News‎ > ‎

Race Report: Preston Points Race - Gisborne South 13/07/13

posted Jul 14, 2013, 12:04 AM by Melton Cycling Club   [ updated Jul 14, 2013, 12:05 AM ]

By Shayne Vermeulen

Wet, cold and windy conditions meant that the field was slightly thinner than expected. E grade bunch had 5.5 laps consisting of a climb of just over a km at about 7% average grade plus a couple of smaller hills each 8.5km lap (finish line at the top of the climb).

The group consisted of 10 starters with one being dropped on the neutral half lap from the winery to the official start at the summit. We attempted to wait, but the gap was way to large to sit up and wait. Communication in the group was good. This was comforting as the conditions were less than favourable. Everyone was pulling turns and being respectful.

As it was a points race, there were points awarded for the first 4 over the line at each lap. The pace would heat up slightly during the lower portion of the climb, by the halfway point as the road leveled out a touch, the pace elevated again and the riders in contention for points would shoot out in front. Once the points had been awarded the group would reform for the next lap.

As I am not a climber by any stretch of the imagination, I was being distanced by the top of the climb each lap.
My preparation for hilly races can't be considered adequate due to working on a mine site and my riding being limited to roller interval sessions after work several nights a week (generally of between 20-30km) with one 40-70km mountain bike ride on my one day off in 21 days on site.
With that in mind, expectations were pretty low for my performance. I had set a goal of staying with the pack for the first 23km (last year I was dropped on the first racing lap on the climb and had to ride by myself for the rest of the race, finishing stone cold last on the road).

With that initial goal achieved, secondary goal was to finish with at least one other rider. I ended up finishing 7th on the road in a group of 3 (the 5kg lost since last season seemed to make up for the lack of climbing and endurance training). I did hear from another competitor that the second group on the road caught the leading 3 riders on the final lap just before the final climb. The rider with him then went on to finish second on the finishing line and therefore taking second overall. Exciting finish to a great race.

Thanks to Tom for knocking up the permission letter required by the Northern Combine enabling riders from outside the Combine to compete in their races.