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Just when you thought you were out




This morning Facebook dished up a photo alleging that seven years ago I was racing my mountain bike in a Whaka 100. Or 50, I couldn’t read the number plate.

Not long after that episode, I decided I would no longer strap a number plate on to ride around trails I know so well I can draw this, mostly from memory.

But annual events are like the mafia, just when you think you are out, they pull you back in.
When one of our friends was unable to make her date with the Whaka 50, she offered me her number plate and position on the startline.

A good opportunity, I decided, to test the viability of doing a 50km xc race without a backpack, and kitted out like I would be for an after work spin. Take one bottle, and the sure knowledge of where the drinking taps are. No spares or tools, proving I do not learn from experience.

An Nzo Trail T, a pair of the latest Cruiseliners, and a pair of custom Burners.

In the right zip pocket, a phone, for recording the entire sorry outing in case I can go faster on a section of the course than usual, or more importantly, than others I knew to be like me: in the race, but not in the running for the overall win.

In the left zip pocket, a car key and a squeeze-pack of high octane glucose stuff, my only other cargo a mental note stating exactly where the squeeze-pack would be ingested.

On the day, everything went as I recall it usually does for people like me: stuck in traffic for ten ks, gapped by whippets on the first climb, slowly pick some of them off on downhill bits, eat squeezy, empty bottle. Refill at tap, relinquish five places. Slowly pick some of them off on downhill bits. Do a sad wheelie that almost but not quite clears the creek crossing, finish midpack with wet feet.

I can report that the kit performed perfectly, the phone was hardly noticeable, and the squeezy came out of the pocket and the packet went back in without me losing the car key (I checked it twice).


Dragons Tail

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