Monday, April 28, 2008

Fear and loathing in RotoVegas


The inaugural NZ Singlespeed Champs held last weekend on the sweet flowing trails of Rotorua. A huge crew of four El Toro riders made the trip, locking in the magic 2:1 ratio for a shred around the world renowned trails in the company of some 250 other unophiles.


The event was one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the Mountain Biking calender, and despite high expectations the event turned out to be so much more than just a race.
A festival atmosphere permeated throughout the weekend, making for a special event that will not be quickly forgotten by the Ventana crew of Aaron, Dayle, Pete and Ollie.


Despite damp and cold conditions for the race itself, the secret revealing of the course coupled with the Le-mans style running start left everyone with an ear to ear grin.
One can only imagine what Nanas on their mid afternoon ramble would have thought when the happened upon several hundred mad bikers running awkwardly towards their bikes only to swarm around the tiny ribbon of single track as they headed off for the first lap.

Pete locks in the magic ratio!

Beer shortcuts were on offer for those of strong constitution, with the resulting antics no doubt making for some amusing spectation opportunities.

At the head of the field, mustachioed space monster Garth Weinberg took a well deserved win, with another local Anika Smail demolishing the woman's pack.

Ollie finished in the sharp end of the field, with Pete pulling off a strong performance, especially given he returned to retrieve a dropped pump during the running start!

By all accounts Dayle was charging at the front (4th for the first few laps), before the tight trails (or one too many beers!) got the best of him, retiring after a series of painful crashes.
Aaron suffered a bout of ill health and also withdrew, or perhaps simply couldn't resist the draw of sponsors product on tap!

A big thanks to Pam and Todd (Pete's parents) for some amazing hospitality. Luxury transportation in the VW as well as gourmet food and great company all made the weekend memorable.

A fantastic weekend by all accounts, and one to mark on the calendars for all riders out there with a penchant for the pleasure and pain of singlespeeing!

Mountain Pedaler out...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pete's Green Bull

El Saltamontes rider Pete Fyfe has just finished building a sweet new Grinch Green El Toro.
Just in time for the Rotorua Singlespeed nationals, the Auckland rider will be shredding the course aboard this beast which was specced with some very juicy bits (brakes included!)

In a true testament to the legendary customer service of the Ventana factory, Pete took delivery of his frame in only three weeks. No mean feat considering the custom cable stops and colour he ordered.
Pete and the rest of the Ventana crew will be easy to spot at Rotorua, as the grin inducing geometry of the Toro should make them stand out amongst a field of grimacing and cursing singlespeeders!

Mountain Pedaler out...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wish you were a Kennedy?

Kennedys on the charge! Photo: The Press

Ventana rider Steve Kennedy just sent in this report from the Cyclic Saga, an epic 2-day MTB rogaine held yearly in a secret location in the Canterbury region. This years event was at Fox Downs, and 200+ mad bikers took to the hills with only maps and instinct to guide them.

What the well dressed cyclists wears; Salty, home-made mapholder,
XTR gears, Avid Mech Disk brakes

Rogaine is essentially orienteering on a bike, and Steve teamed up with his brothers to navigate their way around the course.

"Where the hell are we?"

Steve had this to say:

Thought I’d give you a bit of an update on the latest outing of my Salty. Recently completed my 10th Ground Effect Cyclic Saga with my two brothers, first time on the blue beast. Have to say, it was absolutely fantastic for this kind of two-day epic. Covering all sorts of x-country terrain and unfortunately masses of undignified cow sh*t ... Being able to handle everything from vertical uphills, downhills, farm roads, single track etc – just brilliant. It handled things far better than I and the bike was even dignified in the sections I had to walk.

Day 1 campsite; hot shower, hot coffee, BBQ and beers.
Doesn't get any better!

Truly an epic adventure! Thanks for your report Steve, and it'd be great to hear about next year's ride...

Mountain Pedaler out..

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ventana cleans up (again) in muddy 12hr

Oliver after his 8 hour helping of mud pie
Photo Dean Hamilton

Straight off the back of last weeks Nelson Enduro, Oliver made the trip to the normally sunny Hanmer for an assault on the 12 Hour Night/Day Race.
As a solo entrant, Oliver had the odds stacked against him but prevailed in arduous conditions to complete 17 laps of the sloppy course; a full lap ahead of the nearest competiton!
Safety concerns forced organisers to shorten the laps, then the race to 8 hours and 2 sets of Vesrah pads (courtesy of Slim at SR) and a bottle of chainlube (expertly applied by Dayle and the Bike HQ bandits) were vital to keeping the big wheels of his El Padrino rolling.

In only his second foray into super-endurance racing Oliver reported having an enjoyable ride, but is undecided as to whether he'll crank up the 29er Ventana for future 12 hour races.

Mud caked brakes and chainsuck were the order of the day