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Kiwi Weinberg wins singlespeed Worlds on home turf

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Superman on the start line.

Superman on the start line. (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Professional road racer Julian Dean raced singlespeed Worlds in an orange tracksuit.

Professional road racer Julian Dean raced singlespeed Worlds in an orange tracksuit. (Image credit: 2010 SInglespeed Worlds Organizing Committee)
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Rob Metz on the lead moto.

Rob Metz on the lead moto. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Rad Ross Schnell (USA)

Rad Ross Schnell (USA) (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Another fine costume.

Another fine costume. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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This rider might have to worry about saddle sores.

This rider might have to worry about saddle sores. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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This rider shimmered along

This rider shimmered along (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Winners of the 2010 Singlespeed mountain bike Worlds received this tattoo.

Winners of the 2010 Singlespeed mountain bike Worlds received this tattoo. (Image credit: 2010 SInglespeed Worlds Organizing Committee)
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Women's winner Heather Logie (Australia)

Women's winner Heather Logie (Australia) (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Heather Irmiger (USA) won last year.

Heather Irmiger (USA) won last year. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Deano Director and Nic the Rock Chick

Deano Director and Nic the Rock Chick (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Carl Patton, New Zealand Mountain Biker Editor

Carl Patton, New Zealand Mountain Biker Editor (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Ron King (New Zealand)

Ron King (New Zealand) (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Rider # 899.

Rider # 899. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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This racer matched his bike and costume.

This racer matched his bike and costume. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Racing through the woods.

Racing through the woods. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Just about any costume would do.

Just about any costume would do. (Image credit: Nick Lambert)
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Bring your own shade.

Bring your own shade. (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Surly was represented.

Surly was represented. (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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This stream claimed many victims.

This stream claimed many victims. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Superman was here, too.

Superman was here, too. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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John "Fuzzy" Milne

John "Fuzzy" Milne (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Guess which nation Andrea represents?

Guess which nation Andrea represents? (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Heather Irmiger and a ... um ... friend.

Heather Irmiger and a ... um ... friend. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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The crowds lined the trail.

The crowds lined the trail. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Kilts are ok attire at Singlespeed Worlds

Kilts are ok attire at Singlespeed Worlds (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Disco Man after a dunking

Disco Man after a dunking (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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John Gray

John Gray (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Disco man takes a flyer

Disco man takes a flyer (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Going down!

Going down! (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Plenty of riders crashed in this stream.

Plenty of riders crashed in this stream. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Lots of smiles were seen on the faces of the racers.

Lots of smiles were seen on the faces of the racers. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Animal proved that singlespeeders aren't just a bunch of muppets.

Animal proved that singlespeeders aren't just a bunch of muppets. (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Garth Weinberg had his own cheering squad.

Garth Weinberg had his own cheering squad. (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Grant Usher (South Africa)

Grant Usher (South Africa) (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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What do you think his favorite beer is?

What do you think his favorite beer is? (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Mike Northcott (New Zealand)

Mike Northcott (New Zealand) (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Ron King

Ron King (Image credit: Helen Brumby)
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Team Bike Vegas/Niner rider, Garth Weinberg of Rotorua recovers after winning the singlespeed Worlds race

Team Bike Vegas/Niner rider, Garth Weinberg of Rotorua recovers after winning the singlespeed Worlds race (Image credit: 2010 SInglespeed Worlds Organizing Committee)
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Sesame Street even sent a representative.

Sesame Street even sent a representative. (Image credit: Mike Vincent)
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Heather Logie wins the women's category at Singlespeed Worlds

Heather Logie wins the women's category at Singlespeed Worlds (Image credit: Mike Vincent)
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Eventuall winner Garth Weinberg runs across a stream.

Eventuall winner Garth Weinberg runs across a stream. (Image credit: Mike Vincent)
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Garth Weinberg receives congratulations from his family.

Garth Weinberg receives congratulations from his family. (Image credit: Mike Vincent)
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Singlespeed Worlds photo finish

Singlespeed Worlds photo finish (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Ross Schnell on course

Ross Schnell on course (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Eventual winner Garth Weinberg en route

Eventual winner Garth Weinberg en route (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Winner Garth Weinberg demonstrates proper beer chugging technique

Winner Garth Weinberg demonstrates proper beer chugging technique (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Singlespeed Worlds Winner Garth Weinberg's new tattoo

Singlespeed Worlds Winner Garth Weinberg's new tattoo (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Disco time

Disco time (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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It's not about the bike. It's all about the beer.

It's not about the bike. It's all about the beer. (Image credit: Mike Breen)
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Tattoo show and tell

Tattoo show and tell (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Rad Ross Schnell

Rad Ross Schnell (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions) models his orange jumpsuit.

Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions) models his orange jumpsuit. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Women's winner Heather Logie

Women's winner Heather Logie (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Racers wore just about anything... or almost nothing.

Racers wore just about anything... or almost nothing. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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A special Kiwi kit.

A special Kiwi kit. (Image credit: Alan Ofsoski)
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Runner-up and Rotoruan favorite Nic Leary's costume was a tribute to Head like a Hole (a New Zealand rock band) and their bassist Andrew "Tall Beast" Durno, who was also racing.

Runner-up and Rotoruan favorite Nic Leary's costume was a tribute to Head like a Hole (a New Zealand rock band) and their bassist Andrew "Tall Beast" Durno, who was also racing. (Image credit: Mike Breen)

Kiwi Garth Weinberg is marked for life - and he wouldn't have it any other way. The 38-year-old from Rotorua rode his way to the Singlespeed mountain bike world championship title on his home trails in Whakarewarewa Forest, on a beautiful spring day.

As is customary for singlespeed Worlds, Weinberg was branded in honor of his title in the post race champion's ritual demanding a special tattoo to mark the world's fastest one geared off-road rider.

"Are you going to get the tattoo?" asked race organiser Dean Watson. A brief pause followed.

"Let me think - yes," said the race-worn Weinberg, who already has two New Zealand title marks on his body. This tattoo was going over his hear.

"This is probably going to be the last time I had a chance to win something like this so it's going to have my heart in it."

It was a case of third time lucky for the two-time and current New Zealand singlespeed champion, who headed to the finish ahead of defending world champion Ross Schnell in the sport's equivalent of a sprint finish.

That involved both riders emerging from 40km of singletrack riding and devouring a can of cleansing Speights Traverse ale in the final beer shortcut before rapidly pedaling over the finish line.

Weinberg chopped it down first and following a champion's skid, collapsed over the Kiwibikes finish line with proud wife Rachel and daughters Melissa and Hannah joining him on the ground.

There were tears, Dad trying to explain to his youngest just what had happened. "Hannah didn't like me crying: I told her it was because I was happy," Weinberg said.

There was no secret recipe to his victory. The winner had simply ridden his "arse off" and in the process totally exceeded any pre-race expectations he held.

"I would have been stoked with a top five depending on the start but it all came together - I got out about 25th or 30th and picked a few off early and held in there," said New Zealand's second-ever world singlespeed champion.

The race start had a twist - after all, this is mountainbike racing, but not as everyone knows it. In sort of a rough tribute to herding sheep, all the riders including Elvis, Superman, a Human Disco Ball, Animal from the muppets, Marilyn Munroe, five Beer Cans, numerous fairies, criminals and rugby's Captain Hurricane to name a few, started in an enclosed circle.

Slowly they moved around as race director Dean Watson, the DJ and Brooke "Wiggles" - who started clothed like a startline pit girl and worked down to a fetching black knickers and bra uniform, combined to whip the riders into a pedaling frenzy.
Brooke's wiggles did the trick with one visitor, wearing only a leather thong, sunglasses and hat, breaking ranks and passionately doing wheelies as he chased a playful romp. The pre-race warm-up was well underway as the Labour Weekend sun added its warmth to a festive - and possibly slightly disturbing - scene.

Then the riders were off, a rolling party of colours and smiles, heading for the hills with Weinberg on the way to a dream win.

"It wasn't really a reality because I knew who was in the field," he said. "Once I got ahead, I was waiting for them to come past but they didn't come"

Weinberg joins Aucklander Clinton Jackson, winner in Castlemaine, Australia back in 2003, as the only Kiwi winners of the world singlespeed title.

Schnell was the title favourite and the American with the mutton chops sideburns led the riders through the first 20km lap transition. Weinberg was on the 10-year professional's tail and took the lead during the second beer shortcut deep in the forest.

Weinberg hammered himself on the familiar terrain, moving the advantage out to 28 seconds at one point before the defending champ nipped it back to 10 seconds inside the last kilometre. However, there was no stopping the hometown hero as the hundreds of supporters clinging to trees screamed with each pedal stroke to the race finish.

It was incredibly fitting the local won the race, according to event media man Graeme Simpson.

"[Garth] inspired this, he really did," said Simpson, who was part of the Rotorua Singlespeed Society that pitched for and brought the championship to New Zealand.

"It was almost three years ago when Garth came back from Scotland [after a top 10 finish] and now we have a world champion."

Australia, New Zealand battle for top honors in women's race

The women's title also came Down Under with Australian adventure and mountainbike racer Heather Logie overcoming two beer stops to hold out local "pocket rocket" Nic Leary.

Logie had been in Rotorua for just over a week and rode in last weekend's 100km race, then every day as she took advantage of some great singletrack riding.

"I've had a week of loving the trails here, we've got nothing like this back home. I've been out every day with a grin from ear to ear and I can't stop smiling, it's awesome," said the Canberra 31-year-old, who chucked on a last-minute costume best described as sassy-stripper-meets-police girl.

"I got lots of good comments, the crowd was awesome," said Logie, known to her friends as "Fun Police".

Leary, dressed as a rock chick, chased her hard but the Aussie's legs held on despite a shortcut-induced close shave with of Rotorua's famous trees.

The finish line thought of a compulsory winner's tattoo wasn't that great for the Aussie.

"I feel kind of sick now," Logie admitted as she waited for her turn. I don't know where [to have it] - I hadn't thought about it at all."

Leary's second spot equaled fellow Rotorua rider Anika Smail's runner-up effort of 2008.

More than 850 riders took to the trails and basically the winning time was 40km and at least two beers after the start for one and all.

Race notes

- 1050 racers from 30 countries participated.

- Ireland won the right to host the singlespeed Worlds in 2011.

Results

Men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Garth Weinberg (New Zealand)
2Ross Schnell (United States of America)
3Ben Bostrom (United States of America)
4Mark Leishman (New Zealand)
5Dan San Martin (Australia)

Women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Heather Logie (Australia)
2Nic Leary (New Zealand)
3Katie O'Neill (New Zealand)
4Anja Mcdonald (New Zealand)
5Janine Cavanagh (New Zealand)

Everyone else did very well.

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