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. 

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