The time for misty-eyed reflection on another year has arrived. 2010 was my first in the cycling world and was filled with memorable moments. Here is an incomplete list of personal highlights:
February – Two weeks before I started my new role at Cycling Southland, watching my first live track cycling event I watched Eddie Dawkins and friends lower the national Team Sprint record at the Elite Track Nationals. I still get that tingly feeling remembering it today - an incredible experience to watch in the flesh. Big Ed, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell have since lowered that mark a number of times, the latest on Thursday night in winning bronze at the World Cup in Colombia to cap an incredible year. Expect more in 2011.
March – Erin Criglington, flanked by Sophie McMurdo and Michael Culling, lifts the National Points Shield following the Age Group/Masters Track Nationals as Southland blows away the competition to again confirm its place as the premier track cycling province.
June – Tom Scully crashes out of the Tour of Ireland, ending his Commonwealth Games hopes. The injury makes no highlight reel, but the way this level-headed young man has bounced back does. It’s a credit to his support team, his family and the man himself how he immediately focused on getting back to his best. No woe-is-me, just total focus and dedication.
June - The Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit saw 200+ riders take on the ILT Velodrome and living to tell the tale. The final was spectacular, YMCA Education pipping the Police Five-0s to close a hugely enjoyable event.
August – Pieter Bulling represents his country and Cycling Southland with distinction at the World Junior Track Champs. His stellar year only got better, culminating in his selection for the BikeNZ Elite squad for this month’s Melbourne World Cup - an incredible year for a fantastic talent.
November – The PowerNet Tour of Southland went right to the wire, being decided in the final sprint to the Stage Nine finish line on Gala Street. Hayden Roulston claimed another PowerNet Tour by the narrowest margin in history, but it was an incredible stage finish earlier in the week which sticks in my memory. Watching 100-plus riders, ten-wide with a tail-wind, descending on the finish line in Tuatapere at 70 km/h will stick with me for a long, long time.
December – Eddie Dawkins called it the greatest race on the ILT Velodrome. In the end technology could not separate the big guy and his good mate Simon van Velthooven on the line in the Elite Men’s Sprint at the ILT Festival of Speed this month. The dead heat will be one of those moments that goes down in Cycling Southland folklore. We saw two supreme athletes putting on something special for a jam-packed crowd. No script-writer could have done a better job.
In closing a special thank you to all of those involved in our sport throughout the year. Your unwavering work and support is hugely appreciated. Merry Christmas.