Click Below To Donate Online

Hey everyone, I have set up a paypal account for donations through the website so I am taking the opportunity to let you know that if you would like to assist me in getting to the World Cup Series in April 2016 with the aim of representing New Zealand in the 2016 Olympic Games you can do so by clicking the “Donate” button. The set financial support I currently receive is from New World and Mitchell Mackersy Lawyers and get my bikes from Giant Bikes New Zealand through the NZXC Racing Team. In addition Reon and I are both working plus holding events to try to raise the funds to compete.

There is no limit, every little bit helps and would be hugely appreciated! If businesses would like to donate I am GST Registered so they would be eligible for tax benefits. Thank you, Kate.

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The Pioneer

Find stunning, find character, find welcome. What the Pioneer promised and what the Pioneer delivered. It has taken me a while to get to this write up on The Pioneer because to be honest it took a while to remember and realise what exactly we had just accomplished!! 7 days of racing, 569km, 15,273m of climbing.. looking at those numbers week after week (15,000m of climbing!!!) I felt pretty anxious about 1. Could my body handle this? Not only riding that distance but racing it?! And 2. Would this ruin me for the rest of the season? Both of these thoughts playing on my mind were only going to become clear if I did it. So we did it! New World Saint Martins were our sponsors and Mark Williams and I were team New World. I found a lot of comfort in Willys experience and that fact he is such a good guy, to be honest I was a little worried he was going to see the rage from me if/when I couldn’t keep up, surprisingly he only saw it once and I managed to use it pretty blimmin well!
I won’t go through each stage but I will outline the plan for the week – to stick together, to support each other when one of us was flat and have a great time doing so. 1st mixed team on every stage and therefore overall and a 6th, a couple of 5th’s and a 4th saw us finish in 5th overall. Mission complete!
Some stats came out from am Australian mountain biking magazine I think it was, that Willy and I were the only team to stick within 2 seconds of one another over the entire week. Another story I heard of came from one of the teams who we were often racing closely with – Glen and Shane. Shane came up to Glen and asked what his favourite colour was.. Glen was thinking “seriously Shane? Why are you asking me that were racing?” He replied well Kate and Willy are chatting, just thought it would be nice if we did the same. Ha ha! (some of the specific details might be slightly different to this but this is how I recall Glen telling me) I don’t remember having a lot of chat with Willy during the race, PLENTY of banter before and after but I am glad we came across that we were having a fun time. Willy has received the nickname “Dad” which has stuck quite nicely. Can’t thank him enough for the epic week.
Another aspect that needs to be pointed out is the organisation of the event. The Lagardere team did an amazing job. The event villages, 400 tents went up and down each day, the food, the courses, the bubbly friendly stuff, the amazing volunteers, the awards ceremony; I honestly don’t think I can fault the organisation, commitment and friendly crew that made this event happen and for its first year running I seemed to be a huge success. It definitely holds all the right ingredients to make it be rated up there with the best stage racers in the world and think next year it will attract many more international riders.

Thanks Duncan Philpott for the cool action shot!

 

The goods that got me through. You need gear you can trust and nutrition you know that works for you.

The Giant Anthem Advanced, Squirt chain lube and Barrier Balm, Pure Sports Nutrition, Rebel Food Nutri Bombs, Camelbak and GU Energy Nutrition.   

 

So what is next.. The Pioneer is over and its back to the reality of work, training and house chores! I have just finished a two week recovery block and had my first proper training session today. It was quite tough! The effects of the 7 days have definitely caught up with me but it has been a truly epic base training block with speed left to work on.

The Motatapu is coming up on the 5th March which I am going to do my best to break my own record, hopefully the conditions give me every opportunity to do so this year! I really enjoy this race, it is where it all started for me and I love going back and seeing everybody getting involved and I really admire people who are out there doing it.
In March we have the National Champs and Oceania Champs in Cardrona and Queenstown respectively which I will be racing but with it being Olympic year I have to ensure the focus is on the international season. The first World Cup is in Cairns, so not far to travel for us kiwis which is great! We are home for a month after that then heading off for the European block toward the end of May. It is around this time I will know the outcome of the Olympic Games situation. All I can do until then is continue to train hard, do my best to remain healthy and race the best I can on the day!
Thank you for the continued support. I love thinking about the backing I have and it continues to motivate me.

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When it doesn’t go to plan..

I’m not going to lie, after Mont Sainte Anne I was concerned, after Windham I thought the only thing left to do was to get back on a plane and fly home to New Zealand. It took a great deal of reminding words and encouragement from Reon not to do so. It wasn’t because I wanted to quit, in my mind I was thinking of the big picture and I have seen and heard of many people dig themselves a hole when it starts going wrong.
I have always been told to listen to my body and coming into Mont Sainte Anne and Windham for that matter I felt fine. I had good times in training on the tracks and was riding them well. Mont Sainte Anne was a very technical course with very steep climbs – it was very challenging but I was really pleased with how I rode the features.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec,                                   Canada.

Windham in particular I was thinking it would suit me well with one long climb and one long descent, I was expecting to have a good race.

Looking back I think Mont Sainte Anne was a hint of what was to come at Windham. Reon said I did not look myself on the climbs at all, and when I hit the descents my body was so tired I could hardly ride them.
There was the question am I under trained or over trained? After in depth discussions with my coach Sam, and analysis of race data he said my body is exhausted from the months and months of intensity and racing – the other Aussie girls are currently experiencing the same thing so it shows how hard it is to do a Southern Hemisphere season and the straight over to Europe to begin the international season. I am finding comfort from my earlier results as at least it shows I can be up there.
If nothing else this is a great learning experience for myself and Sam. We are learning the limits of my body. This is the first major dip in form that I have had and it’s not all that surprising, it has been a massive season. I was reading Catharine Pendrels blog, who is the current World Champ, she had her worst result since 2008 I think she wrote. She said “Training weeks are never stand alone events. You must consider the weeks leading into them as well. I didn’t respect mine enough. It’s easy to ride momentum and still perform but eventually 9 weeks of racing in a row, 4 x 3-9hr time zone changes, 100+hrs of travel and training catch up to you.” It happens to the best of them! While I didn’t have quite so many races we have been racing since November and do have a lot further to travel. Eventually your body does meet it limits and it seems I have found mine!
Kim Hurst, a fellow kiwi rider, was over racing in her first World Cups and it was so great to hang out with her and Lisa. Their enthusiasm is awesome and just really nice to be around. Also cool to have another kiwi racing. Gutted to see them go home!
We had 2 days in New York where my Aunty had arranged some free accommodation and meals at the bottom of the Empire State Building. We felt very spoilt and it was very nice to mentally check out from biking for a few days.

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I was stoked that we were able to get to the Canadian and American World Cups but I was ready to get back to Europe and rest and recover to see what the Val Di Sole World Cup had in store.
I spoke with my coach Sam and we decided that due to being overdone and my legs being very tired we did nothing but recovery rides all week with a day of intensity on the track the day before the race. This track was made up of very steep climbs with initially slippery rocky descents. Luckily the sun came out and the track dried out and it was really fun! Due to it being so steep we didn’t have that much practice on the track as it would have loaded the legs up too much. This didn’t matter too much as I raced here two years ago in 35 degree heat! Thankfully it was a lot cooler this year. I hadn’t been this nervous before a race in a long time and I think I was worried about the “what if” my legs hadn’t come back. Sam had said this would be far from an ideal race so I was expecting much however once a terrible start (probably due to the nerves) I began to feel a glimpse of what I had at the start of the season and managed to start working my way through the field. Each lap I focused riding as strong as I could on that day and to keep smooth and clean on the descents. I finished in 35th position which doesn’t sound great but it was such close racing and I was a minute off 25th. I felt relieved that I had improved from Windham and gave me confidence that after a rest my legs would return. First though was a 13 hour drive to Andorra for World Champs.

During the Val Di Sole UCI MTB World Cup

During the Val Di Sole UCI MTB World Cup

During the Val Di Sole UCI MTB World Cup

During the Val Di Sole UCI MTB World Cup

Finale Ligure in Italy is one of the best places on Earth for riding, beach and gelato and lucky for us it was on the way to Andorra. What made it even more awesome was our friend Gabby lives there and she put us plus three other kiwi races up for the night. We arrived, got the bags out of the van and hit the trails. It was the best thing I could have done – to get out and just ride and re-kindle my love for riding again.

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We wanted to stay but knew that getting to Andorra early was crucial as we would be racing at an altitude of 2000m and we needed all the time we could get to adjust. We left Finale and hit the road again arriving at camp kiwi that night. It was great to see Sam my coach again plus all the other kiwi riders. It is always so interesting to watch how others prepare and focus for their races, it can be a high stress environment at times but this year it was a great environment to be a part of. Practice on the track that week was going well and we were very conscious due to the altitude and super steep climbs to give my legs plenty of rest every other day. Up until Thursday I was starting to feel like my old self again but then I caught a cold.. when it rains it pours right?, and I really wasn’t feeling well. To make matters more challenging there were rumours flying around that rain was going to hit for the next few days and boy was it right! As it turned out I only had pretty light training anyway so didn’t feel like I was missing any training but I spent a lot of time in bed feeling very tired and worn out. I was on the mend by Saturday but by no means was I feeling 100% and I knew I was going to be feeling it on race day.

Track Practice

                            Track Practice

The Under 23 mens race the day before (which kiwi Anton Cooper won and Sam Gaze got 4th in woohoo!) was shortened by a lap due to the conditions however with the sun shining on the womens race day the laps were left at the original number which turned out to be far too long. The mud had become gluggy and slow and the race ended up being close to the 2 hour mark which was too long. I did not get the result I was looking for but as always was impressed with my stubbornness to give up. I raced as hard and as long as I could, cramp and all and finished in 40th position.

In the hurt box at World Champs

         In the hurt box at World Champs

I am back in Queenstown now and couldn’t be happier to be home! After chatting with my coach and HPNZ I have decided I need a large break over the summer, still plenty of riding but not the structured training I have had for the last 3 years. I am going to race in NZ as often as I can however I will be saving full training and race mode for Europe next year so I can ensure I can race the entire World Cup Season well and get the results I know I am capable of.

Although the second part of the season is one I would like to forget my coach and I have learnt so many valuable lessons that we will take into the coming seasons.

Thank you to all of you for your continued support. I plan on working hard on ensuring I recover correctly and get my body back to full health. After all Rio is just around the corner!

European Season Part 1 Complete

The second week in Kirchberg, Austria cleared up nicely in time for us to practice the track we were to race on that weekend. Each day the track got drier and drier and we were getting to know it well and I was stoked with how it was riding. I was feeling good after a rest week and was itching to get going. The race was part of the Kitzalp Bike Festival in which there was a hill climb race on the Wednesday night – be rude not to surely? And if nothing else it was a great training opportunity. The race was at 6.30pm which allowed for the masses to arrive after work. Bec Henderson, from Trek Factory Racing and Lisi Osl, from Ghost Factory Racing were lined up to race which I was pleased about to give me an extra push. The race was an 8km road climb with around 600m of climbing, a baby hill compared to the Alpen Tour! I sat with the girls half way up the first hill and it was evident I was feeling good so I went for it taking out the win over 1.5minutes in front of Bec. The race was such a great atmosphere and the 15 Euro entry fee gave us two free drinks, a free dinner (which was a pretty delicious half cooked chook), music to enjoy and a great crowd. I won some prize money plus 2 bottles of wine, 1 being a huge magnum. I have left this with my friends Swampy and Emma to bring to Andorra for after World Champs!

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The XC race was on the Saturday and the weather was looking dubious. Sure enough 3o minutes before the start of our race the heavens opened and it absolutely poured. The once nice dry and fun track was now full of muddy, rooty, sketchy descents. One downhill part was a steep grass hill which turned into a slip’n’slide as the race progressed, it provided a lot of carnage! Some funny, some not so much. I was feeling pretty good in this race again and was leading the first lap but on the first downhill I had a crash hitting a tree at speed at was passed by a couple of riders. I was a bit dazed but continued and managed to take the lead again on the 2nd lap however my technical skills let me down a little during the race and I ended up in 2nd place. Exciting to have something to work on and improve.

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It was time to pack the bags and van again and head to our new destination, Lenzerheide for the final World Cup of this trip. Lenzerheide is at an altitude of around 1500m so high enough to feel the lungs! It has amazing mountains, a beautiful lake and it was around 32 degrees each day. What made it even better was having the World Cup Downhill there as well. There were more kiwis around and it was awesome seeing everyone again.  I think Queenstown feels like a mini Switzerland, it is definitely somewhere I could live if it didn’t cost $30 for a filet of chicken! So expensive.

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Being a climber I really wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. The track was a lot of fun to ride but we figured out pretty quickly it was going to be a tough race. There was one climb which was about 2 mins long and the rest was undulating terrain with a lot of roots and features to manoeuvre through which allowed very little rest opportunities. I had a terrible (like really terrible) start and got caught in the carnage in the first downhill and was way back after the first lap – in the 30s I think. I then made it my mission to pass as many people as I could on the one climb we had to try and make back some places. Another goal of this race was to ride the technical features each lap which I managed to do so I was stoked. I finished in 19th which is my best every World Cup result on a track I didn’t think particularly suited me so I am really rapt!

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Photo credits: Facebook – I Love Girl Riders

It was also the best finish to a race I have had with all the kiwi downhillers there to cheer me on as you can see in the photo below – it was actually quite scary being up in the air like that but totally epic!

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Photo credit: Sven Martin

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My coach Sam Thompson

Overall I consider the trip to have been hugely successful. There is always a risk of travelling so intensely with 5 other people you do not know that well but the group dynamics really worked. Sure we all got sick of each other at some point but that is bound to happen in the often high stress race environments. I am now back in Queenstown which is a shock to the system, almost 30 degrees lower in temperature! I landed on Saturday and Reon had organised a little gathering at the new World Bar with friends which was a total surprise! We were the up Remarks first thing Sunday morning. It was a blue bird day, the snow was pretty good – a great day to be up there with friends.

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I have finally got the bags unpacked and time to hit the training again. Just a small block before both Reon and I head to Canada on the 24th July for the Canada and North America World Cup Rounds. So excited to race these!

7 days, 5 races, 1 tired me

The race in Granichen was a hot one! I was trying not to complain about the sun and the heat especially  when I thought about everyone back in New Zealand, in particular Queenstown in the freezing cold but boy  was it hard to race in the heat.   We arrived in Granichen on the Monday following the Albstadt World Cup. It was welcomed change getting  into the warmth but I quickly realised it was going to make for some pretty tough race conditions! I had a  very easy week leading in to this race due to how intense the World Cup had been. It consisted of easy  spins only all week with 2 days on the track total before racing. It was quite a fun track with a long road climb  and quite cool technical descents that made you have to hold the concentration the entire time. I wasn’t  feeling that prepared for this race due to very few days on the track however I needed to have this easy  week as I was only half way through the trip and a very large 4 day stage race was looming next week. Race  day came around and it was 32 degrees, it was a stacked field with it being a HC category (one below a  World Cup) and a great opportunity for the much needed points. I didn’t have the greatest start however put  my head down and just rode the best I could that day and managed to come home in 10th place amongst a  lot of great riders so I was pleased.

Granichen

Granichen

Eva Lechner, myself and Jolanda Neff

Eva Lechner, myself and Jolanda Neff

Post race in Granichen. Cooked!

Post race in Granichen. Cooked!

We managed to get a wee bit of a look around the town we were staying in but it wasn’t big for tourist  activities and it was quite draining when wandering around in the heat.. We also stopped in Zurich on our  way to Austria but either we were in the wrong part of the city or we just didn’t find it that amazing. I think  anything is going to struggle to compare to Prague, happy to be proved wrong though!! Switzerland is such  a cool place but wow it is so expensive, I think that played a major factor in the lack of tourist activities!

Cooling off in the river in Baden

Cooling off in the river in Baden

Zurich

Zurich

Confused goats

Confused goats

Arty walls in Zurich

Arty walls in Zurich

Zurich

Zurich

River running through Baden

River running through Baden

New race rig?

New race rig?

Zurich

Zurich

Next up was Schaldming! It was a very cool feeling to get back there as Reon raced there last year and it  was all familiar. It is such a beautiful part of the world with huge mountains and a real hub for skiing and  biking. We drove in to where the bike park and gondola is and I saw all my gypsy pals from last year parked  up in the same place, including the girls who brought Bumble!! It was so cool to see the Bumble van again  although it did make me miss the adventures Reon and I had last year.

Schladming

Schladming

Schladming

Schladming

The girls in Bumble

The girls in Bumble

Reunited!

Reunited!

We were here for a big 4 day stage race called the Alpen Tour Trophy. I knew before we left that I was doing  this however I didn’t really realise how big the days were until I got there. These were the stages:

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According to my Garmin I climbed 9642m that week. While I definitely think knowing what you are in for and  being prepared is a good thing, in this case there is something to be said for the unknown, I had never done  a race like this before and I had no idea the world of hurt I would be in which meant all I could do each was  go out and ride the best I could and wait for the finish line to turn up.     Day 1 I went out full XCO style, hot off the start line and lead the ladies until somewhere up the first climb. I  went far too hard which meant I was not able to hold my pace and the experience of Sally (Silver World  Marathon Champs 2014) and Christina (local lady and marathon racer) came into play and I finished in 3rd! I  was so surprised by this as I had no idea what to expect. I was sore, like really sore. My back was so tight  and uncomfortable I found it hard to sleep. I spoke with Reon and he suggested if I was too sore not to  continue as this was just a race I was doing for training and it wasn’t worth hurting myself and not being able  to race the World Cup in 3 weeks time.   I decided to race the next day and see how I felt however I made a plan to take it easy off the start and to  settle into a rhythm. By the time we hit the big hill my legs came to life and I settled in a managed to finish in  3rd again. I wasn’t as sore and I had more energy that evening. How I rode that day is how I decided to  tackle the 3rd stage. The biggest of them all.

Alpen Tour

Alpen Tour

Day 3 started off well and I was in 2nd place and feeling quite good, about halfway through at the second  feed zone I had to stop and fill my bottle up which allowed the girl in 3rd to catch back up. Normally this  would discourage me a lot however I have been doing a lot of work on “controlling the controllables” so  instead of letting her get away I sat with her for a long time as I knew a big long hill was coming which is my  strength. When we hit the hill I got into my rhythm and rode as strongly as I could and managed to pull a  good gap on her which I held until the finish where I came in 2nd. Due to the time gap I had pulled on the girl  who was currently sitting second overall, I managed to take her spot in 2nd overall with only a TT Hill climb  to do the next day.   The TT went well, it hurt, but it went well. I managed 3rd in this, 30 seconds off Sally and held onto second  overall. It was such a cool feeling to get a result like that when it was so unexpected and it also gave me 100  UCI points which will be a great help on the World Cup start line.

My life for the four days of the Alpen Tour

My life for the four days of the Alpen Tour

Overall Alpen Tour Trophy Podium

Overall Alpen Tour Trophy Podium

The Alpen Tour was mentally the hardest thing I have ever done. It took me to some very dark places and I  am just grateful I had strategies in place to get me out of them and to focus on racing. The mission was  complete with some awesome friends Amber, Peta, Jack, Ben, Sam and Jarrod and it was fun to sit down  that evening at the dinner and share stories of the day. My coach Sam and NZXC Racing team manager  had an equally hard and stressful job feeding us and running around after all of us so thank you for doing  that for us!     The body is such an amazing thing, everyday I got up wondering how I was going to do another day but it  just handled it. I had been told I would feel this from a pretty special racer herself, Jess Simson. Thanks for checking in on me and offering your advice! It really did help me to find new limits in how hard I can push  myself so looking forward to putting these into practice at the next XC race.  I have a weekend off now, we are in Kirchberg, Austria where we are racing the weekend after next. It has  been wet everyday however I have been pretty tired so the weather is making sure I relax and recover as  much as I can to ensure I am good to go for this race and the World Cup.

First 2 World Cups done and dusted!

Well Nove Mesto didn’t go according to plan, I was hugely disappointed after feeling so great on the track all week and after having the best start I have ever had getting into 16th position it was very frustrating to not finish the race with a broken helmet and an egg on my head!

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Unfortunately races like these do happen and I learnt a lot about myself during it. My preparation in the weeks leading into the race couldn’t really have been much better, the mental aspect of it I felt was spot on, I felt relaxed and confident however the technical side of things is where I let myself down. Tyre pressure is such an important aspect to get right, especially on a slippery track and I simply did not make enough of an effort to check this was correct. I was slipping and sliding all over the place and once a few wee offs occurred I lost confidence in my tyres and also in myself. The tyre choice was correct but the pressure was far too high. Not only was I pretty bruised up I was mentally pretty battered after this race and I was so angry I wasn’t too sure how I was going to get out of this funk before Albstadt the following weekend. After a few good chats with Reon, Steve and my sports Psych Jason I was feeling back on track and confident in the training and my ability.

The build up to Albstadt was again really good. I love racing back to back weekends as it means not many hard sessions during the week! ha ha Albstadt is such a steep climbing course with slippy descents. I had to put a smaller chain ring on the front to ensure my legs could handle the entire race. I was loving the course as I love climbing and would often think about the numerous hill efforts I have done up Coronet Peak this summer which helped me through, nothing I haven’t done before! I was starting in 48th position and this race has a very challenging start as it turns to single track so quickly, from about 20th back we were off our bikes pushing and running as much as we could while it cleared ahead. I had a fairly average start but I was ready for this scenario and told myself to stay calm, there were 7 laps to make up for it.

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My goals for this race changed, I find it so hard to answer people when they ask me what my goals are as in generally is referring to what placing I am hoping for and there are so many amazing girls out there sometimes 30 seconds can separate 6 riders! I learnt from the week before that this is not within my control and goals should be based around things that you can control. I decided this week I was to focus on utlising the climbs and staying smooth and upright on the descents. I wanted to get my lap times as consistent as possible and after looking at the results I was within 30 seconds every lap = goal achieved which then relayed to my first ever Top 20 result. It was a huge confidence boost for me, with my second lap being the 12th fastest and my slowest (after the first lap) being 21st. Here is a link to the highlights of the, pay particular attention to around the 48 second mark 😉  race https://www.facebook.com/UCIMTBworldcup/videos/941036242585052/?pnref=story

Two things changed coming into the second race, 1. my nutrition finally got cleared from the Prague customs and Jindra sent it to the accommodation and 2. our accommodation had our own cooking facilities and I was able to make my porridge and normal dinners! It sounds silly but there is nothing like home comforts, especially of the food kind!

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Emmas cooking! SO YUM x

Another major help was having my friends Swampy and Emma there. Between Swampy and my coach Sam they double checked my bike was ready to go and Emma was an amazing chef and cooked dinner for me the two nights out from the race! Plus she is as much of a chocoholic as me which I totally love! It was nice to have them there to take my mind of the race and to enjoy some chill out time. We went to an awesome castle called Hohenzollern Castle which was high on the top of a hill, exactly how you would draw them as a little kid! It was really impressive and a cool outing to do 🙂 I better not forget to mention the amazing Julia Heger who squeezed me in a much needed massage after the Nove Mesto race and straightened me out again. Thank you love! x

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We have now arrived in Switzerland for another race this weekend, it is a level below a World Cup however it is a stacked field so will be just as tough!

I will let you know how I get on! 🙂

Post race stoke:

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Missions on! UCI World Cup #1 Nove Mesto Na Morave

I made it to Prague and I feel in love with the city straight away! Flying in I knew I was going to love it, 1. because from all the people I have talked to who have been here before I have not heard a single bad thing and 2. it is so green surrounded by rural land.
I was staying with a lovely couple who I met through Steve and Lisa from Around the Basin in Queenstown and their place is totally amazing. It is positioned at the top of the hill surrounded by beautiful parks and has the most amazing view over the city. I landed and got a taxi from the airport and was super impressed with Dominic the taxi drivers English. After a very brief lesson on the Czech language we arrived at Jindra and Petrs. Jindra made me some delicious snacks and showed to my room – luxury! Jindra and I went for a small walk down the hill to pick up Phillip, the youngest of their children, the other Patrick was away for the night, and here I got my first glimpse of the amazing architecture around the city plus a sight of the castles towers. I managed to get about 6 hours sleep on my flight to Dubai and a further hour on the next flight to Prague so thought I was doing pretty well however after dinner around 7pm I was getting pretty sleepy and put myself to bed at 7.30pm and did not wake until 6.30am! Rad.

I was itching to get on my bike to spin the legs and to see more of the city. Jindra and I set off around 9.30am and she took me around the local parks where people were riding, walking and roller skating their way around. I guess with all the xc skiing in the Czech Republic roller skating is a natural summer alternative but when I imagined kiwi fellas out for a skate it did make me chuckle. The Czech people must be doing something right as one person I saw roller blading must have been over 80 and he was on the pipe! Same with another guy cruising around the streets on his scooter – the pushing type. So classic.

Jindra and I on our maiden voyage
After checking out the local parks, lycra clad we rode down to the castle, it is the most amazing building I have ever seen. Walking through the arch it literally took my breathe away. Loved it. Everywhere we rode I couldn’t stop taking photos which made for a very difficult and slow bike ride ha ha

Prague Castle! Amazin IMG_0323 IMG_0340 IMG_0385IMG_0373

I met up with Peta who is a XC racer from Australia, awesome rider, awesome chick and she told me about a race that as it happens is about 8km from Jindra and Petrs house this weekend. The Aussie girls are doing it however I spoke with my coach Sam and we decided it was not enough time for me to recover from the long flight. Next year if it works out the same I will definitely leave a week earlier and do the race as it would be a great build up for the Nove Mesto World Cup.
On Saturday Petr and Jindra took me on another tour of the city, it is such a beautiful place with a buzzing friendly atmosphere. I am not sure if it is because I am with local people but it felt incredibly safe and friendly. We saw the old Charles Bridge, near the Charles University which is apparently the oldest University in Europe. Lycra clad again (the issue with having limited luggage weight allowance) we ended the tour at an amazing delicatessen type cafe in the city centre very close to the Old Town Square.

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Jindra and Petr and the boys have totally spoilt me while I have been here, and it has been such a refreshing way to recover and get ready to race. Thank you for such a wonderful stay! I look forward to seeing you back in Queenstown! 🙂

I met up with team manager and coach Sam plus Ben, Amber and Jack the rest of the NZXC riders racing. We travelled 2 hours south-ish and arrived in Nove Mesto.

Nove Mesto bound!

It was quite a shock to the system after beautiful Prague weather it was now 7-12 degrees and raining. Lucikly this track doesn’t seem to get too affected by the rain. The track is my favourite track to race on so far, it has decent climbs with the descents being covered in roots with a couple of rock gardens thrown in for good measure. I am noticing a huge change this year from last year in my confidence and ability on the technical parts. We had a great training block before I left NZ and it has allowed me to feel relaxed and ready for the race on Sunday.

Rock garden! Wet and wild IMG_7348Rock garden goodness

Nothing more I can do now! We race at around 9.15pm on Sunday evening (NZ time) 11.15am Czech time. You can tune in and watch the race on http://www.redbulltv.com.

Go time! Yeow 🙂

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Time to fly…. almost!

Winter is here brrr which means it is time for me to get on the metal bird and head to Europe for the World Cup Series. There isn’t really too much to report on at the moment but I can tell you a little of what I have been up to.

I have had an excellent build up of training in the past few months which have included a few local races. As well as success in the training I have had an overwhelming response with the fundraising efforts this year. The Auction Night that was held at the Memorial Hall raised enough money to cover the costs of my flights, insurance and has enabled me to complete the full World Cup Series circuit for the first time so thank you so much to all those who contributed to the night. The cooler weather has definitely tested me at times to get out and go training but all I need to think about is the Auction Night and I am more motivated than ever. I am really looking forward to ripping it up at the races.

The winter weather wasn’t all bad… just had to alter the type of training I did one day!!

Alternative training
Since my last update I have only had two races. First up we had the Tour De Wakatipu which is an excellent race around the beautiful views of Queenstown that is suitable to people of all abilities. I highly recommend it to all. The race started on a brisk Saturday morning, Easter weekend, at Millbrook Resort and went around Lake Hayes, following the Queenstown Trail along the Shotover River, across the Kawarau Bridge, onto private farm land finishing at the always buzzing atmosphere of Chard Farm. I was feeling awesome and had an exceptional race being in the front pack of myself and 3 other men. We were all taking turns on the front however one of the guys made a break for it with the other two starting to work together to either drop me or catch him! It was a great move on their part and my own fault for not reading the tactics that were forming. Regardless of this I finished in a very happy 4th place position just 3 minutes of the young guy from Nelson who won and not far at all off 2nd and 3rd. These races are a great opportunity to get a gauge on how the training is progressing.

Tour de Wakatipu Finish

Next up was the Naseby 12 Hour in which Reon and I joined the Torpedo 7 Queenstown team of Mark Williams and Wayne Mason. We were obviously riding for the title of the Mixed Team Category and there was some good competition. This was the first year I had been involved in this race and while it was freezing cold in there I managed to get my hands on a suit from 1990 that the guys who went to Antartica wore. It wass such a great atmosphere, a lot of laughs, good people and most of all great riding and competition. Our team took the win with a decent margin and it was one of the best training session I have had to date. It took a few extra recovery days than normal but has showed me how hard I can push in the season ahead.

Torpedo 7 Queenstown Naseby winnersStyling at NasebyReon trying to get warm in Naseby

The Central Otago Sports Awards were held in Wanaka this year on May 22nd. Bill Godsall and the guys from Sport Central and House of Travel put on a great evening and it was really eye opening the level of talented athletes we have in our region. What blew me away were the variety of sports. In my category alone there were, mountain biking, multi-sport, skeleton racing, shooting and free skiing not to mention jet boating, boxing, rowing etc that appeared in other categories. I thought this was really cool and a great indicator of what Central Otago has to offer. We were told the calibre of athletes this year was next level and we were lucky to be named one of the finalists. I was toally honoured and blown away by everyones achievments, it was a great night. Well done to all the athletes who won their category and everyone for being nominated.

Awards NomineesCentral Otago Sports Awards

It’s time to start the planning of extra bike equipment, tools etc and to start packing my bags as it is now under two weeks until I leave. I will keep in touch while I am over there and for my regular updates please “like” my Athlete Facebook Page – Kate Fluker Mountain Bike Racing.
Cheers!
Kate

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