Friday, December 30, 2011

New Video

Ash has made a little video clip from our ride heading down North Face at Makara Peak, Wellington. At this stage we are planning on doing more riding videos featuring either of our Gluteus maximus on various trails and race courses as we head around the country chasing the National series.

Follow the link to the video :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mid-North Island Cup Final: Rotorua

The last race of the year and what a way to end it, a road trip to Rotorua to race the final Mid-North Island Cup. Nothing beats a road trip with good mates and mountain bikes on a summer weekend. The hype of this race was the incorporation of the newly developed rock garden, that was made for the Oceania Championships this coming March. The rock garden was the biggest topic of conversation that weekend, especially the day before the race - to ride it or not to ride it…

The McDowell family kindly let us stay last minute at their house when our original accommodation fell through. Sunday morning we got up, I had my usual muesli and coffee for breakfast, then we were off to the course. The race came around quickly and before I knew it we were all lined up on the start line. 
I started reasonably well sticking with Katie and Samara up Nursery road and into the single track. After momentarily weaving in and out of trees we joined onto a 4WD track that began to climb gradually. My legs were feeling pretty good so decided to go with it. I picked up the pace and made my way into second place. At the end of the first lap I psyched myself out about the rock garden, and resorted to the nana line. On the way back up Nursery road, my awesome coach, John Lee, relayed me the times of my competitors and strongly advised me to do the rocks in order to gain time. It was the confidence boost I needed, so with a whole lap of psyching myself up I approached the top of the rock garden. Lots of spectators and supporters had gathered around to watch the riders navigate the way through the rocks. I felt their eyes and heard the silence as I directed myself towards the slope. I slowed my breathing down and while keeping my eyes fixed on the desired line I rolled on down, bouncing over rock after rock, then over the log into the berms and finally over the jump at the bottom. Both wheels meet the ground safely signifying that I had made it and was at the bottom,  ready for the next lap.

Photo by Nigel Blanchard (Endura)

Photo by Stephen Hough

Photo by Hamish Dodd
 Sneaky line on the last lap after someone had removed a log
The rest of the race was much the same, I was lucky to have help from Scott Green who kindly handed me a couple of bottles. After the fourth lap I had still maintained my position, and finished up 2nd woman behind Katie O’Neill.

Thanks Ash, Emma, Miles and Tom for the awesome weekend!!!!!! Especially Tom Bradshaw who drove us, organised our accommodation, and for his wonderful sense of humor during the trip. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Huka XL Challenge

Saturday 26th November held the annual Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge around the lake, and the equivalent Huka Challenge for the mountain bikers.  The event attracts New Zealand’s top riders with the promise of a good hard race with stiff competition and prize money. 

I awoke early to another cold Taupo morning and headed out to the event centre to make the 7am start. The wind had picked up overnight and was blowing a gale.  The race began with us climbing up Tongariro Street and then heading into single track, making our way towards Craters of the Moon MTB Park.  Once at Craters we could hear the echo of creaks and cracks throughout the forest as the wind continuously struck the battered trees. Pine cones and branches were falling left, right and centre and I even witnessed two fully mature pine trees crash to the ground blocking the track ahead. It was dangerous, and the decision was made by the organizers to cancel the race at the 30km mark and to get everyone out of the forest before more people were hurt.


At the time the race was stopped I was having a good race and had made my way into 5th place.  Top 5 of the women usually receive prize money so was a bit gutted they did not note the positions after first place. Though big congratulations to Mikey Northcott and Karen Hanlen who were the men’s and women’s winners, well ahead of the rest of the field at the time.
Once out of the forest, riders had the option to ride the last bit of the course outside of the forest, up to Aratiatia dam then through Spa Park to the finish.  Obviously most riders did this, having a leisurely social ride with friends. In the end we still rode 55km (of the original 80km) and were still able to cross the finish line even though the places did not count. It was a good day, and least I know I continue to get faster with the help of John Lee, despite the tough university year I had. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with friends and see some of Taupo’s iconic landmarks.

Ash and I crossing the finish line together

My legendary Dad completed the Extreme Track Enduro for the second time, which consisted of two laps around the lake (320km) mostly into a headwind wind and with a sore knee. Go Dad!

Andrew Morrison on is second lap around the lake

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Auckland Championships

New look (Kit and Bike)
Last Saturday Ash and I drove up to Auckland for the final round of the Auckland Mountain Bike Champs held in Riverhead. I was leading woman in the series, with three wins at the previous rounds in Woodhill, Hunua and Slater Road. Kindly, the Retief family generously let us stay Saturday night so we would be prepared to race on Sunday.
Sunday morning arrived and we set out to the track, I was feeling a little nervous about the course. We were to do three 11km laps of a very challenging and technical course which included a 41% rutted and slippery climb, tight rooted single track, and a steep knarly downhill with jumps and drops. 

I started out conservatively as I knew it was going to be a tough day on the bike. The first lap I was riding like a muppet, not use to the vast number of exposed roots which made for a harsh bumpy ride. This initially lead to me to making poor line choices with a disorganized gear selection and a few crashes. As the race progressed, I began to recognize sections of the track and became more confident, faster, and started to really enjoy it. Riverhead is such an amazing place to ride, it really challenges the rider's skills to cope with ungroomed, 'true' mountain biking tracks, never short of ruts, roots and mud. 
I finished first women out of 3.  The small number of women is a shame, but luckily the race format allowed everybody to start together so I was able to be competitive against the age-group men and push myself. 
Thanks to Ash, the Retiefs, Nigel from Endura, Auckland MTB Club for the support at the race series.  With 4/4 wins in the series means I am now the 2011 Auckland MTB Champ. Congratulations to Tom Reynolds who took out the men's title, and Matt Andrew who won the Single Speed class.

Men and Woman's Auckland MTB Champs

1st Raewyn Morrison, 2nd Renee Wilson, 3rd Naomi Wright

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cycle Obsession

Ash and I have officially moved out of Auckland (for good) and are currently residing in Tauranga for the short term. 
For 2012- my final year as a physiotherapy student -I have been allocated to Rotorua to complete 1000 hours of clinical placement. Understandably, I'm very excited to be moving to Rotorua (the heart of mountain biking heaven), making training easier and as a bonus I will be closer to my coach, John Lee.
Unfortunately by moving out of Auckland I have had to leave 239 Bike, located in Pukekohe. Will and the team at 239 have been a huge help and support throughout my time in Auckland so it will be sad to leave. If you ever have a chance, I highly recommend you make time to visit the store, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It's a massive shop, containing a wide range of top-end product and bikes with fantastic service.

On a different note, I have joined my partner in crime and racing (minus the crime part), Ash Hough, and now officially riding for Cycle Obsession, located in Mount Maunganui.  
Owned by Kris Snow, Cycle Obsession is a passionate bike shop that is at the heart of the mountain bike scene in Tauranga. I am very excited to be part of Cycle Obsession as they provide a positive image and support for local events and athletes in the Bay of Plenty. You can follow them on facebook at

Recent races:

Last Monday  we decide to compete in the Monday night race up at the Summerhill mountain bike trails. Ash and I rode out to the track, only to arrive late and found that the race had already started.  With a 3min handicap we set out, busting our guts to catch up and gain positions. After the tough hour I had made my way into 1st position, leading the women, and ash made it to 4th, 1min behind first place (Kris Snow).  Looking forward to the next one :)
For the last few months I have been competing in the Endura Auckland XC MTB Championship Series. So far I have won every race although unfortunately competition has been a little slim for round 2 and 3, which just means I have been racing against the guys. Ash and I will be travelling up this weekend to compete in the final round at Riverhead, and then Taupo the following weekend for the XL Huka Challenge. 

Endura Team Launch

The new Endura team has been launch! 
Last week the team meet for the first time in Taupo. We spent the day trying on new kit, stickering our bikes up and taking photos, the end result being a snazzy looking team on bling bikes and flash kit (check out the photos below). It was a fun day with a talented group of up-and-coming athletes.

Team sponsors include:
-Endura Clothing
-Specialized bikes
-DZ Nuts

Have a look out for us at the races this season....

Nigel McDowell, Adrian Retief, Nathan Johnston, Josh Parkin, Amber Johnston, Ryan Hunt, Raewyn Morrison

Stumpjumper 29er!

Friday, September 16, 2011

September's Adventures

Have a look in Spoke Magazine, there is a short write up on me- pg 74
Thanks Tiger from Bushlove for letting me borrow his mtb shoes, and Caleb's wife for lending me a bike for the photo.

Auckland Championships: Round 1: 4th September

I have never really enjoyed races at Woodhill as the courses tend to consist of my least favourite trails, but this time it was good. The whole atmosphere was amazing, the race organisers did a wonderful job with the running and setup of the event - one of the best I’ve been to. I was in such a good mood I have even committed myself to a new bike…

I left this write up too long to remember any details, but I was first overall female in time of 2.16hours-ish…on my Birthday…Wahoo J

Looking forward to the other rounds!

Day-Night Thriller: 6 Hours Solo: 10th September

Being sick leading up to this race seems to be a common occurrence with me, but everything seemed to come right on Saturday morning. On the start line I was relaxed and ready, my race plan was to ride until I was tired, and then ride some more. I knew I would be fine up until the 3 hour mark, having never ridden over 5 hours before. After the half way point I was going to rely on my GoFast to see me to the end. The start loop was a bit dramatic with all the racers pumped on adrenaline and ready to go, as soon as the race began guys and gals were jostling and elbowing for position. Understandably a crash happened to the rider in front of me, I had to jam on the brakes and swerve to avoid riding over top of him. By the time I composed and freed myself from the pile up I was near the back of the pack. The next few laps consisted of trailing behind trains of people. I wasn’t too worried as from previous experience I had wasted a lot of energy going off track to overtake. Instead this time I followed, taking opportunity to drink, stretch back, then overtake when space was available with a friendly “thanks” to the rider. I was surprisingly feeling really good, and continued steadily on lap after lap.
The sun was out, making it a beautiful hot day. I was very lucky with an incredible guy giving me bottles and food (a dad of one of the 24 hour races), couldn’t have done it without him. By the half way mark my legs were great but I was suffering,with my back becoming increasingly sore. I was standing up as much as I could, but my lap times were being severely affecting going from 20min (fastest) to 27minutes ish. After 14 laps I finished up 2nd to the consistently fast, legs of steel, Fiona Macdermid.

I was 14th solo (out of 79) and 2nd female overall (out of 17).
Huge thank to all the help I had from the Auckland MTB Club with feeding and looking after me during the 6 hours, and all my friends along side the track who cheered me on and even offered me food. Also thanks to Ash for all his support throughout the year.
It was a great weekend, will probably do it next year, maybe just not on a hardtail again...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Single Speed Sundays: Round 3

The Saturday night before the race involved a last minute conversion of my bike into a single speed (courtesy of with Ash and SS parts from David). It was a rushed job due to the time limitation, which meant no time to test the integrity of the build.
It was freezing on the Sunday morning, with the outside temperature showing 0 degrees at one point, but once the sun came out it started to warm up. I took my bike for a little spin 1 hour before the race, and this realized very quickly that I had a problem...the chain was constantly falling off, on every big bump- (which is obviously VERY frequent in mountain biking).
Ash and Brad redid the chain alignment on the bike which seemed to solve the problem at a glance…then it was race start.

The race began with the lined up bikes on one end of the field, and the competitors (most in fancy dress) at the other end with our front wheels. At the random 'go' we all ran with our wheels to reunite with our bikes, and then we were off.

The first lap was a shambles for me, the chain continued to be a constant problem- falling off on almost every downhill. One of the times it bounced off while I was going over a root on an uphill, I ended up falling off hitting the dirt. By the last trail of the first lap the chain had gotten all tangled and jammed, so I resorted to running, and coasting down the hills. On one of the "coasts" I was talking to Tim (race organiser), was not looking where I was going and went flying over the handlebars in superman style…luckily it was not captured on the camera.
I continued on with a wounded pride, and galloped to the beer tent where help was available for my bike.
It was agonizing watching everyone pass me, I went from first women with a great lead to 3rd, behind by about 10min. It looked very doubtful that the bike could be fixed. Luckily for me, superhero Brad came to the rescue, and by using cable ties managed to secure the tensioner.
I was off, brutally behind, but bike was now fully functioning. For the next lap I was on the rivet, putting everything out there to catch up. It paid off- by the end of the beer shortcut I was comfortably in first place again…and a wee bit tipsy from sculling the beer.
The next lap was enjoyable; I kept the pace up to extend the lead and see how many guys I could catch, finishing in a sprint finish.

Very cool race! Hope they bring the series back next year. In the mean time I am looking forward to Round one of the Endura Auckland MTB Series on my birthday- the 4th September! :) 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Karioi Classic

I have been a bit busy with training, assignments, university and work that I've procrastinated in writing up this race report, so here it it finally..seriously overdue, but complete :)

The Karioi Classic is a 46km race in Raglan that heads up and around Karioi Mountain on sealed and gravel roads, whilst incorporating spectacular coastal views. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, nice cool temperature and crystal blue skies.

There was plenty of climbing that was rewarded by long and fast downhills-hitting speeds up to 70km/h down one section of gravel hill.
I led the women's field from the first 2km road climb, surprising myself with how good I felt. To begin with, I mostly rode by myself passing the occasional person, but once I reached the second tarseal section I was caught by 5 guys. For the remainder of the race I rode with the pack, pushing the pace to secure a respectable course time.

I finished with a time of 1.41hr, smashing the women's record by 9minutes. For winning, my name engraved in the trophy and won a crown with money melted in it, some prize money, and a goody bag full of trade aid stuff.
Ash  also did really well winning the Single-speed category, scoring a great prize- a free stay at an Ohakune holiday house.

It was such a lovely trip, and really nice to catch up with everybody and to share the day with Ash, Katie (uni friend), and riding buddies David and Shaun. Will hopefully be back next year :)

David, Katie, Ash and Rae


Friday, July 29, 2011

Roadie RaeRae

In the past I'd always be the first to bag road bikes and especially the roadies, I just didn't understand how cyclists could choose traffic and the wind over the natural bush and the forever challenging and varying terrain available with the mountain bike. 
During the Summer I had my first taste of road racing in the Kapiti Summer Series, and I can honestly say I finally get it! The appeal of the road bike has won me over- the speed, the challenge of breakaway or final sprint, the tactics (which I am still lacking) and the easy cheap accessibility. Although I am a mountain bike chick at heart, I can see and feel the road riding is benefiting me and I am enjoying the new experience. 
I did pretty well in the Summer during the Kapiti race series, winning my group (Scratch 1) and coming 8th overall in the Akatarawa hill climb (first female).

Photo by Gavin McCarthy: January 2011

Auckland Half Distance Championships: 10th July 2011
I have had a bit of bad luck this winter with illness, so after catching my third cold I decided to do the race anyway since my asthma was not affected. The race was hosted by the North Harbour Cycling Club and consisted of 4 laps around an 11km course in Kumeu. It was a tough day on the bike with strong headwinds on the climbs and the constant threat of rain. It was a quick pace from the start, beginning with a long steep uphill that was exposed to the violent wind. 
I lasted a 2 laps with the lead group until I was dropped. After I took my turn at the front up a hill into a headwind, an attack happened. Subsequently, I failed to summon that little bit extra effort to stay on, and myself and another girl fell behind. The remainder of the race I rode in a group of three, but now I was starting to feel good. 
During the last lap, on impulse I attacked on a corner into the headwind. This turned out to be reasonably successful and I immediately broke free from the other girls. I stayed away for a good 7minutes, but was chased down and eventually caught. Nearing the finish line on the hill top, no one wanted to lead out the sprint, so the pace began to slow. I stepped up and took the lead, as the hill began I clicked up a gear and jumped on the pedals. I could see the shadow of the girl following, I pushed harder to get away, searching for that final burst of speed for the finish line. I got it!!!
By winning the group sprint it landed me on the podium, 3rd elite (senior) women, and 5th woman overall.

Kapiti Potato Guy Winter Series #3: 16th July 2011
Leading up to the race I couldn't decide whether to race B or C grade, in the end I took the easy option and opted for C. The race itself I found challenging, it was very flat and exposed to the wind. There were 40 people racing in C grade alone, consequently, it was a constant struggle for position near the front of the bunch. Because of the flat nature of the course it was extremely hard to split the pack, although there were constant attempts which made for a very unsettled ride, with varying amounts of accelerations and braking.
In the end it came down to a lengthy unsafe sprint finish, with 40 people jostling for position, cutting people off, going for gold. I went for it but was quickly overtaken and intimated by all the strong, aggressive male sprinters. I ended up 17th, 2 seconds behind 1st place.

Photo by Finlay Brazier: July 2011

Huge thanks to Andy from GoFast for putting me in contact with new sponsors JustWorkout in Auckland. I have never been much of a gym person until now, with a wide range of the latest equipment, a variety of classes, friendly staff and hair straighteners in the changing rooms... I'm turning into a bit of a gym bunny. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reflections of the previous 3 months

It has been a very busy last few months with moving, university, training, and the odd race dashed on the side. There has been a period since my last update as I’ve struggled to find the time to sit down.  Though yesterday I picked up a nasty cold, and spent most of last night awake with fever. Today I took the day off university and was lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, when it struck me this was finally the opportunity to update my blog. So here we go….

Cateye Moonride 2011

The Moonride is a well establish mountain bike race, consisting of solo riders and teams from elite through to your average Joes. Previous years I have competed in 12 or 24 hour team categories, but I continuously seemed to develop an annual flu around the race, so this year I decided not to compete. However, a few weeks out, Stephen Hough offered to enter us in a 6 hour team consisting of Stephen, Ash and I. How could I say no. 

Photos by Stephen Hough

It was great being back on the mountain bike again (it’s been a bit neglected as of late) especially experiencing the very sole of mountain biking…the mud. I love riding in the mud, it’s challenging technically and physically testing for the body. Ash started us off and set a hot pace right from the gun. From lap one, we were winning the 6 hour team division and our lead continued to extend throughout the race. Our team “Rusty, Lusty and Crusty” Won 6hr Mixed, and was the fastest team overall with 12 laps. I am quite happy with this result, although it was nicer just to be on the bike racing again, the perfect break from study.  
Crusty, Rusty and Lusty

Hardin-Up 12 Hour Single Speed Race

On April the 9th, Ash and I headed down to Ngaruwahia for the inaugural “Hard n up single speed 12hr relay” on the infamous, gruelling black stump mountain bike track. We were entered as part of the GEON sprocket rockets team which consisted of Ash Hough, Shaun See, Janine Kavanagh, and me. It was a 7.5km course with over 270 vertical meters of climbing per lap. The race started with a long farm track downhill to the bottom of the course which had us hitting speeds of up to 60kph. Then a long grovel back up the hill to the event village.
Ash started us off and was the guinea pig for gear selection. He soon found that we all need a much lower ratio to get us through the next 12 hours due to the amount of climbing. It was a fantastic race, very well run, and although there were not the large numbers the event organisers were hoping for it still had a great atmosphere, our entire team loved it. Additionally, the event had a few Quirky parts to it including undie laps. There were bonus laps for completing two laps in your underwear, Janine and I step up for our team. We were also provided with an amazing free dinner – fresh lamb and wild boar roasts on the spit with salad and fresh potatoes, it was amazing defiantly something you don’t get at any ordinary race!!
We ended up in 2nd place overall and winning the mixed teams grade, receiving medals and a few spot prizes as well. Huge thanks to Shaun for organising us, GEON for the team sponsorship, and Andy who supplied the team with go fast

National Championships, Dunedin

After having a good race in Nelson I was feeling ready for the National Championships in Dunedin. I "participated" in the hill climb race on Thursday, just because I could. It was the most uncompetitive I've ever been in my life, as I did not want to detriment the big race on Saturday. So I took my time up the hill, spinning, saving the legs and practicing my wheelies where I could. I predictably came 2nd out of 2 women, nice easy unearned medal :)

The Cross Country race was my serious race and the one I was hoping to do well in. The course overall suited me very well, but heavy rain a week leading up to the race completely changed the track, making several sections dangerous to ride. The organisers excluded the middle section from the morning race, leaving only the elites to ride it, many of the whom opted to run it instead of ride. I was fortunate enough to do my pre-ride with Ash Hough, where I learnt the technique of “top tubing”, which lowers your centre of mass, and gives you a wider base of support therefore more balance and control. This technique was one of the few good things that I got out of the race.

On the day I felt awesome, I was so calm and ready, I knew the course, had my race plan, and I felt fast. The start of the race it was all going well, conserving my energy where I could. The steep, muddy section went smooth with the top-tubing skill, I got down to the bottom fast and safe. Though everything unfolded from there onwards. I had chosen a VERY high volume, aggressive tires, the problem with this is it did not clear mud. On later examination I had less than a 0.5cm gap between frame and tire. The thick and clayey mud bulk plugged the gap, stopping the wheel from turning and preventing me from going forwards. I struggled on the side of the track in a panic, grabbing handfuls of this nasty mud, desperately trying the clear it. Within two minutes three riders passed me, I gave up and just jumped on my bike. The wheels were barely turning and it felt like I was pedalling with the brakes on, the amount of resistance the mud gave was surprising.
I carried on, but it took a good 12 minutes for the mud to fully clear, as a consequence I was going very slow, losing places, and wasting too much energy. When it happened again on the second lap my pace further reduced, and to top it off, the gears refused to change down. I grovelled up the next hill with the wheels full of mud and a gear far too hard for me to push. I completely hit the wall.  
By the end of that lap, I pulled out of the race. I had blown my energy pushing through the mechanical, and was extremely disappointed and stressed which lead to a little asthma attack. Bummer!
So although it was the not ideal end to the season, I did learn “top-tubing” and I will now know that those tires clog my bike in muddy clay. The end of one season, and now the beginning of the build up to the next season. For the first time I will be able to train through winter, there is no glandular fever or wrist operations stopping me know. Weirdly enough I'm looking forward to the cold, stormy rides, something new to experience and push through.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nelson, National Cup Series: Round 3

For the first time since I've been racing, it was perfect weather in Nelson during a National race. The last two years has seen atrocious weather during the race weekend, which made for a very hard, extremely muddy day. This weekend was absolutely perfect, nice, sunny and hot with slight cooling breeze. Not to mention the guys in suits halfway up road climb who tipped generous amounts of water down the backs of the competing athletes.
Nelson held the largest field of the series so far with more valuable UCI points and prize money up for grabs. There were competitors from all over the country and even with a rider from Switzerland and one from Canada.

The course awesome, very fast with two big climbs and two challenging loose downhills. I had a little crash the day before the race on a part of the track which I would continue to have trouble with through out the weekend.

Pre-ride: Photo from Debby Retief
Race day I felt OK, not good but not bad either. My knee wasn't sore ( injured from the crash the previous day ), and legs seemed to be firing during warm up but was feeling pretty tired.

The Race started off with a hot pace up the hill, spreading the field out quickly. I headed into the single track in 6th place.

There was a huge crowd around one technical downhill section with a difficult corner at the bottom. It was nothing particularly scary, just a loose steep shoot with a corner that had minimal traction and tended to throw people. Generally the places on the track where specators are drawn to are the hot spots for crashs. I didn't disappoint the crowd, losing my front wheel on two of the five laps. The first time wasn't that bad and was able to semi stay on the bike. The second time I fell off landing on my knee, and my bike went down the bank. I scrambled about to get my bike back on the track, jumped back on, and I was off again.

I could see I was gaining on Susie Wood every lap. I was losing time on the gravel road climb, but then making up for it on all the descents and single track sections. By the 5th and last lap, I knew I had to really dig deep to catch her. I pushed the hills, giving it everything. By the top of the hill I was around 20sec back. I knew if I caught her on the downhill I probably wouldn't be able to pass, which meant it would be down to a sprint finish. But what I also noticed was that she was looking behind often, which usually means a person is suffering and they are in trouble.

Last lap: Photo from Debby Retief

I sped down the hill, clearing the technical section with ease (only took me 5 laps to do !), and I caught her. I came flying around a steep rocky corner and had to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting her, she was just getting back on her bike after a fall. I squeezed past, then took off.
I finished 4th in Elite Women in a time of  1.42.30 hours

Elite Women's podium
Results found here

I wore my new Endura kit and I could not be more impressed. It was insanely comfortable and so breathable. Very effective at dispersing the heat from my body. I had also gone tubeless for the race which Gavin kindly organised for me before I went down to Nelson. It was definitely a good call, and something I will continue to do for the future races. Last of all poor Marco had a nasty fall during the race and has come away with concussion and broken clavical which requires surgery. Wish him a speedy recovery!!!!!!!

I won't be doing the Christchurch round. Instead I will be heading to Auckland to find a flat, so I have somewhere to live once I return to university after nationals.

Next race is the National Championships on the 26th of February in Dunedin.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Endura Cycle Clothing

I received a parcel in the mail and was absolutely over the moon to find it full of cycle clothing. I am very lucky to be sponsored by one of world's largest and highly popular brands of cycle clothing.
Endura has grown to become one of the largest brands of cycle clothing in the UK. It has caught on around the globe with distributors in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, South Africa, Australia, USA, Canada, the Far East, and now New Zealand. Endura's focus is to produce functional cycle clothing that lasts, without cutting corners on material and construction. When buying Endura clothing you are guaranteeing yourself a high quality, comfy, breathable, cool looking brand. Ranges cover MTB, road and commuter clothing.

Photos to come :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 PNP Club Champs

On the 29st of January the PNP club held it's annual Club Champs at the Wainuiomata Trail Park. This year there were 3 races, Cross Country, Super D Downhill, and Short Track. Points were collected from all 3 races so that the most well-rounded rider would be the overall winner.

Cross Country
I started in the last wave with the other women and juniors. From the go I just smashed it. Spent the rest of the race chasing down the men that had started ahead of me. I felt so good, was standing up on most of the climbs and found a good rhythm early on. I really enjoy the Wainui trail network, and was feeling awesome on the bike.
Unfortunately the Women's field had a very disappointing turn out, with only 2 of us in the senior women grade. I won with a time of 59minutes, almost 13 minutes in front of second. But I did place very well overall. The Senior women, Master Women, Master 3 Men, U19 and U17 Men all raced the same course, and my time was third fastest.

Super D Downhill
A Super D Downhill is defined as a downhill style race that is suitable for cross country mountain bikes. The race went down Beeline and Beeline Extension. Having only walked up the track before, my goals for the race were to stay on the bike and to do the jump at the bottom of Beeline. I rode my hard-tail race bike, going as fast as I comfortably could without risking a crash.  I was in the top third of all competitors and 30seconds behind winner Eric Phillips. No crashes and I did the jump.

Short Track
Due to the lack of women competition, Al Crossling from the Mighty Bushlove race team, offered me a chance to race with the men's field. I jumped at the chance and joined in with the big boys. It was a very fun, fast paced race. I think I finished mid pack which I am very happy with. I had a few impressed people come up to me afterwards to congratulate on a good race.

The Men's field was highly competitive and close. The Top 6 men after the 3 races:
Tom Bradshaw
Ben Murphy
Gavin McCarthy
Stuart Houltham
Miles Davies
Stephen Butler

So 3/3 wins and the PNP Club Women's champ- Choice :)

It was such an awesome race, and so glad that my form is coming on. Will just need to repeat this success to the National Series races.
I owe a massive thanks to Gav for fixing my bike the night before which made it possible for me to race. Also thank you so much Gav for lending me a wheel after I had 2 spoke nipples snap in the XC and DH.
It was so much fun and great to catch up with Wellington friends. I really enjoyed the new style of having 3 races in a day. Marco, Al, and all the other organizers and volunteers did such a fantaistc job of running the event.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Napier, National Cup Series: Round 2

Round two of the Nationals series had valuable UCI points and prize money up for grabs. It attracted many of New Zealand's top athletes, having one of the toughest competitive fields I've ever race. 
Photo from Michelle Bellamy
It was another hot race with the temperature sitting around the 30 degree mark. I had been feeling run down all week on the verge of a cold, so I found I wasn't in a very good head space come race day. The track was very different to Tauranga's straight up and down, Napier was mainly flat with one steep climb in the middle. 

The race itself went well, no cramps and I felt reasonably good in the legs. I had a small crash in my 3rd lap where I lost my front wheel going around a corner and ended up face first into the dirt. No major injuries just a few scrapes, bruises, and a chip out of my bike frame :(. After the crash my lap times decreased about a minute, but didn't get any slower after that. I finished 7th in the elite women and was very happy to receive UCI points and prize money.

Back on the Kapiti Coast now and starting to prepare for the South Island trip in February, with races in Nelson, maybe Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Photo from Michelle Bellamy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tauranga, National Cup Series: Round 1

Tauranga welcomed us with extremely hot days and clear blue skies. The race was so well organised at the new Cycle Obsession Mountain Bike Park, impressive virgin tracks, spectator friendly with coffee stands, even a big screen TV that showed off parts of the course. It made for a spectacular atmosphere.
Race day I felt good, very excited for the first race of the series to see where I was at.  Elite women had 5 laps of an approximately 20min course. The track started with a very steep, 150 metre, single track climb to the top of Summer Hill. It then dipped into a few of the summer hill tracks before descending down the old downhill track.

I had a great start. I gained a good position before the steep climb, this enabled me to be up with the leading girls and get a gap on the rest. I was feeling so good and strong with plenty of energy left in the tank. By the top I was in 4th position and managed to slip into 3rd just before the downhill, so I could get a clean run. The top section was steep with big sharp corners leading onto a few jumps. It was the old Tauranga downhill track so for a cross country race it was rated pretty technical. I love it.
In the hurt box. Photo courtesy of Debbie Retief

15 minutes into the race, on that first decent, I started having problems. My calf muscles became very painful and full of lactic acid, this continued to progress throughout the race. By the second lap I was reduced to my lowest gear, just trying to turn the pedals through intense pain and cramp up the hill. One by one the other girls started to overtake me as I continued my slow struggle to keep the bike moving. I gritted my teeth and rode onwards.

I had used new shoes (thanks Ash) for the race, but unfortunately I forgot to put my orthotics in beforehand. Also my seat had sloped backwards which meant my bike position was all messed up. I have since corrected my set up. Fingers crossed my poor calf muscles are able to get a break, and now my other leg muscles will come to the party and help out.
I finished 6th which was very disappointing, but as Gavin pointed out a good result with all that happened.
Gav and I have are currently staying in a Napier holiday park getting ready for Round 2 this Sunday. 
Ski Jump