Saturday, March 27, 2010

Free Time

For me the 2010 summer racing season has finished, well it actually finished after the Karapoti Classic. I have kept the riding to a minimum with a few days a week riding to and from work and aswell some running in the hills which I really enjoy.

When I look back over the seasons results I am completely happy with how the season has gone, only last December I was ready to put racing on hold and do..well..I didn't get that far but thanks to Bergamont I got the flame burning for yet another season of racing. I had three big goals for the season, 1: win the NZ Cup Series 2: win the NZ Champs and 3: win Karapoti. I achieved the first goal and finished 2nd in the other two, I am more than happy with those results. This year for me was a very consistent season, my attitude was relaxed, I had fun with my training and trained alot less with more freshness coming into each race, also my job is really enjoyable and I actually enjoy going to work now. My boss is Wellington Saloon Champion (speedway), we get on really well and I guess we feed of each others achievements.

Bex and I are two weeks away from getting married, this is pretty cool, racing and getting results is a good feeling but I reckon when we hear the words "you may kiss your wife" I think that will topple the results I have achieved this year. I look forward to that moment.

I have a few different events planned through May. I am training fot the CrazyMan Duathlon in Wellington on the 1st May, this includes a 13km run from Eastbourne over the Wainuiomata then a 33km mountain bike along the fire breaks to Upper Hutt. The 2nd event is the Mt Isobel Challenge in Hanmer on 22nd May, this is an 8km uphill run then a 25-30km mountain bike down to Hanmer. I am looking forward to these 2 events and I have already started my running training up in the hills behind our flat in Ngaio. Bex is also booked herself in for Mt Isobel also and maybe the CrazyMan.

Hope everyone is enjoying whatever they have been doing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Another win bounced past me....

Karapoti..I put this race in the same category as the Tour of Southland. A race everyone wants to do but how many actually enjoy it? I’ve raced Karapoti before but haven’t had the enjoyment until this year, my 2 previous attempts haven’t made it to any newspaper articles! I first came to this event way back in 1994 when I was 12 and raced the 20km and finished in the top-20.

This year I came to Karapoti “wanting” to race and in my pre-ride I actually enjoyed it but still thought it was just one mongrel of a bike just’s a true old school mountain bike race. When I got in to the sport that’s what we rode on our fully rigid beasts bouncing round like pogo sticks on a sugar high.

I dislike cold water a lot and even get goose bumps jumping into a warm shower so running through a river at the start of a race at 10 o’clock in the morning isn’t on my list of favourite things to do!

The pace was pretty quick up the gorge with big rig Tim Wilding riding like he had a motor on his bike, Mark was putting in his grunt as well. This pace saw myself and a group of round 5 other riders slip away and we stayed together until the “warm up climb” which split the group. Stu, Tim, Anton and I got into a good rhythm, managing a small gap over the others and as the climb went on Tim and I tussled our way to the top with a small lead over Stu. From the top of Deadwood to the Rock Garden, Stu and I were fighting to stay with the flying Tim who eventually hit his powerband twitch and was gone. I was in 2nd and knew I had to pin it to hold this spot because on this course you just never know how far riders are behind you. At the top of Dopers Tim had round 2mins on me so for the last part of the race holding 2nd was the priority.

Coming out of the Gorge on to the road section I saw a hunched over Mark chewing on his bar to reel me in. Hitting the river I went too far to the right and found myself not touching the ground and had to doggy paddle for a bit to resurface and get motoring to the finish line. Quite an experience for a non-swimmer like myself! I held on and it was a great feeling crossing that line!

Mark didn’t bother with a swim at the end and came through another 9 seconds after me. Anton ended up having a superb ride, coming in 4th, just a tad over 2 minutes off the Junior Record, I’m sure by the time he’s finished Junior he could quite possibly have his name on both records? As the event doubled as the NZ Marathon Championships I take claim to 2nd for the Elites and Anton took the Junior title for this. Stu rolled in to finish 5th after a puncture up on the Boulevard.

Great race all round – Karapoti and I are now even thinking about becoming facebook friends now that we have found out we quite like each other!

Congratulations to Tim, brilliant ride and great to see him take out another big event. To those who rode Karapoti well done for finishing and even cooler the “always working hard and not leaving time to ride her bike” Bex took 23mins off her last years time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Closer..but not close enough in 2010

My new home town Wellington was the perfect host to the NZ MTB Cross Country Nationals this weekend.

The weather was in fine form, the track in perfect form and my legs were in even better form. Big cheers to the organizers, this was one nationals track that tested!

I knew it was going to be good, my plan was to be at the front and stay there...more importantly not to let any of the big hitters get a gap. This plan worked for a while with Mike Northcott, junior Richard Anderson and myself gaining time on the other riders on the first lap. This grew throughout the race. Mike was on fire but I did what I could to match him and let him know I was going to be the one to beat today. But he was on form too and he gained a little here and a little there, getting a gap of round 25 seconds, which slowly grew to 55 seconds then to 1min 10secs at the end. Not part of my plan! When this happened I was still feeling really good and giving it gold, but Mike was just faster and stronger, in mountain biking it’s simple...the fastest rider wins!

The remainder of the race I had a good tussle with young Anderson who was having a cranking race and won the U19 comfortably. This race was by far the best I have had all season, in my own form and in the competition around me. The second step on the podium was well earned and for Bergamont a big start to a big venture in New Zealand, for a brand new to NZ in 2009 they have already got people talking! Maxxis Tires were part of my success today also, it is great to have their support this season. Claiming 2nd place at Nationals twice in a row shows the consistency in racing form which I have built to.

It’s completely exciting to be part of the scene right now, there are so many up and coming juniors who are biting at the elite riders heels, keeping the effort and race tactics fast and honest. Age and experience are still the trump cards, not just on race day but in preparation and training.

Thanks to all the people who came out to support, although I can’t always pick out faces from the blur trackside I hear the voices of support, clapping and cheering. In the weekend at both Mt Vic and then on Sunday round the short course the crowd were really getting into it. Quite cool to hear heaps of people yelling out my name!

So as always it’s a quiet Monday night, time to chill out, recharge the batteries for a couple of days then look the next challenge straight in the eyes...Karapoti. A race I’m convinced people love to hate! It’s never been a good one for me, but after a sweet run through a couple of weekends ago it’s time to bite the bullet and get the mongrel out! Best wishes to all those taking on this challenge, whether you get round at race pace in contention for the podium, or get out there and finish it is a massive achievement.