This weekend marked the long-awaited start of my 2016 season. I flew to Hamilton on Wednesday to set up base in Karapiro for the next two weeks. The first rcae of the National MTB XC Series was scheduled for Friday in Rotorua. I got plenty of practise in on the course and was happy to recognise some of the trails from a previous National race held there a few years ago. The course suited me well with a decent amount of climbing and some technical downhills.
On Friday, however, I had plenty of time to rest and and drink tea while waiting for the big storm to pass. This meant race day was postponed by one day to Saturday. The course improved a lot from the well-needed rain and made some of the rooty sections just a bit more interesting.
I had a good start being third wheel up the first climb behind Myra Timena Moller and Amber Johnston. For the first lap, the three of us were battling hard for the lead. Eventually Myra lost contact, leaving Amber and myself in the front. At the start of the second lap I pushed hard on the long uphill and created a small gap to Amber. I kept working hard and maintained my gap to the end winning my first NZ National XC Cup, while Amber took out the U23 in emphatic fashion.
Nelson Mountainbikers had an allround great day with Cameron Jones winning his U17 category and Henry Jaine coming 2nd in the U23. Massive thanks to Cameron's Dad, Phil, who hung out in the feed station all day handing us bottles and gels! Here is a wee write up in the Nelson Mail.
The next day Nduro events run the first round of the Rotovegas Summer Cup on the Rotorua trails. This was a too good of an opportunity to get some more racing into my legs. I opted for the mid-course (2 laps, 26 km). The racing was very different to the day before. Close to 100 people set off on the windy, flat and flowy trails at the back end of the forest. It took me a while to get into the flow of things. By the second lap the course got more and more fun and I wish I could have done one more lap. This time Amber reversed the result finishing 20 seconds ahead of me.
I now have one week to recover and train for the 2nd round of the National XC series at Te Miro (Cambridge) on the 17th Jan.