Sam Shaw NI XC Champion
Kia ora, grab a coffee or a tea and a scone or two and sit in for a breakdown of the North Island cross country mountain bike championships.
Saturday Travel day:
Up early as usual for a coffee and a pancake and straight into loading the hilux surf with: one times Transition Spur, one times Ground Effect Slim Jims, one times Groundeffect Bergler, one times pair Shimanooo cross country shoes and one times POC Helmet – the must have items that I tick off before leaving for a cross country event (everything else can either be salvaged or raced without if I forget it). Once those were in the rest of the things were boofed into the Surf package. Back into the house for some Ukelele and yarns with the flatmates before making the 4-hour commute to Palmerston North with a few water stops on the way. I even managed to find what seemed like our most pristine forest that had about 10 human dumps haha gross.
Rolled into P-Naughty (Palmerston North) around 2pm and unloaded into Matt Miller and Sasykunya’s whare, then Matt and I made out way out to the infamous Arapuke trails (the race venue) for a few laps of the next days race track. Back home for feeding time, a pearla sunset and an evening of Catan, pwerfection.
Sunday Race day:
My favourite thing about cross country Olympic style events is the sleep ins. Racing always commences in the afternoons for the Pro-elite/Under 23 categories. Sooo slept in (until 8am haha am I old if I think that’s a sleep in?), waking up to the sound of coffee beans blending into the gooooods. Coffee, bike maintenance, some Ukulele, some sketches, and three Harraways pancakes later we packed into the truck and headed to Arapuke.
Arrived 50mins before scheduled start at 12.30pm, got a race plate and a great warm up along with a few yarns. Thankfully found Michelle Millington as a last-minute feeder (my usual tactics) and gave her my waters for each lap. Some more warming up. Then into the start gate and awaaaay we went. I started strong and felt very comfortable with the pace Cameron Jones was putting down, we managed to break away from the field instantly and continued to build a gap over the next lap.
Coming into lap two I hadn’t drunk anything and was starting to feel a weee bit average so I dropped off Cam’s wheel and he gradually slipped away over laps two and three. As this was happening, I settled into my own race, starting to drink normally and ate a carrot.
So, a bit of a stupid idea, but I decided that I would try racing on just carrots and water as I have a personal thing against gels, cola, and all those things. Turns out carrots are the worst thing to try eat while you’re putting your body under this kind of workload… Anyway, feeling refreshed I got back to business on laps 4 and 5. By this stage Cam was 40secs up. I hussed, and closed the gap on lap four, then rode away on lap five to take the win. Stoked! Will try some better nutrition at the next one.
We had prize giving and all that jazz (very stoked to have the North Island Champs Jersey back in my little mitts) I biked back into P-naughty for a warm down and Matt and I packed up the surf and made tracks back home to Rotorua with a pit stop at lake Taupo for a swim and Butchers pooool for a spa.. The life of luxury in New Zealand.
Coffeeees, tea and all day on the bike for the long weekend, the dream 😊