I'm contesting the Cyclocross World Championships!
After three years of being cooped up in New Zealand and working seemingly around the clock, Alofa and I are digging into our precious savings to take a month off to see another part of the world: the Middle East - Dubai, to be exact. We'll be there for a couple of weeks to explore by bicycle, soak up the culture and savour the ethnic food. Then we will head to the UK, where I will contest the cyclocross world champs on December 2nd.
In case you don't know what cyclocross is, here is a video introducing the sport:
I'm contesting the M70-plus age group this time. I had a crack at the CX world champs in 2018, where I finished 7th and a few minutes behind the winner and he is in my race coming up, so I have my work cut out for me. No one from NZ has ever been on the podium for any category of CX racing at the UCI world championship level, but I intend to change that.
Do I think I can win? Of course, I can win. After all, I am the back-to-back and defending UCI mountain bike masters world champion, but I confess cyclocross is proving to be a tough nut to crack, and my first foray at that level was sobering.
And, let me add, I have a lot of fun and adventure doing these crazy sports:
Getting beaten taught me many lessons I took home to work obsessively on overcoming. I've been working on them, and now is the time to return for another crack at the title.
It is difficult to prepare for an event over unique terrain and do so in little old New Zealand. In 2018 I trained for the Belgian sand by riding along Lyall Bay beach, only to be attacked and bitten by a couple of dogs! Here's the course I raced in Belgium:
Here's me a few years ago, showing how to dismount during a race:
I'm counting on the conditions in the UK to be closer to what we have in New Zealand, but I will only know when we turn up at the venue in Ipswitch.
So, we leave in a few weeks from now. I took some videos while cranking out the miles around the Wainuiomata and Wairarapa coastlines, preparing for the world (apologies for the shaky camera work).
A typical Wellington day:
My preparation has been several years in the making and, more recently, has been a mixture of big miles, intense power and sprinting, skills and competing in short-course mountain bike races. I've ridden the Orongorongo Big Coast 164-kilometre trail on consecutive weekends. Please read this article and watch the video representation of the course, then come back to this article and watch the videos:
Ps: about the video below, I'm on the East Coast - not the West Coast!
I'm making good progress through spectacular geography and scenery:
More spectacular scenery and a few comments about our modern-day greenies:
Further along the trail, no mishaps, so all is good:
Now entering what may be the toughest section of the trail:
I've made it through the roughest sections and am now on a sealed road:
Now making my way up the Rimutaka Rail Trail. It is a tough climb at the best of times:
I've made it to the swing bridge and a much-needed water supply and a few more comments about suffering:
I'm having a lunch break before the fast descent, then onto the highway back to Wellington:
After repairing a flat tyre on the motorway, I have made it home. This was the best performance at 22.8 kilometres per hour on average. In April 2017, the year before my earlier crack at the CX world champs, I averaged 16.6 Km/hr, so I'm a lot fitter nowadays. Bear in mind I am on a faster bike nowadays, but the mountain bike used in 2017 is far better suited for the rough stuff and much faster through it.
Brooklyn Hill is never easy after a day on the saddle!
The intention is that it all ends like this:
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