Around Lake Dunstan, 90km mass start.
Wet. Really wet. Again.
Awesome ride - hung onto main peloton in howling tail wind for about 20km. Rode with another guy from Invercargill for 30km.
Got picked up by another bunch at Luggate for the final 40.
Everyone just put their heads down and got on with it - and it was crap.
Well if you were a fish it was great, riding a road bike in a 20 strong bunch: not much.
Got rolled on the line for a second place in the gallop and finally broke the spot prize drought.
Mr Sharman and Denise stayed with us for the weekend and did the ride too.
Much pre race nerves over the correct level of clothing etc etc, but Marc carved a way thru the chaos like an icebreaker with Little Toot following faithfully behind.
Then she drove home 'cause Marc was fucked.
Alexandra to St Bathans, 75km handicap
This is the start of a clusterfuck of recent racing nightmares.
Drove into Alex to realise the start is on the back road, not the main road, so a quick phone/maps look up and arrive with time to spare.
Front tire is half flat from when I pumped it up earlier that morning - threw a tube in while race briefing is happening. Get covered in tubeless tire sealant.
Leave repair bag/tube etc in car. Hope for no more self deflating moments.
- Ces (my new nemesis) did puncture 5 km in, leaving 4 of us to head off the faster bunch behind - they caught us after 14km, then scratch caught us just over halfway.
So that was it then; the laughing bunch for 30 km, which then decided we should keep smashing it.
Not a great start back on the horse.
Luckily got a lift back to the start with one of the lads, so at least I didn't have to keep my bottom lip off the handlebars all the way home.
Roxburgh, Moa Flat, Raes Junction & Return, 75 km handicap
Driving down with Russell and he says
"don't rush the hill, it's like a half hour climb"
It actually took me 44 minutes : Tom Vessy = 28 mins.
Got dropped, got back on, got dropped, got back on.
Swooping downhill and cross wind; hung in there.
Raes Junction and I was on my own.
Got on a couple of bunches, but really I was dreaming.
60 km mark (Millers Flat) and I was getting hungry - it was lunchtime after all.
Passing through Ettrick and the 60 year old powerhouse that is John Alabaster said jump on behind Ces.
Fuck me, that guy is strong - pulling 28km into a headwind that had me at 18-20.
Got spat and grovelled home.
Coffee order got screwed up at cafe for prize giving - of which there was none for me.
Very humbling experience; 10 km hill climb and gain 400 vertical metres. Ouch.
Chatto Creek, Oterehua Loop, 100km handicap
2 climbs within first 20 km, then rolling, so stay together - that was the plan on the start line.
Reality - our bunch of 5 got splintered by the schoolgirl climbing machine (Mikayla Harvey - new resident of Albert Town) and then we didn't regroup for another 10 km. Good one.
Picked up Darryl along the valley so we hustled along to Oterehua when everyone was a bit flat.
Turn to head home and it's howling head / cross winds and road works.
Bunch broke up again, Mikayla dropped us then bridged to next bunch.
Another 10km and got passed by Russell's bunch and that was it.
Laughing bunch with 40 to go.
Kept the foot on the gas, only got caught by Gav Mason & Jim Hawkridge ( fastest time of the day right there) in the last 5 km.
Standing round saying how hard that was and the young girl who went off first with one other rider, puts on her running shoes and goes off for a jog.
Guess we not that hard after all.
MTB notes to follow in next installment.
Many things also not going to plan.