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March 3rd, 2020

2020 Karapoti Classic

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!

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In true Karapoti fashion, the start was a mad dash across the river before heading up the Karapoti Gorge and into the thick of things. After the river, I managed to escape with Cameron Jones and Sam Shaw up the Karapoti Gorge as we rode away from the chasers. Once we hit the steep ‘warmup’ climb I was able to drop them and ride away solo. I had a good clean race but the course was running too slow to be on for record pace.  We were about 2 minutes off already by the top of the warmup climb 30 minutes in so I turned my focus to making sure I took the win which I was able to do in a time of 2hr:15:51. It was great to finally be able to make it back and I can’t wait to come back again for a good crack at the record!

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Cycling has always been a huge part of my life as I have been riding ever since I could walk. I see mountain biking as an adventure and a challenge.
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There are many things I love about mountain biking – the people you meet, the skills you need, the concentration it requires, race strategy, the opportunities to explore new places and countries.
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