Monday, November 29, 2010

Taupo Huka XL

Finally I put my race number on for the Round Taupo event. I was deciding for a few weeks prior to the event whether I should race the road or do the Huka XL mountain bike race, I went for the mtb race more as a prep race for the Festival of Cycling which I would love to defend my last years race win. For the Huka I knew I would have the fitness to get up in the top handful but more importantly I knew I had to watch the guys who ended up in the top-4 placings plus Stu Houltham who finished a small margin behind me in 6th place, I also knew if I got isolated from those guys my day would be very long as I had no knowledge of any of those trails. After a hard 45mins racing I did end up losing sight of those guys and after a wee while I saw Stu coming up behind me which gave me bit of a boost because I knew he could ride himself back up to the leaders and I wanted that as well. I sat on Stu’s wheel for a long time and gave him a rest every now and again when we got onto some wide open sections. With about 25km to go I moved to the front and kept a reasonable pace which eventually got me ahead of Stu but still a wee while away from the guys I wanted to catch. I finished at least 7mins behind the winner Mike Northcott and a well deserved win after 2nd placing in the last 2 Huka races, Karapoti winner Tim Wilding wasn’t too far behind in 3rd, last years 3rd place getter Mark Leishman did a repeat of that result and young stormer Dirk Peters pulled off 4th with me 5th followed by last years winner Stu Houltham. A pretty top notch field and a fierce race which will lead into a strong 2011 season.
I was happy with my result and I can see some positives leading into this weekends Festival of Cycling, I’d like to think I will have the goods to do the double in the mountain bike race but I know there are a few people who will want to stop that and I’m up for the challenge!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The wheels are rolling!

The warmer weather has made me feel like a cyclist again, more daylight hours after work has helped me get my motivation back and the last month has been pretty consistent. I haven't spent much time on the mountain bike but more so the roadie and have been hitting up races from Wellington to the West Coast North Island areas. Last weekend I went back to my home town to race the Sharrock Cup in Wanganui, 73km out to Waverly and return. The out journey was fast with speeds of up to 60kmh on the flat but the bad news was coming home with a nasty headwind and some big hills to conquer. It wasn't enjoyable but the 3 of us worked well and nearly got through to the front markers. I got the jump in the sprint and bet home old racing buddy Adam Gosney for fastest time.

Today I rode the Tour of Manawatu, an event I last hit up back in 1998 but on a much different course. Palmy pulled the perfect weather out of the bag which made for a fast race on some really nice rolling country-side. A group of 8 slipped away with round 50km to go and we were't mucking round, plenty of attacks and surges kept the legs honest and weakened a few riders. 10km from the finish I eased up on the attacks and had confidence in my sprint to get a good result, Craig Lawn had a ripper of a day and jumped hard at the same time as me and he held on for the win with me getting 2nd. Great ride by Craig and well deserved as he had a very honest day of racing on his bike. I was really happy with 2nd and stoked to have my road racing legs back after having a few years away from the road. Next weekend is an event over in Masterton, good that there is no shortage of racing at this time of the year.....starting to think I might be keen on lining up on the road for Round Taupo rather than the Huka Challenge....who knows, certainly not me so will see how I'm feeling when I put in the entry!

So for another week it's all about the commuting and making the most of the wicked Wellington terrain after work, if you are in a position of being able to ride to work and you aren't doing it yet get going, make the most of the k's and save your petrol money to get to races!

Hope everyone is enjoying the nicer weather and is getting those white glow sticks some summer tan!