Desperately trying to avoid going mad(der) from cabin fever as the rain teems down on my sixth straight day trapped at home with a sick Bodhi, I thought it was time to continue my catch up blogging. Even though the work in the shop may be winding up, the guys who wear my kit continue to inspire me to stay involved and to one day bring Roadworks back even stronger.
I'll start this episode off with the badly belated inside guff on what is definitely the biggest result of any rider in the Roadworks colours, and one my proudest moments in the 10 years I ran my own bicycle repair business. I first met Tim Wilding through my good friend Paul Larkin in 2004 and have enjoyed a close working relationship ever since.
Roadworks Rintoul c.2004
Arriving at the Karapoti very late after wrangling three recalcitrant boys I got a garbled text from John Randal that Tim was crossing the river in first place! Exhilarated and stunned I made the seemingly endless run from where we had parked just in time to catch Tim still in the finishing chute surrounded by a throng of well-wishers and media.
Anyway, enough about me (yeah, right!) - here's the take of the man himself...
Great news; yesterday I won the 2010 Karapoti Classic, also doubling as the New Zealand Mountain Bike Marathon Championships.
I've recently competed in a few very fun races and I'll give you the lowdown on them in a short while because they're stories worth telling, but this email is all about Karapoti.
Saturday was one of those beautiful days where nothing seemed insurmountable. I led from very early on, happy to control the pace through the gorge and avoid the shower of muddy spray that you expose yourself to when following another.
The warmup climb was a bit of a revelation. Instead of being pushed back by a steady stream of guys coming past, as I expected, I was able to maintain the aggression and shell a few more riders so that at the top it was me, Brendon Sharratt and Stu Houltham. I haven't done so well on the climbs in recent years and so this was the first hint that I might be in good shape to place well today.
Deadwood followed the warmup climb and it was here that I had a sweet wee moment, passing Stu while climbing. That certainly doesn't happen often and so I quietly savoured that act. I was working bloody hard for it though, with my heart rate at 180bpm since the start.
It was along the rolling ridge at the top of Deadwood that I dropped Stu and Brendon. I'm not sure precisely where it was but it wasn't so surprising. I really like that type of terrain, where you maintain the momentum of the previous downhill to drive up the following climb. It was an area of strength for me, but there were a few more areas of weaknesses ahead - Rockgarden and Dopers - so I still expected to have company at some stage.
It wasn't to be. I rode the Rock Garden the best I ever have, thankful to be on my carbon Santa Cruz Blur XC as I went down it. Hiskey had shown me how quick you can ride it a a month or so earlier, and while I don't think I even approached his speed, it was hugely useful in resetting my expectations.
I was looking forward to Devils Staircase where I felt I would have an advantage over all but Cabin, who is also training for Xterra. I didn't quite bound up this hike-a-climb but I moved pretty past, and crucially didn't have to contend with screaming legs unaccustomed to walking, as it was when I was purely a cyclist.
Big Ring Boulevard was a blur with a few pockets of spectators at crucial junctions yelling encouragement. Then things got a bit desperate. With one climb remaining my legs were beginning to feel the effects of my earlier effort. My bike hadn't quite emerged unscathed through the muddy bogs / rock gardens / bush either and I'd lost my two easiset rear gears. There was nothing for it but to climb as best I could and adopt an air of fatalism accepting that I might be caught.
Photo credit: www.cycle-photos.com
Dopers seemed to go on for an interminable length of time as I hurried to stay hidden in the bush. I was having to stand a great deal though thankfully my Maxxis Aspens were hooking up well, as they had done all day, and I didn't have to devote too much energy to maintaining traction.
Finally I crested, and with only downhill remaining I could begin contemplating the prospect of a win. I was riding raggedly though and took a tumble part way down when I fluffed a line through one of the clay bogs. It wasn't major, though I did knock my head and it was disruptive to my flow.
Once I was back on the flat and I just drove it as hard as I could to the finish. I was still convinced that someone would catch me and so it was with a huge sense of relief that I dropped into the final river crossing, 100m from the finish knowing that no one was immediately behind.
It was a great feeling to cross the line victorious, and a huge privilege to be wearing the Roadworks shirt as I did so. Oli Brooke-White has been one of my best supporters for a long time now and I knew that he'd be thrilled to add a Karapoti title to his already extensive riders results.
I completed the course in 2hr 21min 09 sec, some 2 minutes ahead of Brendon Sharratt in second place. From my rough reckoning this is the 6th fastest time ever recorded, with guys like Kashi Leuchs and Clinton Avery bettering my effort. I was hoping to go sub 2.30 so was pretty chuffed by this.
The Karapoti Classic was also doubling as the NZ Mtb Marathon Championships so I've taken that title too. Attached is a pic of me in the national shirt with Oli - we're pretty happy.
Spokemagazine.com might be the best place to find out some more info and see what I carried out on my head after my crash. It turns out that my very comfortable Lazer helmet did the job it was designed to do and sacrificed itself when I crashed. It must have been a much stronger impact than I thought.
I'll follow up with another email shortly telling you a bit more about past and future races but in the meantime I would like to thank my sponsors who have all been with me for so long, and who all provide the gear that allows me to perform like this. Cheers Santa Cruz, Pearl Izumi, Maxxis tires, Roadworks - you guys are the best at what you do.
Thanks, Tim Wilding
I was rapt to see a story about Tim's victory on Cyclingnews.com and even more chuffed to see my jersey on this site I've been avidly reading about my heroes on since the mid-90s. - I have dreamed of this moment ever since the first jerseys rolled off the production line in 2003!
The Karapoti was part of Tim's build up to recapturing the XTERRA title he owned in 2007, a build up that contained a few key events along the way.
He did the Motu Challenge in October last year winning the Teams challenge along with his star-studded Team Discover Health, featuring runner James Kuegler, road cyclist Aaron Strong and kayaker Gordon Walker. Well worth a watch is the video link here.
He followed that up with a win at the Makara Peak Supporter's "Creek to Peak" event...
...an event I have already spoken of, being the first ever team up of my son Kester and some portly but studly dude.
In February Tim raced the Santa Cruz sponsored Coppermine Epic and won Senior Men at a canter.
A couple of weeks following the Karapoti Classic Tim backed up with a fine win in the 125km Contact Lake Hawea Epic, riding solo for 90km and averaging a shade below 25kph to cross the line nearly 15 minutes ahead of second placed Shorty Allnut.
Sadly, Tim's main goal of XTERRA didn't go his way. A sixth behind worthy victor Scott Thorne was not bad considering a bad stomach issue meant he couldn't get going, despite feeling he had the legs...all in all though, a fantastic series of results for this great champion, and I'd argue that the Karapoti has as much, if not more, value in NZ sport than XTERRA anyway.
Thanks so much to Tim for making me a very happy and proud bike fixing guy. Quite apart from my own vicarious pleasure though, I'm so happy to see him get the great successes all his hard work earned him. I wish him all the best as he winters in Wellington and begins his exacting preparation for his October date with destiny at the World Singlespeed Championships...
There have been other riders reprazenting also - Joel Healy was all class in winning the B-grade Penny's Cup in the PNP Wellington Cup series...
...and Grant Perry scored a fine C-grade 2nd place in the bunch gallop of the first race of the series, although I know he was disappointed to narrowly miss out on the win.
No blog of mine talking about riding in the Roadworks strip would be complete without a mention of the lovely and talented John Randal - his unwavering support of me and my family has endured some testing times for us all, and I'm not sure I'll ever really be able to let him know how much I value it. Anyway, since the legendary first Kiwi Brevet John has been pretty quiet on the bike, although his great blog shows he has been keeping busy on foot. He's also been busy penning great versions of his Brevet exploits in Spoke and Endurance magazines - here is the brazenly stolen scan of the photo from the Spoke article.
I have a bunch of random stuff I've wanted to fit in the blog in recent times but haven't, so here some of it is?
Many times on this blog I have referred to my great mate Alex Tashkoff, and here I'd like to share a link to the hilariously nutty Kiwi Space Patrol internet series he is involved with:
Here is E9, although I'd strenuously suggest going right back to the start and following this incredible adventure from the very start...
Harking back to the Karapoti, here's the awesome retro Nishiki Ariel head Bushlover Davo "Leonidas" Aldred smashed around the course.
I was impressed the ancient bike wasn't torn apart by the power emanating from his mighty shanks, but I was more impressed by Davo's ingenuity in replacing the long gone front derailleur cable roller with a fine home-made concoction consisting of two pennys and a farthing (it's possible I have the correct denominations?)...
I mentioned earlier the singlespeed Worlds; I was persuaded through peer pressure to participate, so I ended up being the very last Kiwi to sign my legs away. This foolish action, combined with the reality that Bodhi is now too big to tow around, meant I decided to once again convert my Cove Handjob back to a mighty one-speed weapon of knee-cracking doom.
Looking forward to ripping up the (at the time) dusty dry trails of Wellington, I was soon brought back to earth by the sheer difficulty of rolling a single cog up the tough climbs - Glenmore Street almost broke me before I even went near the dirt! Also, once I was actually on the trails I found that the rough descents hurt my puny arms, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Tim's spare Reba forks to alleviate my distressed extremities...
Roadworks' roving Rotorua representative Paul Larkin has just completed an arduous Tour de l'Aude Feminin - not as a rider, I hasten to add, but in one of his many and varied capacities as mechanic to Team Valdarno, the team of current women's World Champion Tatiana Guderzo...
...as well as my dear friend Bridie O'Donnell, seen here climbing the historic Kemmelberg in the women's Tour of Flanders.
Paul has started up a company called Coherent Race Logistics, which he is developing into a one-stop shop for professional race support of all kinds. In the unlikely event Paul can't do it himself he knows who can through his extensive list of world class contacts. Paul and I have worked together on many events over the last five or so years and it's always a great experience - I'd have no hesitation in working alongside or under him in any role within a cycling team from mechanic to sporting director.
I took some pictures of bikes on the Women's Tour of NZ that I didn't fit in the story I wrote, so here they are.
The aforementioned WO Larkin did some hard yards for the Australian NTID team and he was taking care of some lovely T-Cube 928 Bianchis...[Homer voice]mmmmmm, Bianchis....[/Homer voice]
An expertly wrenched by Paul Buick Pinarello FP7 from the Lotto Ladies Team team managed by Benny Devcich.
This cool full Campag Look 595 was ridden by Naila Hassan from the Handy Rentals Team managed by Gordy MacCauley, and superbly rebuilt overnight by superstar mechanic Aaron "Chickenman" Fowler after Naila's terrible crash on the penultimate stage.
Also on that penultimate day I replaced a tyre for my friend Kerri-Anne Torckler from the BP Team as a way of thanking her for loaning Jo K a wheel for the TT. I'm a big fan of the Avanti Quantums, and for a while there thought I'd end up riding one. Sadly finances dictated otherwise.
Wheels, one of my old bosses at the late, great Cycle Services, has through some health issues been sadly unable to live up to his name for the last few years, so I was delighted to recently get an email showing me that he had been slowly easing back into riding. He sent me a pic of the bike he chose for one of his rides, a lovingly restored Marin Pine Mountain c.1991 - here's the info he forwarded to me:
Frame - Marin Pine Mountain 1991
Bottom Bracket - TNT Titanium Sealed
Brake Front - XT Cantilever
Brake Rear - XT Cantilever
Brake Levers - XT 2 Finger
Chain - Sachs PC61
Crankset - Shimano DX 175mm 24/36/46
Cluster - Shimano LX 11-28 8 speed
Front Derailleur - Suntour
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Deore
Forks - Marin
Shift Levers - Shimano Deore XT 7sp Top Shifters
Handgrips - Titus black
Handlebar Stem - Marin with roller
Handlebars - Answer Taperlite
Headset - 1 1/8 " YST UFO
Hub Front - American Classic (purple)
Hub Rear - Shimano Deore XT
Pedals - Shimano SPD M737
Rim Front - Ambrosio CC24 32H
Rim Rear - Ambrosio Compact 36H
Saddle - Concor
Seatpost - Marin
Seatpost bolt - Kalloy alloy QR
Spokes - DT Stainless Competition
Tubes - IRC 26' SV
Front Tyre - Panaracer magic DH Front
Rear Tyre - Panaracer Smoke
Cactus Tool Bag
Pump - Mt Zefal flouro yellow
Until next time, thanks for reading...