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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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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. 




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December Wrap Up

The Lake Hayes Triathlon..

took place on the 27th of December.  The race went really well for me. I swam reasonably well coming out of the water around two minutes behind the leaders. I enjoyed the bike on home roads chasing down the majority of my rivals and coming of the bike in 4th overall and 3rd in the 15-18 category. About 1km onto the run I caught a runner and pushed past putting a gap in before the turn around point. I held the gap into the finish, to finish 3rd overall and 2nd in my age group.

 Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

I have also been participating in a whole host of cycling events held by our local club on Sundays which has built my confidence loads. I have been racing A grade where I have picked up a 2nd place in the Speargrass Flat 60km Road Race, a 3rd in the Ripponvale Circuit Road Race and a 10th in the Hath’s Trophy Handicap race in which I started 30 minutes back on scratch. 


In December I was also very privileged to ride with two olympians.

The first was Annemiek Van Vleuten. Annemiek was mere kilometers from winning gold at the rio olympics before crashing on a sharp right hander on the descent which also took out some of the big names in the mens road race. She is also current and 2014 Dutch Time Trial Champion and placed 5th at the World Championship Time Trial. We rode together three times. Once just the two of us from Queenstown to Alexandra, again joined by Olympic 4th place getter and former team pursuit world champion Pieter Bulling and L&M Group Ricoh rider Guy Carter from Queenstown to Glenorchy and back and once more up the Crown Range. This experience was really awesome. 

 Reuben Thompson Outside Sports Athlete

In January I will continue to build with my training and hope to race the Dunstan Triathlon and the Dunstan Cycle Challenge as well as the club cycle races on Sundays. I will also have a new bike and gear arriving from Specialized NZ so hopefully I will back up the need for all this fancy gear with some results. 


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Belinda’s New Bike!!

Belinda’s new bike

Specialized Ruze 6 Fattie Review

 Specialized Ruze Fattie Outside Sports NZ

After hearing how stoked our customer, Belinda was with her new bike, we thought we'd ask her some questions to review the Specialized Ruze 6Fattie for you.

How have you enjoyed your new bike?

My new bike has been used to get to and from work, have a great burst of exercise on, ride over tracks to visit friends, meeting up with a group of enthusiastic riders and a new diligence for washing down and oiling the chain after a ride, when I need too!

What sort of riding are you doing/where have you been riding?

I ride along the tracks around the lake and around the district. Using some of our mountain trails and learning about the new ones to try out.


Are you riding more?

I enjoy any opportunity to be on it because the sense of freedom from traffic congestion and connecting with the outdoors are so much more realistic on a bike. The winding down time riding home after a busy day’s work are sublime.

What improvements have you noticed compared to your old bike?

My new Specialized Ruze 6 with fat tyres is awesome. The gears are easy to change, with a tap of the thumb, brakes are great, tyres make dirt tracks smooth and the seat is slick and very comfortable.

Do you enjoy biking any more?

Biking can only ever be GOOD for YOU

Get one new, bright and BLUE

Ride those trails for a BLAST

Pedal to work, be first not LAST


What is your favourite feature of the new bike?

The ease of riding it, colour, wheels, gears, handlebars all make for special features.


Any other comments?

The sales person showed an understanding for my needs and biking requirements.

Specialized Ruze 6Fattie available in store Queenstown and Wanaka, head in today and speak to our team of experienced bike mechanics to see what bike suits you, with demo's available.



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Specialized Healthy Catch Ups back for Summer 16/17

Specialized Healthy Catch Ups at Rabbit Ridge

Specialized healthy catch ups is a program for 2016 that aims to promote healthy living for females. 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!

Healthy Catch Ups Rabbit Ridge Outside Sports NZ

Outside Sports hosted social ladies rides in January, February and March 2016 which turned out to be so popular we decided to make an annual event. The first ladies ride of this summer was to go ahead at Rabbit Ridge Bike Park on the last Sunday of November, within a couple of days from the event announcement the ride was fully booked.

Rabbit Ridge Bike Park is located next to Gibbston Valley Winery and features more than 40kms of trails suitable for all levels of riders. A perfect place for anyone getting into mountain biking that wants something a bit less intimidating than a lot of the riding in Queenstown.

Healthy Catch Ups Rabbit Ridge Outside Sports NZ

As the weekend approached the forecast wasn’t looking great and early Sunday morning the rain was pouring down. Between the clouds we saw that there had been a big snowfall on the surrounding mountains –

and it’s supposed to be the start of summer!?

We decided to go with the optimistic approach and head out to meet at Gibbston Valley Winery hoping that the sun would come out and the trails would be dry. On meeting at Gibbston valley Winery, Sean from Rabbit Ride had just got back from test riding the trails with a bike caked in mud.

It was not looking promising.......

We were expecting a small turnout due to poor conditions but nearly everyone that booked showed up excited to ride– great effort! The enthusiasm from the group seemed to pay off as the sun started to peek through the clouds and the rain stopped - a ride was definitely in order.

Healthy Catch Ups Rabbit Ridge Outside Sports NZ

The call was made that Rabbit Ridge was too slippery and the Queenstown trail across the road would be a good option. The group set off to ride the loop down by the river with the possibility of coming back to the Ridge if it dried out. The trail took the group on a loop down towards the river for a cruisy ride looking out over the Kawarau. As the group rode, the sun seemed to fight its way through the clouds making for a pretty nice day! The snow on the hills made for some great scenery and everyone seemed stoked to be out riding.

There was a mix of skill levels but everyone rode as a group and the more skilled riders gave riding tips and encouragement, making for a really great environment for all. Ronan the mechanic from Outside Sports rode along at the back to fix anything that went wrong and had with him the Specialized Levo pedal assisted mountain bike which several of the ladies had a turn on which made the ride a LOT easier.

Healthy Catch Ups Rabbit Ridge Outside Sports NZ

After the river loop we got a call from Sean who had been keeping an eye on the trail conditions at Rabbit Ridge and he had good news. The lower trails had soaked up all the water and it was looking good to ride!

As we had already done a decent amount of pedalling and food and wine was on the mind, we decided some shuttle runs would be more enjoyable then riding to the top of the park. With the Outside Sports truck and the Rabbit Ridge van, the riders were taken to the top of the park for a couple of descending trails to finish the ride.

Everyone arrived back at Gibbston Valley Winery where some complimentary bottles of wine and juice were waiting for the thirsty riders. After a post ride catch up over some food and drink, the riders left with new friends and have hopefully been inspired to get out there and do more healthy social catch ups.

Healthy Catch Ups Rabbit Ridge Outside Sports NZ

Thank you to Rabbit Ridge for free access to the trails, Gibbston Valley Winery for hosting us, and all the riders who came along with such great attitudes!

Keep an eye on the Healthy Catch Ups Facebook page for information on the next ride, and feel free to use the page to organise your own healthy catch up!

Thanks to:

Specialized Healthy Catch Ups programme

Rabbit Ridge Bike Park

Gibbston Valley Winery

Cookies Coaching


Photo Credit: Meagan Lee Wilken

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