Slacky's Reflection On Summer Of Sun

Postby SlackBoy on Tue 18/Mar/08 8:56pm

Go grab a cuppa, she's a long one

The Summer has been long, and the summer has been hot and dry. I was really looking forward to traipsing around the country once more with my friends, whereupon we would routinely spank our selves on course's of a mountainous nature. This year didn't disappoint either (it never does), even tho I seem to have gone the full reversal from traveling around doing DH races, to now being a lycra bunny and racing XC (although back when I started DH we were mostly wearing lycra and my bike has the same amount of travel in it, seats just way way higher).

Some of you may know that I have ankylosing spondylitis which is a form of Arthritis. This used to affect me quite badly, but not long after I was diagnosed I stopped eating Starch. Starch I hear you say, isn't that in like pretty much everything. Well yes, yes it is, no more pies, no more shark and tatie, and all those glorious things like spuds, pasta, rice and other carby things that XC racers like to fill themselves with. I found that when I stayed starch free I had no more pain, and if I have some, I get pain for 1.5 - 2 weeks. Kind of a no-brainer really. But it does make it very very hard to recover my energy levels quickly. So big training miles, recovery rides aren't really the thing for me. That being said I was still feeling pretty good (Round taupo notwithstanding), wasn't as light as I got last year, but a high protein diet had bulked me up a small bit (as if I didn't have enuff muscle to carry to begin with). Training hadn't fully gone to plan (not much with me ever does), depression had popped it's ugly mug again (mildish, always had it) usually I go for a ride to deal, but bit harder to do that now for me, and what ever support I had was busy/unavailable/non exsistant. So a few rides get missed, a few hard efforts got downgraded to "rides", but still feeling fitness wise just under last years pace.

First race at Opotiki was cool. Pretty old skool in the bigger lap, small lap thing, which suits me fine, cos I'm old skool anyways. The old boys class was pretty hot with Hiskey (old skool elite level rider for the last umpteen years, last bet him in '94? at levin KOF), Chris Gaze, Jason Goldie, myself and that dude that beat Bevan Docherty at Taupo. Off the start, I may have gone a bit hard...............ok I did, blew and went backwards for a bit, Hiskey, Chris and Jase blew past me, and put a big gap in. Then while I was struggling Trevor and English Rob got me (started in class after) and I stuck on them for a while.....ok short while, they ripped a climb, I rode a climb. Got my legs back and hammered in, rode good and was really happy with how I went, 4th. The others from teh welly crew all went well, and I had a ball in the feed zone during the elite race.
To vegas the next day and fun riding for the welly crew, whilst I flew back to welly for 3 days of fixxing bikes. Back on teh wed night where gav and me went to have a play at the vegas short course races run by their club. Tonnes of fun was had, and plenty of giggles from the granny race and also the big gear race. I also pulled some of the old skool DH styles out for the last corner in teh big gear race to snake the inside line, foot out cully styles to sneak into 2nd)
Rode the course on the thurs but was feeling rather flat after having ridden up to long gully on the tuesday to build the short course up there, and then the short course on wed night, bit much for me. I was planning on heading out back to ride some of the trails, but woke up on friday feeling awesome so did that then instead. Good solid 3 hour ride.....only thing was the race was the next day, so prolly not the best thing to do. but I ain't going to vegas JUST to ride a multilap race track and NOT ride anything else, helll NO!!!
The race was good, super fun track, plenty of moments for BBRRAAAPPP!!!!, rode well, had Jase Goldie in my sights (well with my superman like long range vision I did) for most of it. On the 3rd lap down challenge, I heard moto sounds, turns out it was Garth and is Ibuprofen had kicked and he woofed past me and there was no way I could stick with him and his 1 sodding gear. Unfortuntly Jase managed to stick with him for a while and pulled out on me. Hiskey won again, chris 2nd, garth Jase and me in 5th.

Next week was Palmy, cruised up on teh train with fellow Burkes rider Gen Whitson. Stayed at her dads place where I got a nice big comfy double bed to myself.......minta. Rode the course on teh sat morning, cool course, and the single track at the top was awesome, very vegas like, but not blown out and chopped up like vegas. Dowhill rocked too, heaps of fun and nice and rocky at the bottom. Race went well, was 2nd up the climb for most of it (Cabin was long gone), the hiskey and Jase gapped me and they was gone till the end. I just hammered out and rode my race, felt pretty good, had a heap of fun. On the last lap I saw Chris walking his bike sans chain, mint I knew I had 3rd in teh series then, wasn't worried about the Jonty Monster behind me......until I burped my tire that is. Got the panic on, fumbled a bit with the gas, but got sorted, and dropped the hammer. Had plenty of time up my sleeve in the end.

Back home and a week off before the welly round.

I took the thurs and friday off work to help out, marshalled at the uphill, helped Marco mark some course out did a few laps, friday marked out heaps of course stuff, got to ride a moto, hammered a few signs. Got up nice and early on race day to take the moto up, ended up putting out a bunch more signs and tape before the race to appease the Juddienator. Moto ran out gas on the climb leading up to alexander road. so I had to push it up that climb, it's bloody hard work ya know.
Started the race, took it easy for me, as I have a bit of a thing for going too hard at the start. So for once I didn't pwn the veledrome but held back. Paced myself up the climb, was feeling really good, the leaders had a gap, but wasn't too fussed about that, was really condfident on teh course. Started down and put the hammer in, up the rooty climb, and across the grass, feeling good, hot pace on teh all the downs, railed the grassy corner, got the mint speedway styles in to the bottom section of damiens to the fields carried heaps of speed in..........too much speed apparently. Back wheel sketched, got the tank slap on and headed for the biggest tree on teh hill. hit it super hard, danced off my bike but managed to stay up right, Banged my ankles up tho and couldn't fel my feet for quite a while. Got back under way, but was rather shaken, went backwards for a bit with people going past. told myself to ride it back in, but by the end of the lap the arm that I squished between the tree and my head was struggling to hold onto the bike so I pulled the pin......on lap one. Such is life and racing tho, and gutted tho I was, shit happens.
Another early morning the next day and out to the DH and short course. A quick bit of building and some taping, and racing was at lunchtime in teh DH, Spectators were awesome at this, and was super fun, despite the moto munters who drove into the middle of teh race.

Karapoti, Sod the nat's, this is the one that matters for me. It's my home race. Somehow I managed a 2:41 last year with a cold. I had hoped to go close to a 2:30 and indeed promised myself a Karapoti tattoo if I did go under. Training hadn't gone even remotely to plan so wasn't expecting any graet rides. WAs going to be happy with a 2:45. Knew a few locals such as Monolith and a few others might push me if they got a good race (unfortunaltly never happened for him, teh sickness a while before the race) Got an arse start across the river, and had to put the hammer down on the road section. WAs mindful of not going too hard, but ended up pulling Big Gav and hiskey for a while, till they took off. Again mindful of my own race I didn't try to stay with them, but rode a good pace, pulled thru the top of the gorge with a few, just hanging 50 meters or so back from Josh Barley. Got a glimpse of the front group and they wern't al that far ahead so knew I was going pretty well. Felt flat up deadwood, but hung in there as best could, as that style of hill doesn't suit me (does any hill), hit the top of deadwood ridge and started to feel the mojo come back, Conner and Jase McCarthy were just up ahead and I set about chasing them down. Deadwood ridge is good for powerful riders and thats me all over so caught them, and had a good run down the rock garden, got held up by a few aussie riders taking the hot lines on the sketchy drops, so got off and ran past them, caught Johnny click who was scared of all the big rocks or something. Johnny took off up Devils I had my sights on Jase Goldie who I wasn't going to let get away, caught up at the top, and pulled him down big ring, trying to break him cos I thought he was suffering far more than I was (nice guy eh!) Got hell cramps in thighs at bottom of dopers, and had to walk the bottom 3rd, and could only ride granny for the rest, I had tonnes of gogo left, but everytime I clicked a few gears, cramp came back. Conner and english rob both passed me up Dopers, and at the top I saw Jonny Waghorn 50M behind me. I told myself, thats not on and swtiched on DH Slacky, and pinned 'er. At the river crossing there was a momentary lull whilst I switched from DH slacky to Old skool powerhouse courier, who used to ride the gorge tiwce a week and OWNED that shit, Slacky. A yell was needed to kick start that particular Slacky, and then I flew. Cramp kept coming at me, and I was just forcing myself thru it, screaming lots as well. Might have scared a few people with that. Caught conner jus t after the last ford before the road, and put even more hurt in, caught sight of rob not long after, and knew connor was still right behind me, not wanting to get beaten by the old bugger. Unfortunaly for him I had the same thing and was hunting down English Rob. Still cramping like hell, ripped down the last bit, got a few stretches in to stop the cramp, picked my gear for the other side, just before nailing the river I got more cramp, so bit down and ripped thru the crossing, yelling and cursing, Passed Rob in the water, sprinted somehow out he other side and up the bank, back on the bike, still screaming, and crossed in 2:38, well wel stoked with that. And considering with what I deal with the ank spond and the other stuff, I'm going to get that Karapoti Tattoo anyway.

One last race for the season and that was weekend past in Nelson. Didn't do sod all riding after Karapoti. Leg was munched from cramp for most of a week, and then I just couldn't be bothered riding, or even eating that much. did a shortish ride on the sunday around Makara loop on the roadie, and did the same again on teh tuesday. Flew down to mint Nelson weather. Course was simple and basic, with 2 fun bits. Some switchbacks which I didn't really get overly clean so was a challenge to nail them every laps, and then some of the old '99 DH that I raced way back then. Loved that bit, made my weekend.
I won my race, not a lot of competition, tho Owen Gibson kept coming back on me on the grass section from the centre of NZ hru to the steep climb at the end of the hill. Was pretty happy with my race
Did a wee mission to the bottler for supplies and watched the elite race. Awesome race, huge field, yelled myself stupid (er) fixxed up lots of tape (bloody riders kept ripping it down).
Sober drived later that night, saw some pretty messy XC boys and girls, names don't need to be named. Drank too much coke and couldn't sleep much at all.
Next day went for a ride in the arvo (deck built in teh morning at chris and bob's) and hit up Turners, dead dog, and supplejack. Very cool, mint ride
Next day was the short course, awesome wee track, lots of fun, heaps of people watching all over the track, only a few munter DH'ers jeering, most of them were cheering :thumbsup: , I did pretty well, I think 4th kiwi home?? Aussies were freaks once again. Man it's hard work tho, 20 mins (or slightly less) at your limit, my throat is still sore from breathing so damn hard. Look for a few races this winter in welly (not as long but even more fun)

And then home for last nights race up Makara, did the sweeper thing, legs felt a bit dead, muzza'd the first corner (out of veiw from everyone thank god), got beaten by a single speeder on teh down which hurts a bit, but took the overall. Blew up quite spectaculary on teh way home tho, and didn't go to work today, hayfever way up, and I just couldn't move, tummy felt like crap, so had a heave, and slept for pretty much the entire day (cept for someone sitting on their phone and ringing me.......twice)

Now all thats left is the SS nats..........and the drinking
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Postby Natral on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:09pm

Great read Ricky :thumbsup:

Can't wait to see the tat!!
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Postby SlackBoy on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:11pm

my fingers hurt now
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Postby Oli on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:12pm

BUT SUMMER ISN'T OVER YET!!!!111!! :cry:

Nice write up, Ricky. Congrats on a good season bro.... :)
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Postby sifter on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:21pm

Nice one Ricky :) :thumbsup: Another awesome season!
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Postby wgtngrl on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:22pm

Short track short track short track short track short track short track short track short track

Short track
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Postby Nordy on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:37pm

awesome write up, thanks Ricky
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Postby dented on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:47pm

Thanks for the report Slacky, well done.
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Postby Stun on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:48pm

Nice report Slacky.
But you failed to mention that all that practice we had sucking... down drink bottles... really helped in the feed zones.
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Postby JUANGEAR on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:50pm

Im not sure if it was the heavy breathing that made your throat sore or if it was breathing all the dust from the gravel bit....Mine feels like it has been molested by somone with a big angry rasp....
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Postby SlackBoy on Tue 18/Mar/08 9:54pm

JUANGEAR wrote: Im not sure if it was the heavy breathing that made your throat sore or if it was breathing all the dust from the gravel bit....Mine feels like it has been molested by somone with a big angry rasp....
I got the same thing from teh uphill as well. I blame Nelson. And the short course had more BBBBRRAAAAPPP!!! as well coming out of the creek, roost it baby yeah!!
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Postby JUANGEAR on Tue 18/Mar/08 10:10pm

Yeah the filthy little groms were tipping water onto that corner after the creek to make it more exciting...very much a race of the rooooster...
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Postby sweet_P on Tue 18/Mar/08 10:43pm

Nice report Ricky! I feel tired on your behalf just reading it :lol:

(Sooooo... Brownies for the win in Nelson eh? ;) )
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Postby istepinyards on Wed 19/Mar/08 1:58am

Nice one mate
As for the depression thing.
Fucking A dude get out there and get those serotonin raging. My oldest brother has Bipolar so I know what it can do. Mad respect for taking responsibility for your illness.It goes a long way to dealing with it in the first place.
My family has a lot to do with the Blackdog Institute in NSW Australia. Their website has some great articles on this issue and other mood disorders.

This is not for Slacky but if anyone is feeling down or knows someone that is. Have a look and read up, be supportive,compasionate and most of all a friend.
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