South Island XCO Championships 2020

Hello, my name is Angus Riordan and I am one of 10 riders in the 2020 Tauranga Development Squad. Recently we had six riders compete in the South Island XCO Championships in Timaru for the first race of the season and the beginning of a busy few weeks of on the New Zealand race circuit. We arrived at our accommodation for the weekend in Geraldine which is around about half an hours from the race venue. Prior to the race I had a learning experience when I missed the check in for my flight. However, after two flights and some waiting around, we all made it to Christchurch ready to roll. On the way out of town we visited Southern Approach, the main New Zealand importer for a lot of the biggest outdoor and mountain biking companies such as Camelbak, Lezyne and Abus. Sean from Southern Approach gave us a tour of his Warehouse and discussed with us what they do. 

When we made it to Geraldine, we headed out for a recovery ride exploring the local trails. When we finally returned from our big mission, we discovered that Zane had managed to lose his brand-new cycling computer, we were all distraught, nothing would be the same again. With no news of the missing cycling computer we woke up still traumatized however, despite the trauma, we decided to still go out for some course practice. The course was super dry, dusty, fast, with not much climbing. After a few practice laps scoping lines we manged to get the course dialled and head home for a good night sleep ready for a good hit out the next day. First up in the race schedule was Amy Humpherson in the U17 girls age category. The rest of the team was out supporting whilst Amy hit it out in her first proper XCO race.  After a hard fought race Amy had a very impressive result on a difficult course finishing 2nd in her age group. Later on, in the afternoon we had Zane Hurst, Luke Kivell, Corban Nicol and myself in the U19 age category.  Coach Tristan in theUu23/elite category and Emma in U19 girls all racing at the same time. The U19 boys all had strong races. Although still shaking from the events of the previous day Zane rode a smooth and consistent race as usual, however his race didn’t go to plan as he had a few mechanical problems but finished with a solid top ten performance regardless. He started the race feeling good as he was in contact with the rest of the field, but was unluckily held up by a competitor who was slightly slower than him which he wasn’t able to pass for a while, this allowed the majority of the field Infront of him to get away resulting in him playing catch up for the rest of the race. Luke, Corban and I all rode together for the majority of the race. I managed to drop a chain and made a few mistakes which put me back a few positions however I managed to ride back up to Luke and Corban. The three of us rode together for a few more fast laps in 3rd,4th and 5th. For the rest of the race the three of us tried to make up time on the top two. In the end Corban and I finished neck and neck around 20 seconds behind 2nd with Corban in 4th and myself in 3rd and Luke in 5th. Emma had a strong race for her first race moving up an age group in to the U19 managing to snag another podium for the team, finishing a hard race with another 2nd.  Emma started of really strong with a fast first few laps however lost contact with the leader and lost hope of the win but still finished with an impressive result. Tristan used his endurance racing background to his advantage, by working his way in to the race and up the ranks. In the end he was able to finish in 7th place in a stacked u23/elite field. Overall apart from the obvious horrific events that took place prior to the race, the race weekend was a great success with all of the team placing in the top 10 and 3 podium finishes. The race provided the team with a much needed hit out and warm up race before the all-important Oceania and national champs this weekend in Dunedin.