Racing XCO in baggies and Enduro on his hardtail, Sam Shaw tells stories out of school from the recent NZ Nationals and Oceania Cup.
Day in the office finalising some reports, using every ounce of that Ecology Degree. Headed home early and packed up a bag and a box, Dad dropped in and gave me a lift to the airport. Headed for Christchurch. My Cousin Fergus picked me up and we headed to Uncle Gordon and Auntie Julie's house for some Indian, a beer or two, and some Rick and Morty.
Biked out to Ferrymead to Ground Effect for a long black or three with special guest Jayden Glentworth and his father Mark coming in for a yak. Jayden recently broke his back riding his home tracks in Palmerston North, and has an impressive attitude towards his rehab. Legend. Left GE fizzing off one too many coffees and headed back to the Unc and Aunt's for a run and pilates sesh. Discovered the Craigieburn Enduro was on the next day so holla’d at some people and got a holla back from Guy Gibbs and Leo who had some spare room in their motor.
Up nice and early and biked 11km to a Z station to meet up with the Guy Gibbs crew, piled everything into their vehicle and made tracks for Craigieburn for a big ol' day. The plan was to ride and spectate, maybe get some footy for the bois you know, but Will Kaey the organiser wasn’t having a bar of that, and before I knew it there was a number on my bike and I was part of the race. Had turned up on a Transition Vanquish that has been kitted out to be as cross country as possible including missing some rear suspension.
Craigieburn Enduro scoring the weather. Photo: Odin Woods
Sam 'not racing'. Photo: Tony Hutcheson
Sam shares tall fish stories with Guy Gibbs on a liaison. Photo: Broken Lines Mtb
Go the Ranchsliders with phone friendly pockets. Photo: Broken Lines Mtb
Back home after a good 13 hours since leaving the door to start this mission, now it was time to sort the car for the rest of the trip. Looked on google maps, hecka the car was 30km away still. I was about to jump on my bike and start the mission, but Cameron Howell who was lending me the vehicle legendarily offered to drop it off. Primo. He came over with a mate with two cars and said "do you want the Mazda or the Audi?” Wholley hecka I couldn’t believe he was letting me use any of these vehicles, let alone choose. Opted for the less fancy Mazda 6… still way too nice for a bike trip, big thanks to the guy!
Up early again to head to Timaru for the South Island Cross Country Champs. Managed to get there 40 mins before the start and do a very last-minute entry. Teeny warm up and then straight into racing the bois. The track was pretty flat so it turned into a road race with six of us in the peloton. I had the legs, but not the tactics and lost sight of the leaders after lap three. Cameron Jones put down some hard mahi and the peloton divided. I was sitting in at the back and with no passing on the singletrack the front of the race got away. Happy to grind home with Josh Barnett to finish fourth.
Dusty days in Timaru. Photos: Bradley Powdrell
Packed the car and headed to Lake Tekapo to see old mates Don and TJ. I arrived at a good time in the evening. Earlier in the week I had messaged Don to see if he was keen for a hunt, luckily he was. We sorted some things and headed out. Got home around midnight with a nice big red stag.
Bit of pest control in Tekapo.
Early morning mish up to St John Observatory on the bike to beat the authorities and get the quiet roads. Then packed everything into the Mazda said bye to TJ and followed Don outa town to a big station hunting hare and rabbits for a few hours before finally continuing to Wanaka. Fired Miss Mops a message. She and her mate Clair were headed up to Cardrona Bike Park for a few laps and brews. Timing. I puttered into Wanaka and jumped straight into their car with all my gear and set off for Cardies. Big thanks to the guys for hooking up an afternoon of lift access. Came across the lovely Brooke Thompson, aka Bwookes, Bwookiiiieee, Brookalato hard at work saving lives on the montagne (currently working at Cardrona as a bike patroller). Did a few laps with Brooke and Mops before a compulsory chill and pint at the Cardrona Pub.
The garden bar at the historic Cardrona Pub.
Day of lake hops and a river float down the Clutha. Visited Polly at the Good Spot for a coffee. Best coffee in Wanaka by the way and a not behd spot (huge plug).
Morning ride all around Wanaka before packing up yet again and heading to Dunedin with Brooke in tow. After a few fruit orchard stops we got to the Dunedin airport to pick up the Muma bear. Quick supermarket stop for supplies and then bounced to the National and Oceania cross country mountain bike course for a ride. The course was grand, but we were all ready to get to the air bnb and chill. Thirty minutes later we got to a very charactieristic house located out by Portobello Bay. Smashed back some dinner and jumped back in the car to head to the end of the peninsula to find some huuuuuuuge birds (the royal albatross) followed by a mission down to Sandfly Bay to see some yellow eyed penguins.
El practiceo day on the Oceania cross country course. Great mixture of I-hate-my-life-climbs and I-love-my-life descends. The perfect recipe for an award winning cross country course that really shows if you are having a good day verses a bad one. Did some towning with Brooke before she had to drive back to Wanaka for the monies.
Brooke, beached as.
Oceania Mountain Bike Champs race day. Had a sleep in and a morning ride out past Portobello and back followed by a nutritious breakfast and some race prep. Mum got back from winning her morning race and we headed to the venue.
Breakfast of Champions.
Not going to break things down much here, but had a very good start to the race and felt exactly how I had envisioned, but unfortunately, I am not used to that actually happening ever, and crumbled under my own pressure of knowing things could go well. Instead of racing with the boys at the front I settled into a pace to come home in 5th place in the pro elites (best result for me and first time racing the pros at an Oceania event). Was stoked to have a huge amount of support out on track with people cheering most of the way around the course and the Muma bear feeding me. Huge thank you. Home for a feed of fresh venison with John, Lizzy, Briar and Connor followed by another trip out to Sandlfy Bay to see the yellow eyed penguins again and some sea lions being harassed by tourists.
Locals chilling, with one eye on the tourists.
National Mountain Bike Champs race day. Huge sleep in this time, cleaned up the air bnb and made the trip to race HQ. Had a good warm up and lined up on the start line. Started slow this time and eased into things. For the first three laps I felt sick as, as in mean as, as in I was actually racing and able to push. Then I did it again and crumbled under my own pressure… guhhhh. Settled into the remaining three laps and still over the moon to finish in 2nd place in the elite field, but 5th if we are counting the young guys (U23). Only claiming the second place because it is my best cross country result and I'm stoked.
Pre race chats with Mum(sie). Photo: Jemma Wells
Leading Aussie legend Dan McConnell, for now! Photo: Jemma Wells
Again, the support out on course was savage, everyone out there cheering are legends. And Mumsie again for being my feeder. We flopped into the car and headed to Moeraki (as in boulders) to dine at Fleurs Place for a tank refill. Amazing kai. Then hiked back to Christchurch to arrive at midnight.
Bike around Christchurch and caught up with Ollie Hunt, Charlie Murray, the Ground Effect squad, and the Southern Approach team before an ice cream and packing-scramble. Made it to the airport about as worn out as possible. Home to Rotorua for some much-needed rest… not.Huge thank you to everyone helping me out. Cameron Howell for the car (or his girlfriend’s mum's car haha); Gordon, Julie, Don and TJ for places to stay. And Mum for heaps of reasons.