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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

NZ MTBO Champs 2009

Anyone worth their salt in New Zealand mountain biking knows all about Rotorua. Whaka forest is one of New Zealand's best mountain biking locations. Trails like Corners, Huckleberry Hound, Split Enz or Tahuroto Ariki. A dry day on Rotorua trails is like a day in heaven for me. Saturday was one such dry day. The trails were dry without being dusty and we had a full day of mountain biking to enjoy it. I have neglected MTBO a little of late. An event last month at Rob and Marquita's was the first time I had ridden with a mapboard (not in an adventure race) for quite a while. The nature of the navigation means that it doesn't take too long to get back into it. I was very rusty at the start of the middle but got into in time for the sprint. The Whaka forest map has the added challenge of unidirectional tracks. The caught out a few people leading to big punishment for lapses of concentration. Saturday began with the middle. Starting up past Waipa Mill we had a course with not too much climb but plenty of route choice. In this race one bad route choice wouldn't ruin your race but it would cost you time. I was loving the trails and lifted my pace through the course. The race was looking close at the 3/4 mark with only 20seconds between me and Andrew Bott. The duel to the finish didn't eventuate with Andrew losing time on a a leg with a taped route option that also caught out Jamie. Marquita showed her absolute class and easily rode away with the women's race. Marquita in the middle. I couldn't resist the call of the forest so went and rode some of my favourite trails between the middle and the sprint. The forest was the best i've seen it for ages. The sprint was up near the old haro trail. This area has a really intricate track network, with heaps of junctions and lots of unidirectional portions. It was interesting to note the weaknesses and strengths of various riders. Nick Mead was quick through the singletrack but nav mistakes cost him a good result. Andrew Bott was the same. Jamie was looking good to challenge for the win only to make a mistake on number 8, a control that caught lots of people. I managed to get 8 right and pick the fast routes on the last loop to get a win. It turned out in the sprint that the longer road routes were faster, just too many corners and intersections on the trails to be able to keep enough speed. Marquita once again won, a big margin showing fast bike speed and spot on nav. I didn't race the long on sunday, I was racing Toi's Challenge. Andrew Bott grabbed the win in mens and Marquita made it three from three. Greg doing some sweet skids
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