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.