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