Walker to Ride Avanti at 'Home' World Championships London Olympic silver medal BMX rider Sarah Walker will proudly carry a brand synonymous with New Zealand cycling at July’s UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland with news that Avanti is once again set to make its mark in the world of BMX.
22 May 13: Sheppard Cycles is the New Zealand Company that engineers and distributes the Avanti brand of bikes throughout New Zealand and Australia and has in recent years supported World Champion pursuit rider Alison Shanks and the Pure Black Racing Team and in 2013 the Huon Salmon Genesys Pro Cycling Team.
Now the brand is set to feature once again in the world of BMX bikes with the race bikes carrying the iconic New Zealand Avanti brand from August 2013, with Walker, Tahlia Hansen, Kurt James, Max Macready and Richard McLachlan amongst the first to enjoy the best in Kiwi engineering.
Walker rode the 2014 Avanti branded prototype for the first time today and will take the bike with her to the USA as she prepares for the July 24 - 28 UCI World Championships at Vector Arena (www.bmxworldsnewzealand.com)
“I have been a professional athlete racing BMX for a number of years and I absolutely love what I do,” said Walker. “The preparation, training and of course the execution of race plans is critical. However, I have also learned that another key to a top performance is surrounding myself with top quality equipment and people who have as much passion and commitment to succeed as I do.
“I have been involved with the Avanti family for a number of years now and they have been an integral part of my success. The team believe in what I do and are always looking for ways to continue to adapt and improve my frame technology and equipment. I am excited to be able to represent all that Avanti stands for and showcase this when I am training and racing.
“It is a fantastic feeling when competing on the international stage as a New Zealander and knowing that I have the backing of a strong, NZ brand like Avanti. These guys have over 25 years in the bike industry with their first bikes being BMX so these guys truly know what they are doing. This knowledge and commitment is totally reflected in the bike I ride and just adds to my confidence.
“I am really excited about taking Avanti all the way to Rio 2016. Like me, Avanti believe in the success of New Zealanders and that if we work together you can be the absolute best in the World.”
John Oldale leads the BMX design team at Avanti and spoke of the work that has gone into the development of the new frameset.
“The Avanti Team issue frameset was developed in conjunction with our team riders,” said Oldale, Avanti BMX Bicycle Product Manager.
“The initial design brief was to come up with something that was light, fast and stiff giving the rider the ultimate advantage out of the gate and down the first straight. In order to do this we needed to develop a back end that was incredibly stiff yet had no weight penalty. We chose to use custom shaped tubes made out of Kinesis K7 alloy which offers a strength-to-weight ratio and produces a very strong but lightweight frame.
“The frame also features a BB30 PF bottom bracket which is a technology borrowed from road bikes allowing for a larger crank axle and bearings. The rear hub is custom made for Avanti and uses a 15mm axle which is 5mm larger than a standard BMX race axle, once again making the overall package stiff. The hub has 120 points of engagement – meaning that there is little to no slip on the chain for immediate pick-up out of the gate. To finish the frame off we have used “double pass” welds to help reduce stress and increase fatigue life.”
The move to reengage the Avanti brand in BMX racing sees the company go full circle from the very first bike produced by the company to once again proudly providing world class framesets to the best riders in the world.
“Sheppard’s are excited to re-introduce the Avanti brand back in the BMX race scene – the grass roots of where the company began over 30 years ago,” said Bob Boniface, Sheppard Cycles Managing Director.
“It completes the circle of high performance athletes we support under the Avanti brand with the likes of Alison Shanks and Cameron Brown and supports our drive to grow and support top level competitive cycling in NZ.
“We are looking forward to the range being released in August and are excited to be part of the sponsorship group helping bring the UCI World Champs to Auckland this coming July with Sarah, Max, Tahlia and Kurt all to race on the new Avanti frame.” READ MORE
Avanti back on top in Tassie The Aussie versus Kiwi battle was re-ignited when the Oceania MTB Championships were held at Glenorchy MTB Park in Tasmania over the weekend.
02 April 13: Avanti rider Rowena Fry, riding on her home course, took the challenge up to NZ Olympian Karen Hanlen in the XC Olympic MTB event. Overtaking Hanlen early in the first lap, Rowena built up a solid lead by lap two. An untimely crash on the dry skatey descent slowed her progress and by lap four Hanlen was back on Rowena's wheel. The World Class climber proved too strong on the final lap and Rowena held on to take a well deserved Oceania silver medal.
The following day saw the exciting XC Eliminator Title decided. Having achieved a World Cup Podium in 2012, Rowena was one of the favoured riders in the fast and furious knockout event. Qualifying 2nd fasted in the time-trial she made it though unscathed winning her semi-final comfortably. The final saw 4 riders battle it head to head. A furious start saw Rowena in good position sitting second wheel and looking ready to pounce in the back half of the course. Following closely behind Em Parkes into a loose, gravel corner, Rowena utilised all her evasive skills as Parkes crashed in front of her. She managed to keep upright and regain momentum to stay in ahead of the 2 chases and motor to the line securing the Oceanic MTB XC Eliminator Championship.
All achieved aboard her 2013 Avanti Competitor 29er Team Hardtail. READ MORE
Ironman Melbourne this weekend I'm just about to get on my plane bound for Melbourne, Australia for this weekends Asia-Pacific Ironman Championships on Sunday 24th March.
20 March 13: It's only been three weeks since my last race which was Ironman New Zealand but my recovery has been good so I've decided to give Melbourne another crack. I had a fantastic race here last year racing along side 3 x World Champion Craig Alexander right up until the 37km mark on the marathon and was so close to going under the magical 8hr mark recording 8:00:12! This year is a little different with having just completed Ironman New Zealand which was a full Ironman unlike last year when the weather bomb over New Zealand forced the race organizers to shorten the race to a half Ironman, that was a great build up race for Melbourne but this year is totally different. I have never done another Ironman so close to just competing in one three weeks ago so I have no idea how my body will feel until race day. The field is stacked again with over 45 professional men on the start line, race day kicks of at 7:30am (Melbourne time) with all the action on www.ironmanlive.com or www.ironman.com Here's hoping my body will be ready this time around.
Cameron Brown Top 10 ranked men Pro Men:1 Craig Alexander2 Cameron Brown3 Marino Vanhoenacker4 Eneko Llanos5 Jordan Rapp6 Luke Bell7 David Dellow8 Tim Berkel9 Jan Raphael10 Clayton Fettell READ MORE
Larisa reports on Ironman New Zealand Taupo turned on a stunning day for Ironman New Zealand this year. On race morning we were greeted with glass-like swim conditions, minimal breeze on the bike and some lovely heat on the run; a vast contrast from the stormy conditions the year before.
08 March 13: This was my third year at Ironman New Zealand and it was a race I was very much looking forward to with a good summer of training and racing behind me. Race morning presented me with a few nerves but mostly I was excited! I started the swim right at the front and got away to a clean start with goggles intact and not too much bashing around me. I settled in to a good group of swimmers and got in to my rhythm. The turn around buoys seemed to arrive sooner than I expected which indicated it was going to be a fast day. The beautifully clear conditions made it easy to stay in a group and spot the buoys ahead. I excited the swim in 55min, a massive PB (and a bit of a smile!) Mum was at the swim exit to tell me I was 3rd female out of the water. I made my way to transition and on to my bike. A faster swim this year meant that I spent a lot more of the ride on my own with not as many age group men out there to pace myself against. I pushed it pretty hard and by the 20km mark I had passed the two girls in front of me and taken the female age-group lead. Fellow Avanti athlete Rob Dallimore came past me and it was good to see him having a great day too. The second lap was a little tougher with the wind picking up a bit and an additional climb on the second loop. I rolled into T2 in a time of 5hr 21min, a bit slower than I would have liked but still another PB. I started the run feeling pretty good and was running with good form. However, the pace on my Garmin watch let me know otherwise! The new three-lap run course is fantastic for spectators and the whole course was lined with people. It was incredible to have so much support out there! I was passed at the 15km mark by an Aussie girl in my age-group. She was having a fantastic run and passed a few more people up the road. I felt strong throughout the 42km and although my pace wasn’t as quick as I would have liked, I held together well to the finish to take second place in the 25-29 age group and 10th female overall in a time of 10hrs 15min. To crack the top 10 was an exciting achievement and gives me plenty of confidence for the future! I earned my third consecutive Kona qualification and will be heading back to Hawaii in October this year aiming for the top of the podium. Even more exciting was to see fellow Avanti riders Rob Dallimore also have a fantastic day and qualify for Kona. It sure is going to be an awesome Kiwi team in Hawaii this year! Next up for me is a small break before a build-up towards Ironman Cairns in June. I’m excited already. READ MORE
Rob Dallimore reports on Ironman New Zealand This was my 12th Ironman start, and my 8th in Taupo. I had very little expectation of myself having not qualified for Kona at IMWA and Auckland 70.3, so I figured getting to Kona again was probably a long way off.....and some years down the track. I had been bothered by a foot sprain which put me out of running for most of January, so the limited miles through February was going to catch up with me at one point....and it did, more on that later.
08 March 13: I started the swim right next to Steve Farrell who I know is a much better swimmer than me, so anytime on his feet is going to drag me along. He dropped me after about 400m as I got tangled up in the melee of the swim pack. The swim was extremely frustrating as it felt like I was never able to get a full efficient stroke going, constantly being kicked, punched, pushed under and climbed over literally for the whole 58mins. I knew that while this was happening I wasn't having to break my own water, so at least I was having a pretty easy swim, its just that I felt SBW had gone 10 rounds with me.
Coming out of the water and running along the path to transition was crowded and I was passing people like crazy.
Getting on the bike I heard the names I wanted to be riding with - Boyd, Howse, Gaskin, Glah and I knew I was in for a good ride. Once on the bike Gaskin and I let the pace go as Glah and Howse were sitting on 45kph on some of the flat sections and I knew this wasn't going to bode well later in the day. Deano and I put some good work in together to the first turn around and caught a few more guys, which kept the pace strong on the way back. 90km in 2:28 was a good start to the day but I was beginning to feel the effects of the strong start. I let Deano and a few others go on the early part of the 2nd lap, until Steve Dean caught me going up private road and he was riding at a good pace, so I tried to keep pace with him - I couldn't but it gave me the boost I needed to get back into a rhythm. Heading along Broadlands the second time I put in some pretty hard work and picked of people one by one. At 135km I had caught back up to Deano and Quentin Fogarty and was happy with this. I took it pretty easy on the final leg back knowing that my run was going to be a toughy. I finished with my best ride time in Taupo (5:10) but not the 5:00 I was wanting to see.
On to the run and the first few km went well, good pace, good rhythm, good legs. As I got to the hillier parts of the course I started to feel my form weaken and I was getting worried. Nick and Jess Lawson were sidleline giving me huge encouragement and I think this kept me in focus. I was moving through the field well, and made sure I looked extra relaxed and happy as I went past the Foot Traffic tent, but by the 2nd lap I was beginning to creep, the hills were becoming a real factor. The Madgwicks were right on my case and giving me the abuse I needed. I ran into 3rd in AG at about 25km passing Jared Newell and I was relieved with this. Lawson reminded me to keep relaxed until 32km then go for it. So 32km came and I went....but then I stopped, it appeared I was already going for it, and any attempt to pick up the pace was quickly thwarted with gripping hammie and calf cramps....not to worry, I'll keep this pace as I have 3rd sewed up. Then bloody Jared passed me again and I was totally broken mentally. I had nothing to fight back no matter how hard I tried, how did he manage to come back at me so well! It was at about this point that I decided its time to retire from Ironman....I'll go out with dignity, take my 4th place and be happy. 12 finishes wasn't a bad innings. I was enjoying watching how my athletes were racing and that they were all killing it out there. One true highlight for me over the whole day was spending most of the run alongside one of my heroes of the sport Ken Glah. I felt like for a while there it was going to repeat of 1990 NZ Ironman (google it). Watching him race year after year at NZ Ironman in Auckland is one of the reasons I took up this crazy sport.
But then I hit the finish chute, and the pain flushed out of me and the buzz of the finish line dragged me right back in the game. And then I saw I had qualified for Kona!! How the hell did that happen when I was having such a horrible race? Well I wasn't going to let this chance go by, so I promptly unretired myself...and I will probably be back next year for IMNZ again knowing me.
Thanks to everyone who was cheering for me out there. Thanks also to Avanti Bikes for the amazing Chrono Evo2, Performance Bike Tuning for the incredible bike servicing, New Balance for the perfect Ironman race shoe, Magellan GPS for keeping me informed and on pace and Blue Seventy wetsuits for keeping me afloat and moving forward in the water. READ MORE
Cameron Brown reflects on his 3rd place at Ironman NZ Well it was a tough day at the office yesterday. Not the day I was hoping for in my 15th Ironman New Zealand but still enough to get on the podium in 3rd place.
05 March 13: Perfect conditions greeted the 1400 athletes as we took off in the calm waters of Lake Taupo. I swam nearly the whole way by my self and ended up 4mins down coming out of the water, too much time to give away to the leaders Bevan Docherty and Marko Albert. Onto the bike and the day continued to be hard, I kept loosing minutes as every kilometer passed and would find myself 11mins down off the bike. At least the weather was fantastic! Always hopeful of my run leg it didn't last long before I started asking myself questions "this would be a long day"! I struggled from the first kilometer and blew at the 21km mark!
I finished with a 2:57hr marathon, a long way off my best but my first bad day in 15yrs here and I still managed to get on the podium.
Time for a quick break before I start training for the next event. READ MORE
Mountain Bike couple ride for Team Avanti in 2013 Tasmanian mountain bike couple Ben Mather and Rowena Fry will this year team up to ride for Avanti Bikes. For 2013 their bikes of choice will be 2013 Avanti Competitor Hardtail 29er’s and they will continue their long standing relationship with SRAM componentry, Adidas Eyewear and the fashionable 4-Shaw accessories.
26 February 13: With Rowena taking a year away from European competition and returning to a majority MTB program, the couple will mainly focus on the Australian domestic scene, racing XC, Marathons and stage events. Fry is no stranger to the mountain bike public having won 6 national titles across the disciplines of short track, cross country and marathon. She is also a former Oceania Champion and has won major events including The Highland Fling, Wildside MTB and Tour de Timor. Fry has battled with health issues over the past two years but feels like that is now behind her. Last year she had a busy schedule racing for the women’s GreenEDGE road team and competing at the World Cup XC and Eliminators, scoring a World Cup Podium result in the latter. Whilst her XC World Ranking has dropped from the Top 20,
Fry is looking forward to a year at home before embarking on a campaign to compete at the Commonwealth games in 2014. “I have definitely under-performed the last couple of years. I’m happy I’ve finally been able to string together a solid preseason. I’m feeling good and really looking forward to competing in all the great Australian races I’ve missed out on the last few years.” Mather is better known to the marathon scene and won the National Marathon Championship in 2010. In 2011 he won the Convict 100 and finished runner-up in the Ottway Odyssey, the James Williamson Enduro and the Highland Fling. Also in that year, he finished second overall in the hotly contested National Marathon Series. A major road race accident resulted in him breaking his collar bone and patella, putting a dampener on his 2012 season. “It was a tough year. Every time I tried to increase my training load I had knee problems. It was hard to watch the other guys racing, but has made me hungrier for success. This year I’m really looking forward to a solid marathon season and will be focusing on the National Marathon Champs in Atherton in April.” The couple have just finished hosting their own two day mountain bike event The Blue Dragon MTB Challenge. “It’s the perfect way to showcase our favourite riding area and allows us to be on the other side of the race tape for a change” said Mather. He capped off the event presentations with a surprise marriage proposal to Fry that sent the crowd into a wild cheer (she said yes). Mather raced last weekend’s Ottway Odyssey, finishing a creditable 5th on the tough 100km course. This weekend, the couple travel to Canberra to compete in the National MTB Championships hosted at Mt Stromlo. After finishing second last year, Fry is keen to regain the Cross Country green and gold jersey and Mather is hopeful of a Top 5 result.
Photos courtesy of Russ Baker READ MORE