So since I last wrote this blog I have been crazy busy and all over the place but finally have found sometime to sit down and bang some keys on what I have been up to over the past few weeks.
I had a sweet family xmas at home well a rather loose xmas eve with the boys followed by a very hungover xmas day really as per usual..Then I was busy at home working on my house trying to build a deck with a mate of mine, I brought a section and moved a house on to it near then end of last year so I am just in the final stages of getting everything finished and then will get it rented out which will be sweet!
Then I got back on the DH bike for the first time since Leogang World Cup last year onboard a new Pivot Phoenix that I am riding for the NZ race season, for having 5 months off the DH bike and then hopping on a new bike I was surprised at how quick it all came back and was loving banging out some runs with my Pivot NZ team mate Matt Walker at Rotorua just after Xmas where I competed in the NZDH North Island series final round my race runs went ok but was feeling a little fresh to say the least so all things considered I was stoked with a 2nd place there behind Matt who is a local boy there.
From there it was back behind the wheel of a typically very overloaded 'Rangi', which for those of you who don't know is my old faithful car which in the five years since I paid 600 dollars for has been through hell and back but still runs like a dream and would have many a rowdy story to tell if only he could talk…I headed back down to the South Island on the 2.30am ferry on new years eve which seemed a good idea when we booked it but sucked looking back driving all through the night isn't so sweet, note to self. We got back in time for hardly enough sleep before heading to town to welcome the new year and it was a good one!
Then it was back to the hard graft on the shovel for a week..well it wasn't as bad as it sounds, I punched out plenty of runs on the DH bike whilst at work which is pretty awesome when that is part of your job, the week flies by when you have a couple of days doing shuttles as part of it! It felt like no time at an I was back in transit again this time on a steelbird headed for the now mountain bike mecca which is Queenstown for Round one of the NZ National series, Queenstown has to be probably one of the sweetest places to ride bikes in the world I reckon.
I was picked up by Wakatipu Shore boy and ex Trail builder Adrian Loo and we headed to his pad which was more of a marae really, look that word up if you don't know what it means..half of NZ's DH population was staying at their place and there must of been 40 odd bikes in the backyard pretty much chaos at it's best and a typical NZ DH household when nationals are in town, certainly makes for some good times though!
The track for the race did't look like much upon first inspection but actually turned out to be F##ken rad as F##K old school style wide open grass turns, they hadn't seen a drop of rain for a month or so so it sure was a dusty one and you would be hanging it out everywhere wether you wanted to or not! My race plan was pretty much 'if in doubt drift it out' and it seemed to work, I had a pretty solid run but didn't really pedal enough as I would have liked to, either way I was stoked to be up on the box with a solid field in attendance, young George Brannigan a no longer V Plater took the win thanks to his new found confidence with the ladies.
From there it was off to the Outside sports pump track Jam at their pumptrack right near the gondola, Matt Walker took some revenge after crashing out in the DH and showed everyone that he know's how to pump. Emyr Davies gets an honorable mention to as he threw down some hot laps flying the flag for the Welsh.
After the Pumptrack everyone chopped in to a few beverages and a good time was had even though it was a monday night Queenstown cranked it hard, I walked back in the door at 5am still full of energy for some reason decided it was a good idea to chop a couple more beers and climb a mountain, I managed to drag a very reluctant Jo Nation and James Leacock-Hoggan along with me, we left at 5.30 am in hope of seeing a sunrise with no real directions and at 7.30am we were standing on the summit sans sunrise, all be it feeling a bit seedy and dry mouthed either way it was still a hell of a ride down for me and Nation side by side drift battling it, not so much for James as he grabbed a single braked Dj Hardtail for the mission and it wasn't the best idea, after skidding for about 5 minutes the tire wore right through and he was forced to walk!
After a full week of good times Queestowning it I was feeling it a bit, check out my WynTV Queenstown vid filming thanks to Andy from Wakatipu Shore, if you haven't already. Now it was time to pack up and head to Dunedin for Round Two of the National series, we loaded up Brook the Bulldog's ballin Red Bull ute right to the brim, the Bulldog certainly rolls in style these days! We headed to Dunedin and the drive was pretty unexciting apart from George falling asleep at the wheel which he still denies, we were getting pretty close to the other side of the road maybe a few millimeters from the car coming the other way, although George claims there was still plenty of room! Once in Dunedin we set up camp with the Mccombie family who looked after us pretty damn well, wicked meals and all!
Dunedin track was pretty rad, top was nice and open with a few jumps and then the bottom was steep rocky off camber and rutty pretty much had a bit of everything and it got a whole lot more gnarly right from the get go when it rained the whole night before practice and all of the practice day too! It was a mudfest which i wasn't so stoked on means way too much cleaning of kit and bikes! I did three runs and i think I had three crashes.. that Dunedin clay makes the off camber sections like a downhill ice rink, it was loose times for sure!
Race day rolled round and it rained just before finals making it pretty loose, my run was going solid through the top section until my gear cable snapped, and dropped me in to 10th gear for the rest of the run which sucked, foot scooting out of the ruts wasn't ideal but I managed to hold some speed and ended up 4th, bit disappointing to have the mechanical but that is racing at the end of the day. Brook The Bulldog chewed the course up and spat it out to take the win which was good to see.
Then after the race it was a rush to pack me bikes up, have some food and then head to another DH party, this time celebrating Rufus's stag do, we arrived and Rufus already had two bottles of cider taped to his hands which he looked pretty stoked about! George put on a demonstration of his new found confidence with the ladies in front of everyone and managed too snag a lovely lady, then we hit town busted what we thought were some moves until the clubs were closing so we were feeling a bit buggered, me and Bulldog got a taxi home and promptly fell asleep in the taxi and then were woken up by the driver with no idea where we were or what was going on, but luckily for us it was the right place.
All in all it has been a good few weeks, and packed with good riding and good times, I already can't wait for the next adventure, thats how life should be in my book!
Thanks to everyone who made it happen for me, Wakatipu Shore crew, The Mccombie Family, Skyline Queenstown, The Bulldog, Andy and also all my awesome sponsors, Burgtec, Kingpin Bikes, Backflips clothing, Glowworm Ti Springs.