The Karapoti Classic is the longest running MTB race in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere, with the 2020 event on 29th February marking the 35th anniversary. It would be my 4th time racing and my first time since 2014 when I set the current course record of 2hrs 07min 57sec. I had my sights set on breaking that record in 2020 and with great weather leading in the course was looking fast and dry. I drove up with my girlfriend a couple of days before and crossed on the ferry from Picton to Wellington, the first time I had made the drive up the coast in years! It brought back some great memories of heading up north to race as a youngster.
Unfortunately on the morning of the race the heavens opened up and the rain poured down. I quickly switched out my XR1 tyres for some Bontrager XR3’s to handle the slop and switched from a 36T chaining to a 34T. It made for a busy morning as I was also playing mechanic and setting up my girlfriend’s bike to handle the wet weather but once I was out on course I was very grateful for the added grip and gearing!