Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gringos pull off a stunner at Christchuch 12 hour

Gringos in the flesh; (Left to right) Lauren, Steve, Sam and Ollie

The El Ventana Gringos tackled the McLeans Island 12 hour in Christchurch last weekend, pushing the envelope of pain and luck to new levels and delivering a fantastic second placing in the process.

The race began at 10AM, with Rowan pulling out a first hot lap before the second rider Steve was off. After no sign of Steve the crew began to worry, and it wasn't until the word reached them that they learnt it had all gone pear shaped out on the course. No doubt due to a high speed cornering manoeuvre, Steve had blown out a tire, and had been forced to run 1/3 of the course before a friendly rider offered his own pump and tube to repair the puncture. Unfortunately, the pump had issues of its own, and the 20psi that Steve could squeeze out of it lasted only 500m, before another blowout rendered him running again! It was truly a day for friendly riders, as yet another offered their tube and pump, and Steve was off to finish his lap, only 20minutes later than expected!
Rowan (Left) tags out with Steve (Right) with Sam on transponder duties

The team now had a mission on its hands, with the goal of pulling in lost time to the leading teams who were lapping, a lap ahead. A series of hot laps by Ollie, Sam, Lauren and Rowan dropped the gap to around five minutes, but disaster struck on one of Sam's laps as his non-drive side XTR crank decided to part company, forcing Sam to complete a one legged lap.
Like the true battler he is, Sam was still passing people at the finish, and after completeing his single leg powered lap he reported that the leg in question was 'a bit sore'.

Sam stomps through the tent village with crank firmly attached

So nose was back on the grindstone again, but it seemed that lady luck had had her way with the Gringos, and as the hours ticked past they were fortunate enough to escape further punishment.

Perhaps the highlight of the race was the final pair of laps, where Ollie left at 10 past 9, knowing he would have to be on his game to make the 10:35 cut off. Considering that 25 minute laps were tough during the day, it was a tall order, but still he barrelled through with 10 seconds to spare, and Sam was off in a puff of dust. The pressure was on but it is testament to the courage of this Gringo that he didn't give up, peeling a minute off his previous best times and sprinting down the finishing chute to finish dead on 12 hours. After collapsing trough exhaustion at the finish, the team celebrated around him, as this feat of speed (at night and after a solid 12 hours of racing) was a fantastic end to the race.

Rowan even managed to squeeze out some structures
homework in between blitzing the course.

All up the Gringos placed second in the mixed category, and they have no doubts that with a bit of luck they could have made the top step. Still it was a great race, and a credit to the heart of the team that they pulled through the adversity to great result!

Lauren heads out on a lap, showing that her skills extend beyond the road!

Mountain Pedaler out...

1 comment:

Shaun said...

So I'm a friendly rider, sweet! one-day i will invest in a new pump that works.
Just to let any readers know the friendly rider was in a two person team "one gear no idea" with Pete, a Ventana owner, and managed to pull of a 3rd placing in the 6hour even after stopping to help a fellow rider out.