Sunday, November 28, 2010

Riding For Fun... Whirinaki Road Trip

Given that I'd just spent a year and a half training for world champs, and then 4 weeks barely riding the bike from a bad case of 24 hour saddle sore, I've been pretty keen to get out riding (hasn't this weather been magic???!). A couple of weeks ago, at fairly short notice, I found myself with a 3 day weekend, so called my mate Piki to see if she would be up to an off-the-beaten-track MTB adventure. So we found ourselves and our trusty steeds piled into the back of my van that Friday afternoon for the trip down to Whirinaki forest. We'd heard about the recently completed Moerangi trail, a back-country mountain bike trail that threaded it's way around the forest past hiking huts and back into the small town of Minginui (and I mean small... Later confirmed when we tried to find somewhere that had a petrol station).

We headed south, past Rotorua (with our bikes in the van??? First time for everything) and turned off towards the forest. Instantly, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves, and I was delighted when I saw my mobile phone dip out of range, to be out of contact for the the next 2 days. It was quite late and dark when we arrived at the campground. We set up camp, Ayup headlamps blazing and crawled into bed after the long drive. I always find it a really bizarre experience arriving somewhere unknown in the dark and then waking in the morning to see completely unfamiliar surroundings... I looked forward to it.

In the morning, we woke to the sound of the bubbling stream we had camped next to to and went for a bit of a stroll and had some breakfast. It was a pretty small campground, but pleasant, and we felt a million miles from anywhere... Perfect! We packed up and drove to the Jail House Farm Stay, where we would be shuttled to the beginning of the Moerangi track... Now, before I go any further, I would like to point out to those of you who know me that I still do not condone shuttling. My original suggestion was to ride to the start of the trail, then do the trail and ride back, turning the 36km trail into a respectable 80km full-day epic, but my hopes were quashed by the more sensibly-minded Piki (in hindsight, I'm secretly quite glad because the amount of climbing we ended up doing after me having not ridden for 4 weeks was plenty for my out-of-practise legs). So we arrived at the start of the trail, got dumped with our bikes and left to our own defences. The first thing we encountered was a set of steps that went up. Great, hike-a-bike first thing, but once at the top, I don't think the smile eroded from my face for the rest of the day. There was a great deal of climbing (which I LOVE), and also some very very sweet downhill single track. This was, without doubt, some of the best riding I have done in months, possibly years. There was so much amazing scenery you couldn't possibly see it all on your first ride of the trail... I'll definately have to go back. We took our time and stopped off at each of the huts. I couldn't help but wonder how fast I could do the trail at race pace = awesome fun. After we finished we rode back to Jail House and picked up our car, talked bike porn with other riders, then headed off to a new camp site for the evening.

The new camp site was amazing... It was right next to the Whirinaki river with a huge waterfall dropping into the river at one end of the campground. There was noone else in sight, so we have the whole place to ourselves. It was magic. A quick dip in the freezing river was in order to have a wash and cool down, which also resulted in the loss of one of my beloved jandals (RIP my friend) which got sucked to the bottom of the river and pulled from my fott and must have floated off down stream. I had no chance of finding a brown jandal on a river bed (for the record, my new ones are bright red). We slept that night to the sound of rain and the roaring waterfall, more riding in store for tomorrow... What a perfect day!

The next morning we woke, had breakfast and packed up our tents to leave for the Whirinaki forest MTB trails before the long drive home. I was sure nothing could top what we had ridden yesterday but I was dead wrong. More sweet singletrack, amazingly fast downhills... And it's all marked clearly so you don't get lost! My advice would be that people get out there and experience this place before it becomes an over-crowded mecca. Whilst there isn't a real quantity of trail, the quality will leave you salivating for more, and it's all set in untouched, protected native forest. Well worth the drive!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

12th Place Amongst Strong Field at 24 Hour Solo World Champs

Firstly, I apologise for my lack of blogging over the last couple of weeks. I had very good intentions of doing an update just before and just after the race, but unfortunately, preparation and recovery took precedence.

So, first things first. I arrived in Canberra on the Tuesday and rode out to the course at Stromlo. I did the first 5km of the course to test out the strapping on my thumb and get my legs moving after the trip. First thing I noticed was that the first 5km was just one massive single-track switch-backy hill. Loved it!!!

The next day, I hitched a ride out to the track to ride the full course. It was fun, technical enough to keep us well awake overnight, and there was no flat to speak of... We were either climbing or descending. The course consisted of one 300m climb, which was actually quite a nice gradient and switchbacked it's way up Stromlo mountain. I quite liked this climb. Then up over the top of Mount Stromlo (past the observatory) we followed a rather technical rocky descent down the other side. The infamous "Pork Barrel" track was to become the talk of the town. A fall on this trail would most likely lead to a nasty injury on the rocks. We'd have to be on the ball constantly descending this trail. There was one section near the start of this trail that had a roll-over on a rock followed by a technical little roll-out. Admittedly, it had me a little worried, the thought of trying to ride that in the dark when I was tired. After this, we had a good solid slog back up to the top of Mount Stromlo again on mainly fire trail and gravel road. It was steeper than the first climb up the other side and I welcomed it because I knew I was a strong climber. Back down the other side, we would be treated each lap to a rollercoaster of berms and humps which would deliver us back onto the crit track at the bottom and feed us into world solo pit lane. I liked the course. It was rough and required a lot of concentration. A course that only the fit and focused would survive for 24 hours.

That afternoon, coach Sadie and my partner, Suse, arrived from Auckland. The following morning, we went for a cruise of the course again and Sadie helped me work some lines on the course. We worked the rollover on Pork Barrel, but by then, a B-line had been marked and we timed the B-line to be only 5 seconds longer than the technical roll-over that had me a tad worried, so i decided to opt for the B-line during the race in the interests of self preservation. At the end of the lap, I asked the Coach what she thought of the trail to which she replied "I love it! It's fun! Don't know if I'd want to ride it for 24 hours though!" Thursday afternoon my parents arrived (they've never seen me race before!), and Friday, after a long, hot line-up for registration and race briefing, we retired early to put together the gear for the following day's race. Pit manager Dee and partner in crime, Brendan, arrived late Friday night.

Saturday morning, I stayed in bed eating porridge whilst the rest of the crew buzzed around doing trips to and from the venue to set up the tent etc. I planned to be at the event centre about 10am, with solo call-up at 11.15am and start at 11.45am. I didn't want to arrive too early and waste my energy on getting caught up in the buzz. When I arrived, Stromlo reserve was packed to the rafters. The event was HUGE. Not only were they running a teams event at the same time, but there were 419 solo entries, the biggest field ever, doubling last year's field of 200 riders. With this came the biggest female field ever and the strongest. There were 31 elite females competing and every one of them strong and fit. With the absence of 3-time world champ, Rebecca Rusch, the field was wide-open and I knew the pace off the start would be fast. I needed to be very mindful of riding my own race and not getting caught up with what was happening on the start line.

At 11.30am, they started calling up the elite riders to the start line. We stood around nervously for our le mans (running) start. At 11.45am, the gun went off and we all dashed the 300m towards our bikes. For me, it was more of a shuffle, and I went from starting at the front of the field to slowly moving to the back of the field as everyone overtook me. I kept looking behind me thinking "please don't let me be the last one on my bike". The good thing was that being so far behind the other elite women on the run meant I wasn't tempted to try and hold their wheel from the start. I knew the course would pick off riders throughout the day. I just needed to be consistent and patient.

I knocked my first lap off in under an hour and 10mins, which was a pretty speedy lap but felt comfortable. I kept the rest of my laps consistent around 1:15 up until darkness and although I was sitting midfield, I knew I felt good going into the night and that the course would probably take a few casualties overnight. Moving into the night, my laps stayed around the one and half hour mark. It wasn't as cold as I had expected it may be, as long as I kept moving. In hindsight, some of my pitstops were a bit of a time killer for each lap, and this is something that we will work on for next race, but my crew, consisting of Coach Sadie, my partner Suse and my good mates Dee and Bren were totally on the ball and kept me moving. I truly hope that we can work together again for next year. I felt surprisingly fresh coming into the wee hours of the morning, around 3 and 4am. I managed to stay on the bike with no major mishaps and I was eating and drinking well. I would have to say I owe this largely to my two biggest fans (mum and dad) who sat at the top of Mount Stromlo for the full 24 hours in the cold and wind overnight just to cheer me on each lap as I came around (cool huh??!). I think to kill the time, they were cheering on everyone else who came past and they widely become known as "the nutters who have been sitting on top of the hill all night". Being called a "nutter" by someone who has chosen to ride their bike around is circles for 24 hours straight is quite a statement!!!

As we neared the end of the dark hours, I was really starting to feel the pinch. I was in a lot of pain from my saddle and my feet and as the sun came up, it didn't get any better. My feet were numb from the roughness of the course and my bum was sore because, well, I'd been sitting on it for the last 20 odd hours. My last four hours should have been 4 strong laps to finish off a good race. Instead, it became a painful grovel. I was wincing in pain and choking back the tears for every pedal stroke... You always forget the last painful hours until they are upon you again. I forced out 2 more laps which brought me up to the 24 hour mark, but I'd spent so much energy trying to ignore the pain that I hadn't eaten or drunk much in the last 4 hours. I collapsed onto the edge of the track after my final lap, unable to push through and do that one extra that might have been.

Looking back, I had a pretty good race. It was the first 24 hour I have done where I truly felt at the end that I had left everything I had out on the track. I lapped consistently and ate and drank well for my first 20 hours. My last four hours left a little to be desired but hey, it's all part of the game. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I rode 16laps and 320km, which is the longest distance I had done in any 24 hour event. It was a good ride against a very large and strong field of competitors which unfortunately meant that I only finished in 12th place (out of 31 elites, probably not too bad).

There's a lot of rest and recovery to be had for now. I hope to be back on the bike in the next couple of weeks so I can ride a couple of the end of year events here in NZ. Massive thanks to the crew (Sadie, Suse, Dee and Brendan), including the "nutters at the top of the hill" (mum and dad), sponsors Ayup Lights, Bike 75, Adidas Eyewear, Icebreaker, Giant Bikes and Spoke Magazine. Thanks to Christel at Nikki Hart Nutrition for making sure I ate the right stuff, and also to Dr Lucy Holtzhausen and the team at Hands Out West and also to Jakub at Avantiplus Waitakere who all made sure that the injury I was so worried about ended up being the least of my problems for the event! I couldn't have done it without you all and I hope my performance made you all proud to be a part of the team.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Time is Near

I'm sitting in Sydney Airport awaiting the arrival of my Kiwi buddy, Jamie, then it's off to Canberra. Seeing as I have some time to kill, figured I may as well post a bit of an update.

The last couple of days before I left Auckland were super hectic. I was so glad I'd taken Thursday and Friday off cause I spent the entire 2 days driving around to appointments to check out my thumb (this can take a back seat now, because it's going well), massage appointments and nutrition appointments... Gotta look after myself!!!

I also spent a considerable amount of time running around to Bike 75 and back. The coach and I decided at the last minute that I should run my super light wheels tubeless (to make them even lighter, of course!), so I paid a 4pm Friday visit to Chickenman at Bike 75 to get his expert assistance... Thank God, because it would've taken me a good 3 hours to do what he did in under an hour... Thanks so much Chicken!!! I daresay I made his Friday afternoon unnecessarily frustrating and I truly appreciate his help. I was also very lucky to have a very generous offer from Jakub at the local Avantiplus Store in Waitakere. My bike is fitted out with a SRAM XX group set where the shift up and down happens with your thumb. Although my thumb is feeling really good and healing very well, we don't know how it's going to go over 24 hours, so any pressure we could relieve on it to prolong it's use over the race would be a godsend. Jakub offered to loan me his new 10spd Shimano XT rear derallier and shifter which would allow me to do half my shifting with my finger, trigger-style, and he fitted it to my bike for me on Saturday morning while I knocked over my last 3 hour training ride before flying out that afternoon to Sydney. I have to say, it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly supportive and selfless the whole cycling community is. It was a beautiful reminder of how lucky I am to be surrounded with such a great bunch of people and supporters.

So I arrived in Sydney on Saturday night to be picked up my my bestest buddy and pit manager, Dee and partner in crime Bren. I'd stay with them in Sydney for a couple of days before heading to Canberra and run some errands and catch up with a few people. Brad from King of the Mountain Cyclery in Crow's Nest has fixed me up with some spare bits and pieces and Bike Addiction in Maly Vale have generously loaned us their ezy-up tent, so all is going very smoothly. I just bumped into fellow female 24 hour soloist Monilee Atkinson at the airport so the excitement is starting to kick in. Can't wait! Watch this space...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shave to Ride - The deed is done. Time to get your donations in!

It's not too late to do your bit to help send me to world champs and also to help me donate to World Bicycle relief. So far, donations have been a little bit thin on the ground. My target is $2000. This means we only need 100 generous peeps to donate 20 bucks each (easy huh???)

Donations can be direct deposited to one of the following accounts:
NZ Account: 06-0596-0052994-04
Aussie Account: 112-879 056 759 948

I've held up my end of the deal... Check out the results! Steph from Luxe & Duke got all funky and creative and I must say, I actually don't mind it (maybe it'll stay this way!!!). It's extra funny when I forget that I have a multi-coloured head and wonder why people are looking at me in a strange way.

World champs are under 2 weeks away. The thumb is healing well (although never quickly enough for someone as impatient as myself)... Bring it!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

High Speed Feedzone Accident Dashes Hopes of Win

I arrived in Taupo on Friday evening feeling pretty relaxed and strong and was really looking forward to a good solid smash out at the 12 hour Day Night Thriller to test the legs a bit in the lead-up to 24 hour solo world champs in a month's time.

The course was really fast, nicely bermed, and whilst not all that technical, was really good fun and flowed nicely.

The start of race day went really well. I was lapping consistently at around 25 minutes a lap and my aim for the day was to leave everything out on the track and use it as a pre-worlds training run. Everything went smoothly for the first 5 laps. I was eating and drinking well, doing my feeds quickly and felt really strong on the bike. At the end of the first lap, I was up by 3 minutes, and I just kept putting time into the field. At the 2 and a half hour mark, I was up on second place by about 15 minutes.

At the end of my 5th lap, however, I came through the feedzone and things went a little bit wrong. I'd been feeding quite quickly and I came through the pits at about 20km/hr, dropped my empty drink bottle off, grabbed a full one and put it in my bottle cage, then put my hands back on the bars to take off on another lap... Next thing I knew, I was on the ground with my face planted in the dirt. I stood up to take stock and looked at my support crew, who looked as surprised as me. I had no idea what had just happened. All I remember was my handlebars twisting and the rest of the bike pulling out from under me. Now, let me tell you, going from 20km/hr to zero in the space of about a metre when all you're wearing is lycra and a helmet hurts... The ground definately won that battle... Noone's fault... Just one of those freak accidents that occur from time to time... I stood there for a few seconds and thought "my legs are all good... sweet" and jumped back on my bike, then rounded the corner and went to change gears to find that my thumb didn't work... Bugger.

I kept moving, probably in a little bit of denial, but I truly thought I'd just strained it and it would come good again as the race wore on. I changed up gears with the heel of my palm and changed down gears by taking my hand off the handlebars and pressing the shifter with my index finger. I couldn't hold the handlebars when I was descending so I used a bastardised version of a monkey grip with my right hand to exclude use of my thumb. Every now and then, I'd try to shift with my thumb to see if it would work... It never came right. I couldn't pick up my drink bottle or food with my injured hand and I couldn't hold on with it so I could eat and drink with the other hand. For the next 3 laps, I stopped in the pits to drink and eat for the next lap, then would set off and just ride for the whole lap with no food or drink. Every bump I hit made me wince with pain and the pain got so unbearable I was nearly passing out. I so badly wanted to keep going. My support crew took me to the medics tent and they iced and strapped it and we decided that I would go to hospital and get it x-rayed and if it wasn't broken, come back and finish the race and just deal with the pain. Up at the hospital, we learned that a radiographers strike meant I wouldn't be able to get an xray until Monday... It just wasn't my day. So they put me in a cast.

Needless to say, I didn't get back on the bike. I did return to the race, however, and do some cheering and loaned out some of my fantastic Ayup lights as demos for people who haven't had the opportunity to experience their awesomeness, so the day wasn't completely lost, but certainly not what I had planned.

For what it's worth, the 8 laps I pumped out in 3 and a half hours still got me third place. Haha! Tomorrow will tell the damage, but my sports doctor (Lucy May Holtzhausen... she's awesome) seems pretty confident I should be back on the bike for world champs in a month. Looks like a long month of work on the trainer...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shave to Ride!

Hi all!

In my crazy quest to raise funds to continue racing, I’ve decided to shave my head (well, that and the fact that I really couldn’t be bothered doing my hair every morning just to go and stick it under a helmet). Most of you who know me will find this rather amusing… Those of you who don’t know me so well can get your kicks from the fact that people who do know me think that this is hilarious (apparently I have an odd-shaped head). To add an extra twist, and to encourage some trans-tasman competition, I will also color my remaining hair (it’ll be a number 1 shave) in either green and gold, or black and white… Depending on which country I get the most donations from (on a dollar for dollar match-up).

In the spirit of supporting a good cause, I will also be donating half the funds I raise from my shave to a charity called World Bicycle Relief. These guys provide bikes for people in impoverished regions to help them get a basic education.

So here’s how it works…
Donations can be made either by direct deposit or cash (in person). Direct deposits can be made to the bank accounts below (there’s an Aussie account and a Kiwi account). When you make your donation, as a reference, please put your name (or Anonymous if you don’t wish for me to know who you are) and either “NZ” or “OZ” for the color head you would like to see me sporting for 24 hour solo world champs. If you’d like to make a cash donation when you see me next, I will record your donation and NZ or OZ in a receipt book.

NZ Account: 06-0596-0052994-04 (National Bank)
Aussie Account: 112-879(BSB) 056 759 948(account number)

The shave and color will take place in the last week of September (date to be confirmed to fit in with my training) at Luxe & Duke Salon, 483 Richmond Road Grey Lynn. Steph and the team here are generously donating their time and skills to vandalise my head. Steph has been my hairdresser ever since I moved to NZ and not only does she do a fantastic hair cut, but she’s a real nice chick, too. Luxe & Duke is Steph and Paula's new salon and they opened today (congrats guys!). You can ring the salon on 09 360 1477 to make an appointment.

So……. Get cracking and make your donation. 2 worthy causes and an amusing outcome to be had! Promise I’ll post pictures on my web page!

Icebreaker Product Review

So I've been using Icebreaker's merino goodness for some time now and I'm really stoked to welcome Icebreaker as a new supporter. I've been trialling some of their new products over this Winter, including their GT range with 3% lycra (awesome fit!). They make some great casual gear and active wear alike, and the really exciting thing is that they are in the process of perfecting their cycle gear range, so keep an eye out for it's release.

The best thing about Icebreaker is the ability to layer. Everything fits well to allow other layers over the top to remain nice and cosy out. Personally, I'm not a big fan of wind vests and rain jackets. I find them bulky and they don't breathe well, making for an uncomfortable ride. Realistically, once it rains and you're on the bike, you're wet. I'm ok with being wet, but not cold and wet. I have spent the winter using Icebreaker GT merino underlayers under my jersey, gloves and shorts as well as nice warm icebreaker socks under my shoes, so when I get wet, the merino layers warm up and stay warm against my skin, so as long as you don't mind being a bit wet, there's no need for cumbersome jackets or vests.

I've also started trying out some of their "yet to be released" cycle range. The jerseys are comfortable, breathe well and keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. They also have cool little features like a zip insert in the back pockets for keys/change and a little MP3 pocket with a hole to run your headphones underneath the jersey so they don't get caught up in all the other stuff in your pockets... And as with all icebreaker, they don't stink after you ride in them! They fit really well, too. I can't wait to try out their new knicks (shorts).

Check out their products on the Icebreaker Website. There's something there for everyone... And keep an eye out for their new cycle range!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AYUP Lights Product Review (like you really needed another reason to buy them!)

AYUP Lights have been sponsoring me for some time now, so I figured it was timely that I should pop up a review of this light system just in case you haven't had the opportunity to experience their awesomeness just yet. I think it's worth mentioning right here and now that I paid for my first set of AYUPs and they are still running strong (that was over 3 years ago now) and it was only recently that I chose to upgrade them because a) I wanted the new batteries with adjustable power settings and b) I had a new bike and wanted the colors to match. I think it is a big testament to any product when I say that had the guys at AYUP not been so generous as to hook me up, I would have been more than happy to pay for another set... They're just worth it, end of story.

And now to why they are worth it... Firstly, they are the lightest mountain biking lights on the market. When you're riding your bike around for 24 hours straight, the last thing you want is unneccessary weight. You can get 6hours out of a battery the size of a matchbox, which means that not only are you carrying around minimal weight, but you really only need to do one battery change overnight in a race... BIG bonus for me... The velcro mounting system also means that any equipment changes are super quick.

They are also the most versatile lights on the market. Most packs come with all sorts of goodies... Different kinds of mounts, headband so you can go running with them, spares of everything just in case you lose pieces... And if you need more, the spares are easily and readily available on their website. As a rider of (ahem) shorter stature, I have a rather unusual setup on my bike. The handlebar mount of the Ayups can be mounted in various ways to accommodate other bits and pieces that you may wish to put on your handlebars. There are a variety of beam options and colour options to suit everyone.

The Ayups are brighter than you will need and are more than adequate for racing or social night riding. I recommend a medium to wide beam on the handlebars paired with a narrow spot on your helmet for checking out the trail ahead.

And last but certainly not least, they look damn cool!

Now for those of you who think "I can't afford a set of lights like this", make sure you visit the AYUP website. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out just how reasonably priced they are and what amazing value they present in comparison to other brands on the market. They have also just released the Ayup Ultra Lite Pack, which is a budget package with the basics to get you started. The cool thing is that the Ultra Lite Pack is more than enough to get you out on the trails in the dark, and with the availability of extra bits and bobs, you can add to your kit as your needs require and budget allows. It comes in at just under $290 New Zealand dollars.

Check them out at

Monday, August 16, 2010

NDuro Winter Series Race 3

I can't imagine there would be many people who would finish their mid-winter birthday standing in front of a fire hose, caked in mud, bracing themselves for the icy cold water to blast them clean so they could shiver their way back to the car and pull on thermals over the remaining mud for the 3 hour drive home. Well, that's exactly what I did yesterday... And I enjoyed EVERY minute of it!

We woke up on Sunday morning to more rain and more grey skies. The weather man's promise of a break in the rain soon became apparent as a complete and utter lie. Coach Sadie and I had gone out for a somewhat short ride on the trails the day before and at dinner that evening, enjoyed telling our comedic tales of how there was "more puddle than track out there" and "Megan disappeared right into one of them!" It was true, though. The trails had been converted into streams and lakes. You would slosh through water up to the hubs on your wheels, then a berm would appear out of the depths that we would ride up onto for a brief moment before sloshing back on the "trail". There were puddles through the Whakarewarewa forest that would swallow you up and you had no idea of how deep they were until you rode through them... The plan for the next day... Follow someone else's line so they can test the depth...

So there I was, lining up on the start line in a rather small field of riders (a later look at the results would show a lot of "pre-race withdrawals". Most people decided to stay in bed and not show up... Pansies). We took off up the long mile drive hill and I felt great for about 30secs, and then something happened to my legs and my head and I felt like I was about to fall off my bike... I kept pedalling up the hill, but I was moving backwards through the pack. It took me about 5 minutes to recover from whatever it was (possibly old age), but I was back at it. My climbing today was feeling super strong, so I was putting in some hard k's going uphill, full knowing that some of the other girls would be much stronger than me down the muddy, technical trails. As the race wore on, so did the trails. Because it was still raining, our tyres pulled away at the dirt and the rain washed it straight out from under us, creating some amazing ruts. I soon learned that the best way to deal with these were to stick my bike right in the rut, unclip my feet from the pedals and just scoot straight down the rut. WAHOOO!!!! Needless to say, there was a lot of toe-dipping to be done today. The sections that couldn't be toe-dipped were where I dismounted the bike and skidded down on my butt, holding the bike next to me... So much fun! I mean, once you're muddy, you're muddy, right? So may as well get muddier.

The highlight trails of the day would have been Hot X Buns and Gunna Gotta, where the sketchyness factor tipped the scales the most. I couldn't stop smiling the whole day! I finished 6th for the day, achieved my training goals and had an awesome time. The hosing down just made it a day to remember!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arch Hill Hot Lap Series Wrap-Up

First of all, let me apologise for the lateness of these results, but I have a good excuse... You see, Friday, I started work at 7.30am, then left work at 11am to catch a plane at 3pm. Got into Brisbane and put my bike together, went to bed, drove to Canungra the next day, raced overnight, then caught a flight back which arrived in Auckland at midnight on Sunday, got home and into bed by 2am, up and off to work at 7.30am on Monday and then ran the Arch Hill race on the Monday night... The rest of the week was a blur and a write-off, and whilst I had good intentions of doing the results much sooner, before I knew it, the following weekend was upon me. PHEW!!!

So without any further ado, results for race 4 and series average laps (for those of you who did more than 4 laps over the series) are posted below. Congrats to Tom, Hayden and Sadie, who did our fastest male, singlespeed and female laps for the evening. Our hottest average laps for the series were taken out by Charlotte Delamore for the women, Tom Fox for the men and Hayden Russell for the singlespeeders.

It was great to see such a good turnout this week and I'm really impressed with how well the Arch Hill trails have held up over the last 4 weeks, especially in the rain. This is a testament to the quality trailwork that went into building them. I'm going to try and organise a trackwork day at some stage soon. Watch this space! The highlight of the evening was certainly the suspense of waiting to see who would win the major spot prizes and the Fox family (Tom and Andy) cleaned up by winning the wicked Adidas Evil Eye glasses and a set of Ayup lights!!! I promise this was not rigged! Gareth Evans also scored himself a set of Ayups. The other spot prize that deserves a mention is the one that went to Ian Robertson for his yellow leggings with red flowers on them. He leads the way in urban cycling fashion and for his efforts, he took home some Grind Coffee.

Thanks very much to our series sponsors, without whom this stuff would not happen. We're really quite lucky to have such quality prizes to give away. It was also great to have Clint from Bike 75 and Sadie from Grind Coffee along on our final evening.
Bike 75
Ayup Lights
Grind Coffee
Spoke Magazine
Adidas Eyewear
Auckland Mountain Bike Club

This week's results:
Name Lap time Category
Tom Fox 0:06:08 M
Tom Fox 0:06:12 M
Tom Fox 0:06:18 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:24 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:33 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:43 SS
Tim Galea 0:06:43 M
Elliott Pearce 0:06:49 M
Elliott Pearce 0:07:19 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:21 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:23 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:27 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:28 M
Russell Mc farlane 0:07:35 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:36 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:42 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:44 M
Kevin Ash 0:07:51 M
Russell Mc farlane 0:07:51 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:52 M
Jamie Jamison 0:07:53 M
James Service 0:07:54 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:59 M
Sadie Parker-Wynyard 0:08:00 F
Jamie Jamison 0:08:10 M
Martyn Pearce 0:08:15 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:18 M
Martyn Pearce 0:08:20 M
James Service 0:08:25 SS
James Service 0:08:35 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:37 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:53 SS
Simon Galea 0:08:57 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:04 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:05 M
Hugh McIntyre 0:09:14 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:15 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:17 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:18 M
Hugh McIntyre 0:09:35 M
Andy Fox 0:09:36 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:36 M
Luuk Batonburg 0:09:40 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:42 F
Andy Fox 0:09:45 M
Andrew Reid 0:09:52 M
Tim Galea 0:09:54 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:58 F
Charlotte Delamore 0:10:06 F
Luuk Batonburg 0:10:22 M
Andrew Reid 0:10:37 M
Luuk Batonburg 0:10:53 M
Kirk Austin 0:12:09 SS
Kirk Austin 0:12:15 SS
Kirk Austin 0:12:30 SS

Series average hot laps (for those who completed more than 4 laps)... Sorry, they aren't in order. I lost my patience with excel...
Name Category Average time
Andrew Reid M 0:10:09
Andy Fox M 0:09:07
Charlotte Delamore F 0:09:30
Dan Alexander M 0:07:21
Elliot Pearce M 0:07:16
Gareth Evans SS 0:08:44
Hayden Russell SS 0:06:27
Ian Robertson M 0:09:08
James Service SS 0:07:54
Jamie Jameson M 0:07:47
Kevin Ash M 0:08:06
Kirk Austin SS 0:11:04
Logan Callesen M 0:07:30
Luuk Batenburg M 0:09:37
Martyn Pearce M 0:08:08
Russell Mc farlane SS 0:07:41
Stephen Delamore M 0:08:44
Tim Galea M 0:07:42
Tom Fox M 0:06:06

Thursday, August 12, 2010

AYUP Dusk to Dawn 12 hour

I was lucky enough to be able to make a fleeting visit to Brisbane for the Ayup Dusk to Dawn on the weekend. I must say it was quite surreal after being at work at 11am on Friday, then on a plane by 4pm, to be standing in a field in Canungra in south Queensland in the dark in my lycra on the start line of a race at 7pm on the Saturday (Phew!). The race had actually been postponed on two prior occasions this year due to inclement weather, which suited me fine because it meant I was able to come along! It did mean, however, that we didn't really start the race at dusk... We started in the dark. I rode a pre-lap before the race to check it out in the light and it was good fun. There was 180m of climbing over the 8km of the course, but it didn't feel like it. The course was quite pumpy and flowy and, in parts, a bit rocky and technical, but it was tough because there were no real breaks... You were working the whole time you were on the bike. The weather during the day was amazing... Blue skies and 22 degrees, so I was put back in my place a little by the bitter coldness that hit on dusk (it must've gotten down to 3 or 4 degrees overnight).

After 2 hours on the bike, I was putting in some solid lap times and was in second place in the (impressively large) female field. I had arrived in Brisbane with no support crew, so I was ever so lucky to have adopted and shared Sean Bekker's support crew for the evening (thanks to "Honk!" and the team). Three hours in, and I wasn't feeling so great. I was eating and drinking well, but my stomach was having other ideas. I'd had a pretty full on week so I was trying to put it down to that and keep moving on, but just out on my 6th lap, I was sick on the side of the trail. I was so angry. It was way too early to be vomiting. I tried to convince myself it was all good, but deep down, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I finished the lap and came back into the pit area. I had eaten my food for the lap before I was sick, so I had spent a lap with no food and I couldn't keep anything down. I lay down for half an hour, that turned into 3 hours. If I stayed flat, I didn't feel sick, but the moment I moved, I did. I watched as all the riders I was in front of rode past. To be truthful, it was quite gutting, especially having travelled so far just for the race. A couple of hours out from the finish and I had managed to keep some food down and get some fluids into me, so I headed back out to greet the sun on my bike and put in some hot laps to finish off and enjoy the track.

I was glad I went back out. It was kind of a small win to end what was definitely not one of my finer performances. Then as the sun rose over the hills, i had one of those amazing moments when it makes me so happy to be a mountain biker... A bike, a trail and a sunrise... It doesn't get much better than that (well, perhaps if you added "a win"). Haha!

The thing I love most about going back to Australia to race is that there is always a huge contingent of Ayup riders there, and they're like a second family to me. We spend so much time as mountain bikers "doing it on our own" and to be at a race feeling like part of a team is awesome... Just one of the reasons I am really looking forward to heading back over for World Champs in Canberra in October... Only 2 months away! Before then, I will likely race the Day-Night Thriller in Taupo to fluff up the legs a bit and iron out any creases to eliminate a repeat of what happened this weekend. It's an exciting time of year.

Anyway, I'm looking out the window right now and the sun is out, so if you don't mind, I'm heading out to the forest for some fun on two wheels!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arch Hill Hot Lap Series #3

We obviously had mother nature on side on Monday night to get one single day break in the rainy weather to have such a superb, clear evening. I was lucky enough to have an extra set of hands for the evening (thanks to Andrew Blanchard), so I headed out on the trails with the camera to catch some of the action. The trails were still pretty slick, but from what I saw, most riders handled the conditions admirably well (with the odd curse word here and there).

Another good turnout this week and some pretty close racing and very hot laps. Tom Fox took out the evening's hottest lap only 7seconds ahead of Hayden Russell on his single speed, and Raewyn Morrison took out the ladies category. These guys each took home some awesome prizes from Spoke Magazine.

Big thanks to Suse and Andy for helping out with timing this week, and to Ian (once again) for volunteering to clear the course and help pack down the tent at the end of the evening. Also to Andy Fox, Elliot Pearce and Andy B for helping with packdown, too (I apologise if I missed a name here!).

Results are below. Next week is sadly our last week of racing for this series, so make sure you get there. We still have our major prize draw where you have the chance to win one of 2 AYUP V2 kits or a cool pair of Adidas Evil Eye glasses and all the usual goodies from Bike 75, Grind Coffee and Spoke Magazine. We'll also calculate and present the series hottest average lap for the gals, the guys, and the single speedsters on the night and there'll be some equally hot prizes up for grabs. Remember, you need to be there to collect your prize!

I'm off to Brisbane on Friday for the Ayup Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour at Canungra... Can't wait! I'll see you all next Monday!

Name Lap time Category
Tom Fox 0:06:10 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:17 SS
Tom Fox 0:06:17 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:33 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:41 SS
Tim Galea 0:06:50 M
Ash Hough 0:06:53 M
Elliot Pearce 0:07:05 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:27 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:29 M
Russell McFarlane 0:07:37 SS
Russell McFarlane 0:07:42 SS
Raewyn Morrison 0:07:46 F
Elliot Pearce 0:07:51 M
Raewyn Morrison 0:08:02 F
Russell McFarlane 0:08:03 SS
John Colthorpe 0:08:06 M
Raewyn Morrison 0:08:07 F
John Colthorpe 0:08:07 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:09 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:14 M
Jamie Jamison 0:08:26 M
Jamie Jamison 0:08:29 M
Dan Alexander 0:08:35 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:39 M
Stephen Delamore 0:08:45 M
Kirk Austin 0:08:46 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:49 SS
Stephen Delamore 0:08:57 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:01 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:03 M
Andy Fox 0:09:08 M
Luuk Batenburg 0:09:24 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:26 F
Stephen Delamore 0:09:31 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:33 F
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:34 F
Ian Robertson 0:09:59 M
Luuk Batenburg 0:10:00 M
Gareth Evans 0:10:00 SS
Luuk Batenburg 0:10:01 M
Andy Fox 0:10:09 M
Ash Hough 0:10:10 M
Kirk Austin 0:11:36 SS
Kirk Austin 0:11:44 SS