One gear is all you need for a thrilling race

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By ADEN MILES

Crazy car­toon cos­tumes, body paint and beer con­sump­tion isn’t of­ten as­so­ci­ated with pro­fes­sional moun­tain­bike rid­ing.

But in the re­cent Ki­wibikes Sin­gle­speed World Cham­pi­onships they were manda­tory.

While the race was de­scribed as quirky, Toko­roa rider Mike North­cott said the top rid­ers, who in­cluded Tour de France cy­clist Ju­lian Dean, were still out to win.

‘‘It was a dif­fer­ent kind of race with cos­tumes and any­one could en­ter but the top rid­ers still took it very se­ri­ously.’’

The race was held in the Whakare­warewa For­est in Ro­torua and in­cluded more than 900 com­peti­tors from 30 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and Aus­tralia.

The race was a two-lap course to­talling 40km and was the first time it had been held in New Zealand.

North­cott placed sixth due to a ran­domised start­ing or­der which saw him be­gin­ning from the back.

‘‘I was fight­ing for it right from the start. I had a re­ally bad start. We were rid­ing around in a cir­cle and then the race started. So I ended up back in the 700s,’’ North­cott said.

‘‘I had to work very hard. I had a crash, I lost my chain three times but I rode through to fin­ish sixth.’’ Each lap took about an hour. ‘‘It suits my style of rid­ing. I have taken to it. It’s the way you have to ride – with a sin­gle gear you have to re­ally at­tack the hills.’’

Next year’s cham­pi­onships will be held in Ire­land.

Photo: SUPPLIED

WACKY: A blue-clad Mike North­cott of Toko­roa fin­ished sixth at the Sin­gle­speed World Champs in Ro­torua.

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