Thursday, November 24, 2016

Contact Epic 95km April 13 2016

Epic 2013 was just that.
Epic 2014 came to a crushing halt 12 hours before the start - thanks to the 48 hour flu
Epic 2015 I was a roving mechanic...jumped in the truck and drank beers with 20km to only really did about 70km.

Epic 2016 - hello my old friend - and hello my new friend Kerri, who was having her first crack at it.
I was trying to be helpful with useful advice:

You might want a vest with pockets for easy access to your food
- Why would I ride in a vest ?

What cycle jersey are you racing in ?
- why would I wear one of those horrible things - they're like, not even merino

Are you riding in knee warmers ? I am - they're really good.
- I don't own any, I'll wear tights instead
That might be too much
- I'll wear shorts then
That might not be enough, you can easily take knee warmers off if need be.
She borrowed knee warmers and they were great. Phew.

Can you change a puncture ?

- Why don't we ride together


Mops took us to the start with John-Jo and Whitney in tow.
"Hey Whitney can you reach over the back and grab me a gel - I need to keep to my food plan"
- sorry Mops I get car sick said Whitney
Kerri reaches over - Mops is happy, outside it was still dark, inside the car it suddenly was too.

The 95km people had started and I was still getting dressed after a last minute trip to the loo.
Kerri is panicking - I am not.
We start passing riders before the first hill. They might have passed us back as I tuned Kerri's gears.
No matter, we roll along it's all good.
No rush, it's a big day.
Dougal and James ( 2nd & 1st podium) pass us before Boundary Hut - holy shit they are flying or we are not.
The turn approaches - some Muppet jumps the fence and cops a torrent of abuse. Wanker.

The river was wet, but at least it was a tail wind home this year..
Green bush hut pit stop sucked up too much time, but no matter, we were just cruising with no agenda in mind.
Or so I thought...
"Richard, do you think you could go faster on the downhills? I'm having to ride my brakes a lot"
- FFS I'm on a freaking hardtail and I just passed a guy in a dry river bed - I'm pretty much on the limit here (Kerri s on a 27.5 dualie)
So I gave her That look - yes that look and rode up the next hill and like that she was gone burger.
Nina McVicar was there instead, so we shared 24 solo stories then I dumped her on a techie uphill too.
My God, I was on fire.
Mental problem though - I said I'd ride with Kerri all day...but she was OTA.
I had half the tool kit and she had the other half.
Maybe I'd just ride till I exploded and wait for her at the Dingle scone stop.
Like heck - I was still in front of Nina, I wasn't stopping for nothing.
Descending around the Bluffs I did think that if I got a puncture I was royally screwed and if Kerri got a puncture - well much the same.
Nina passed me as I rode ( yes, I rode all of it ) up Timaru Creek...her 1x11 was like a f'd chainsaw.... my 3 x 10 was mint as bro.
I leapfrogged a few riders down towards Johns Creek then unleashed a big ol' can of Whupass.
Well until the headwind hit me like a ton of bricks.
No matter - not far now.
Crossed the line in just under 6 hours and sweated the remaining 40 odd minutes until Kerri rolled in puncture and mechanical free.
High fives all round - what a day.
A first for her and redemption for me.
Home for a shower, food, a wee kip and then back for prize giving....won nothing.
But I got my knee warmers back, don't you worry about that.

Naseby 12 hr mtb March 2016

Naseby last year was an unknown attempt at solo, riding one gear for 12 hours.

This year, I was all over it - handing out advice to first timers like jelly beans.

My nonchalant attitude wouldn't let me down on the day - I had a check list !

Accomodation - sorted.

Crappy nights sleep - check.

Helper on race day - sorted

Ok, I didn't have this as sorted as last year.

Bikes x 2 - sorted

I only rode one all day.

Game Plan - optimistic

Less organised than last year, but good at crisis management.

Sign on was the night before, so that was done.

Morning arrived not soon enough - I snore like a lumberjack and sharing a room basically means I don't sleep.
Oh well.

After racing the 24 hour Solo Worlds in Rotorua in Feb, I considered myself a bit of an expert so had two bikes this year. 
But one number plate. 
A bit of pissing around and misappropriation had me numbered up and ready to roll.

The first few laps were like having the flu standing in a puddle: congested and wet underfoot.

A recently logged section had queues of riders stacked up waiting.
They stressed out;  I waited my turn, cleaned the ups and downs and got on with my thing.

On the second lap I thought my shoes felt a bit roomy and realised I hadn't put in my orthotics. Pondering if I should carry on and what would be the long term implications of this I pulled in, undid the laces ( so hip right now, but jeez they ain't fast ) found my inner soles and rejoined the masses.

The laps passed me by, as did my realization of how good I had it last year with Trudy feeding myself and Matt Corbett...
This year I had a loose arrangement with Kristal ( looking after Gavin Mason's team) and Doug E Fresh ( looking after John Mezger ).
Unfortunately the food didn't really flow into my pockets in quite the right rhythm so a bit of extra time was spent fluffing around in the pits.
Otherwise everything was about the same as least year - lap times, weather, the course, the constant round and round, eat, drink, pee, repeat.
I couldn't be happier - stuck to the plan: start slow and aim to get slower, I walked the same hills again, a few yelled words of encouragement from old and new friends around the pits as you pass by.
Bike was running perfectly - much better than Rotorua where we shagged around changing my gear ratio and tires trying to tame those nasty tree roots. Naseby is a great course for a single speed if ever there was one.

Later in the day I waited for Kerri to roll past so we could ride together for a while - I'd talked her into going solo and felt somewhat responsible.
"How's your day going then ?"
She'd crashed into the water race, had a bit of faff time in the pits, but seemed to be enjoying herself. I think we did a couple of laps together then she crashed hard down the Cat Puncher which I didn't know about as I was in front and had my own schedule to keep.......

Around 6ish it was time for tea, lights and a change of clothes.
4 more laps should do the trick.

9.38pm rolls around as I cross the line; so that's me done for the day. 
14 Laps, 168km and third on the Vet Mens Single Speed podium.
Same as last year, but running one gear smaller. Go figure.
Pack everything up then back for another uncomfortable nights sleep.
Sunday I had the company of Kerri on the way home and that was the start of a whole new adventure..............

Oh, Cheers to Matt Corbett Photgraphy for the snaps.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tekapo 10 Hour 31 Jan 2016

Last year, we raced this excellent course as a 4 person team.
And we came away with the win in the vets grade + 3rd overall.
I've never been so dusty.

This year, in preparation of bigger things; I solo'd it.

My good friend Peter Page also rode solo, but with gears, so that was the soft option.

Tekapo is about halfway between Christchurch and Wanaka, so an easy drive for both of us.

After an ok sleep in the local campground, we had a cruise down to the start for a 9am kick off.
Unlike John Mezger who woke up late in Wanaka and was turning an easy 3 hour drive into a frantic 2.5 hour pre race-race against the clock.

I had two bikes for the day - the Chinese Mystery hardtail with gears and Hard Eddie; set up all single speed.

4 laps on the geared bike to get things rolling was all good, then I thought it wise to swap to the single speed.

Well - what an eye opener that was.
The handlebars sucked - Salsa bend 2's....actually they're great probably for bike packing, but the stem was too long to race on.
After a couple more laps I decided the wheels needed a swap around so off came the gears, on went the single sprocket and back out I went some 30 mins later.
I know it was a slow pit stop as Peter passed me twice and commented accordingly.

He was lapping it up on his Pivot dualie 29er  running 27.5+ wheels. 
What an over achiever.
John Mezger was killing it on his Epic.

I swapped bikes for the later part of the day to bring it on home - it seems a 10 hour that started at 9 finishes at 7pm, not 5 pm ( thanks for sorting that out for me Pete ) so the last couple of hours was a bit of a struggle.

The results say I chopped 18 laps at an average of 32 mins and a total of 127 km.

With the racing done I headed back to the motorcamp for a shower.
I wasn't staying the night, so had to be a bit stealth....
Parked up next to a tent site, hit the showers to find I left my wallet in the car - required as showers were pay first.
Got dressed, head back to car.
Ok, now have wallet and ready to shower..........
No change in wallet.
Got dressed, drove down to office, get small change.
Park up, hit the showers, put money in meter and finally have shower.
Thereafter I arrived in my driveway, not really recalling many details of the drive back.

An excellent weekend and a great chance to iron things out prior to the 24 solo worlds in Rotorua the following month.