Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tour de Vineyards

Boxing day rolled around pretty quickly and then it was time to load up the car and hit the road for Vineyards. The tour up in Nelson was a little different this year – starting earlier and adding in a Prologue and ending on 31st December, I’d been looking forward to the changes as it gave a few more days down time before elite nationals and I’ve always been a fan of a short and sharp prologue.

The prologue started late afternoon on the 27th and I was really keen to go hard on this stage as it is a relatively similar distance to the ITT that will be the opening stage of the The New Zealand Cycle Classic in late January – TT rigs where allowed at Vineyards but I decided that I would roll Eddy Merckx style on my roadie as this is the set up that’s allowed at the Cycle Classic. Thrashed out a solid warm up on my LeMond Trainer before donning the Ricoh skinsuit and rolling down to the start house. Gave it a good nudge and ended up rolling 14th which wasn’t too bad – gave me a really good idea on what I need to do before the Tour of Manawatu.

Day 2 came around pretty quickly and in typical vineyards style it was an absolute scorcher, I was looking to save my legs for day three which was where I was keen to make my mark – The epic hill top finish on Takaka Hill.

Day 3 brought something that I hadn’t experienced in this tour before (this was my third year). Rain and a lot of it – it began coming down about 30 minutes into the race. Todays stage was all about the Takaka Hill climb which arrives after around 110 K’s of racing. The plan was to conserve energy, hide out of the wind and follow any key moves and then attack the hill full gas.

This plan was going 100% towards target goal – there had been an early break , but we were realing them in as we got closer to the hill - NEK MINUTE about 2km into the climb my seat came loose – I had to get off and remove it, at this point I was contemplating getting in the car which looked pretty inviting – out of the rain but decided that it would still be a good training ride with elites coming up. I got back on the Pinarello and put it in the big ring so I could climb standing the rest of the 8K – fair to say this broke me as it is quite demanding to ride that long out of the saddle. Ended up finishing in a respectable time 3 mins off the lead which wasn’t too bad all things considered.

Day 4 – The weather was something like what we would see at the Tour of Southland, rain, rain and more rain. After the stage yesterday the motivation was a bit down and this weather wasn't helping too much. In the end Istruggled through the stage and used it as good training.

Reflecting on the tour I managed to test the legs on the key stages and I'm now looking forward to the up and coming races flying the Ricoh colours.

Thanks for reading.

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