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Nationals Road Cycling

Alexandra hosted the 2016 Vittoria Club Road Race Nationals.

There was a road race and a time trial for all ages to compete in, from U15 to masters. I didn’t have the best time in the time trial on the first day. I was 23rd in the U17 race but 6th of the kids in the first year of the two year age bracket.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

The road race was on Day 2. It was 60km with a semi hilltop finish (up a then a 400m flat to the line).

The race was incredibly close with pretty much all the boys together to the base of the hill. I sat at the back for most of the first two and a half laps before coming through the bunch to the front. I hit the hill right at the front of the bunch and started pushing the pace. I got passed by a few guys who attacked and took a bit to catch them again.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

We rode towards the top and on the bend there was a crash.

As the crash happened another attack went off and me and 12 boys went with it. One was dropped and then we started to split. I didn’t have the sprint and the group split before the finish. I placed 11th and 4th out of the first year guys.

I couldn’t be more happy with how far I’ve come this year.

I was 25th at Nationals last year and that was in my proper age group. Couldn’t thank Outside Sports, Thijs Hubber and my parents for all the help this season. My bike is pimping. I will be going up to Christchurch for South Island Champs in July to begin next season.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

By Reuben

Photo Credit: Barking Cat Photography. 

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Last Triathlon of the season

The National Triathlon Championships

My last triathlon of the season was the national triathlon champs where I participated in the Individual Tri, the Teams Tri and the Individual Aquathon. 

I placed 4th in the Tri where I had concentrated my effort over the other two events.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports NZ

It was my first year in the age group, racing U14 last year so I’m really stoked with my race.

My bike set up was really good and the bike course suited me well with the descent climb at the start of each lap. I had another really solid bike split, to my advantage it was on home ground at Jacks Point, meaning I could get a lot of training in prior to the event. Saying that, there was a course change which I only found when I started the race so my splits were off my training times and goal times but the more time on the bike the better!

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports NZ

I came out of the swim in 25th so I had work to do!

I pushed the bike and came off in 8th. The run was going be hard as I had a big pack of boys on my heels that I had passed on the bike. I had got to 4th by start of the second and final lap where we were straight up the hill again. 

At the top of the hill I looked back to a bunch of at least 10 boys and knew I had work ahead of me.

I attacked the downhill with the support of Joe Cheifetz (who manned the drink station) as my main motivator and only had 500m to the finish. I had broken the pack down and starting to form a gap before the finish line. There was some confusion at the line with placing's because of penalties etc. I had got 4th and equivently 2nd if there was a U15 age group.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports NZ

The teams tri went great too, I didn’t have the freshest legs though after the smashing that morning. The Aquathon (Swim-Run) went well to but after the swim I was well back and had no bike to catch me up, I was useless. I was 24th out of the water and made up 8 spots in the run to finish in 13th. On the positive I was 7 seconds off the fastest run split so I know where the work needs to be done for next season.

So that’s it for the tri season. I have the NZ road cycling champs next week and I’m not really sure how well I’ll do as I am yet to race age group cycling since mid year last year.

A huge thanks to Thijs Hubber at Protégé Coaching for the work he’s done with me, I wouldn’t be where I am without him and Outside Sports for my one and only love - my Specialized Tarmac. 


By Reuben Thompson

Photo Credit: Barking Cat Photography 

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Butcher & Slaughter Grid tyres.


I’ve been running a Butcher grid front and Slaughter or Butcher rear (Slaughter for most things, Butcher when things are really wet, or really deep dust) for the last two seasons on my Specialized Enduro 29.

"They offer the perfect balance of weight, sidewall support and puncture protection for the type of riding I do".

I have used these tyres for everything from racing and DH runs in the bike park to back country missions and they have yet to let me down. I did flat one once, but I had let the sealant dry up and they tyre sealed up once I put some fresh stuff in there.

Tom Lamb Outside Sports Bike Ambassador NZ

Photo Credit: James Clark

At around 1kg per tyre (for the 29” size) they aren’t the lightest out there, but I am willing to sacrifice a bit of weight for the stability the stiffer sidewall offers along with the confidence to push them hard when things get chunky.

The only downsides I have come across are that when the mud gets really thick both of these tyres fall down a little, the butcher doesn’t shed the mud well enough and the Slaughter doesn’t have the tread to deal with it, however I have some Hillbilly Grid tyres coming for the winter so hopefully the carcases will be just as tough but they will deal with the thick mud a little better.

Tom Lamb Outside Sports Bike Ambassador NZ

The only other point about Specialized Grid tyres is that there are two levels of Grid casing with Butchers, Slaughters and Hillbillys sporting the heavy duty Grid casing and Purgatorys, Ground Controls and Fast Traks coming in a lighter weight version. Better for the weight consious who still need some protection but not quite as resilient as my favorites.

By Tom Lamb


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Young Athlete Reuben takes on the Triathlon Champs

Triathlon Champs

Outside Sports sees a big future ahead for local Queenstowner, Reuben Thompson. We are hugely impressed by his riding ability at such a young age and look forward to supporting and following him on his journey.

Here's what he had to say about his recent competition, the South Island Secondary Schools Triathlon:

On Sunday 6th of March I competed in the South Island Secondary Schools Triathlon Champs. I was racing with the older boys in the U16 age group after racing in U14 last year. I came out of the water dead last.... Probably my worst swim ever! I hadn't realized that yet however and jumped on my bike feeling pretty good.

It was my first race on my new Specialized Tarmac and it flew!!

Ruben Thompson Athlete Outside Sports NZ

I passed all the stragglers and caught to the third bunch at the start of the second lap. I did some work for them for half a lap before making my move for the second group. I didn't quite catch them but had made up some serious time.

I had the fastest bike split of the day but still had some work as I was still back in 8th. I ran pretty good and got back to 5th before the finish. I'm pretty happy with the result, I did better than I thought I would for the age group and the competition there.

Ruben Thompson Athlete Outside Sports NZ

My new Tarmac was absolutely flawless.

The feel was amazing and the stiffness was something completely different to my previous bikes. I am racing again next week at the Southland Secondary Schools Triathlon Champs in the U16's. I would definitely like to win and its doable with a good bike and run but my swimming isn't up to scratch with the other guys yet....

Huge thanks to Bryn, Jacques and Outside Sports for all the new gear and my Specialized BG fit. 

By Reuben

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Healthy Catch Ups at Rabbit Ridge

What is Healthy Catch Ups?

Specialized bike company has put together a program for 2016 that aims to promote healthy living for females, it has been called Healthy catch Ups. The program asks leading Specialized retailers around the world to organise social cycling experiences for women that are about friendship, fitness and fun. The initiative aims to inspire people to get out there, discover new experiences with friends –and have lots of fun along the way!

Outside Sports Queenstown, as a local Specialized supplier, has organised ladies social rides on the last Sunday of every month for summer 2016. These social rides hope to bring a mixed group of females together in an enjoyable healthy setting– and the first ladies ride did exactly that.

Sunday 31st January was a beautiful blue-bird day

perfect conditions for Outside Sports first Healthy Catch Up. By 10.30am the carpark at Gibbston Valley Winery was filled by 30 ladies and their bikes, all looking forward to a day on the trails. Once gathered, Alex from Rabbit Ridge Bike Park led the group through the vineyard and up the hill to ‘the Hub’ of the bike area. At the Hub, Outside Sports bike mechanic, Jaques checked over the bikes and fixed any problems. There was also a range of Specialized bikes to test including ladies specific bikes, full suspension bikes, and half-fat tyre bikes.

“Great level of track, something for everyone.” 

With Alex’s advice, the ladies went out form the Hub and explored the 40km of single track. There was a great mix of experienced and beginner riders and people went out in groups so everyone could ride with people of a similar skill level. Plenty of laughs were had and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun riding the trails and socialising at the Hub.

Specialized Ladies ride Rabbit Ridge and Outside Sports NZ

Photo Credit: Sarah McIlwrick

“I had a great time. Biking was really good fun. I’m not an advanced biker at all, I didn’t feel excluded by my lack of experience which is great. Highly recommend”

After a couple hours of exploring the trails and soaking up the sun, it was time to cool down at Gibbston Valley Winery for a well-earned lunch. The ladies descended back down to the starting point and gathered around two large tables at the Gibbston Winery for a delicious lunch of platters and wine. The table was full of chatter and laughter while the ladies ate and drank. Comments were made such as “Excellent way to get a group of ladies together who don’t know each other” and “A lovely way to finish with food”.

Specialized Ladies ride Rabbit Ridge and Outside Sports NZ

The day succeeded in showing a variety of people how enjoyable a healthy day out can be (besides the wine maybe) and hopefully encouraged a group of people to get out on their bikes more often.

Thanks to all the ladies who attended, Rabbit Ridge for the use of their trails, Gibbston Valley Winery for the amazing lunch, and Specialized Bikes.

Follow upcoming events for Healthy Catch Ups on the Facebook Page.

#HealthyCathUps #WhereAdventuresBegin

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