Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shave to Ride!

Hi all!

In my crazy quest to raise funds to continue racing, I’ve decided to shave my head (well, that and the fact that I really couldn’t be bothered doing my hair every morning just to go and stick it under a helmet). Most of you who know me will find this rather amusing… Those of you who don’t know me so well can get your kicks from the fact that people who do know me think that this is hilarious (apparently I have an odd-shaped head). To add an extra twist, and to encourage some trans-tasman competition, I will also color my remaining hair (it’ll be a number 1 shave) in either green and gold, or black and white… Depending on which country I get the most donations from (on a dollar for dollar match-up).

In the spirit of supporting a good cause, I will also be donating half the funds I raise from my shave to a charity called World Bicycle Relief. These guys provide bikes for people in impoverished regions to help them get a basic education.

So here’s how it works…
Donations can be made either by direct deposit or cash (in person). Direct deposits can be made to the bank accounts below (there’s an Aussie account and a Kiwi account). When you make your donation, as a reference, please put your name (or Anonymous if you don’t wish for me to know who you are) and either “NZ” or “OZ” for the color head you would like to see me sporting for 24 hour solo world champs. If you’d like to make a cash donation when you see me next, I will record your donation and NZ or OZ in a receipt book.

NZ Account: 06-0596-0052994-04 (National Bank)
Aussie Account: 112-879(BSB) 056 759 948(account number)

The shave and color will take place in the last week of September (date to be confirmed to fit in with my training) at Luxe & Duke Salon, 483 Richmond Road Grey Lynn. Steph and the team here are generously donating their time and skills to vandalise my head. Steph has been my hairdresser ever since I moved to NZ and not only does she do a fantastic hair cut, but she’s a real nice chick, too. Luxe & Duke is Steph and Paula's new salon and they opened today (congrats guys!). You can ring the salon on 09 360 1477 to make an appointment.

So……. Get cracking and make your donation. 2 worthy causes and an amusing outcome to be had! Promise I’ll post pictures on my web page!

Icebreaker Product Review

So I've been using Icebreaker's merino goodness for some time now and I'm really stoked to welcome Icebreaker as a new supporter. I've been trialling some of their new products over this Winter, including their GT range with 3% lycra (awesome fit!). They make some great casual gear and active wear alike, and the really exciting thing is that they are in the process of perfecting their cycle gear range, so keep an eye out for it's release.

The best thing about Icebreaker is the ability to layer. Everything fits well to allow other layers over the top to remain nice and cosy out. Personally, I'm not a big fan of wind vests and rain jackets. I find them bulky and they don't breathe well, making for an uncomfortable ride. Realistically, once it rains and you're on the bike, you're wet. I'm ok with being wet, but not cold and wet. I have spent the winter using Icebreaker GT merino underlayers under my jersey, gloves and shorts as well as nice warm icebreaker socks under my shoes, so when I get wet, the merino layers warm up and stay warm against my skin, so as long as you don't mind being a bit wet, there's no need for cumbersome jackets or vests.

I've also started trying out some of their "yet to be released" cycle range. The jerseys are comfortable, breathe well and keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. They also have cool little features like a zip insert in the back pockets for keys/change and a little MP3 pocket with a hole to run your headphones underneath the jersey so they don't get caught up in all the other stuff in your pockets... And as with all icebreaker, they don't stink after you ride in them! They fit really well, too. I can't wait to try out their new knicks (shorts).

Check out their products on the Icebreaker Website. There's something there for everyone... And keep an eye out for their new cycle range!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AYUP Lights Product Review (like you really needed another reason to buy them!)

AYUP Lights have been sponsoring me for some time now, so I figured it was timely that I should pop up a review of this light system just in case you haven't had the opportunity to experience their awesomeness just yet. I think it's worth mentioning right here and now that I paid for my first set of AYUPs and they are still running strong (that was over 3 years ago now) and it was only recently that I chose to upgrade them because a) I wanted the new batteries with adjustable power settings and b) I had a new bike and wanted the colors to match. I think it is a big testament to any product when I say that had the guys at AYUP not been so generous as to hook me up, I would have been more than happy to pay for another set... They're just worth it, end of story.

And now to why they are worth it... Firstly, they are the lightest mountain biking lights on the market. When you're riding your bike around for 24 hours straight, the last thing you want is unneccessary weight. You can get 6hours out of a battery the size of a matchbox, which means that not only are you carrying around minimal weight, but you really only need to do one battery change overnight in a race... BIG bonus for me... The velcro mounting system also means that any equipment changes are super quick.

They are also the most versatile lights on the market. Most packs come with all sorts of goodies... Different kinds of mounts, headband so you can go running with them, spares of everything just in case you lose pieces... And if you need more, the spares are easily and readily available on their website. As a rider of (ahem) shorter stature, I have a rather unusual setup on my bike. The handlebar mount of the Ayups can be mounted in various ways to accommodate other bits and pieces that you may wish to put on your handlebars. There are a variety of beam options and colour options to suit everyone.

The Ayups are brighter than you will need and are more than adequate for racing or social night riding. I recommend a medium to wide beam on the handlebars paired with a narrow spot on your helmet for checking out the trail ahead.

And last but certainly not least, they look damn cool!

Now for those of you who think "I can't afford a set of lights like this", make sure you visit the AYUP website. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out just how reasonably priced they are and what amazing value they present in comparison to other brands on the market. They have also just released the Ayup Ultra Lite Pack, which is a budget package with the basics to get you started. The cool thing is that the Ultra Lite Pack is more than enough to get you out on the trails in the dark, and with the availability of extra bits and bobs, you can add to your kit as your needs require and budget allows. It comes in at just under $290 New Zealand dollars.

Check them out at

Monday, August 16, 2010

NDuro Winter Series Race 3

I can't imagine there would be many people who would finish their mid-winter birthday standing in front of a fire hose, caked in mud, bracing themselves for the icy cold water to blast them clean so they could shiver their way back to the car and pull on thermals over the remaining mud for the 3 hour drive home. Well, that's exactly what I did yesterday... And I enjoyed EVERY minute of it!

We woke up on Sunday morning to more rain and more grey skies. The weather man's promise of a break in the rain soon became apparent as a complete and utter lie. Coach Sadie and I had gone out for a somewhat short ride on the trails the day before and at dinner that evening, enjoyed telling our comedic tales of how there was "more puddle than track out there" and "Megan disappeared right into one of them!" It was true, though. The trails had been converted into streams and lakes. You would slosh through water up to the hubs on your wheels, then a berm would appear out of the depths that we would ride up onto for a brief moment before sloshing back on the "trail". There were puddles through the Whakarewarewa forest that would swallow you up and you had no idea of how deep they were until you rode through them... The plan for the next day... Follow someone else's line so they can test the depth...

So there I was, lining up on the start line in a rather small field of riders (a later look at the results would show a lot of "pre-race withdrawals". Most people decided to stay in bed and not show up... Pansies). We took off up the long mile drive hill and I felt great for about 30secs, and then something happened to my legs and my head and I felt like I was about to fall off my bike... I kept pedalling up the hill, but I was moving backwards through the pack. It took me about 5 minutes to recover from whatever it was (possibly old age), but I was back at it. My climbing today was feeling super strong, so I was putting in some hard k's going uphill, full knowing that some of the other girls would be much stronger than me down the muddy, technical trails. As the race wore on, so did the trails. Because it was still raining, our tyres pulled away at the dirt and the rain washed it straight out from under us, creating some amazing ruts. I soon learned that the best way to deal with these were to stick my bike right in the rut, unclip my feet from the pedals and just scoot straight down the rut. WAHOOO!!!! Needless to say, there was a lot of toe-dipping to be done today. The sections that couldn't be toe-dipped were where I dismounted the bike and skidded down on my butt, holding the bike next to me... So much fun! I mean, once you're muddy, you're muddy, right? So may as well get muddier.

The highlight trails of the day would have been Hot X Buns and Gunna Gotta, where the sketchyness factor tipped the scales the most. I couldn't stop smiling the whole day! I finished 6th for the day, achieved my training goals and had an awesome time. The hosing down just made it a day to remember!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arch Hill Hot Lap Series Wrap-Up

First of all, let me apologise for the lateness of these results, but I have a good excuse... You see, Friday, I started work at 7.30am, then left work at 11am to catch a plane at 3pm. Got into Brisbane and put my bike together, went to bed, drove to Canungra the next day, raced overnight, then caught a flight back which arrived in Auckland at midnight on Sunday, got home and into bed by 2am, up and off to work at 7.30am on Monday and then ran the Arch Hill race on the Monday night... The rest of the week was a blur and a write-off, and whilst I had good intentions of doing the results much sooner, before I knew it, the following weekend was upon me. PHEW!!!

So without any further ado, results for race 4 and series average laps (for those of you who did more than 4 laps over the series) are posted below. Congrats to Tom, Hayden and Sadie, who did our fastest male, singlespeed and female laps for the evening. Our hottest average laps for the series were taken out by Charlotte Delamore for the women, Tom Fox for the men and Hayden Russell for the singlespeeders.

It was great to see such a good turnout this week and I'm really impressed with how well the Arch Hill trails have held up over the last 4 weeks, especially in the rain. This is a testament to the quality trailwork that went into building them. I'm going to try and organise a trackwork day at some stage soon. Watch this space! The highlight of the evening was certainly the suspense of waiting to see who would win the major spot prizes and the Fox family (Tom and Andy) cleaned up by winning the wicked Adidas Evil Eye glasses and a set of Ayup lights!!! I promise this was not rigged! Gareth Evans also scored himself a set of Ayups. The other spot prize that deserves a mention is the one that went to Ian Robertson for his yellow leggings with red flowers on them. He leads the way in urban cycling fashion and for his efforts, he took home some Grind Coffee.

Thanks very much to our series sponsors, without whom this stuff would not happen. We're really quite lucky to have such quality prizes to give away. It was also great to have Clint from Bike 75 and Sadie from Grind Coffee along on our final evening.
Bike 75
Ayup Lights
Grind Coffee
Spoke Magazine
Adidas Eyewear
Auckland Mountain Bike Club

This week's results:
Name Lap time Category
Tom Fox 0:06:08 M
Tom Fox 0:06:12 M
Tom Fox 0:06:18 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:24 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:33 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:43 SS
Tim Galea 0:06:43 M
Elliott Pearce 0:06:49 M
Elliott Pearce 0:07:19 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:21 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:23 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:27 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:28 M
Russell Mc farlane 0:07:35 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:36 M
Logan Callesen 0:07:42 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:44 M
Kevin Ash 0:07:51 M
Russell Mc farlane 0:07:51 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:52 M
Jamie Jamison 0:07:53 M
James Service 0:07:54 SS
Tadeas Mejdr 0:07:59 M
Sadie Parker-Wynyard 0:08:00 F
Jamie Jamison 0:08:10 M
Martyn Pearce 0:08:15 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:18 M
Martyn Pearce 0:08:20 M
James Service 0:08:25 SS
James Service 0:08:35 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:37 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:53 SS
Simon Galea 0:08:57 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:04 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:05 M
Hugh McIntyre 0:09:14 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:15 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:17 M
Stephen Delamore 0:09:18 M
Hugh McIntyre 0:09:35 M
Andy Fox 0:09:36 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:36 M
Luuk Batonburg 0:09:40 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:42 F
Andy Fox 0:09:45 M
Andrew Reid 0:09:52 M
Tim Galea 0:09:54 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:58 F
Charlotte Delamore 0:10:06 F
Luuk Batonburg 0:10:22 M
Andrew Reid 0:10:37 M
Luuk Batonburg 0:10:53 M
Kirk Austin 0:12:09 SS
Kirk Austin 0:12:15 SS
Kirk Austin 0:12:30 SS

Series average hot laps (for those who completed more than 4 laps)... Sorry, they aren't in order. I lost my patience with excel...
Name Category Average time
Andrew Reid M 0:10:09
Andy Fox M 0:09:07
Charlotte Delamore F 0:09:30
Dan Alexander M 0:07:21
Elliot Pearce M 0:07:16
Gareth Evans SS 0:08:44
Hayden Russell SS 0:06:27
Ian Robertson M 0:09:08
James Service SS 0:07:54
Jamie Jameson M 0:07:47
Kevin Ash M 0:08:06
Kirk Austin SS 0:11:04
Logan Callesen M 0:07:30
Luuk Batenburg M 0:09:37
Martyn Pearce M 0:08:08
Russell Mc farlane SS 0:07:41
Stephen Delamore M 0:08:44
Tim Galea M 0:07:42
Tom Fox M 0:06:06

Thursday, August 12, 2010

AYUP Dusk to Dawn 12 hour

I was lucky enough to be able to make a fleeting visit to Brisbane for the Ayup Dusk to Dawn on the weekend. I must say it was quite surreal after being at work at 11am on Friday, then on a plane by 4pm, to be standing in a field in Canungra in south Queensland in the dark in my lycra on the start line of a race at 7pm on the Saturday (Phew!). The race had actually been postponed on two prior occasions this year due to inclement weather, which suited me fine because it meant I was able to come along! It did mean, however, that we didn't really start the race at dusk... We started in the dark. I rode a pre-lap before the race to check it out in the light and it was good fun. There was 180m of climbing over the 8km of the course, but it didn't feel like it. The course was quite pumpy and flowy and, in parts, a bit rocky and technical, but it was tough because there were no real breaks... You were working the whole time you were on the bike. The weather during the day was amazing... Blue skies and 22 degrees, so I was put back in my place a little by the bitter coldness that hit on dusk (it must've gotten down to 3 or 4 degrees overnight).

After 2 hours on the bike, I was putting in some solid lap times and was in second place in the (impressively large) female field. I had arrived in Brisbane with no support crew, so I was ever so lucky to have adopted and shared Sean Bekker's support crew for the evening (thanks to "Honk!" and the team). Three hours in, and I wasn't feeling so great. I was eating and drinking well, but my stomach was having other ideas. I'd had a pretty full on week so I was trying to put it down to that and keep moving on, but just out on my 6th lap, I was sick on the side of the trail. I was so angry. It was way too early to be vomiting. I tried to convince myself it was all good, but deep down, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I finished the lap and came back into the pit area. I had eaten my food for the lap before I was sick, so I had spent a lap with no food and I couldn't keep anything down. I lay down for half an hour, that turned into 3 hours. If I stayed flat, I didn't feel sick, but the moment I moved, I did. I watched as all the riders I was in front of rode past. To be truthful, it was quite gutting, especially having travelled so far just for the race. A couple of hours out from the finish and I had managed to keep some food down and get some fluids into me, so I headed back out to greet the sun on my bike and put in some hot laps to finish off and enjoy the track.

I was glad I went back out. It was kind of a small win to end what was definitely not one of my finer performances. Then as the sun rose over the hills, i had one of those amazing moments when it makes me so happy to be a mountain biker... A bike, a trail and a sunrise... It doesn't get much better than that (well, perhaps if you added "a win"). Haha!

The thing I love most about going back to Australia to race is that there is always a huge contingent of Ayup riders there, and they're like a second family to me. We spend so much time as mountain bikers "doing it on our own" and to be at a race feeling like part of a team is awesome... Just one of the reasons I am really looking forward to heading back over for World Champs in Canberra in October... Only 2 months away! Before then, I will likely race the Day-Night Thriller in Taupo to fluff up the legs a bit and iron out any creases to eliminate a repeat of what happened this weekend. It's an exciting time of year.

Anyway, I'm looking out the window right now and the sun is out, so if you don't mind, I'm heading out to the forest for some fun on two wheels!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arch Hill Hot Lap Series #3

We obviously had mother nature on side on Monday night to get one single day break in the rainy weather to have such a superb, clear evening. I was lucky enough to have an extra set of hands for the evening (thanks to Andrew Blanchard), so I headed out on the trails with the camera to catch some of the action. The trails were still pretty slick, but from what I saw, most riders handled the conditions admirably well (with the odd curse word here and there).

Another good turnout this week and some pretty close racing and very hot laps. Tom Fox took out the evening's hottest lap only 7seconds ahead of Hayden Russell on his single speed, and Raewyn Morrison took out the ladies category. These guys each took home some awesome prizes from Spoke Magazine.

Big thanks to Suse and Andy for helping out with timing this week, and to Ian (once again) for volunteering to clear the course and help pack down the tent at the end of the evening. Also to Andy Fox, Elliot Pearce and Andy B for helping with packdown, too (I apologise if I missed a name here!).

Results are below. Next week is sadly our last week of racing for this series, so make sure you get there. We still have our major prize draw where you have the chance to win one of 2 AYUP V2 kits or a cool pair of Adidas Evil Eye glasses and all the usual goodies from Bike 75, Grind Coffee and Spoke Magazine. We'll also calculate and present the series hottest average lap for the gals, the guys, and the single speedsters on the night and there'll be some equally hot prizes up for grabs. Remember, you need to be there to collect your prize!

I'm off to Brisbane on Friday for the Ayup Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour at Canungra... Can't wait! I'll see you all next Monday!

Name Lap time Category
Tom Fox 0:06:10 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:17 SS
Tom Fox 0:06:17 M
Hayden Russell 0:06:33 SS
Hayden Russell 0:06:41 SS
Tim Galea 0:06:50 M
Ash Hough 0:06:53 M
Elliot Pearce 0:07:05 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:27 M
Dan Alexander 0:07:29 M
Russell McFarlane 0:07:37 SS
Russell McFarlane 0:07:42 SS
Raewyn Morrison 0:07:46 F
Elliot Pearce 0:07:51 M
Raewyn Morrison 0:08:02 F
Russell McFarlane 0:08:03 SS
John Colthorpe 0:08:06 M
Raewyn Morrison 0:08:07 F
John Colthorpe 0:08:07 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:09 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:14 M
Jamie Jamison 0:08:26 M
Jamie Jamison 0:08:29 M
Dan Alexander 0:08:35 M
Kevin Ash 0:08:39 M
Stephen Delamore 0:08:45 M
Kirk Austin 0:08:46 SS
Gareth Evans 0:08:49 SS
Stephen Delamore 0:08:57 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:01 M
Ian Robertson 0:09:03 M
Andy Fox 0:09:08 M
Luuk Batenburg 0:09:24 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:26 F
Stephen Delamore 0:09:31 M
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:33 F
Charlotte Delamore 0:09:34 F
Ian Robertson 0:09:59 M
Luuk Batenburg 0:10:00 M
Gareth Evans 0:10:00 SS
Luuk Batenburg 0:10:01 M
Andy Fox 0:10:09 M
Ash Hough 0:10:10 M
Kirk Austin 0:11:36 SS
Kirk Austin 0:11:44 SS