>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Some days you just can’t be bothered going for a ride! Crawling up a hill, sweat running into your eyes and a chain that keeps reminding you it needs some TLC. But on Sunday I still wanted to go for a ride, just without a hill in it. Answer = Makara Peak Super D.
The Super D format of racing is really gathering strength at the moment. It takes the best from DH and XC race formats, combining them in a format where lycra clad riders might have a chance of keeping up with the groms when the track points down. If us sifters in Bushlove can’t actually win a proper DH race (save for the almighty ‘DH God’ Ricky), I think a Super D win will be satisfying enough.
Rocking up at lunchtime after a lazy Sunday morning, it was nice to chat with my fellow XC racers who did the rally in the morning, especially when I haven’t even raised a sweat and they had been through 2hrs of pain riding UP and down tracks around the Peak. After signing on the dotted line and passing over my race fee/ donation to the good folks at Makara Peak Supports Club, it was off to the summit for the afternoons entertainment (damn it, no shuttle).
I must admit I pooh poohed the course a bit during the week, thinking it was too easy and not gravity orientated enough; how wrong I was, it turns out it was the most enjoyable 15mins on a bike!
For those who know the Makara tracks, here is brief rundown of the course:
Zac’s – NorthFace – JFK – Smokin – Ridgeline Ext – BigTomsWheelie – 4wd – Magic Carpet – SkillsArea – Koru – Livewires – FINISH
If there is one stand out feature of these fundraiser events that would have to be the support; from what I could tell there were 50 odd people keen on a smash down the Peak. The choice of course was the best as it brought out everyone, including recreational as well elite riders. After a bit of shooting the breeze at the summit, everyone took their place which included me reluctantly being chased by the dodgy Davo Aldred. After a quick warm up on Zac’s it was into the real part of the descent starting with NF.
Earlier in Jan I treated myself to a nice new SantaCruz Heckler from the good sorts at Bicycle and for the first time I was riding it as fast as I could down NF. After winding through the few preciously placed trees at the top, it was into the many corners that make NF so popular amongst all sorts of riders. The unusually good run of weather had made many of the corners drifty but this didn’t phase the bike sticking to every corner and reacting exactly as told. Much like the famous 80’s Mullet haircut I love to keep the front tires in business while the back end can get carried away with the party; this combo proved perfect in the many hairpins that NF has to offer, sliding the backend Steve Peat styles (I wish).
JFK is a new addition to the Peak, but already it had a nice flow to it, including a few nice big berms. The only problem I had was going around blind corners and continuing to turn long after the corner ran out; led to some close calls with the hillside! Across a 4wd and into Smokin (like NF this track popped up a year ago); similar to JFK, Smokin flows really well with a few trees to mix things up.
With Smokin dusted in about a minute, it was onto Ridgeline Extension with direction from Oli of Roadworks (who had to tell some juniors to move off the track while I zoomed through, cheers mate). More of the same along Ridgeline Ext and Big Toms Wheelie, this leading to a quick sprint along the 4wd and into Magic Carpet where I managed to catch my minute man.
Being on my Heckler with 6 inches of travel to play with, hitting one of the jumps into the skills area was a must; seeing as my skills when it comes to air time are rather lacking, the safer option of the medium drop kept me happy without breaking another bone. With a quick loop of the skills bowl it was onto Koru, which for the first time involved it being ridden in reverse. No I didn’t steam into any trees, but I was by all means making a meal of the easiest track on course, though it sounded like most did.
The last part of the course involved a sprint down Livewires. While a lot of the surrounding tracks have been groomed of late, Livewires still has a good rough element to it, with the odd jump and berm thrown in. With a smooth run and no lie down moments (unlike Davo I hear ;-)), I just cruised onwards to the finish.
Being the first to finish you can never be too sure how you’ll down; you set the time to beat. One thing really struck me about this race, that being just how much you can push yourself on a downhill; only a solid 5 minutes after finishing did I actually get my breath back. After about the first dozen riders crossing the line it was promising to hear I was leading and unlike an XC race which I actually know how I’ve done as I cross the line, I had to wait until the very last rider to see if I had done it. Thankfully about an hour after starting my run it was awesome to hear I won.
So Super D’s, what do I really think? Two things: HEAPS of fun and surely going to be the race of choice for most shortly.
Next on the radar (next weekend in fact) is the Mt Vic Super D on Sunday April 3rd. Like Makara, everyone can enter, even if you don’t have a downhill specific bike. Hop on over to Bicycle.co.nz now and sign up for what will be an awesome day of riding tracks Super D style.
See you all at Mt Vic.
(apoligies for lack of photography, better luck at Mt Vic)