by JP Tobin
Current NZ RS:X Champion, JP Tobin won the challenge of 'The Duel' a 50km bike race around Mototapu and Rangitoto Islands, along with a number of top New Zealand sailors. Here he describes the unique event:
JP Tobin in full flight on his way to third in the Mens Medal Race - 2008 RS:X World Championships, Takapuna
The day started early with a 6 A.M ferry departure from Devonport ferry terminal bound for Home Bay on Motutapu Island (event base) off the ferry piled 600 + MTB riders ready for racing and looking for a bike to ride (bikes had been transferred to Home Bay the day previous).
Bikes located the race started shortly after 8 A.M for 50 km (53.4 km actual) of riding which incorporated both Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands (hence 'The Duel') the majority of the race focused on Motutapu with a fast loop of Rangitoto to get things started.
Making a break on the first climb out of Home Bay I worked to establish a nice sustainable rhythm, things were clicking until around 25 km mark when the front tire picked up a leak...maintaining a steady pace was now a mission with the lack of tire pressure making control an issue on high speed flat sections and descents (uphills were O.K as I could keep the weight off the front wheel) at times I was forced into running the downhills to make sure the front tire remained on the rim.
Figured this was not ideal so whipped out the C02 to give the tire some life...this refill did not last long as the leak continued despite the best efforts of the stans® puncture goop to stem the flow (not enough stans® in the tire to work effectively)...enough C02 for one more fill but still 20 km to the finish...
Out of C02, tire leaking and losing time on the fast sections was getting a little frustrating...next up started running into the back of local traffic...Bovines on the track were in no hurry to get out of the way and did not offer much drafting potential as they ran along the top of the ridge lines dropping the outcome of the previous nights grazing directly on the path ahead, I figured they had carved the tracks we were riding on so there was no point in getting too upset at them, however this did not stop me giving them some encouragement to get their hind quarters moving a bit quicker, finally clear of the wildlife it was back to try to gently work the front tire around the remainder of the course.
Fortunately I rode into one of the on course mechanics (great initiative) who lent me a couple of C02 bottles to get me through to the finish...PHEW!!! thanks that guy...
Awesome event and one that goes straight into the calender for 2010...and thanks to me :) there will be one extra native tree planted on Motutapu Island, funds raised from the event go directly to support MRT in their Motutapu restoration project.
Olympic Gold medalist, Tom Ashley competed in the half-marathon event. Several other New Zealand Olympic and America's Cup sailors competed.
To see TV3's coverage of the event http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/Sports/tabid/317/articleID/97476/cat/70/Default.aspx#video!click_here
To see ONE Sport's Martin Tasker's report on The Duel http://tvnz.co.nz/othersports-news/the-dual-motutapu-rangitoto-tranverse-1-40-2598302/video!click_here