Monday, February 2, 2009

Benchmark - Round 1

Sign-on for the race was held out in Sefton, where the Teams Time Trial was held yesterday. After signing in we went for an easy 10km warm up ride down to the start, just outside of another country town, Rangiora. Once the race started some interesting facts crackled over the team radio, like how it was 33 degrees already (at 10am in the morning); when and where we would make a turn on the road and one of the most important things - knowing, who and how many riders are up the road. Based on this we can then make a call as a team, whether to chase the break down or just sit in the bunch and let the other teams bring it back. Once a break is caught someone will usually counter attack (hopefully with one of us in it!) and start the fireworks all over again, trying to establish the winning break. 
 
The first 40km was full on attacking, but the breaks were not sticking. Went with a few, but the wrong combination of riders meant they were doomed to failure. Guys wanting to sit on and not help (hey, do you think I'm going to tow you around, no way!), but killing themselves to make the break. 

I went back to team car to get some bottles (had drunk 2 in the first hour), and then caught sight of the the main break rolling off the front of the race...  
 
From that point on my job was to cover anyone jumping up the road and across to the break (that and stay away from crashes) as we had Gordy, Jason, Sam, Patrick and Hayden up there. After about 80km's of playing policeman in the bunch a few riders from the original 12 man break started to feel the heat and slowly came back into the bunch. This gave a few teams in the main peloton an incentive to chase as they thought the break might come back into the fold.
 
With 10km to go 3 riders (Gordy, Jason and Ryan Wills) attacked the remnants of the leading break and pulled out a slim lead of 30 seconds over Daniel Barry and Leon Hextall. Then approximately 3 minutes back were the other 3 riders from the break, including team mate Patrick Williamson. 

Back in the main peloton I knew there was a slight uphill with 5km to go, so i decided to have a crack there. Attacked and got a bit of a gap over the top - 2 riders managed to bridge up, including Joe Chapman. We held off the bunch, and I finished 10th.
 
Great day (and weekend) for the Subway Avanti boys:
1st - Gordon
2nd - Jason
8th - Patrick
10th - Me

and we took out the team prize.

Hayden Godfrey won the North Shore City Grand Prix on the Friday evening too, so it was 3 wins from 3 starts.
 
Next up is a fun ride (Ruapehu Cycle Classic), with the Meo GP boys which should be a nice little outing for the long weekend.

Until then, Joe.

PS. No photos from Benchmark race (yet), but here's one from the Tour of Wellington that I thought was kinda cool, almost a 3D warp effect...

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