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As the Karapoti’s longest running sponsor, Cactus was proud to be the main sponsor at this year’s event.


Established in 1986, the Karapoti Classic is the Southern Hemisphere’s longest running mountain bike event. Located just outside Wellington in the Akatarawa ranges, the Karapoti’s 50km course incorporates river crossings, steep climbs and technical descents all set among native forest. The classic Lemans style start sees competitors straight into the infamous Akatarawa River crossing, with depths often between waist and shoulder height depending on rainfall. Just the way to wake the body up before tackling one of the first gut busting climbs.

Previous years of hot, sunny and settled February weather were not to be as racers were greeted with gloomy, rainy and muddy conditions for what was going to be an exciting event. The average weather seen the usual turnout of 800+ racers dwindle to 600 hearty racers to brave the start line for the mad dash across the cool Akatarawa River and then into the gruelling 50km course.

 

 

As usual, the 2017 Cactus Karapoti Classic was not without drama, with many racers suffering from mechanicals and crashes due to the adverse trail conditions. Among finishers for the 50k Challenge included Lucy Jurke and Emily Hannah, aged 11, the youngest ever finishers in the events 32year history, well done!

 With a stacked field of riders from over 8 countries, the men and women’s overall winners included Kyle Ward, one of Australia’s top riders, and NZ’s own Samara Sheppard finishing just shy of the women’s course record at a time of 2hrs 42min (impressive given the conditions).

 

 

Another event for the day included the Cactus 5K Kids Challenge which saw over 100 under 11’s tackle a muddy course with multiple river crossings. A great introduction into mountain bike racing for the youngsters, proving they were tough enough to turn up and have a blast on what was a great event regardless of the weather. 

 

 

 

Event information, results and post race report available here

 

Comments | Posted By Shaun Kirton

CACTUS & COLD BREW

1/02/17 11:08 AM

 

 

 

Harpoon is a dedicated cold brew coffee company based in South Dunedin and selling in grocery stores throughout the country.


When Arjun started the business in 2015 he put a message out to see if anyone wanted the coffee grounds, which are a useful by-product of coffee brewing. A stranger at the time, Tod Coxhead, jumped at the offer and started collecting them regularly for his garden. A couple of years later, Tod is a business partner of Harpoon Cold Brew Coffee and head of production. With the popularity of Cold Brew Coffee on the rise, Tod has been looking for ways to get rid of the ever increasing amount of coffee grounds. As a result there are help-yourself-bins outside the cold brewery on Glasgow Street and they've gone to community gardening groups like Youthgrow and the Polytech gardens. The most recent batch has been taken by trailer to a friends garden to nurture their fruit trees. So far not a single gram of grounds has gone to landfill.

 


"Cold brew coffee is easy to make but hard to perfect. You've got to consider the beans, roast, grind, brew time and temperature to name a few of the variables. Currently we're using a Brazillian coffee which has notes of milk chocolate and a long clean finish. We don't use any sugar or indeed anything besides water and coffee to make our cold brew, so extracting just the right flavours from the coffee is imperative. It's takes a lot of trialing and patience but we're damned proud of the end result. We're pretty excited to share our cold brew with cactus customers that appreciate quality." David from Harpoon


 

Photoshoot.

 

Cold Brew coffee is a tasty refreshing drink all year round, but particularily in summer. It may not replace your morning (hot) brew but it's ideal and extremely convenient for a delicious smoko drink or an afternoon, chilling in the backyard, refreshing pick-me-up. It's a heck of a lot better for you than a sugary energy drink and it tastes better too.

 

 

For more info about Harpoon Cold Brew head along to their website here

 

 



FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY GRAB A FREE HARPOON COLD BREW WITH ANY IN STORE CANVAS LEG WEAR PURCHASE!*


*While stocks of legwear and cold brew last. In store only. Cactus T's & C's apply. 

 



Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

SOUTH ISLAND TRAVERSE UPDATE

1/02/17 10:13 AM

 

This is just a small taster of the adventures of Alexis, Lydia, Allan & Mark while on their epic journey traversing the length of the South Island. They have had terrible luck with weather... which does for some great story telling. For the rest of their blog and more images, follow the link at the bottom of this post. Fingers crossed for some better weather!


I'm writing on the eve of our return into the whelm of the Southern Alps after a much needed week of R & R. In my case, this consisted in getting clambered on by three adorable niblings, doting over the 4th and most recent arrival, spending alot of ime either reclined, on my arse or close to the ground and eating like 15 year old going through a growth spurt. I found myself mooching around the kitchen less than quarter of an hour after a holiday-season-sized meal , inhaling toast, drinking stone fruit or hoovering weetbix.

 

It's not as if we've been going hungry on our trip. If anything we've over-catered (helped in part by the temporary loss of the 4th party member). But I weighed myself when I got out and was surprised to find I'd lost 6 kgs over the two months of travel so far. Those who know me well can vouch that I don't carry much of a spare tyre, nor can I boast much of what Lyd's calls a doughnut (try bunching your stomach pudge around your navel with both hands), in everyday life- so I don't know where I kept this spare trammel. But I'd noticed Lydia and Allan thinning out gradually and acquiring the wiry lope and gaunt leather faces of alpine animals and Mark commentED I how lean I looked when he joined us. Lydia's doughnut test has proved a useful yardstick of mass-loss ; we are now down to pretzel-size.

 

Flippant observations aside, we were interested to observe the weight-loss in spite of our generous rations. It suggests that averaging c. 1000 vertical meters per day and 8hrs of walking is clearly something that our bodies have a hard time sustaining. We've been burning up our fat reserves and converting some surplus muscle mass into energy. After a challenging week between the Rakaia and the Godley valleys, we all started observing a decline in the maximum power output of our muscles. No doubt there is a corresponding increase in our muscular endurance. It is interesting to discover the limitations of our bodies as they adapt and optmise to the rigours of transalpine tramping.

 

After the short unplanned break in Christchurch in mid-December, we set off back up the Rakaia late afternoon on December 18th. The weather was almost as stroppy as when we'd half-walked, half been blown out of the valley a few days earlier. After leaning into a wall of wind for a couple of hours, admiring the scudding clouds and patches of golden evening light, we put up at Thompsons Hut at Washbourne Creek (the hut is private and belongs to Lake Heron station). On Monday we picked up our food-drop at Reischek and further whittled it down : the initial drop was for 12 days travel to Godley Hut for 4 people, we were now 3 and had a passable forecast that should allow us to complete the section in under 8 days. Reischek hut now boasts a literal bucket-load of food for future stranded/gluttonous parties. Don't get to excited, its mostly dehy and peanuts.

 

Read more (and you definitely want to!) here... 

 

Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

GRAND DESIGNS CACTUS STYLE

25/01/17 10:04 AM

Vaughan in his Cactus Trade Supershorts & Tee - automatic Builder cred.

 

 

Vaughan and Anna are building an off the grid house in Governors Bay, Banks Peninsula and we think it's worth talking about. Not only are the views spectacular, they've made some great decisions on architecture, materials and building style.

 

The house is going to be fully insulated with Maxraft floor slab and underfloor heating while the whole building will be insulated to 2.4 x the building code. The house is completely off grid, powered with solar panels and batteries and the waste system is a vermiculture system (using worms and stuff). Their water supply is all from roof collection.



Vaughan & Anna looking like natural born builders. 



Vaughan and Anna are building it themselves with help from 'real builders'. Vaughan's day job until now has been building Clip n Climb climbing walls and is part owner of Christchurch bouldering gym, Uprising.


Some of the things Vaughan and Anna have been making from scratch are concrete bench tops, concrete hand basins, kitchen cabinetry, dining table and chairs and all of the internal doors are made of solid rimu recycled from a demolished house. 



 Not a bad spot to be 'working' every day. 

 

 

It's certainly an inspiring project which Cactus is keen to follow. Check back here for an update soon. 

 

 

0 Comments | Posted By Cactus Outdoor

Jo - Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley 

 

Back in September I was lucky enough to get 3 weeks off work (even though I had just started with Cactus in mid July) to head over to the USA and do a bikepacking tour called the Idaho Hot Springs.

 

This is a mapped off road/gravel road cycle tour that has been mapped by the ACA (Adventure Cycling Association)

 

The route is approx 800km long, with optional single track sections that you can take which lead you off the main route into more wilderness and join back up with the main route further on.

 

We flew into Boise and from here you can ride 65km to the start of the route proper. From here you can ride the route in either direction (we went clockwise). You pass through 3 different National Forests - Boise, Payette and Sawtooth National forests with the stunning Sawtooth Mountains which we were really excited to see.

 

You may only think of Idaho as the potato state, but it is actually a beautiful part of the US with lots of mountains. Some areas we biked through were some of the most remote areas in the entire lower 48 of the US. The area is very volcanic which in turn has created a lot of natural hot springs in Idaho, hence the name Idaho Hot Springs. This route passes by 50 hot springs whether natural pools next to a river, in the middle of nowhere, or a resort style hot springs that have been completely commercialised. I can tell you, there is nothing more amazing than sitting in a rock pool next to a river in complete wilderness, soaking the legs after a day on the bike… absolute bliss.

 

Relaxing in a riverside hotpool, stunning rivers and my favourite part of camping in the US - Firepits

 

The US is one of my favourite countries in the world. I just love the wilderness, the amazing forest roads and forest campground system they have in place. It's just such an amazing resource that is so well respected by everyone.

 

My husband Scott and I have spent a lot of time in the US in the past 10yrs, with our biggest bike tour being a 3mth cycle tour of the GDMBR (Great Divide Mountain Bike Route). This is a 5000km trip which is also mapped by the ACA and zig zags you back and forth down the Rocky mountains from Banaff in Canada all the way to the Mexican border in New Mexico. Since completing the GDMBR we have been really looking forward to getting ourselves back to the US for another wilderness biking adventure for some time.

 

Sadly while we were there Idaho had the biggest wildfire in the country burning called the Pioneer Fire, which caused us a little bit of stress leading up to the trip as it is right in the middle of the route loop and was getting very close to the roads we needed to use so there was a lot of watching the US fire dept website leading up to our departure as we did not have a plan B.

 

The Pioneer Fire while were were there was 188,000 acres big. The closest we came to the fire was about 10km at some points. This is where we meet some of the amazing fire crews dealing with the fire by clearing undergrowth, deadfall and doing back burning. Being this close to the fire meant some really smoky days. The smoke was very thick and just hung in the air, especailly in the valleys. Even today, three months on, the fire is still only 70% contained.

 

Smoke sitting in the valleys from the Pioneer Fire

 

Because of the volcanic nature of the area, the roads we were riding were what they describe as ‘Idaho Talc’, a very soft volcanic sand – so some days the going was very slow and painful due to the lack of speed and ground we were covering. One day we had a 26km climb to do in what felt like a sand pit. It was a long and what I would call a character building morning. But happily what goes up must come down and we were rewarded with a 26km descent down the other side on a lovely hard packed gravel road right into an amazing wee town called Idaho City. It felt like stepping into a western movie when you rode in (except we were on bikes not horses, not to mention the big muscle car show happening in town that day).

 

This town was built for the gold rush back in 1862, it was the largest city in the northwest with a population of 7000 people. Today it has a population of 485. Following on from Idaho City we followed the gold mining route passing through tiny towns with populations of 50 people or less. These places are great. Real small town America (Trump country!!). This is where you meet the most intresting people and funny enough, they all have a story about New Zealand. I met a man who owned a fishing shop in a town called Stanley who told us all about his fishing trip to Wanaka, where DOC huts only cost 20c a night to stay in. I am guessing that trip was quite some time ago now, but he remembered it and how amazing New Zealand was like it was yesterday for him.

 

Idaho City Main Street


 

Another town we passed through was Cascade. We had high hopes for this town – sitting on the edge of a lake by the looks of our map – however when we arrived we were disappointed to ride past the beautiful lake and over a small hill to find a very run-down township, built for the railway which once ran through it rather than next to the lake. Someone decided to build the town just on the otherside of the hill, crazy…. we could not believe it. The town sadly did not have anything going for it and we were happy to leave but just up the road was McCall, another town, but this one built on the edge of another gorgeous lake and it was beautiful – like a mini Queenstown. I feel the people of Cacscade should maybe take a drive up the road to see what they could be like.

 

From McCall we headed towards Stanley over yet another mountain pass. Stanley, a small town with a population of 63, was something special. Eevery house and building was built of wood. This area is very famous for white water rafting and fly fishing Although it had such a small population it was a bustling wee town with a lot of character. Next up was Ketchem an extremly well to do ski town where all the rich and famous seem to have holiday homes (Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger to name a few), not to mention the home of Ernest Hemingway (Nobel prize winning author).

 

One of the highlights of my trip was our 2nd to last day when we left Stanley towards Ketchum. We had our final pass to cross and we knew there was a chance of bad weather in the afternoon. The closer we got to the start of the climb the darker the sky became overtop of the pass so we made a phone call to a lodge located just on the other side of the pass to get a weather report and it was snowing. Lucky for us we had made the call from Smiley Lodge where we had stopped for lunch. We were still deciding what to do when the weather really packed in. So a call was made to rent a log cabin at the lodge. We spent the rest of the day sitting in the diner, meeting the locals that came and went. The girls working the diner were amazing and we had a lot of laughs that afternoon. The next morning was clear and we were off up the pass.

 

With not long having started at Cactus, I was lucky enough to get my hand on a Henry pack to take on the adventure with me. This is the first actual Cactus product I had so was super keen to give it a try.

 

Usually when we go bikepacking I would not wear a pack on my back but because this was a two week bikepacking trip we decided it would be worthwhile to carry one and just keep it as light as possible for those days when we may need to buy extra supplies for the days we were inbetween towns.

 

The Henry was ideal for this … the shoulder straps were super comfortable for wearing for 5-6 hours a day. Even when I did have a slight load in the pack it was comfortable. They moulded really well to my shoulders.

 

 

 

Comments | Posted By Jo - Product Development

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