Thursday, September 11, 2014

Return to Mount Climie

Jonny in the early 90's
Return to Mount Climie - With pix by Ricoh Riott.

A couple of weeks back I was looking through some old piccies from back in the day. I found a goodie of local rider Jonny Waghorn descending Mt Climie on his state of the art (at the time) Yeti so I scanned it and posted it on Facebook. A a bit of banter ensued and a few weeks later Kim Hurst announced a project she had been mulling over for a while, a fundraiser to help get her favorite wrench and world renown botty grinder (Ricky Slack-boy Pincott) overseas for some hi-end wrench-action at the World 24 Hour Solo MTB champs. The plan was to create a grass-roots homage to the original Mt Climie Hill Climb/Downhill event that used to precede the Karapoti. There have been some pretty famous riders take part in these events including David Weins and Dave Cullinan from team Diamondback. The Climie uphill/downhill combo was also used to great effect in the two-day Tour De Tunnel stage race that the Kennett bros introduced in the early 90's. The 610 metre climb is a beauty but you are very lucky if the weather at the top is good.

Lower Climie
Some people really got into the spirit of it dragging out their old retro bikes and trying to relive the day. Jonny was on his still original Yeti with admittedly a bit less travel than he had back in the early 90's, and Simon Kennett had also recently just come across a new (old) bike which was the same as the one he campaigned the nationals on in the infancy of the New Zealand MTB scene.

Simon and Jonny discussing gear selection
The Downhill guys were also out in force obviously although I didn't know many of their names. Upper Hutt local Ed Banks was there. Ed is always up Climie, anytime there is a chance of snow he's up there like a rat up a drain-pipe.

The last time Jonny would look over his shoulder and see Rob's "race face".

Its worth the trip to the top for the scenery.
You could ride each event separately or together with lowest combined time winning the Mountain Ninja Class.

Ed togs up in pants that have been banned in many countries.
Steve Bale was taking it pretty seriously forgoing handle bar grips for skate-board deck tape. It must have been fun descending on his 8kg rigid bike with those. Hopefully he had some well padded gloves.

Steve Bale

Lee Campbell
One of the most exciting rides I saw was from Lee Campbell on his Specialized Fat-bike. He had been terrorising the Cyclocross fields for the previous few weeks on this machine and despite having no suspension as such I think there were only about 3 riders in the "Mountain Ninja" Class that descended faster than him. He went past me in a blur like an out of control Monster Truck on nitrous. When asked if he had any "moments" he said, "about four".

A rider getting some air shortly after the start.

Ricky Slackboy Pincot himself won the Downhill proper with his home made rear disc wheel and we were all treated to some exemplary home-brewed beer from Ricky's Mud Cycles cohort, and home-made baking back at base-camp.