Sorry about the absence of posts, I haven't had a lot to write about during the off season. But now racing is truly underway and I am on track for my two target events for the year.
The Tour of Southland 28th October-3rd November
Oceania Track Championships 28th November-2nd December
During the off season I made a number of changes to how I approach my cycling study and work.
The biggest being changing University to study at Massey via correspondence. This is because they are more flexible with changing exams and assignments. Last year it was very hard to finish the Tour of Southland and have an exam the next day. Also next year I am hoping to have a period of racing overseas so I will be able to continue with a couple of papers part time whilst racing.
Another change is that my Dad and I are now working in partnership with Matty Graham from Exponential Performance with my training. The main change is taking a more scientific approach to it.
Its been a busy last few weeks with racing all around the South Island. I have had some good results namely:
8th place 'Hell of the South' Benchmark Round
1st stage 1,4,5 and third overall in the Timaru Tour
Next up I had my favourite local race the R&R Tour. Racing is always tough but fun on my home roads. This year we were treated to some strong side winds which helped sort out the 'contenders from the pretenders' shall we say. I had a good time trial with second to Oceania champ Sam Horgan which was good with only 10 minute warm up (due to long pre-race briefing).
Stage 1 was really fun and I was feeling good. Near the end I escaped with Sam Horgan who I tried to drop off my slipstream to no avail and he duly out sprinted me for the win.
Stage 2 was not good. Missed a move by 2 riders including 2 from subway team. Things were miscalculated and what was meant to be an easy catch near the end turned out to be a long chase without a catch as everyone in the bunch ran out of legs. Well done to Sam and Tayla for that effort.
On Sunday stage 3 was a long one with everyone chasing each other the whole way. I was up the road for most of the race only for it all to come together with 2km to go.
The last stage was at North Taieri and I was feeling good so tried a few times to get away/ chase Sam Horgan. On the last lap I managed to join a small breakaway group which slipped off the front. It came down to a sprint finish and I started sprinting from a long way out but managed to take the win by a couple of bike lengths. In summer this finish is used for the old "Sam's Classic" weekly race so I've practiced a sprint there once a week in summer for the last 5 years! So I was happy to take the win after trying all weekend.
Last weekend I had the 5th Round of the Benchmark Homes Series which is the premier race series in the South Island and always has strong competitors. I managed to start a breakaway on the last lap which chased down the original breakaway. Dylan Kennett (Subway) and I caught the front with only 2km to race. Up the last hill James Williamson (Pure Black) attacked and got a gap with Tom Hubbard. I tried to close it but didn't quite have enough but still crossed the line third. To finish on the podium in one of these races was a goal of mine this year so I'm happy to have achieved it.
Coming up over the next 4 weekends I have-
Nelson Benchmark Round 6 this weekend
Kelvin Hastie Memorial 130km
Oxford Benchmark Round 7 (final)
Then on to the Tour of Southland