It seems quite some time since my early races in Belgium last year, riding under sunny skies and with wide-eyed wonder. I wonder how different the races here at home will feel now, after such a contrast of cultures.
|Neerpelt, my second race against the pro's|
|Formerly quite an ordinary-looking street|
Making the most of my time and the opportunities presented by a generally kind onset of winter.
I have a mixture of new and old bicycle riding necessities to take me through the next while, from my trusty Yeti ARC-X, to Mavic shoes
And a supply of Vittoria clincher tyres for general riding and in races where I'm not using my pair of Dugast tubulars
Lately I've been doing a bit of work at the Makara Peak MTB park gravelling and tidying up some of the tracks with my friend and entrepreneur Thomas. Here he is making the tank engine work.
My plan for the season has roughly taken shape, based mainly around the Bike Hutt series and a few of the NZ national series rounds. In and around Queenstown in late August there is a week of racing which includes the Winter Games NZ Cyclocross Series, so that will be the busiest part of the year. At least in New Zealand - I am hoping to arrange a period of racing in America later in the year as their season builds up, and if possible a return to Belgium for December and another taste (hopefully somewhat more acquired) of things over there. But these international plans depend an awful lot on things like money, so at the moment are looking rather limited.
On another note, it looks like we may not have a UCI-endorsed national championships this year, which is a great shame after the success of last year and the momentum that has been generated around the country. I'm looking at a way of facilitating the growth of the sport from all fronts - riders, race organisers, industry representatives and the national federation - to come up with a plan that suits everyone, in order to keep it going. There is huge potential in the sport, and already a lot of interest in New Zealand so it can't be let fizzle out. If the international success recently of some of our cross country mountain bikers is any indication, we may not be far off in 'cross if we steer it in the right direction.
Riding on a rim