‘The faster you go, the eas­ier it is’

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

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.’’

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Photo: SUP­PLIED

In his el­e­ment: Cross coun­try moun­tain­biker Ge­off Buys­man rid­ing on the Black Hill at Waihi.

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