Karapoti 2006- my best ever result!!!

629th out of 967 riders!!!

I did the 50km 20th Anniversary Karapoti Classic on Saturday. It’s NZ’s oldest and favourite mountainbike race. It’s also the oldest and toughest MUNi race in NZ (with it’s own unicycle category for the past 3yrs).

Because it was the 20th anniversary, there is a 4wk exhibition at the local art gallery with photos and exhibits ranging from the first retro mountainbikes in the event, old equipment, T-shirts, the Karapoti board game, Karapoti wine and other memorabilia on display. Including my 29’er unicycle, which was the first unicycle raced around the Karapoti :stuck_out_tongue:

I went to the anniversary function on Friday, then stole my unicycle from the exhibit as I had to ride it the next day- I gave it back afterwards :D.

Unlike previous years, this year I was the only unicyclist at our premier MUni event (C’mon guys where did you all go?). It turned out to be a race against the clock to beat my best time (4hrs 28min), and to beat as many mountainbikers as possible.

I started in the Retro, Singlespeed, Tandem, Unicycle start, which was shortly after the Pro-elite riders, and not too far ahead of the Open riders. It was the traditional race start- across the raging Akatarawa River (twice). Luckily it was at one of the lowest levels ever, so I didn’t fall in like I usually do.

After that it was all on- up the Karapoti Gorge I was apparently doing 24km/h (29er, 150mm cranks) according to one of the guys with a bike computer. My legs felt like they were about to fly off.

I eased off and tried to pace myself through the singletrack and braced myself for the Open Men to catch up. When they finally did I was almost at the top of the Karapoti Gorge- couldn’t believe my luck! About half the Senior men and a few of the Vets passed me, then we hit Deadwood (BIG Hill #1). It was a perfect opportunity to pass them back as I rode, ran, rode somemore, and scrambled to the top of Deadwood. This hill is so steep only about 1/3 of the field ride the whole thing

From there I would lose a few more places as we rolled along the top of Deadwood, before dropping down into the Rock Garden- probably the most treacherous part of the course. It was great seeing the brave few who tried to ride (or bounce) their way down the boulders, often destroying their bikes and bodies in the process. I picked up my MUni and sprinted past all the riders :stuck_out_tongue: There was not a single rider that passed me on the rock garden, not even on big DH full suspension bikes.

Off the Garden and straight up the Devils Staircase (BIG Hill #2). It was remarkably dry this year, but still pretty slippery. Passed quite a few more MTBkers hauling their heavy bikes up there (not even the Pro Elite guys can ride the Staircase). My only bad fall of the race occured when I slid a couple of metres back down the Staircase and landed the unicycle on my head.

At the top of the Devils Staircase I grabbed a couple of jet planes (the ones you eat :p) at the drink station and then headed down Big Ring Boulevard.

The intention was to save my legs down here, but it was the roughest I’d ever seen this section (Have to go Tubeless next year, 50 PSI is ridiculous). My arms and groin started cramping up which unfortunately meant I did not have the legs to ride up Dopers Hill (BIG Hill #3). Still managed to run up as fast as the guys that were riding.

From there it was all downhill. I was slightly behind schedule to make a sub 4hr Karapoti, but not far off. I tried to pedal as fast as I could, but had a couple of bad cramps that had me crying like a baby on the side of the track :frowning: .

Back across the Akatarawa River (twice) and rolled across the line in 4hrs 11min, the unicycle course record, and 629th out of 967 riders that completed the 50km Karapoti Classic.

Any NZ riders reading this, or if anyone is interested in coming to NZ to do a MUni race- this is THE BEST race there is!!!

Hope to see more of us out there next year!

Results up on www.karapoti.co.nz


p/s Colin- who I took a ride out to the race with, (and he was one of the officials during my 24hr World Record Ride) won the major spotprize of the event- a $2000 mountainbike.

pp/s Unfortunately, they gave me the same prize for the third year in a row, a Cactus Climbing bag. Oh well.

Oops, that should read Karapoti 2005 :roll_eyes:

I’m already looking forward to next year

I rated a mention in the local newspaper:

Talk about main men!! Way to go, Ken. Where were the sissy kiwi unicyclists? Did they ever call you?

Nice write-up Ken! That’s kinda funny that you nabbed your uni out of the exhibition, rode it, then put it back! :smiley:

I was going to do the Karapoti this year, but was booked for a trials demo for the same weekend. The demo since got canned and by that time entries were full. :frowning:

While I wasn’t as hard-core as Ken in my riding this weekend, I did do 20km of riding at Bike the Bays. Steve Taylor, Bruce Hall and two other unicyclists also did this ride. Adam Stone rode his hand-cranked bike for the 20km also - once crashing into a road cone, placed in the middle of the road for ‘safety’.
Adam and I then did some trials and STC riding for about 5 hours afterward. I broke my sissy Kinport front handle, too.

inspiring feat !

way-to-go !

Another fantastic performance, Ken! Keep it up!


I like hearing of your accomplishments, congrats!Your stories are making me really want ski season to end, and uni season to start. But, we still have 5 weeks of it left, so I will enjoy it. Thanks for keeping us posted. Cheers.

Awesome…Every other week you do something great that makes me feel like some couch potato who spends way too much time chatting or posting in some internet forum…ooops!!!

Keep up the good work!!!

Re: Karapoti 2006- my best ever result!!!

Read, the toughest race there is. I thought about doing it this year and then had visions off a very fit Tony and an even fitter Ken, both collapsing on the finish line muttering words such as “That was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life”.

Actually Ken, didn’t mutter anything, he was too busy lying down trying to breathe :slight_smile:

Us mere mortals quake at the thought of doing the full Karapoti.

Wow! I don’t know how you do it. That is amazing. A 12 mile muni ride at a fast pace does me in and my idea of a fast pace is much slower than your idea of a fast pace.

The most disturbing part is that you finished a 50K race on a 29er muni in less time than I rode the Chilly Hilly last weekend on my Coker and that ride was all paved. :slight_smile: The Chilly Hilly is 33 miles (53K) and it took me 5.5 hours to finish it this year. But I did stop for a long time at the rest stop where Girl Scouts were giving out free home baked cookies. I blame those girls for my slow time. Oh, and I also blame Harper.

Congratulations Ken!

Congratulations Ken! A new personal best. It is fun to read about your adventures. Keep pushing yourself, it is amazing to see what you can do.

I’m looking forward to being able to ride with you during the Alps Unicycle Tour


On Sun, 6 Mar 2005 05:59:59 -0600, “GizmoDuck” wrote:

>Oops, that should read Karapoti 2005 :roll_eyes:

I hope the thread title will be applicable next year. Congrats on the result in this epic ride!

Klaas Bil

(reposted directly on the forum, the original newsgroup post somehow fell through the cracks.)

Thanks everyone :). It is my all time favourite race, and not least because it is the only mountainbike race I know of with it’s own unicycle category.

It’s also a very good course for unicyclists. Because the uphills are so steep, and there are so many carry sections (like the Devils Staircase), a lightweight unicycle is at an advantage to bikes. And the downhills are so steep that people tend to be grabbing their brakes the whole way down. Very few actual places where bikes go faster than unicycles for an extended period. My best bike time is a tad over 3hrs, only slightly over an hour faster than my best unicycle time.

Peter B- you have to do it next year- you were going to do it with us 2yrs ago!

Tony- I missed you! It’s not too late to sign up for the Rainbow Rage though. Hope to see you there!


Yesterdays newspaper:

Wow, an amazing achievment Ken! Hey, if airfares stay as low as $200 or so return between Australia and NZ I might even join you on this one… :slight_smile:


Great Andrew! Sorry I missed you in NZ- there were so many events happening.

Rainbow Rage is next weekend- www.rainbowrage.co.nz
Only a few places left, best ring first :slight_smile: I can try sort you out with accomodation if you’re able to make it.


Sorry, I didn’t bother to check the date, assuming it would be at least a month away. I won’t make it, but I still plan to re-visit NZ sooner rather than later.

Good luck!


Wow, Ken that is fantastic! Way to go. It’s nice how the timing works out - you should be in killer shape this time of the summer, eh? We’re doing a 50 miler this coming weekend, but it’s on road - very easy.



Normally woundn’t just post a link, but some interesting pics that show me getting dirty :stuck_out_tongue: :