‘The faster you go, the easier it is’
Matamata glazier Geoff Buysman has had a crack at most extreme sports.
He has fallen from a plane thousands of feet in the air and jumped off a platform with just a cord attached to his feet.
But, for the 53-year-old, nothing comes close to the adrenaline rush of racing downhill on a mountainbike at speeds surpassing 99kmh.
The Matamata Glass and Joinery employee last month won the Karioi Double Buster in Raglan for single-speed riders and placed fifth overall.
Only 16 of more than 250 riders at the Karioi Classic opt to ride twice around Mt Karioi and even fewer on a singlespeed bike.
It was an impulsive decision that introduced the former road cyclist to the sport of mountainbiking back in 1996.
‘‘I went up the road for a $6 tube for my road bike and I walked out with a $600 mountainbike,’’ he said.
‘‘I had to learn a whole new style. With road biking, you kind of lean into the corners – try that on a mountain bike and you fall off.’’
Twice a week, Buysman bikes from his home in Te Aroha to the television mast at the peak of Mt Te Aroha and back.
Other days, he takes the 75km round trip from Te Aroha to Waikino on the Hauraki Rail Trail, and on weekends he extends the journey to Thames.
Over the years he has competed on tracks as far as Whangarei and Dunedin and has spent time on mountains all over the country.
‘‘You’re out there with nature, your bike, and yourself,’’ he said.
‘‘You just put your bike in the back of the car and you can go anywhere.
‘‘You’re limited only by your skill, by what you can ride, and around every corner there’s a challenge.’’
Buysman rides a single-speed bike he built from carbon fibre and titanium parts from all over the world.
In June, he competed in The Blast on the Black Hill at Waihi and placed first overall – age has evidently not slowed him down.
‘‘In a race, for me, it’s always far better to ride it blind,’’ he said.
‘‘The faster you go, the easier it is to ride things, and if you don’t know what’s coming, you don’t hesitate, you hit everything full on. ‘‘In the downhill sections you are flying.’’ He once clocked his speed at more than 99kmh (the highest his speedometer went) at a downhill race on Mt Te Aroha.
‘‘I get nervous at the start because you just want to go but once you start it’s all gone and you’re just set on going as hard and fast as you can.
‘‘You come to a blind corner and you simply have to get around it because there’s nothing but a massive drop.’’
Buysman has won gold in the cross country expert class at the New Zealand Masters Games every year since 2002 and has twice had the fastest time in the entire field.
The ultimate dream is to compete in the Cape Epic in South Africa – the biggest five-day mountain biking event in the world.
Until then, Buysman plans mountainbiking.
‘‘Maybe I will stop if I really break something, otherwise I will keep going . . . there’s no reason not to.’’
In his element: Cross country mountainbiker Geoff Buysman riding on the Black Hill at Waihi.