The first day of road racing is over and I am feeling pretty proud of our Southland crew for many reasons – both on and off the bike.
After a great day of racing we have just enjoyed the current leading entry in Master-chef Holiday Park – a kick ass BBQ thanks to Michelle, Nick, Brad and Brehan….good job team! We have been eating like Kings and Queens!
Ok, I am going to let Jen and Georgia tell you about the day, but before I hand over I would just like to add that these two girls weren’t racing today, but they were up before 6am, and off to the racing early to support the other Southlanders who were competing. I am really impressed with the attitude and camaraderie of the whole team and these girls are a fine example of that. Here they go……
OK, so the morning started bright and early when Laura’s alarm shocked us into wakefulness. Another long walk across the park to the chalets for breakfast and then we were off out to the race circuit by 7.15. The races started relatively uneventfully, the slight drama with Brookes deraillier didn’t take long to fix (Thanks again Stu “amazing mechanic” MacDonald!), with the U17 boys off first followed by the U17 girls and U15. The first wave of races off, it was time for a trip to the coffee van!
The first lap passed in no time at all (for us spectators anyway), and when the bunches crossed the finish-line for the first time both Mikey and Nick were at the front of their race and Laura was in the front bunch of U17 girls. We later learned that Brooke had been dropped on the hill and battled valiantly to get back on the back of the bunch, unfortunately they then attacked and she just didn’t have the energy to stay there. Nick had a similar problem, having been away for tours in the North island and Australia his legs were ready for a break. Laura finished well in the top ten after an exciting sprint finish and Mikey in the top twenty (15=) after another sprint finish.
With the U17 races finished it was time for the mean machines of the u19 men, with a strong Southland team anything was possible. With Hammer-vich (Matt Zenovich) resisting a breakaway on the first lap and Tom B, Kristoff, Josh H and Paddy D ready for anything, the race was underway. We headed off to the feed zone to watch the race.
When the race came past on the second lap Matt was off in a small break with eventual race winner Hamish Shreurs and one other while Josh and Paddy were looking strong in the main bunch. We spent a pleasant 45min sunbathing waiting for the boys to come round again. Next time round Josh had joined Matt in the break which had expanded to 12riders. While Paddy remained strong in the bunch. The final lap proved to be the defining one. The front bunch, with Matt and Josh, began to splinter, with only 7 riders remaining at the finish. After doing a lot of the work in the early stages of the race Matts legs failed him over the hill for the last time so Josh was the lone southlander in the bunch at the finish. He did astoundingly well, coming fourth in a close sprint finish.
With the racing all finished for the day, with varying levels of success, all that remained was to attempt to somehow fit all the bikes and riders into the vans for the (thankfully!) short drive home. And then the Pegasus team celebrated.