09/05/2011 - Leading up to the Road Club Nationals, the individual riders were making good use of their fitness levels from the recent Track Nationals and recent tours. Looking at the names of the riders who had entered, we had a strong squad who were representing the club.
Brehan Cairns, Dillon Bennett, Hamish Presbury, Jen Muhl, Joshua Haggerty, Liam Haggerty, Joshua Carpenter, Matt Zenovich, Michael Culling
Unfortunately, for some riders, disappointment was going to head their way just weeks out from the Nationals. Hamish, having won the Great Southern Cycle Challenge back to back this year decided not to make the journey because he still wasn’t firing on all cylinders, high standards! Brehan, was very unlucky, and managed to catch Glandular Fever a couple of weeks out from flying out and made the decision not to go. A relief for me, as I wasn’t too sure what stunt he was gonna do this year to better the one he did last year, running near nude in the feeding zone! Michael too had a cold in the last few weeks build up to his training and wasn’t expecting his usual standard of racing this time around. Lastly, Jen, in her last 4 weeks build up has had bad luck with a cold and a heavy crash that would give her difficulties riding whilst on her two tours and would put an end to her hope of featuring in the medals.
However, the Time Trial day came and there were some impressive rides. As a club we have a number of junior riders that shined and their futures look bright, mixing it up well with quality riders! The weather was overcast, with some rain but the sun managed to come out eventually, with the wind playing its part on this flat course produced some fast times. Matt Zenovich, for me was the one disappointment, setting high standards for himself, there was an expectation, but there was “nothing in the legs” and later said “I think I’ve peaked at the Tour of the Lakes” (where he had a storming tour!), went into cruise control near the end of his Time Trial.
Here are the results for both TT and RR;
Josh Carpenter U15B TT 5th +:53secs | RR 5th ST 1:01:20
Liam Haggerty U15B TT 9th +1:07 | RR 8th +:05
Josh Haggerty U17B TT 8th +1:06 | RR 19th +:37
Michael Culling U17B TT 19th +2:03 | RR 42nd +14:03
Jen Muhl U17G TT 6th +1:59 | RR 15th +2:15
Matt Zenovich U19M TT 19th +3:46 | RR DNF
Dillon Bennett U23M | RR 3rd +2:42
Day two saw the majority of the riders racing today.
With the wind picking up throughout the day and the rain getting heavier as the day went on, these two hilly courses had a dangerous downhill section that would feature in most of the road races! U17 girls race was off first, Jen managed to keep in the bunch but unfortunately her chain came off going up the climb and wasn’t able to get back on. Josh Carpenter featured heavily in U15 Boys race and was in the sprint finish, Liam did well to be only a few seconds adrift with a promising ride throughout.
In the U17 boys race, hotly contested throughout, the rain came down near the end. Josh was able to keep in the first 10 riders throughout the racing and can be very satisfied with his efforts, (justifiably he has been invited onto the Taranaki Road Camp as part of the Development Squad). There were numerous crashes and punctures which created a number of splits in the field with some of the field pulling out as the conditions got worse. Michael Culling’s recent illness would play a big part in his final placing but he stuck to his plan and finished the course with the help of some loud Southland encouragement!
Day Three was the turn of Matt Zenovich, U19M on the larger course. Longer hills, stronger winds and down pours in the last lap, made it a difficult course and unfortunately with Matt not firing on all cylinders made it a disappointing day for this socialite of cycling! We were all up for it, supporters at the ready, feeders primed but when it came to the bunch rolling past the feed station he was nowhere to be seen. There had been an early move in the first kms of the race and that split the bunch up and that was the end of the race for Matt. This was a testing hilly course with numerous quality riders entered but such were the conditions a number of the development riders pulled out!
Day four, leaving the best till last! U23M, Impressive riding, keeping in medal winning contention throughout, Dillon Bennett, racing in his Subway Team Colours, over 7 laps of the 22km course which featured two long drags and a short but sharp hill every lap, did everything right and hung in for a 3rd placing. The sun was shining throughout but the wind had definitely picked up and there were splits in the bunch and withdrawals on this testing course. A job well done!
A big thank you to parents, Catherine Zenovich, Angela Carpenter, Phil Culling, Daryl and Maree Haggerty who made my job easier. We all jelled well together and made it a good week away. I hope everyone enjoyed the experience and their racing and can take something back from this and use it the next time they are racing.
It was a pleasure being the camp dad and assisting you all with your racing and I wish you well with the rest of the year.
Cycling Southland Team Manager