What an awesome day. We cycle because we love it, and reflecting on the day’s race, I can say I mostly love it! In a nutshell, I got to see why Roulston deserved the win – two key times in the race (detailed below), and I had a reasonable day on the bike:
The 7th or 8th time up the climb Rolly attacked after the 2nd steep pinch just after the church, taking only a handful with him. At the bottom about 7 or 8 of us were ahead and he attacked again along the straight before the turn-off to the downs. I went with him and Guddy (Tim Gudsell). I sat on, while they lapped out til someone chased us down, Rolly sat up (at the start of the downs) and attacked again. This is when he went solo (the second key moment – what to me defined him as the deserved race winner).
I thought the pace would drop for the 9th time up the hill (as now Bauer now attacked and left the bunch)and I might survive (unfortunately I was only thinking of survival) but it didn’t! Hats off to Hendy on getting second as he was off the back the 9th time up when I was getting dropped. To survive and then be second best to Rolly’s an impressive performance!
It’s seldom that I finish a race without regrets. Fortunately I’ve taken more positives then negatives from this race but firstly the points to improve on:
I know once again that you can’t compete in this race (or Southland) on the back of nothing less than 100% training. I haven’t been able to do this in the critical months of Sept, Oct and Nov, and some of Dec. Something for me to improve on this year is to make sure I get to Sept fresh and ready to put in some key training (hopefully no earthquakes either!)
To finish the race or not? Still debating whether I should have continued with the new ‘Mr-enthusiastic’ Andy Hagan to finish the race (I didn’t do the last lap), or watch Rolly and others finish.
My biggest mistake, and I know it’s through lack of preparation, was not getting in a break. Something I’ve found relatively easy, but not when racing in a team. Simply I rely to heavily on the others to be in the break. A soft break went just before the hill on about the 5th or 6th lap. For me to do well in this race without the sufficient form, I would have profitted greatly from being in this break.
The team management were happy with the way I performed. Bodes well for upcoming Tour of Wellington which I’ll be racing for Subway.
I performed up to my expectations – I’m not a natural hillclimber (although it is a power-climber’s course – Rolly’s not a hillclimber!), and I didn’t have 100% fitness.
I got to give some constructive coaching for Ian during the race.
No crashes! And I was absolutely buggered at the end.
And it was so great to see all the spectators and (personal) supporters out there!
Finally you can see the race data recorded by my Garmin at : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/62772454