Katie Ramage Demonstrates Resilience and Grit at the North Island Mountain Bike Champs

Report by Katie on the North Island Schools Mountain Bike Champs

Dad and I headed up to Tauranga in the middle weekend of the holidays and went straight to Summerhill Mountain Bike Park, the venue of the race to practice the course. After two laps I was done; it was hot and I was tired, so we packed up, picked up my race pack and headed to our accommodation. The track was hard and fast but it also had roots and tricky sections.

I woke up at 6am and by 7am we were on our way. When we arrived at Summerhill we had to park in a paddock that was a little way away and we had to walk to the start line area. The venue was bustling with kids from the ages of 12-19 from all over the North Island. I warmed up and then listened to the race briefing and waited for my name to be called. When it was I took my place behind last years 1st and 2nd.

As the gun went the two people in front of me split onto either side of the 4 wheel drive track and I had a clear run. As we zoomed down the hill and then puffed up the next hill I realised that I was in second place, when we entered the single track it was hard to see the roots and dips because the trees shaded the track. As we got closer and closer to the end of the first lap it became clear that this was going to be our finishing order.

1.5km into my final lap my chain fell off, I spent some time trying to put it back but it wasn't staying on so I gave up and started to run, by now 3rd place had passed me and I was off the podium. As I got nearer to half way my dad was running down the track as they (the parents of the top 3 girls in the first lap) were getting worried that I hadn't gone passed yet. I explained what had happened, Dad took one look at my chain and said “it's stuffed, the chain is twisted”, so I started to run again up the hills, then coasting down them. I had to run up the biggest hill yet and I was already tired. As I reached the biggest hill I didn't look out of place, everyone was running up the hill it was so steep! After a long time I reached the open area where I had to run up another loong steep hill, go around a switch back, run up a shorter hill and then coast to the finish line. I crossed the finish line to the sound of lots of people cheering and then collapsed onto the ground.

I found out that I had run three quarters of a lap - 3.5km! As I went to collect my spot prize the lady said “your the one who ran most of a lap” and I replied “yes” and she handed me a helmet saying that she had heard what I did and was waiting to give me the helmet. We stayed for prize giving and then headed to Rotorua to ride the Whaka 25km course. I later learned that I had come 6th out of the 10 finishers in my race.