I was very pleased to hear that the Ginger Ninja himself, Big Al, was organising the Bush-love-Racing Makara TT Grand-Loop-Challenge. MTBing and TTing are my two favourite things I reckon, as far as biking goes. Mostly because they don't involve wheel-sucking or sprinting.
I quickly looked up section 1.3.001 in the UCI handbook as it pertains to Time Trialling and found that so long as my wheels were the same size, then 26 inches was cool, no room for 69er or 96er bikes tho... I cursed the fact that I had removed my aero bars after the Kiwi Brevet but wasn't prepared to put them back on. My Louis Garneau Helmet and Skin-suit would have to suffice.
The Godfather himself, Marco Renalli started two places in front of me, so my plan was to try to catch him and prove that aero beats weight, an argument often held amongst roadie weeners with too much credit on their cards. Marco's new Cannondale Flash is a genuine 17 pound bike, while my Santa Cruz Superlight is 23.5. I needed to rely on the increase in wind velocity at Makara Peak to make our differing CDa's useful (Coefficient of Drag).
Al assured me that you'd have to be pretty stupid to get lost on this course, so I set out to prove him right. The 2nd fork in the track I went right... DOH! A wrong way sign... Back on track. Another fork in the track ... DOH. Short-cut, not allowed to go that way.... I was good for a while, and secretly hoping that someone would catch me so that at least I knew if I was going the right way. Eventually that person came along... Brevet buddy Mike Thomson, on his rigid, v-braked single-speed. Cool, I would tuck in behind him.... No chance... By the next unmarked corner I had lost him... and took a left, instead of going straight ahead. DOH. Back-track again. I remember doing this once in a race there so took a punt on it being the right way.
The trail up ahead must have steepened because I was starting to catch Mike, and Marco was just ahead, and seemed to have caught Ricky who was doing his "stuck in the big ring" imitation by the look of his cadence. With my suspension set on sticky (as it was the whole ride) I just tractored up the rocky intro to the Ridgeline and carefully bombed down the other side. Marco had already got off and started walking when I caught him, and I think Mike had a momentary spill which put me back in front of him again on the rough stuff.
I came around a corner to find Ricky sprawled face down in the grass looking rather still. His Bush-love Buddy Davo was there with his camera documenting the event which was great. I quickly inquired if everything was alright and carried on.
As we got onto the smooth stuff again Mike was in his element and I let him past and immediately lost him again, until I caught him..... crashed on a corner. It seems there were a few crashes in the last few kms. He remounted and stayed in front.
What a fun event. I think there was around 40 entries in the end. Thanks Al and the Bushlovers and the easter egg sponsors!
Thanks to Davo for the picture which I stole without his permission.