Crashing in a race run is never ideal.  Crashing into the underbrush comprised of prickerbushes, is also not ideal.  So, combining the two most certainly makes for an unpleansant occasion.  But, that’s racing, and you take the good with the bad.  On a whole, my first international race experience was not marred by this slight excursion off track, and it was actually a great Saturday spent racing.  The riding community here is really relaxed and friendly, not to mention that all the women who ride kill it and often out-ride a strong percentage of the men!  This is definitely a sign of a healthy outdoor-sport and mountain biking community in my opinion.

From the perspective of an American racing in New Zealand, it was really different, but in a good way. It was more of a “Mates Race” atmosphere, and for $40 you certainly got your money’s worth: 5 hrs of practice, up-lift shuttles, and 2 race runs.  Awards were prompt and short/to the point – less than ten minutes to cover 6 different catagories and recognize those who contributed and helped put on the event.  Take note event organziers, this is how it’s done!  What’s also really cool, is this is a full series here in Queenstown, and there is a race just about once a month, with plenty of other racing-like shenanigans to keep those race-inclined appeased and smiling.  
Short and Sweet Sunday update, because I have to go fix my bike, as it’s a little worse for the wear after thrashing it all afternoon yesterday…

Vertigo Bikes had me sorted for a lift over to the race; bike, pre-thrashing.