Wellington Cup Blue Mountains and Oceania MTB Champs

Well that’s the last 2 major races for me this summer season. TICK!


First off; The Wellington Cup Graded Road Race around the Upper Hutt Blue Mts/ Wallaceville Circuit. 101km with 1043 meters climbing. Rolled up in A Grade. This is one of the few Wellington road races that features some seriously decent climbing and the finish is at the top of Blue Mts, a good solid 233 meter climb over about 2KM so its a cat 3 climb. In A grade we did 4 laps.

This race was all about the Blue Mts climb – this one:


I did the first 3 ascents, with a VAM (vertical metres of climb per hour – an interesting measure invented by the famous Dr Ferrari of Armstrong juicing EPO fame – look him up) of 1420, 1469 and 1340. But in the last lap, I paid for a big move to bridge to the leaders and burnt my matches – last time up the climb I did a 1039 VAM, or in other words about 90-100 Watts down from the other efforts. That translated to a difference of almost 3 minutes over that last 2KM! Yikes! That’s where its won and lost though. Learning? Well more specific training would be the key but my years training has been for MTB (shorter, harder burstier efforts) so its kind of understandable that this ride of just under 3 hours was 1 climb to far for me. Wellington hardman Andy Hagan won, I rolled up 6th. Actually quite pleased with that though. Felt like a did my best. Strava says wattage up the first 3 climbs was around 340-350 so that’s OK. I’m gonna test out how accurate those measurements are when I get the Powertap on my bike this week. Thats me in the Radioshack gear in the middle going up. I’m the only one standing up – No idea  what that means – weak quads?…Photo by Steve Chapman.




Decided to enter Master 1 Grade. I think Clint put it best when he said “A man’s gotta know his limitations” Fact is, being objective about my abilities this year, the best I could hope for  would be to not get lapped out or drawn out under the 80% rule. That’s no fun, but if I did Master 1, I could hope for a top placing and an Oceania medal. Well – it didn’t go well.

2 things happened – 1. My top end and wattage just wasn’t there. Towards the end of the season it feels to me a bt like a pencil getting blunt or something – the sharp pointy end of your ability kind of wears down. As proof, my max heart rate only got to 172 and my wattage looked about 5% down on what I know I can produce on form. I guess thats understandable – it’s the end of the season. There were 10 dudes in the mens masters grades but only 2 of us in M1 (!) The other guy, Andy Reid, got on my wheel and I hit the singletrack in first place and he and I pretty quickly distanced most of the others. I didnt know him but he turned out to be quick all round, and he passed me and put 21 seconds on me by the end of lap 1. By end of lap 3 he had over a minute on me so it would have been curtains anyhow…Then I was stabbed…

In the technical section at the start of lap 4 my saddle started flapping around. I couldn’t figure out what had happened, but then the top (the plastic and leathery bit) just fell off, leaving just the rails exposed. Predicament – ride on with sharp metal rods protruding around my nether regions or call it a day? – I chose the former – bad call. Naturally, I managed to lurch forward landing a jump, at which point the right rear saddle prong/ rail entered my right inner quad/ hamstringey area about 2 or so inches. Swore – tried riding – swore again – fell over – swore again…You get the picture. With me writhing and squealing like a piggy, some spectators alerted the medics who came and sorted it. 5mls of morphine into the left arm was just like a couple of gin and tonics straight to the bloodstream – very relaxing…That is/ was a Fizik Tundra by the way. Will I be buying another one of those? No, no I won’t be…


Taken back to ambulance – stitched up and bandaged and sent to get antibiotics and painkillers from Methven pharmacy. The medic team and doctor were just so great I’m sure most people have had that super grateful feeling you get when these guys go to work and I just can’t speak highly enough of them. I didn’t get all their names sorry but one of the medics was called ‘Pav’. She did my IV and that got her her IV certificate she told me. Well I’m glad I could ‘help’. If any of those guys reads this or something thank you so so much!! Oceania organisers did a great job having these guys standing by!!    Rachel wasn’t keen to take a photo when it was proper and bloody with the muscle kind of oozing out but here it is stitched up…Not as exciting sorry but use your imagination…


Next stop going to relax the training a little. I have been working with Andrew Jameson from Fitlab on a new training plan for the 14-15 season. Lots more weight training (up from, umm, zero) and strength work and of course will be using power instead of heart rate zones for training. I’ll let all the results speak for themselves right here…steve


2 thoughts on “Wellington Cup Blue Mountains and Oceania MTB Champs

  1. Bad luck bro,what are the chances of that happening! Hope your leg comes right soon, good on you for attempting to carry on. G

  2. Oh thanks man! My best theory is that the plastic shell cracked in the middle and allowed the shell to flex enough that the rails kind of pulled out of where they enter the shell…Never seen it happen before oh well leg’s healing up. Might be able to turn a pedal on the trainer today

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