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The Birds & Bees Go Prospecting

11 April 2022

Sam Shaw rounds out a Southern Lakes' summer of XC, oat pancakes and espressos with an assault on The Prospector mtb stage race.

Words: Sam Shaw
Images: Sam on the Phone & The Prospector on the SLR

Thursday 10/03/2022

Chillin' like a villin in Wanaka with Caleb Botcher, we took Ricky the dog for a walk to The Good Spot for the yummiest coffee in town (and to see Polly, I guess).

Caffeine levels up for the morning we strolled home, chucked our gear in the Forester (Good Spot sponsored, thanks Polly) and headed to Alexandra via Clyde (for a swim).

Met up with Craig Oliver - my team mate for The Prospector - at the local in Alexandra. Craig makes honey. I am an occasional tweeter and avian doodler. So we christened our team 'Birds and Bees'. 

Along with his bro Ben and the bro Josh Burnett, we headed out for a ride on the prologue stage. A good two hour session before rego and dinner. Craig and I then ambled back to our friend Mary Grays' whare for the night, with another crew of Prospectors from Christchurch.

Friday 11/03/2022

Up at seven, into the coffee, and on the road. We biked from Ben and Josh’s accom to the start of the prologue for a warmup, then launched pretty much straight into it.

The prologue was in the trails behind Alexandra. A solid set of single track with a race time of around 40min.

The plan was for Craig to lead out and set the speed, and sheesh did he wot. I was feeling great until about 10 mins in. I faded quickly and just kept my own pace, which didn't quuuiiite match Crug's. Fortunately we still sneezed in third overall, which would cover the lunch expenses :)

We headed home for a beers and fush 'n' chippies.

Saturday 12/03/2022

Up at six or something like that for some Harraways porridge and Kokako coffee combos (kept Crug and I cranking each day) and straight onto the bikes to pedal over to the start of stage one in Clyde.

Primo day for it, we all lined up and took off into the hills of Clyde. Early on a few teams went off and I dangled back watching Crug having a nice easy time keeping up with the others. He came back pretty quick to help me pace. After losing contact for around 20k we managed to regain it at the halfway point. Then lose it again pretty much instantly on the main climb for the day. We slid back into third and used the rest of the stage to build a solid gap back to fourth. Wrapped up the stage with the Clyde DH trail back to the start/finish zone. Sick way to finish a hard day in the saddle.

Hung around for a few yarns and rode home for a bitta fish and chips and to move house. We headed to the Alexandra camping ground with Craig's parents and family friends for some banter.

Sunday 13/03/2022

Up at five thirty. Not going to lie, I was feeling pretty dusty by this point haha. Into those oats and coffee, then drove into the back of Alexandra's magic trails to start stage 2 and the final day of racing. A small warm up and we were into it. 

I was spat straight off the back, but we managed to hold on to our P3. At the halfway point a royal battle for third began. The team in fourth put in a good effort on the main climb and dropped us (well, me). Pretty sore by this point I just started counting and focusing on le good form. After about thirty minutes we reeled them back in.

The end was near and the team behind us could see there was no chance of closing the time gap we had accumulated. The heat slackened from race pace to group ride mode. This made for a happ Toejammie. We rolled in to secure third overall. Soli uce.

Back to the local for a massive feed then adios to the bois and back to Wanaka via Clyde (for a dip of course) and the Good Spot for a coffee (or to help clean up, or to not really heh).

Monday 14/03/2022

Into the covid zone. Gahhh haha. A positive test scuppered my plans for the Oceania Champs. Now refocused on North America and Europe racing XC and Enduro - but using a single rig for both, my trusty Transition Spur.

More ramblings to follow.
Sammy Toejammie