One gear is all you need for a thrilling race
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.
WACKY: A blue-clad Mike Northcott of Tokoroa finished sixth at the Singlespeed World Champs in Rotorua.