14/06/10 - After a build-up which seems to have taken on Olympic-like proportions the business end of the 2010 Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit has arrived.
This Friday night a capacity field of 34 will take to the ILT Velodrome in the Grading Time Trial. Finishing times will determine which teams will look to emulate the YMCA Education/Recreation team of last year in Division One and those fighting to be the best of the rest title in Division Two next Sunday (27th).
I’ve been struck by two things in the lead-up to this event.
Firstly, the huge amount of work which goes into running an event of this scale. It is said to be the largest Corporate Track Cycling event in the world and certainly we are fortunate to have a world-class sponsor in Harrex Group to work alongside. The organising team has done a fabulous job and laid the platform for an exciting couple of days racing.
Secondly, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise, I am amazed at how little time it takes for the competitive nature of each team to fight to the surface. Banter is flowing freely and a number of stories have caught my attention.
One company director has led by example, giving his all to the point where his lunch was lost after one particular training session. No doubt about his commitment, but serious doubts about his choice of container for his bodily fluids – an orange cone with a hole in the bottom.
News of video-taping rival team’s sessions has drawn comparisons to the America’s Cup. A number of male riders have reported serious “under-carriage” issues ... who’d be a masseuse!
Near-misses are common place - one coach nearly receiving an unwelcome backdoor inspection as one of his charges completed her flying lap head-down, although it is one place to park your bike I guess.
The great thing about this event is that it emphasises both the competitive and social aspects of our sport. All 204 of our entrants grit their teeth with a smile on their face (after their race anyway).
From Cycling Southland’s perspective it also brings people into our facility and sport who may not have experienced the thrill of riding the track otherwise. Being new to the sport myself I can speak from personal experience. It is an exhilarating feeling.
The great thing about the ILT Velodrome is that it is one of the most accessible and most heavily-used velodromes in the world. That’s a fact we are very proud of but it is only the start. Much of our focus is on making it even easier for those who are yet to experience the thrill for themselves to get out on the boards.
You never know, it might be you out there with a number on your back alongside your workmates in twelve months time.
We look forward to seeing you at the ILT Velodrome on Friday night and again next Sunday and if you are lining up at the start, enjoy the ride.
Cycling Southland Chief Executive