Just a little race write up from the Weekends Racing:
Great write up Ken, one thing though is that I was riding a 26, not a 29 This is the setup I used here: Post Your MUni here! except with a flatfish base rather than the normal KH plastic base.
It was a brilliant event, I’ll write up abit later when I have time!
ps one day I want to have legs as ripped as yours they’re massive!
Skinny is good! I was actually about 2-3kg heavier than usual this year…doesn’t help on the climbs!
I’ve fixed that error…I thought it was a 29’er but you must have a massive tyre on it.
nice report Ken, I enjoyed it!
Great report. That video of the rocky part was enlightening. Very rough ride!
I want to try some off-road too, but it’ll have to wait until I’m more experienced and can afford a MUni that will stand up to it.
Dang it. Another Karapoti raced I missed. I really want to do this and should just register now for next year so I put it on my calendar and can’t back out. Sounds like an epic race. Nice write up Ken!
cool write up Ken. I think in a dry year that the record could be put a fair bit below 4hrs. I guess Jamey and I will have to come over next year to give it a crack and hope that the weather gods do not mock us like the last time I went over for it.
I don’t about a fair bit below 4hrs, but certainly hope someone can get it below 4hrs. A dry year might knock of 10-15min off the time at most. Some of my fastest times were on wet years (4hrs13min in 2008), and some of my slowest on a dry year- the course is looser and rockier.
I’m not sure there is such a big difference between a 29" Unguni and a 26" Schlumpf either- most of the time is made up on the climbs. I’ll probably ride a 29" Unguni next year and work on my running/carrying. The biggest difference of a Schlumpf is going up and down the Gorge…probably a couple of minutes each way on the road, but some of that is lost from having to lug a heavy geared uni up the Devils Staircase.
This is the second time I rode a Schlumpf. I did it on a 29" Schlumpf a few years ago, with my slowest ever time- from memory slightly under 5hrs.
But yes, you and Jamey should definitely come…you’re both better on the Gunis, so maybe you’ll find a bigger difference
Soooo the Karapoti Classic aye… the race I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now. For the past say 3 years I’ve eagerly read unicyclists various tales of doing the Karapoti. The end of last year I took the plunge and regristered online -felling pretty apprehensive and nervous… and that was months before even being at the start line! Skip to the word in bold to get to the race haha and avoid my ramblings if you want…
Over the summer holiday (christmas holidays) I was meaning to do lots of long rides in preperation, but as things turned out I was occuppied with other stuff. But I did get in a great 28km ride at Whangamata… (28km the furthest I had riden before the Karapoti on a uni, well disregarding the Day night thriller where I rode all up about 45km but with about an hours rest between each 5.5km…). Getting back to school after the long holiday I didn’t get much riding in also, during a tiring ride with Tony M at Waharau Regoinal Park I hurt my lower back pretty bad so that was me off riding for a while, and goodbye to any chance of getting a proper rides in before the Karapoti… and off to physio yet again (I seem to have a habit of getting injuring myself unfortunatly :P). In the last few weeks leading up to the Karapoti I went on the Spirit of New Zealand 10 day youth development voyage, sailing from Dunedin down to Stuart Island and up to Bluff. That was an amazing experience, I flew back to Auckland on the Tuesday VERY tired and with a small cold. Before I knew it was arriving in Wellingon the following Friday afternoon!
The rest of the Friday afternoon was spent resting lounging on the coach, taking in lots of fluids, and unpacking my muni from its wheelbag. What a relief to find it hadn’t been damaged in transit! Staying with family in Wellington I also caught up with them.
Race morning woke up at 5:30, an hour earlier then I had intended to! Nervousness started building in my stomach. Two bowls of Nutri-Grain later and more water and out to the car I go oh wait I find that my muni has gotten a punture- bugger! Needless to say this did not make me feel any less nervous quite the opposite! A half an hour car ride later we arrive at the carpark. I’m relieved when I see they have mechanics. So they changed the puntured tube out for a new one and my rotor was rubbing annoyingly so after proberly 1/2 hour of fiddling roung with that they only charged the $5 for the tube which was awesome of them! I always fix my own flats, but I was to nervous to and wanted to make sure it was done properly…
I was looking round for Ken and Tim when Tim found me haha. Later on we found Ken and talked about the race and watched a group of elite mtb’s start from the bridge. Ken has done the race heaps, Tim had done the race before and there was me really nervous and not sure what to expect even after reading lots of writeups never having done the Karapoti before.
So we started in the ‘Specials’ category that is for singlespeeds, retro bikes, tandems and us unicyclists. The river was pretty calm and about up to my knees, we get the 321 go call and off we go, we went across the shallower part of the river. I got off to a good start, and then we had to cross the river again at one of the forks. Next thing I was on the road peddling, Ken zoom’s off in high gear and Tim does too, heres me wishing I had a bigger wheel to keep up a bit! I wonder weither I started off to quickly, so I try not to go to hard to soon, but at the same time trying to keep a decent pace going on the ~2km of road and then the 6km of rocky single track through Karapoti Gorge and onto 3.5km of undulating 4wd track. I manage to keep up with Tim for a bit and overtake him when he has an upd, I managed to keep infront for a while in the Gorge, but then he passes me! The Karapoti gorge single track has some pretty bumpy sections with lots of sharp rocks to avoid/try not to punture on with some smoother sections. A couple of river crossing later I arrive at the warm up climb, which is a 1.5km STEEP climb on a gravely 4wd track. I altenated between walking past walking mtbers with their comparatively heavy mtb’s and riding the less steep bits.
By now I was getting a better idea of just how hard and tiring this event would be! A great reward for that long climb was a steep!!! 1km of DH on a very rocky loose track - say rocks about the size of my fist? made for exciting riding. With my hand hard on my brilliant disc brake and loose rocks moving under my wheel down this steep track was great fun. Just before the bottom I turned a bit quick and fall down into a creek bashing my right knee pretty good on a rock! Getting up I rode for a few metres to the bottom and then limped for a little through another small river crossing. Back on my muni I got a lil concerned that my knee might cause me problems with riding but after a while of uphill it stopped complaining
Now after crossing the creek I was climbing the Dead Wood Ridge track and my legs were really starting to feel it! I walked the high majority of this climb, riding every now and again on the more rideable flatter bits joining the steep bits together- few people ride the steep bits on this climb, its steep, very long : 2km and climbs about 400m… It was awesome to see the few riders who were giving it their all and riding lots of this climb. Pretty much everyone is very quiet and slowly walking their bikes up the steep bits, and I passed a lot of bikers (knowing full well they’d fly past me on the dh’s), feeling very glad to have my light muni, rather than slugging it up there with a heavy bike. The top of deadwoods is 575m above sea level, so not a climb to be scoffed at.
15km into the race I finally reach the top and ride along the undulating rough ridge (well not all of it…). Some sections would be a bit tricky to ride with me being so tired and the paths from water so I walk those and ride the rest, sometimes getting off to walk a bit to take a lil break whilst still moving forward and feeling beginning stages of cramp eeek!
After 5km on the ridge I see the Rockgarden sign and feel a bit relieved to be heading dh again with technical riding! Heres where I miss the benefits of the 3’’ tyres! The 3km rockgarden starts of easy and gets very very rocky at places. Joining the rocky parts are smoother pieces of track. I was actually pretty supprised at how hardcore the rockgarden is at places! I expected it to be rocky but not that rocky! The rocks are very sharp and several times I bottomed out, even with my pressure higher then it ussually is. I didn’t ride all of the rockgarden cause bikers were sometimes in the way, and being really tired by this point and not wanting to hurt myself badly I had one hard fall, I got off lightly though luckily. After that I took the rest of the rockgarden a bit easier This rockgarden is dam awesome, never have I riden/walked in a rockgarden like that! It’s the sort of terrain I’d love to have close to home and session for hours trying to clean all of it (which would be very difficult), but being out in the middle of nowhere and being very tired I opted to walk the really knarly sections.
After the rockgarden the track crosses the Akatarawa River once again there is single track for 1km. I’m riding along and turn the corner, everyones carrying and walking their bikes up what I instantly recognise as the dreaded ‘Devils Staircase’. It rises out of the ground and keeps going on and on… The Devils Staircase is the 2nd major climb of the Karapoti, it is a VERY steep and as the name suggests the track has stairs cut into the clay/rocky terrain. This climb is pretty much unrideable with some small bits rideable, and I feel great passing lots of bikers
At the top is the highest point in the race at the 613m high Titi. Here is a drink station, where I fill up my camelbak bladder and grap some great tasty lollies and start eating another chocolate peanut slab before riding the Big Ring Boulevard. That was the longest ‘break’ of the ride, about 2minutes or less haha, so different from my normals rides The Big Ring Boulevard is 10km of predominantly downhill on a 4wd track that is smoothish in places but mostly rough with rocks to dodge.
Nearing Dopers Creek I look at my watch and set a goal for myself- to get under 5 hours. After crossing Dopers Creek the last evil, punishing climb starts… The Pram track “gets it’s name from the amount of people pushing rather than riding”. This is the last of the 3 big climbs, and I definatly found it the worst. It’s a 3km steep climb on a rocky loose surface. With my legs cramping and all those false tops that just keeeeeeep on coming, the more false tops I pass the more I feel the top must come soon. I mostly walk but really dig in sometimes and ride some uphill. After what feels like a millenium I see the the final drink station, not wanting to waste time I quickly grab lollies and ask how far ahead the next unicyclist is. From memory he replies “about 20-30minutes ahead”. Just a very short ride like 30metres to the very top and I’ve reached the top of Dopers Hill 531m high from sea level! From here my pace picks up alot as I ride fast, 5km of DH with 1km of very steep rocky dh that is super fun to bomb down using my disc brake heaps and dodging the bigger rocks. By now I’m regularly checking my watch on the easier sections to check my progress to get under 5 hours. One more river crossing down and 7km of to go my legs are sooooo tired but I keep myself riding fast. The closer I get to the finish the more I relise I’m not going to get under my goal of less than 5 hours… so I feel pretty fustrated being so close. Riding through the Karapoti Gorge again (but now the opposite way) I get to the last road section. After the road section I ride down on the rocky surface, jump off my uni and run into the Akatarawa River and my legs go really funny, I can’t walk properly… my legs are so sore and tired. I hear the crowd clap and yell, but don’t look up, I just want to complete the race and rest haha. I cross the river carrying my uni and manage to mount my uni and ride over a small incline (feels so crule that very small incline right by the finish after all that climbing) and though the flat on the grass to the finish! My legs are shot, and I’m finally finsihed! With a time of 5:03:43 I was ever so close to getting under 5 hours, but not quite- another year I’m the youngest unicyclist to do the Classic at 17 1/2 years. Ken Looi and Tim did great times of 4:36:53 and 4:39:38 respectfully. Next time I do the Karapoti Classic I will do some training and ride a 29er hopefully, would have been faster for most of the dh’s.
It was a brilliant event with a great atmosphere, and an awesome track
I’ve been writing for to long haha.
I hope however reads this enjoys my long write up, proberly filled with lots of bad grammar
Another good writeup! That is it. I’m definetly doing it next year.
Great write up Sam.
It’s always good to hear of Karapoti from someone elses perspective. You looked pretty smooth down the Rockgarden on that video- would love to see you take on the gnarly bits!
Ken, can you repost here or let me know somehow when registration opens up for next year as I am pretty certain I will do it.
Thanks for a great write up Sam.
“Next time I do the Karapoti Classic I will do some training…”
Can’t imagine how fast you will go if you do
Peanut slabs, it’s been so long since I’ve seen one of those :o
we’ve all had one of those --.03 times at some stage. It’s just a number that’s not too important once you have finished, but you’ll always remember the hills