>> Monday, March 30, 2009
Was with some trepidation that I entered the Nduro 12hr. Due to a combination of a new job, only owning a singlespeed and being a lazy bugger, my longest ride all summer has only been 4 hours. I had a free entry from winning last year though (I won’t mention there was only 3 racers and one of them didn’t turn up) so I really had nothing to lose. Except for my pride and self respect of course…..
Was surprising organised entering a full 5 days before hand and even having a full functioning bike. After my breakthrough 2 place at the Makara peak challenge (some might say NZ’s most prestigious Monday evening fundraising time trial) I felt I had reached the pinnacle of singlespeed racing so instead opted for gears on my litespeed. Being the bush hardman I am though I was still rocking a 34/32 as my smallest gear.
Despite leaving after work on Friday the traffic was sweet (clearly transmission gully is redundant) except for some mountain bikers in a Lada driving between 60-80km/h refusing to pull over. The sweet retro fat chance on the roofrack was pretty cool though. It made me angryer than Clive waiting for a bus, something I would harness later in my race
The start was scheduled for a leisurely noon so after a sleep in we set up camp and went into town for some breakfast. Had some cracking French toast and a smoothie at Zippies then stopped in to Kiwibikes to chat to Jeff and drop off Davo’s new frame. If only there was a bare chested street brawl it would have been a classic Rotorua day.
Just like the weather, the competition had heated up with about 20 solo12 hour racers entered. A couple of guns from Aussie had made the trip over but more concerning was Mickey “the mouth” Fan, my arch nemesis from the OUMBC (Otago University Mountain bike Club for those not in the know) With New Zealand’s fastest gay Asian midget racing, it wasn’t going to be an easy day.
A Le Mans start got me to put my run training into use and the Nduro 12hours of pain was underway. The course consisted of Tahi, Creek, Ball and chain, Mad if you don’t, Sweet and Sour parts II and III, Dragonstail, Lions trail and home. While not the steepest or most technical course it was still surprising hard work. From the start I was using all my gears and there was really nowhere to get any rest. I spared a thought for young Jacko, he as going to have it tough. I got off to a quickish start learning from previous 12hr’s where I got stuck behind slow traffic losing precious minutes on the first lap. Mickey flew past me half way through lap one even having the cheek to use the bushlove trademark “I’m cumming inside you”’. I really should start charging royalties. Knowing Mickey he was premature…………
Rode my own race for the first 3-4 laps and due to the length of the lap and lack of traffic felt I was riding by myself for most of the time. Mickey got out to a few minute lead but started reeling him in by laps 4-5. Mrs K did a great job keeping me informed so I knew the story. I finally caught him on lap 6 and put the boot in. He was looking a bit shattered so talked up how good I was feeling (and how great cold pizza was). Within a few minutes had put a good few hundred meters on him and thought he was doneburger. To his credit he fought back and we dueled for the rest of the lap. I haven’t seen any lap times but think it would have been one of my faster ones. I had my lights on my helmet from the start (in retrospect a bad idea as my neck was killing me from the extra weight) so didn’t have to stop when it got dark. This gave me a few minutes break on Mickey which he would never catch up. Doing the math’s I knew 11 laps was going to be my race and as planned finished this off in just over 11hours, thankfully saving me from having to go out on a 12th. Felt surprising good on the last lap but was glad it was over. A beer's never tasted so good.
In the end my effort was good enough for 2 overall, and first Kiwi. Pretty stoked given my lack of riding. Huge respect to all the crazy souls who steep up for the 24hour challenge, you really are mental. Jacko proved himself to be the hardest Bushlover (taking the title off yours truly although I’m still the sexist) taking out the NZ 24 solo single speed champs and 3rd overall. I’m sure he’ll be posting something up any minute now.
I’d like to thank my sponsors but seeing as I don’t have any I’ll thank Mrs K who did an amazing job cooking, feeding, timing, organizing and encouraging me for the race. Apart from pedaling she did all the hard work.