The Masters, the teenagers and the Para athletes produced eye-catching efforts as they all enjoyed the first post-Covid national cycling event in Central Hawkes Bay today.
Around 600 riders entered the Vantage Age Group National Road Cycling Championships in the central Hawkes Bay town of Waipukurau, which had been postponed from the original April date.
It attracted riders from under-15 years to over 80 years from clubs around the country, as well as some stellar cyclists including Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, professional riders and world champions.
None was more impressive than multi Para world championship medallist, Nicole Murray from Otorohanga who took out the C5 class time trial over 26kms in impressive fashion despite the chilly and wet conditions.
“I had to wear a couple of extra layers than normal and take it real cautious on the corners and the descents. Otherwise it was business as usual,” said Murray.
“With the delay in the Paralympics, keeping focussed is the big challenge but the training camps we’ve just had have given us the chance to work on the small things that we may not have had time to work on previously, so it is a mixed blessing.”
Murray will compete in the road race on Saturday and may also join with the senior abled-bodied race on Sunday.
One of the eye-catching performances today came from the under-19 male time trial winner, Jack Carswell from the Te Awamutu club. Carswell, a national age champion on the track, is in his first year in under-19 competition, winning the 26km time trial by 39 seconds.
Carswell recorded the third fastest time of the day behind the senior and under-23 winners.
“I was looking forward to this race as I had been doing a lot of hard training in isolation coming into this and with the national junior team on the track,” said Carswell.
“I was ready to come in here and rip it no matter the conditions. I am really happy with how I did. For me it is awesome to win this national jersey as a first-year under-19. With Covid I may not be able to show it off too much.
“I have been here for the CHB Tour earlier before Covid and the road race should be a hard race on a tough course.”
Both senior winners impressed with Wanganui’s Glenn Haden claiming the men in 32:40, nearly a minute faster than second placed Joel Yates (Manawatu).
Former New Zealand rowing representative Georgia Perry showed her class on two wheels to claim the senior women’s honours in 37:41, over a minute clear of TIBCO-SVB professional Sharlotte Lucas.
Many of the Masters riders were on form including Auckland world champion Penny Pawson who was the fastest female over the 17km time trial course, clocking 24:56 to win the Masters 50-54 years title by over a minute. She also claimed the family bragging rights, pipping her son Edward, competing in the under-17 class, by just one second.
Whakatane’s Garry Humpherson, who has collected world medals over the years, claimed the senior status, winning the Masters 80 years plus division in 30:13 by nearly four minutes.