Friday, July 29, 2011

Roadie RaeRae

In the past I'd always be the first to bag road bikes and especially the roadies, I just didn't understand how cyclists could choose traffic and the wind over the natural bush and the forever challenging and varying terrain available with the mountain bike. 
During the Summer I had my first taste of road racing in the Kapiti Summer Series, and I can honestly say I finally get it! The appeal of the road bike has won me over- the speed, the challenge of breakaway or final sprint, the tactics (which I am still lacking) and the easy cheap accessibility. Although I am a mountain bike chick at heart, I can see and feel the road riding is benefiting me and I am enjoying the new experience. 
I did pretty well in the Summer during the Kapiti race series, winning my group (Scratch 1) and coming 8th overall in the Akatarawa hill climb (first female).

Photo by Gavin McCarthy: January 2011

Auckland Half Distance Championships: 10th July 2011
I have had a bit of bad luck this winter with illness, so after catching my third cold I decided to do the race anyway since my asthma was not affected. The race was hosted by the North Harbour Cycling Club and consisted of 4 laps around an 11km course in Kumeu. It was a tough day on the bike with strong headwinds on the climbs and the constant threat of rain. It was a quick pace from the start, beginning with a long steep uphill that was exposed to the violent wind. 
I lasted a 2 laps with the lead group until I was dropped. After I took my turn at the front up a hill into a headwind, an attack happened. Subsequently, I failed to summon that little bit extra effort to stay on, and myself and another girl fell behind. The remainder of the race I rode in a group of three, but now I was starting to feel good. 
During the last lap, on impulse I attacked on a corner into the headwind. This turned out to be reasonably successful and I immediately broke free from the other girls. I stayed away for a good 7minutes, but was chased down and eventually caught. Nearing the finish line on the hill top, no one wanted to lead out the sprint, so the pace began to slow. I stepped up and took the lead, as the hill began I clicked up a gear and jumped on the pedals. I could see the shadow of the girl following, I pushed harder to get away, searching for that final burst of speed for the finish line. I got it!!!
By winning the group sprint it landed me on the podium, 3rd elite (senior) women, and 5th woman overall.

Kapiti Potato Guy Winter Series #3: 16th July 2011
Leading up to the race I couldn't decide whether to race B or C grade, in the end I took the easy option and opted for C. The race itself I found challenging, it was very flat and exposed to the wind. There were 40 people racing in C grade alone, consequently, it was a constant struggle for position near the front of the bunch. Because of the flat nature of the course it was extremely hard to split the pack, although there were constant attempts which made for a very unsettled ride, with varying amounts of accelerations and braking.
In the end it came down to a lengthy unsafe sprint finish, with 40 people jostling for position, cutting people off, going for gold. I went for it but was quickly overtaken and intimated by all the strong, aggressive male sprinters. I ended up 17th, 2 seconds behind 1st place.

Photo by Finlay Brazier: July 2011

Huge thanks to Andy from GoFast for putting me in contact with new sponsors JustWorkout in Auckland. I have never been much of a gym person until now, with a wide range of the latest equipment, a variety of classes, friendly staff and hair straighteners in the changing rooms... I'm turning into a bit of a gym bunny.