Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nationals Road Race – Under the Radar

The team gathered around the lounge at Paul Holloways after a feed of pasta and a wide spread of salads and other good carbo loading fuels to discuss tactics for the following day – the nationals road race. 

We decided on going up the road in mass, take the field by surprise and get as many of us up the road as possible. Then the rest of team in the main bunch could take a free ride and follow any moves later in the race. The 7 of us knew the roles that we needed to take on, and we ended the meeting knowing we could pull something off after a disappointing previous day at the ITTs.
Woke up on race day to the sound of rain – never a welcome thing. Pretty much ran through my pre-race breakfast: 4 pieces of toast, jam and banana for topping and a couple of mugs of good coffee to get me fired up. Then load up the 4 cars and head off to the start of the race in Te Awamutu, just out of Hamilton to set up camp in the local Subway there.
We were all kitted up and just hanging in the Subway, team radios where handed out and tested, last of the race tactics for the day were finalised, we were sorted. Then it was picking out as much race food as you could carry. I grabbed 8 gels (popped a gel before the start) and 5 bars to eat during the race. Was pretty sure that would be enough food to get me through the 180km.
Heading down to the start as a team we looked really strong riding as a group. Must of been a bit intimidating to other riders lining up to start. Normal chit chat at the start in the bunch, then off down the road we go. 1km neutral zone and then racing is all go. Straight away 6 riders go up the road on the first little rise out of town, including two of my team mates. Massive Jason Allen and no calves Eric. They consolidate the break to just over two and a half minutes during the first lap.
In the bunch, we had slowed right down and no one was interested in putting up a chase at this stage, so Gordon and myself decided it was time to put our plan into action. We took off on a mission to cross the 2 minute, 30 second gap to the break.

At times we were riding at 65km/h and over, going flat out, making up ground on the break really quick. We dropped a fellow rider in the process of getting across by the end of the first lap, 30km in.   
Once we caught the break we drove it really hard, stretching the time gap out to 6 minutes, before slowly getting pulled back to 46 seconds at the finish. One by one riders slowly dropped off the break, usually after a Subway team mate had done a hard lap. 

On the last lap it was 4 Subway Avanti riders and a lonely Paul Odlin. Have to say it, but we worked him over good. First Jason attacked, Paul chased him down, then Eric and I attacked. The damage was done, we got up the road and waited until Jason and Gordy could bridge up to us. When we were all back together we team time trailed it to the finish (about 15km left to go). 

Team Avanti Subway, 1,2,3,4... what a day! Don't think anything like that has ever happened before and maybe it will never be repeated again. The icing on the cake was for James to come flying out of the main bunch to take the Under 23 title as well. Clean sweep for the Subway Avanti boys!

I'm resting up back in Welly for a few days, heading out on the Meo GP bunch rides (James has been out on the bike with us too). 

Next, I'm heading to the Hawkes Bay to knock it up at the Hub 2 day Tour, which I won last year. Then its back home for the Tour of Wellington, where the team is looking to carry on with its fine form and great start to the year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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