The O.C.C. athletes involved in the GrapeRide enjoyed beautiful (but blimmin’ freezin) conditions last Saturday. Not much for wind, a day that warmed up, and an awesome atmosphere post race, makes this event a winner!
Me: 1st place 2:26
Glenn Quantock, Matt Anderson, Phil Hodder: First bunch 2:39:01. Phil 1st place in 19-34yrs!
Richard Green (riding in memory of his beautiful wife): 2:42:36
Richard Smallridge: 2:43:16
Graeme Litt: 3:00:39
Murray Caldwell: 3:03:35
Maree Roberts: 3:06:13
Kate Boyd : 3:07:00
Ian Harvey: 3:07:06
Phoebe Walker: 3:18:21
Back in Christchurch 3 O.C.C.’s competed in the Eyreton 72k out and back:
Once again Andrew V took line honours (2nd week in a row!), this time in C grade.
Glenn E was well positioned to take out race 1 but stopped for a crash in the final kilometres.
Andrew W ‘participated’ in the 40k out and back.
A few of you have asked for a race report from myself. Here it is:
Speed bunnies (the name for our race), started out very fast – the neutral car was doing 45kph! We continued at that speed for some time – our average was over 45kph by the time we entered the valley at the start of the sounds (leading to Picton). I was tired but feeling strong and knew that the field was not very strong. It only seemed sensible to make the race, in order for it eventuate in my favour. Attack and attack I did, as did my teammates Sam Horgan and Dillion Bennett.
A successful break was made after just leaving Blenheim (I bridged solo to 2 riders, then we were joined by 4 others). However, this was brought back by the time we entered the aforementioned valley. Sam my team mate went up the road and spent some time there, and once again I bridged up with 2 or 3 others. We were joined by 3 more by the time we were in Picton, we then lost 3, gained 2 on our way up to the ‘wedge’ (king of the mountains).
I was happy sitting 2nd wheel, but ended up first 100m from the top, when I attacked to comfortably win the K.O.M. From there you’ve got to tell yourself – “you’re a bike pilot, navigating the twists and turns of the Grove” – LOVE IT! The road between Picton and Anakiwa doesn’t have a single straight bit in it! However, we almost got caught by the remenants of the bunch on the straights before Linkwater. To our good fortune, the 3 Benchmark riders along with us all (there were 2 Subway and 2 independents), drove the break to stay clear.
My plan from then, was for Sam to win by us eliminating a couple of riders, then attacking the remainder, eventually letting Sam up the road and myself bridging to him. No elimination occurred on the final hill before Havelock, except for when James Early eliminated himself (not through crashing) on the downhill! Next candidate for coaching lessons on downhilling I reckon! From Havelock Sam and I attacked the others, manipulated the others (by making the Benchmark riders do all the chasing), and eventually ended up with just one other for company in the final 25k.
The one disappointment from this race for me is, my plan didn’t come to fruition. 3rd place Thomas Ashley resided to the fact he wasn’t strong enough to stay with me, so he latched onto Sam when he attacked. I wish I had ‘played’ a little more with him, by getting him to chase me, allowing Sam to stay away with further attacks. I put it down to learning experience, particularly in the team category experience….
All in all pretty awesome day, and I’m always keen to learn more… and see you guys do well – what about Richard G. That wasn’t the name he entered as, but “Riding in memory of my beautiful Jilly Green” Awesome!