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March Wrap Up

March Wrap Up

by Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

On the first weekend of March I raced the South Island champs where I took the win for the U16 boy’s race. After a good swim I was 30 seconds back going onto the bike. The bike was 3 laps of a 5km circuit. I caught everyone on the first lap but it took me another lap to shake everyone off. I came off the bike 30 seconds up on the rest of the field before running away to take the win by more than a minute. The next weekend after that I travelled up to Wellington to compete in the U20 national champs. It was pissing down with rain and was really windy for the race which made the sea really rough for the swim. Being a weak swimmer I came out of the water almost two and a half minutes back…. This was a draft legal race and I had well and truly missed the first bunch on the bike so I rode solo passing a few stragglers but didn’t make any significant time up on any of the favourites. My legs felt really sluggish going into the run but came around in the back half. I finished in 15th, pretty disappointed. 

South Island Champs Bike

picture: South Island Champs Bike

I then had just less than three weeks to do the final tuning for my main race of the season, the NZ secondary schools champs. In the weeks leading up to the race I started surprising myself with some of my times in training and knew I was well prepared. I raced the Central Otago Cycling Club Champs Time Trial as a final wee hit out before taper. I took out my age group and the overall and also won the junior points series for the season.

The following Thursday was race day. It was the New Zealand Secondary Schools Triathlon Championships. 500m Swim, 15km Bike and a 4km Run. The swim was in the Whanganui River. Being upstream I was very nervous because I thought it would make the swim longer and give the stronger swimmers a better chance to get a gap on me. This wasn’t the case because the river is tidal and race organizers had timed it for when the tide was coming in.

I wasn’t happy with my swim but not disappointed either. I did hope to do better but came out of the water 40 seconds down on the leaders. My transition went well until I hopped on my bike. The strap on my shoe came out so I rode with one loose shoe the whole race and my aero bar pad got knocked off. The bolts on my aero bars dug into my skin exposing blood by the end of the race. Despite a little bit of panic in that first kilometre I set into a rhythm and with 24 boys in front of me I ticked all but one off in the first lap of four. I then caught first place at the end of the third lap. I didn’t think I had the legs to distance him and we had enough of a gap on the rest of the field so I rode the last lap slightly reserved so I could hopefully blitz the run.

National Champs Run

picture: National Champs Run

I biked fastest by 45 seconds to come into transition in first but only by a couple seconds after having to make up the 40 seconds from the swim. We battled out for about 3 kilometres but I lost touch and blew up a bit mentally to roll in for second place. 

National Champs Bike

picture: National Champs Bike

The following day there was an aquathlon that I didn’t intend on doing but thought I would since I was up there. I came out of the water 1:05 back in 55th and had no hope of a podium but wanted to nudge into the top 10. I ran the second fastest split to make up 47 places to finish in 8th.

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Red Bull Defiance 2017

Red Bull Defiance 2017

by Joanna Williams 

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Experiences of Team Outside Sports
and PAK'nSAVE

 

I was excited to have the opportunity to race Red bull Defiance again with Sia Svensen.  We raced together last year and previously tandem on the C2C.  It is always a fun couple of days. <

"To race locally is also a real privilege."  An opportunity to venture into areas which are otherwise hard to access!" 

As the event approached and with talk of a highly competitive field, it does make you nervous, but you just have to trust that you and your team mate have done enough to get through and you can only do your best.  So after a bike check with Outside Sports and a body Attack at body works with Kevin, there wasn’t much else I could do, apart from get race gear ready.

Sia arrived on Thursday, which was great, it gave her an opportunity to have a practice at clay bird shooting and have a bit of a rest day before the gruelling event started. Gear checks, and registration, hanging out with all these extremely fit looking athletes, can make sleep hard to get.

Day1

Off on the bus and to the barge to Minaret Station.  It was a cold overcast day, but not windy which was promising for the kayak later in the day. Great to catch up with everyone on the barge crossing, enjoying the unusual start to a race.  Then to the start line and we were off… it was all a little crazy, so many people charging on bikes, hard to keep track of team mates. It is the most stunning ride, which I always enjoy, despite the pain of getting up some of those hills, but we made it.  Then onto the run up rocky hill alternative route, it is great to find so many different ways up a hill, it was hands and feet at some points, but we made it to a point where the volunteers pointed us in the direction of the abseil, and that meant down. So it was with relief and a little inkling of cramp that we descended.  It was great to catch up with Floortje and Hamish at this point waiting for the abseil, as we had spent some time training together over the last few months.  A quick zip down and a run across some farmland to the West Wanaka bridge onto the Matukituki river and out to the lake.  The change in activity did set of a little cramp at this point for me especially if some steering was required.  But it did improve after a while. We had a few mixed teams ahead on this paddle so it gave something to chase. Although, all teams ahead were close to over shooting the buoy turn around in Glendhu, I guess when you could see Wanaka it was hard to turn off to the right! It seemed a long slow paddle, Ruby Island taking a long time to get to and then Wanaka township itself took a while... running out of steam a little towards the end…next time more liquid food for me! It was great to find we were the first female elite team over the line day1. We just hoped for as much of a buffer as possible for day2! It was 15 minutes between us and second and 20 or so between us and third.  So not much time to spare!  A clean up of gear and a look at the weather revealed southerly gales on tops with snow for the next 24 hours or so to 1400m.  Knowing Mnt Alpha was at least 1640m, I was packing my red bull duffle bag with all sorts of warm gear.  Wondered what shoes to wear in the snow!  E-mails later that evening from Sally confirmed we were in for a cold day on the tops, but that a risk of change of run coarse was a possibility.

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Day 2

We woke to snow across the hills and constant rain on the roof. At 5am we were up and about to get down to start line, check kayak and see if there was any quicker way of getting into kayak with Spray skirt ….We tried sliding in, seemed to work, starter hooter went off and Sia and I slide into our kayaks only to find I couldn’t steer, the kayak only wanted to go right! Meanwhile everyone was charging away from us, I straightened for a minute only to turn right again. So off with the spray skirt and move my pack which had jammed against the steering peddles causing it to malfunction. Then we were off trying to catch everyone, knowing we had lost valuable minutes and what’s worse, less potential for getting any drafting help.  We paddled hard and somehow made up a little time, to come in ahead of the other girls and to crawl up the hill to the clay bird shooting.  Sia went first having practiced on the Friday, and then I had a go and managed to hit a clay first shot…was delighted with myself!  I think seeing where the clay was coming from with Sia going first really helped.

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Then onto the bikes. It was incredibly wet and muddy from the start and the transition a little frantic….how many clothes to put on!!?  On up the Criffle hill with Floortje and Hamish and Simon and Misha, always fun to be around your friends, although I was told off for chatting at one point!  It seemed like a lot of climbing, but ok, then it benched out only to climb again into the southerly storm, so it was bitterly cold and even biking uphill didn’t warm you up. On with a jacket for me and then further along again Sia needed more clothes as well, so even more layers- leggings and waterproof pants, no point in getting hyperthermia!  A real risk I would have to say.  We helped each other helmet buckles etc as cold hands meant they weren’t working as they should. We had quite a few teams including Collet girls team catch up us at this point. But it was worth the change, I think it was important to keep some warmth, especially with a technical descent ahead.  It was muddy and slippy, and then there was the tall grass with big rocks to cause havoc.  So we took it carefully and made it down in one piece although Sia did have a wee head plant of the edge of the track, but soldiered on. The Cardrona River was in good flow so crossing with bikes for us was tricky, but other boys sports team came to our rescue and helped carry Sia’s bike and help her across.  I was very grateful for this.  We charged through to transition, which was slow I would say due to cold fingers and hands. It was so good to have so much support from the locals at the transitions.  The last leg was altered to an 18km run up towards Alpha and then cutting down avoiding the ridge top travel where the snow was quite thick and the southerly was raging at ridge top.  It still had the main climb up which always seems to be hard going.  Again on stopping to delayer the girls were right on our tails, so we had to keep moving.  It is great to have some close racing to keep us on our toes, quite literally I’d have to say.  On up to the first saddle to a ridge and then on up to get the main ridge to see the Volunteers on the top, wow they were amazing as it was really very cold up there- thanks so much! Steve Hannon in particular on a very exposed cold spot!   Then it was turn right down the ridge line and fence line to the track which leads us down to Waterfall creek.  It was an enjoyable run down with Lake Wanaka looking stunning with snow on the hills and a flat calm lake. I guess you could see the finish line at this point, you could certainly hear it.  But we were still a wee way off.  It was a fun run down hill, down waterfall creek to the lake to follow it around for a further 4 km to the finish line.  

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We knew we were getting chased down and thought Julia and Kristy would be fast along the lake front, so we tried to keep the legs turning over at some speed to get us home!  We made it and were delighted to take home the women’s title again this year.  Thanks to Red Bull Defiance for another great event and to all the Volunteers and the locals support, it really helps to get us to the finish line.  Thanks to Sia for pushing so hard and for being a fabulous team mate.  Thanks to Outside Sports for the ongoing support and for keeping my trusty Specialized stead on track and in good health.  Thanks also to PAK'nSAVE, always very supportive.  It was a very tough race made harder by conditions, the cold and the snow just made it even more of an adventure out there.

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February Wrap Up

by Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

"February was a real breakthrough"

with some pretty spectacular performances as my form is starting to show going into the final month of my Tri season. I started the month with two A Grade club race wins two weekends in a row. The worst race was up coronet peak where I won by several minutes. I then won again the following week after attacking on a sharp hill with about 3km to the finish and held my advantage all the way to the end.

 Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

I had two of my more important races of the season on the 18th and the 24th. The 18th was the Wanaka Round of the New Zealand 16-19 junior series. Having only turned 16 three days prior I was one of the youngest in the field. After a pretty trashy swim I was around 2 minutes down on the leaders. Then I had my work cut out on the bike where I rode the fastest bike split by a minute to get into 5th. My run was a really good one. Got from 5th to finish on the podium in 3rd.

 Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

On the 24th was the Southland Secondary Schools Champs. I had a relatively good swim coming out 28 seconds down. My bike and run were really quick and I biked over two minutes faster than my nearest competitor and then over one minute faster in the run to take the win.

February 26th was the first round of the Calder Stewart Elite series held in Cheviot. The course was 137km with one very steep climb to face 5 times throughout the day.

"I was the youngest rider racing and the only under 17 racing against seasoned pros like James Oram and Brad Evans."

The first 2 laps were fine as I rolled along in the group saving energy but halfway through the third lap I got a bit excited and jumped on the gas a bit on the climb and then rolled some hard turns on the flats. This took its toll on the final lap when I blew up a bit and fell off the back of the bunch to ride the final 20km solo. I am still happy to have finished as the tough course whittled the field down from 80+ starters to 43 finishers. It really was a valuable experience and a lot of learning done out there.

I was also pretty cool to be riding as a team in our rather slick looking kit from Champion System, Central Benchmakers, The O'Brien Group and Willbike Cycle Coaching. And as ever thanks to Specialized Bicycles, Outside Sports and Southern Sports Podiatry for the continual support.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

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Godzone – go team Slice of Heaven!

by Casey Brown

“Welcome to our team 'Slice of Heaven'! We are pretty much 4 people that love running and exploring and somehow managed to talk ourselves into this crazy bloody race. Made up of 2 mums, a track guide and a personal trainer we simply hope not to be short coursed and cross the finish line talking to each other. 

WhereAdventuresBegin

With ultra off road running as our backgrounds the thought of sitting on a bike grinding up large climbs wasn't too appealing to begin with. Battling our way through on 10-15year old bikes made initial stages of training really tough! And then came the Ruze Expert 6Fattie.... we love , love, love our fatties! They are like sitting  on a lazy boys. Great mobility on single downhill trails, will beat any 29 up hill, roll efficiently on the road and are easy on the butts off road. 

WhereAdventuresBegin

Follow our 3 fatties and a skinny around the unknown course starting on Feb 25th! We are team #73. Yell loudly if you see us going around in circles....

Thanks Outside Sports Te Anau and Andy's Bike Shop for looking after us and our bikes!! 

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January Race Wrap Up

January Race Wrap Up

 By Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

In January I continued to build on my training, clocking in my biggest bike week ever as well as a good block of swimming and running. I was very privileged to do some training with Youth Olympic Triathlon Champion Aaron Barclay and now have Aaron helping me out with my triathlon plan and am also on board with the Willbike Cycle Coaching Team with James Williamson.
Even more exciting was the arrival of my new bike, a 2017 S-Works Tarmac. It is incredible! 

 Outside Sports athlete

Aboard my old steed I raced three final times in January. My first race was on the 2nd of January, the Dunstan Tri. I came away with third place in the “under 18 category” and fifth place overall.
The second race was the Dunstan Cycle Challenge. The 96 km race was a bit of a battle after missing the break. I worked quite a lot to keep the pace high in the chase group. With five guys out in front I was sprinting for the sixth place overall and for the second under the age of 20 in the final. After two hours and 20 minutes of racing I put in a pretty poor sprint to take the 11th place overall, but the second place under 20 in a field of 170 riders.
My final race on my 2016 Specialized Tarmac Expert was an 80km club handicap race from Hawea to Makarora and back. I was on scratch 33 minutes back on the first group off. Our five man group worked well to catch up with the riders ahead around 40km in. This was only a small bunch of riders though and there still a few groups up ahead. Two really quick A grade riders rode away to claim first and second while I soloed for 35km before catching all but one other rider. I was now in a three up sprint for fourth place and I came away with fifth in what was probably the hardest two hours of riding I’ve ever done.
 

My new bike started off sharply. My first ride on it was from Queenstown to Wanaka and back and aside from the rain and some snow on the top of the crown range it was great fun. I raced it the following day at the Cromwell to Alexandra handicap race. Again placed on scratch our four man group had to make up 27 minutes to the leaders over 39km. I came close to catching them but fell short by around 200 meters. I did however take the fastest time of the day after attacking on a short but steep hill to ride away solo from my group. My last race of January was a 35km mountain bike from Clyde to Bannockburn through farmland with 993 meters of climbing. I surprised myself to come away with 3rd place ahead of some very big fit lads who were on form one week out of The Pioneer. 

 Outside Sports athlete

In February I will be racing the first race of my secondary schools season at the southland secondary schools triathlon champs as well as the challenge Wanaka sprint tri as part the NZ Junior try series. I will also be riding for the first time as part of the Central-Benchmakers Willbike Cycle Team in Round 1 of the Calder Stewart Cycling Elite Series. 

 

 #WhereAdventuresBegin

 

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