart, as with our team only consistuting two of us we had decided on long (i.e. 1hr30) stints each.

 Olly was solid. Banging out the laps, and luckily I was able to string together some old man consistency to maintain the gaps we were developing. Eventually we cleared out to a pretty solid winning margin. Good days training banked, and the demanding nature of the track caught up with us later. There was no big climbs, but the constant undulation added up. Turns out my 5 laps (45km ish) included over 1000m climbing

 We got this sweet handcrafted trophy that Tim whipped up in his garage. We also got some chocolate; but that was gone before prizegiving ended.....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Moonride 2013

 Despite my annual insistence I am done with the event... somehow I keep finding myself back at Waipa, fronting the starter for the annual and somewhat iconic moonride. This time under the guise of promotional duties for my new workplace where amongst my duties is sales of Magellan fitness GPS products. So a solid team was assembled and the Magellan Strava-Tards (Louis Crosby, Olly Shaw, Graham Norman, Josh Kenyon, and myself) were unleashed to take on the young guns of Team Endura and off to Rotorua we went.

 The boys and girls at MBR had assisted in planning out a pretty cool loop. Unfortunately the weather didn't want to play ball, and what had been a great track was shortened to a less gruelling loop. A good move for safety, but the downside being increased wheel traffic on the trails that were used, and consequently a huge amount of track deterioration throughout the day. As shown pictorially

Late in my first lap (around 2hrs or so into the event), already trying to seek out the drier less muddied lines. Ever the optimist?!

One lap (14min or so) later and the strain is already starting to show on the face. Out on course we were witnessing amazing crashes and mishaps. People falling down banks I never even realised existed, as they couldn't even maintain footing on small pinches that in the dry you almost roll up with no pedalling... yet now you could barely stand on.

Hands up if you've ridden Rotorua? So you'll know Tahi trail... the really easy flowing grade 2 trail getting everyone into the forest. 6hrs or so into the race and it was way faster to run

Some parts of the trails were still rideable. Sometimes. With care. Anyone who survived even one lap later in the day (and especially at night) intact and still smiling deserves a medal. It was pretty epic

The easy open stuff through the tent village on the grass (?) was holding up really well too. There were some interesting and entertaining crashes throughout the day

Despite the challenges the boys kept up their spirits, ate plenty of lollies, and maintained some pretty solid form all day. So much so that the small lead edged out, to a final winning margin of 1 lap + another 9 or 10mins. Pretty solid display, and earned us all one of these medals.
Even better... with an earlier start time, and the race cut an hour short..... I was home, showered, and warm in bed by 10pm. Bonus!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Avanti Quantum 3.0 - Buy me.....

New toys and adventures are currently on the to do list. So a few things need to go, including my road bike. So get yourself a mint deal

2012 Avanti Quantum 3.0 - Medium (55cm)  Retail's for ~$4500 and upgraded with carbon wheelset

* ADT R4 Carbon,Performance Road Geometry - Carbon fork/steerer
* Full Ultegra groupset (cranks are 172.5 length with 53/39 rings)
* Zero 38mm carbon clincher wheelset
* Zero strike pro carbon bars and seatpost. Fizik saddle
* Will be sold with brand new Kenda Kriterium tires

Bike is 12mths old, but only moderate use and very well maintained. Asking $2600. Offers to

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

199 posts.....

I noticed that the total posts on this blog was sitting at 199 - so to honor that significant milestone, here's a wee video link to the Mr 199 and one of the most amazing/craziest moments in sport

Monday, May 6, 2013


It seems I have inadvertently returned to racing as its suddenly becoming regular habit again. Good thing I didn't announce retirement as I'd be looking like an idiot now! Instead I've reverted to the "train little race - frequently" style of keeping in shape. Seems to work ok Deciding we needed a Magellan presence at the T42 on the weekend I gathered up my gear and Olly Shaw and headed south. As you can see from the start pic its a spectacular location worth the trip in itself.
Race went suprisingly well. I was the holder of the course best time until Saturday. That now belongs to Carl Jones, who skipped off up the road and won by a few minutes. So he should, he left for the european world cups this morning. I did manage to hang on for 3rd, and I now hold the strava KOM for 42 traverse ....... at least until Carl uploads the data from his Magellan.
Must have worked pretty hard as we blew up enough post race that the 36km road ride back to the car took just as long as the 46km MTB race did. And the bag of natural confectionary company dinosaurs lasted 60sec. Followed promptly by a rushed trip to BK turangi.... Ouch. So a good day of training banked. I can put my feet up again until the next event.


Monday, April 29, 2013


Just one day after SingleSpeed nationals and the gears have gone back on my hardtail already as really; I am a bit soft. But there is something to be said for the simplification that less gears brings. So while the buzz over XX1 groupsets continues, I started to search for a more affordable option and here it is. Chainring from wolftooth components married to an XTR clutch derailleur. Solid, quiet, simple. Highly reccomended.

NZ Singlespeeds 2013

I seem to pretty regularly preach to people that events need to be fun, and if they're not then maybe it is time to re-evaluate. But its not so easy sometimes to genuinely follow that yourself. Especially when the competitive ego gets in the way. Which is why events like Singlespeeding really are so cool. While it hadn't been on the cards at all until a week ago, I am so stoked I got on board and joined the party.
While on one hand the NZ Singlespeed champs is really just the biggest mountainbiking adult fancy dress party of the year, it’s still worth a bit of hard effort once the “race” starts. So dressed as Ralph - The Greatest American hero - I had clearly inherited super powers and with my cape flapping in the breeze (and only occasionally snagging trees) I streaked out to a lead of more than a minute during the first lap of three. Not the first time in such a situation. However clearly i must have an unconscious desire not to be tattoo’ed (to honour the title it is tradition for the winner to receive a tattoo), as it soon became apparent that I had done a stellar job of sabotaging my own bike that I had hastily assembled 24hrs prior. Thus a slipping chain began to hamper my progress. Still trying to ride (and run) as fast as possible…. Mainly to get back to the beer tent as quickly as I could each lap. Did some sweet jumps and wheelies. Tried a few whips and even a couple of nose wheelies. Was the 3rd participant to cross the line - or receive a 3rd beer. Depends which way you look at it. Which in this event is actually 2nd equal….. along with everyone else.
One of these days I'll prepare more thoroughly...... or not...


Friday, April 5, 2013

So Easter was pretty fun (and busy). Nic headed off sailing in the Bay of Islands for 5 days with her parents leaving me home alone. I was kind of good and did the lawns, trimmed the hedges, vaccumed the house etc... But more importantly managed to cram some good times in.
Did some training. But also added in a few rounds of golf, some quality time at the moto track, and had an awesome times helping guide around a bunch of aussies from an MTB tour group. Amazing how much cooler your local trails seem when surrounded by a bunch of new recruits in awe of the trails. Suddenly appreciate how good we've got it. Enjoyed the company of the infamous "Rick Moss" from Flow MTB. He made me ride the Coppermine so hard I ended up breaking spokes (maybe that was casing a gap jump... maybe). Good times. I look forward to re-enacting this cheesy photo op on some iconic australian mtb trail in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sponsorship: Advice for young players

 I am aware that there are many younger athletes that read this blog..... and many times I have resisted the temptation to launch into a frustrated rant about what sponsorship means and why MTB's situation may never get any better until the riders stop expecting handouts and instead start working to developing the sport, its profile, and therefore its meaning to the community.

 Today, I stumbled across this piece from cyclingnews' James Huang.

 I urge all aspiring athletes to read it with an open mind, and discuss it with others. Ask questions if you need to. It explains things quite well. Remember its not about you, its about what you can do for brand X

 Over the years I have had this discussion with many, many people. Some get it. Others it seems to go in one ear and out the other - and they still expect handouts.

 I've had some good branding success over the years with CabinRacing, Aunt Bettys Cycling, and Black Dirt Racing. What goes unseen is the untold hours behind the scenes: relationship building with sponsors/media/event organisers. Media releases. Debriefs. School visits. Community coaching. The list goes on.

My plea to our current and future athletes? Put in the hard yards on the sponsorship front. Stop expecting handouts. Be proud and passionate about your choices to pursue this hobby. Be an ambassador, and you can help change the professional opportunties in our sport.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Highlander 40km

So I did an event on the weekend. Been a while! Decided it was worth a hit out so lined up for the 40km at last weekends Highlander. Decided to use the Coppermine in full trail ride mode. Climbed ok. Descents were suddenly heaps of fun. 2hrs and a bit later....

Bit smashed after ~1100m climbing and masses of singletrack. Oly Shaw smoked me. Brett blew up in 2nd but I fell about 30sec short of catching him. 3rd. Solid. And way less beat up than on my hardtail. Funny that?! Must do it again.