Monday, January 29, 2007

Stage 7 Pics

Rolling up to the start of the Petone criterium

Paul on the final podium as winner of the "Most Aggressive Rider" competition

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stage 6, Scorching Bay, 12km ITT & Stage 7, Petone Criterium

As the days wear on it becomes increasingly difficult to get up and g'd for racing and increasingly easier to enter the realm of negative thought. But the four of us left racing had to be grateful for still being able to race, because being unable to start due to something outside of your control is shit-house!! (Ross's puncture the day before meaning he was a non-starter today).

Robyn our team manager helped us out superbly in preparation for our individual efforts in the time trial - cleaning bikes, arranging different wheels, aero bars and a warm-up takes a substantial amount of time and energy.

The conditions were shifty (turning around the corners in the course would normally result in a fair amount of sideways movement from a strong gust of wind), so it was difficult to 'smash' yourself. I think we were all pretty happy with our results:

Odlin - 6th @ 39 seconds behind the winner, Hayden Roulston's time,
Josh - 33rd @ 1'43 seconds,
Andrew - 53rd @ 2'11 seconds,
and Don - 68th @ 2'45 seconds

If it was hard to get g'd for the tt than it's doubly hard to get bouncing-off-the-walls for a hairpin-inclusive-crit in the afternoon - more redbull and coffee! and so...

Josh loves them, Don's unfortunately sick, Andrew's enjoying having his wah around and I'm neither here nor there. The first twenty minutes is flat out, in which time Josh slides and flats his rear wheel but gets back on after his 2 laps out, Don helps him out with a rear wheel but then drifts back after starting again and Andrew lasts a bit longer than Don.

It's vital in criteriums, and particularly when a hairpin corner is involved, to stay at the front of the bunch if you want to last til the end. I discovered that moving up to the front of the bunch becomes a lot easier when everyone gets worn out. Of course it's a fine line between waiting to fight for a better position and waiting too long for people to wear out and then getting drifted off the main group!

Both Josh and I finished in the 21 riders that finished at the front of the race thus maintaining our top 20 placings on general classification.

A pretty good tour for Petone water -

General Classification
Josh - 18th @ 19:07
Paul - 20th @ 20:27
Don - 47th @ 39:49
Andrew - 55th @ 43:33
Ross - DNF after puncturing stage 5

Teams Classification - 9th @ 54:19 (from 18 teams)

Stage results:
Stage 3 - Josh 3rd
Stage 4 - Paul 9th
Stage 6 - Paul 6th

And the special award I got for being the Tour's Most Aggressive Rider!

And finally - Top Team Manager Award: Ms Robyn Wong (presented a coveted Team Petone 2007 Wairarapa and Wellington cycle classic jersey by an undisclosed double Olympic champion).


Stage 6 Pics

The "team vehicle presented by" was full to bursting

Multi-tasking: a pre-TT leg-rub and working on the tanlines

Odlin gets serious

Josh ready to hit it

Paul cracks the competition with the annual post-TT swim

Final day - quick update

Just a brief recap here as the race is still on ... it's airport time ... yesterday saw Stage 6 and 7, respectively a time-trial and criterium. Paul and Josh again the stand-out riders with Paul pulling a 6th in the TT, Josh managing a harmless stack in the crit but both finishing in the front group. Results coming soon ...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Stage 5 Pics

Roulston looked relatively untroubled keeping the yellow jersey

Odlin looked focussed enough for another 125km

Stage 5, Masterton - Admirals Hill, 125km

Today's stage is one dreaded by many, eagerly awaited by a few ... by my reckoning no less than twelve significant climbs with the final two being more than significant. Masterton awoke to a drizzly southerly, and local knowledge meant it was time for rugging up warm and conservative wheel choices with the weather likely to be much worse in the hills.

Hitting the end of the neutral zone and what did I see but Ross Stewart coming backwards with his hand in the air, the worst time possible for a flat. Sure enough it was all 50kph+ to the first climb with groups trying to escape, and Ross with no chance of riding back to the speeding peloton alone and not even a sympathetic motorpace from the neutral service had no choice but to abandon. Tough way for a young guy riding really well to end his race.

Up front it was Aussie David Pell heading off up the road with a few for company including Paul, who found the hills a bit less to his liking and wound up back in the bunch after about 30km. Obviously Pell had a few people worried, riding out to a 5 minute gap after 50km, and the pace in the bunch was enough that all plans for a mid-race attack were put on hold and it became a waiting game. Paul and I passed the time with a game of "Tractor", which he leads 11-9 going into the final day.

Come the feed-zone hill after 80km and it all turned to custard yet again with a couple of riders attacking and splitting the bunch (they shall remain nameless, but shall find their against-all-etiquette attack coming back to bite them at a Counties race this winter) ... to be fair Andrew Paul and myself only had bad positioning to blame as we found ourselves in a chase group and riding flat-out to get back on at the foot of the next hill ... only to be dropped again immediately.

1okm later on the climb of the Kororau (1.8km @ 13%, hurts), our group thinned out to what has since been called the "angry man group" ... the three of us and two others obviously a bit gutted at missing out. Pretty knackered by the time we arrived at the top of Admirals Road I was thankful for Robyn grabbing me as I crossed the line and preventing what was shaping up to be a ungraceful dismount. Happy to discover Josh had found some climbing legs and pulled a top-20 ride, little else known about the results except for David Pell hanging on for the stage win and status quo with Hayden Roulston still in yellow.

A mad rush of washing, eating, packing, driving, eating and unpacking again, and we find ourselves back in Lower Hutt, looking forward to a 12km time-trial and 1-hour criterium tomorrow. Dinner bell is ringing, gotta go ...

Stage 5: Hilly!!

This should sort the men out from the boys!! Although ironically, it's the men who look more like boys who will likely shine tomorrow ...