Yellow Jersey
Mountain Biker Profile: Karl Paterson
Monday, 9 November 2015, 6:00 AM

For those that have been around the mountain bike scene for a while, the name Weazel is well known. With an invite to ride at Crankzworkz in Rotorua next year he is still on top of his game, after first riding for New Zealand at the World Champs in Cairns in 1996 as a junior. He competed as a Junior then Elite on the international downhill scene, with a short retirement before coming back to the sport. It’s not just his riding skills but also his pranks and sense of fun he is infamous for. NZ Bike wanted to find out some more about this rider that competes in cross country, downhill and enduro.

Name: Karl Paterson
Known as: Weazel

Photo courtesy of NZ BIKE

NZBike: How long have you been riding?   
KP: 23 years

NZBike: How did you start out mountain biking?
KP: I lived in Rotorua and a friend of mine up the road had borrowed his uncle’s bike which at the time was really flash, so we took it to the Redwoods and had turns on it.  After that I was hooked - got my first MTB and started doing some of Fred Christensen’s Races.

NZBike: Your first bike?
KP: A Scott Timber

NZBike: What was your first competition?
KP: Wednesday night time trials run by Fred.

NZBike: Where has home been for you?  
KP: Rotorua/Matamata Via Welly and Palmy – just moving  back to Rotorua.

NZBike: When did you first compete at a National Level?
KP: 1996 National series

NZBike: What was your first International Level competition?
KP: 1996 World Champs in Cairns, Australia

NZBike: What are some of your events you competed in?
KP: In the late 90’s I raced on the World Cup Downhill circuit and for New Zealand.  World Champs – Australia, Switzeland, Canada, NZ etc World Cups, NORBA races, and Oceania Champs.

NZBike: What are some of the special podiums you remember?
KP: Won a Canada Cup Pro DH race, Top Ten at a NORBA Pro DH, won a National Elite DH, 2nd overall in National DH series; All in the late 90’s. Lately I was 2013 Oceania Masters 1 XC champs, and overall series winner of the Wellington Enduro series.

NZBike:Downhill vs Cross Country – what do you prefer?
KP:  DH, it’s such a mental game, it’s a fine line, too fast you crash, too slow you lose and it’s all against the clock which adds to that mental game. I do enjoy the head to head battles of XC, had a few goodies over the last few years.

NZBike:What are some of your favourite tracks you have ridden?
KP: Whakamarina (Malborough), Peaking Ridge, 629 (Nelson), Tuhoto Ahriki, Hatupatu Rainbow Mountain (Rotorua) Waihaha Hut track. Deliverence, Trickle Falls, Rata Ridge (Wellington).

NZBike: You are still competing 23 years on - what motivates you?
KP: Just a good battle and some good banter,  anybody who know me knows I don’t mind having a bit of a chat.

NZBike: Did you have a break out of riding?
KP: I got burnt out on racing at 21 and stopped racing DH. I did a bit of dirt jumping after that.  I lived in Cooks Beach for a year and got into spear fishing, such a different sport with it’s own challenges and I really love it.

Photo courtesy of NZ BIKE

NZBike: First Juniors, then Elite, now Masters – what has the journey been  like and how are you enjoying it now?
KP: I have met so many good people and continue doing so over the years . I enjoy competing and having a laugh so still really loving it.  I prefer smaller races now - some of the events are getting massive, too many people for me. I prefer the grass roots feel like back in the 90’s.

NZBike: What is the competition like at Masters level?
KP: Yeah it’s strong, everybody has businesses or families so they don’t quiet train at elite levels. It’s a good escape from the real world.

NZBike: What are some of the major advances in technology you have seen over these years?
KP: Well my current XC bike has more suspension travel than my first full suspension DH bike. My first full suspension (had a hard tail DH bike to start) DH bike had 3 inches of travel front and rear with V brakes, it was nasty. I think the All mountain style bike nowadays are amazing. My current bike, an Intense Tracer Carbon, has 160mm of travel front and rear and weights 12.5kgs. That’s pretty awesome; light enough to ride all day and enough travel to bomb down hills. Also dropper posts are great. And good riddance to the days of bar ends.

NZBike: You have just had an invite to Crankworkz in Rotorua – how great is it to have a competition like that in your backyard?
KP: Yeah, it’s going to be amazing.  Just moved back to Rotorua and the Redwoods is pretty much my back yard so I better get practising to get some local knowledge in. It will be great to see the best riders in the world all here in Rotorua again since the Worlds Champs in 2006.

NZBike: What are some of the things you have gotten away with in the mountain bike world over the years?
KP: Well one year in Canada we went on a flag collecting mission which resulted in a large collection of flags; one of which I had to unbolt the base of the flag pole as it was tied off at the top. While retrieving the flag I noticed the hotels sign was made from stick on polystyrene letters, which I thought I might re arrange for them. So anyway in the morning as we rode to practice we went past the hotel, only to see the police standing there scratching their heads with a flag pole on the ground and  a hotel sign that said WEAZEL next to it. Also there was a big food fight at a prize giving dinner one year; that I may or may not have started.

Originally published in NZ Bike Issue 79, February 2015


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