NZ MTB Cup 2: Nelson

“Well That Sucks” – Is what you think when you turn up to practice the course on Friday and there’s ZERO course marking whatsoever on what is a pretty complicated course. With the printed course description in hand I attempted to follow and had to stop and refer to said instructions every, ooooh, 1 minute to follow the course. Even then, I stuffed it up by about 20%. Super start. I tagged on to various groups that had suffered my pain in enough time to have worked out the course 90% accurate.

Day 2- Sat. The course is marked – yay – Did some laps. Codgers MTB Park is an interesting criss cross of shortish trails in pine forest. Lots of narrowish singletrack, little drops, twisty stuff etc. One long climb at the start, half of it gravel 4wd, not steep, and then getting steeper into the pine forest. After that lots of up and downs, twisty fast singletrack and switchback steepish climbs. Not a great course for me. I like looong, steep nasty climbs with a minimum of technical but can’t complain. Once it was marked it was an OK course, just not my thing.

Anton Cooper won in 1:37. I finished 10th in 1:54 (17min down) To get to top 5, I would have needed 1:46\  80 seconds per lap.

PNP Club riders took out wins in Master 3 (Ian Paintin) and Under 17 (Eden Cruise). Ian showed me around the course on Friday along with Marco and Ash et al from the club so saved my arse there. Eden was consistent as always and a great role model for young riders – he seems to just ‘get the job done’ amongst really tough competition. His lap times are faster than mine.

START:  6/10 Started at the back of the pack – felt like I didn’t really deserved to go to the front based on the first race and you have to be honest about stuff like that otherwise you’ll get a hating. Everyone laying down big horsepower up the fast gravel road and dust and I just did what I could and gained a couple of places up to about 8th.

CLIMBS: 7/10 Strava says an average of 556 watts for the first 1 and a half minute climb, reducing down to 347 watts on the last lap on the same section. That was good, but the other 2 main climbs in the race were much harder because of the accelerations needed out of the switchbacks every 30 seconds or so. Really tough to do if you are 76Kg and I just tried to stand and sprint the whole thing which was super hard. Strava says the power on these sections was only mid – high 200’s, which when you account for the main way Strava’s algorithm works (weight/ time/ slope/ distance) probably shows more the nature of the climb. Very hard to output any serious power with 180 degree switchbacks every 20 metres.  That said my feeling on the numbers were that they were representative of good cardiovascular form (for me). Learnings: Practice smoothness on switchback climbs.

DESCENTS: 7/10: As usual, a bit of a weakness for me. However limited my losses as well as I could be practising fast lines. Learnings: One thing I worked on was taking a wider line into a steep, turning corner, even if the entry is rougher, because of the runout being so much faster and smoother. That worked really well and the 29er is much better over the rougher entry than a 26er.

This weekend is a 40Km Time Trial in Upper Hutt. This is the first time I’ll have my aerobic threshold data (from Fitlab) to use. I’m aiming to sit at 156 BPM, which should be around 365 watts for the hour. That should get a time in the 53-54 minute mark, assuming it all comes together. I’ll report here if the plan works!




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