Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Look! Up there on the Trails…….. It’s some Chicks! Doing hucks! It’s Suuuuuuppppeeerrr V!

With such a dramatic entrance I feel I’ll need to write a rather good entry to do justice to the brilliantness of the Super V in Wellytown last weekend.  My lovely friend Michelle provided me with a much coveted GE Bodybag to transport my bike (and to be honest also taught me the skills to ride the Super V), so much thanks to her.

I got up at the abominable hour of 5:50am on Saturday and loaded bags into car and bike onto rack and we were off to the airport. It was the work of moments once there to remove the front wheel, insert the fork and brake spacers, put the bike into the bag, carefully insert the front wheel and then pack my shopping bag of clothes etc inside. Want one of these rather badly.

The flight to Wellington was nice, with some gorgeous ground fog adding a mystical element to the sunrise. Soon it was a smooth landing in Wellington and in no time I was meeting the lovely Jo (thanks for picking me up so early) and we were on our way to her house.

We had time to spare so plenty of chillaxing and catching up (and cat snuggling) went on. Then it was on with my rather stunning (read hideous) interpretation of a skin suit and off to rego. The weather in Welly was perfect and after checking in we were soon loading our bikes onto the shuttle and heading up the hill with a mad Irishman driving. Unfortunately there was a little holdup as the road we were using was also being used for a longboard race.
Chick shuttlez

These crazy boys, men and a couple of hardcore chicks barrel downhill, round corners and over bumps on brakeless death machines. Crazy! It was actually pretty fun to watch and gave me the chance to introduce myself to my sometime boss, and superlative photographer – Caleb from Spoke.
When we finally made it to the top we were all soon off down the hill on the extremely long course. The first few hundred metres were by far the most technical and I quickly discovered my front brakes weren’t quite bedded in yet as I skidded and slalomed down the damp steep grass.  My first run down the hill was pretty tentative, I’ve never ridden these trails before and there is plenty of exposure on the right hand side of most of the track so all the blind left hand corners were taken at quite low speed.
Photo: Shane Wetzel. The less said about this the better

After the first stretch of down we were soon into the rather unwelcome climbing section. It just seemed to go on and on and a couple of the pinches were so steep I couldn’t ride them. Oh well. The lower section was bliss, really fast and swoopy, weaving through tightly spaced trees, some fast flowing corners, some tight slow switchbacks and lots and lots of down. By the bottom my back was killing me, but I was grinning and I’d come down in about 43 minutes, fairly standard for the majority of the field.

With the course being that long Jo and I agreed that one practice run was enough so we sat down to some lunch and chatting. I met loads of cool chicks and we talked on and on about bikes for the next hour while enjoying the sun. My idea of bliss.
Photo: Caleb Smith

Then it was race briefing time, numbers were allocated, toilet stops were made in the bushes and shuttles were loaded. Up the top the views were stunning, but a rather biting breeze had us cowering in the lee of a large concrete structure till it was our turn to go.
A stunning Wellington day to be riding in the hills

As I rolled off the line onto the dreaded slippy grass I immediately knew my front brake was working perfectly now and actually felt in control. Confidence up I gathered speed and felt that amazing feeling you get when you’re one with the bike. I could tell I was going much faster and did my best to power up the climbs. I still had to run a couple, but I knew I was giving it everything so that’s ok. Down the stretch called Rollercoaster I was flying, not literally, no jumps for me, but as on the first run I overcooked the speed into the turn and ended up track standing millimetres from the turn arrow. Bugger.

At this point I could hear the brakes of the woman behind me and I knew she was reeling me in on the ups so I really dug deep. Not deep enough though and I was gutted when she called to pass just as the climby bits were nearly over. As I struggled up the last bit she put a small gap in and I thought to myself “You better be fast on the downs lady or I’m going to have to repass you.” And as it turned out that’s exactly what happened. Once all the climbing was over I was completely in the zone and riding right at the edge of my comfort zone. It felt awesome. I made a muppety repass and soon I was reeling in the woman in front and passing her. By the time I got to the bottom I wanted more. I’d taken about 3 minutes off my time and was a stoked little chicken.
Photo: Caleb Smith, thanks for making me look comparatively good! You truly have the madcore photo skillz

As the final riders came in Jo and I loaded our bikes into the car for a quick post-prize giving get away and I was glad to get out of my not very flattering, but fun outfit. Note however that bike shorts under jeans are not really very comfortable. The prizing giving was amusing and I was very pleased to come away with a souvenir  bottle of home brew for travelling the further to attend.

I was shattered, it’s the first time I’ve raced that hard for that long in a couple of years and I loved it. That evening was spent catching up with the lovely Jude and Shane, and snuggling with Cinti. In fact today’s cute kitteh pic(s) are of the lapnapper himself. Cinti is a super friendly, playful, purring machine and I loved spending time with him. Jo is lucky to have such an awesome man in the house.

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