Today was the start of the Benchmark Homes cycling series. Six races in total between now and the 23rd of May. First up was a 40km Team Time Trial, which would set the order of the team cars for tomorrows 144km road race around Sefton, about 30km out of Christchurch.
As the first couple of teams rolled away from the start into a head wind, Gordy, James, Mike Vink, Jason, Sam and myself were just rolling around slowly warming up. The temperature was up in the mid 30's so we didn't need to warm up too much, as the sweat and heart rate was up just trying to keep cool.
Started out at a nice even pace, everyone sharing the work out to the turn around without too many hickups along the way. Each time I pulled off the front and went to the back, I'd gulp down cold water, to try and relieve my parched mouth - it felt like a heater was going full blast on my face. Skin suit was un-zipped, which isn't the best for aerodynamics, but keeping the body temperature down was a priority!
We went past the Benchmark team at the 15km point (think they had sat up). After the turn around (20k mark), Sam had a back wheel problem so we had to carry on with out him, leaving us with 5 riders (the minimum number of riders to finish) for the last 20km.
From that point we turned on the gas, drilling it at over 57km/h in places. Quite fast when everyone is within a few millimeters of each others back wheels. 5km to go and Mike Vink (under 19) came to the front and lifted the tempo even more. I was going cross-eyed just trying to hang on with the increase in pace! 100 meters to go and James punctured, so we coasted into the finish from there. We won in a time of 51:13, with a gap of 4 minutes back to second.
Good result, as we now have the luxury of the team car at the front of the convoy for tomorrows stage.