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April Wrap Up

April Wrap Up

by Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

After competing at the national triathlon champs at the end of March I now put my focus into riding for a month and doing some really competitive bike racing. These races were the Tour De Lakes and the Te Awamutu Junior Tour. The Tour De Lakes is a four day tour with two stages per day except day one. I was racing in A Grade and thought I was in to get my butt kicked.

Day one was a criterion in Cromwell, 30 mins plus 3 laps. I raced from the front the whole race although Matt Zenovich broke away to take the win and the first intermediate sprint. At 15 minutes there was a sprint and I won the bunch sprint for the points. I felt great and was waiting for the fast guys to up the pace but I was in the mix the whole time at the front. In the final sprint I positioned myself really bad but managed to take 3rd from the bunch sprint and put myself into 4th on the stage and overall. I was also sitting second on sprint points.

The following morning started with an 82km road race from the Remarkables to Five Rivers. At the start of the race I had a team mate up the road in a three man breakaway so I sat at the front controlling the pace to try and let him get away. Unfortunately for my team mate we caught him and one of his breakaway companions whilst the other stayed out for the intermediate sprint. I lead the bunch sprint to get second in the intermediate sprint. The bunch then sat up for a wee bit before another break went with a teammate of mine in it again. They got the KOM points and stuck all the way to the finish for Tim Rush to take out the stage. The main bunch then split up on Jolly’s Hill but five of us got away from the rest. I rolled through in that group of five about 30 seconds down on the breakaway. I was now sitting in 5th on GC 30 seconds back on first place. A quick lunch and we were off on another 80km stage from Five Rivers too Manapouri. Matt Zenovich and Tim Rush really ramped up the pace into a ferocious crosswind ripping the bunch apart. I was two wheels from making the vital break of five men. I was left in between the main bunch and the break in a three man group. The break got away and we got left straggling before the bunch caught us. The race was neutralized because of the winds and in amongst all of the chaos stuff happened and all the riders in the bunch got handicapped because the breakaway continued racing. I was also given a penalty that put me back to the bunch behind ours at 17 minutes back putting me out of all contention on general classification.


The following day was a time trial which I took easy to save my energy for the following stages. Sunday afternoon was another 80km stage from Te Anau to Five Rivers and the break went reasonably early and the bunch was happy to just roll the whole stage before bringing the break back in the final five km before a sprint finish. This stage was great because it was really just a two hour spin out of the legs and I rolled in 5th on the stage. Monday morning presented itself with the Coronet Peak climb. I hit the base of the climb reasonably hard for the first kilometre before some other riders tried to up the pace. The pace started to slow so I attacked and went solo for 500 odd meters before being caught by the three riders that were left in the bunch. I rode on the front keeping the pace high before we hit the steepest pitch of the mountain with about 2.5km to go. I went hard into the pitch dropping Matt Zenovich. It was just Tim Rush left to beat and the stage was mine. At the top of the steep pitch where it flattened out I ramped up the pace again and rode solo from there to the finish. I put 17 seconds into Tim and 29 into Matt. I was awarded the most aggressive rider on the stage and the James Faulding Memorial Trophy.

The final stage was a lumpy 42km from Glenorchy to Moke Lake. In the first 5km a break was established with two of my teammates in it. Again I sat at the front controlling the pace so they could get away. They took out a big lead and placed 2nd and 3rd on the stage. I felt in control on all of the hills and gave it a nudge on the climb out of Wilson’s bay. Tim Rush came with me and we left the rest of the bunch behind. On the downhill on the other side Matt Zenovich and Josh Haggerty bridged across to us. On the final climb up Moke Lake road I felt good but got a bit confused on where the finish line was and left it too late and Matt Zenovich jumped around to take 4th and I placed 5th. 

I then put in some more final training before heading up to Cambridge to participate in the Te Awamutu Junior Tour.

This was a three stage tour across two days. Day 1 had a 9km Individual Time Trial and a 54km Road Race. The time trial went okay for me. I finished in 12th. Stage 2 I went off the front with one other rider and we contested for the sprint points as we rode through the first intermediate sprint. I got second the first time around before the bunch reeled us in again. For the second intermediate sprint I went solo about 8km before the sprint and got a gap out to around 45 seconds to get all the points before being reeled in yet again. I then tried my luck to get away again a few times but this times nothing sticking. I rolled through the finish with the front group and went into the sprinters green jersey with a 3 point lead. The final stage was an 86km road race over a very hilly course. Around 6km in an attack went over the top of one of the main climbs getting a break of about 10 boys. I picked up third on the first of the three intermediate sprints. As we continued on the hills boys were slowly dropping off including my main competition for the green jersey. On the second intermediate sprint I picked up second and needed one more second place to secure the jersey.

Then at the base of a hill I dropped my chain and it got caught underneath my chain catcher.

This meant I had to stop and get off my bike to get it out before continuing. I jumped on and chased my hardest but we were only 8km from the final sprint and the pace in the front group was high. I got caught by the main group 10km or so from the finish and at this point I was very tired. I had one last go at the end but this was unsuccessful and I rolled through in the main bunch. The front group had split up and the time gaps were reasonably big so the top three from the break were the top on general classification at the end of the stage. Was really disappointing for me because it meant I missed out on a potential top 5 on GC and the sprint jersey. I finished 9th out from the 59 boys who raced.


I have also received the exciting news that I will be making the move to Cambridge on July 23rd to board at St Peters School. This move will be great for my training as well as my education.

The school is stacked with facilities that will help me thrive as an athlete and student. I really can’t wait. 


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Cardrona Valley’s New Bike Park

Cardrona Valley’s New Bike Park

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Yesterday’s winds didn’t deter a bunch of local freeride mountain bikers from checking out the new downhill jump park that has been constructed in the Cardrona Valley.

The nearly-finished bike park, consisting of over 30 jumps, all varying in size, has been built somewhat under the radar over the past few months. Yesterday was the first real “test” day, even though it wasn’t open to the public.

With Queenstown pro riders (Kelly McGarry, Conor Macfarlane and others) in attendance, plus a select few Wanaka locals, the freshly shaped track was well ridden in. The gusty winds meant riders had to hold back a little on the big jumps, or just pick their moments perfectly.

One of the two-man building team, Jamie Thompson, said: “The track is designed to minimise braking and pedaling, which allows riders to flow from one jump to the next with out having to change speed constantly. This means less braking bumps too.”

“Local riders have been waiting for a solid jump line for ages in this area. We’re filling that gap. There’s nothing else like this in Queenstown or Wanaka.” – said Jamie.

Queenstown pro rider Kelly McGarry - cardrona valley bike park

Queenstown pro rider Kelly McGarry finding gap in the wind

Wanaka local rider Rusty getting it done on the wall ride feature at the top

Wanaka local rider Rusty getting it done on the wall ride feature at the top

The jumps varying in size from 5-30 feet and are well-built with flow and safety in mind. Almost all the jumps on the track are roll-able, with options to go bigger and bigger as your confidence increases. Most of the jumps are built as step-ups, so the consequences of coming up short are minimal, and many of them have a hip-like option to jump into the bank on the side. The only two features that require full commitment are the ‘road gaps’, but it is possible to ride around both of these.

The track begins on the Snow Farm / Proving Grounds access road and finishes in the valley bottom. With no signage as yet, it’s hard to spot the entrance and the exit is even more discreet. Those keen to pop up and take a look will get the best view of the track from the 3km mark on the access road. But don’t be tempted to take any sneaky laps just yet, it’s still lambing season and the track has multiple gates across it, all under lock and key.

cardrona valley bike park top section

The top section of the track

cardrona valley bike park bottom section

The bottom section, from afar

The man behind the plan is Scott Jones, who is a relation by marriage to the well-known Lee Family. Scott is aiming to have the park ready and open to the public within the next few weeks and has plans to cater to both groups and individuals.

They plan to offer a pay-per-person shuttle service on weekends and possibly on a Wednesday evening, then a half day hire option for groups. The expected rates will be $300 for self-shuttle or $400 with the shuttle. Portaloos and a BBQ will be available at the bottom of the track.

Watch out for their Facebook page coming real soon!

cardrona valley bike park drop in

All the test riders waiting to drop in

Queenstown Bike Taxis at cardrona valley bike park

The good fellas from Queenstown Bike Taxis helping out with shuttles

riders at ardrona valley bike park

Riders looking pretty happy with the shape of features

cardrona valley bike park

BBQs at the bottom

Check out our bike rentals in Queenstown and Wanaka. Our local expert bike mechanics can also book you on the Queenstown Bike Taxi or provide some advice on local trails in the area.

Reference: 360queenstown-wanaka

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Skyline Queenstown MTB Early Opening

We are excited to share the news that the Queenstown Skyline Mountain Bike track will be opening early. This recent stretch of amazing weather in Queenstown, New Zealand, has allowed them to prepare the tracks ahead of schedule. Skyline NZ will be opening the doors for Mountain Biking on Thursday the 18th of September. 

Please note that between the dates of 18th September to the 24th of September, Skyline Gondola access for all Mountain Bikers will be between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. The afternoon half-day session will also be between these hours.

From the 25th of September, Skyline will resume the AM and PM, 4 hour sessions for the 2014/2015 season. 

Check out the new ThunderGoat trail, Skylines new mountain trail that opened earlier this year

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