Twelve hardy Bike Manawatu riders are currently holed up at the Station Lodge in Ohakune on the second iteration of the Mt Ruapehu cycling camp.
Ably assisted by Denise Brown and Carol Roberts, and shepherded by Steve Stannard, some of Bike Manawatu's finest started the week (Monday) riding from Palmy to Wanganui via Hunterville.
The Massey/Bike Manawatu December training camp has just wound up.
We have had 21 junior riders from all over NZ stay for four nights after the Novice Tour to ride the local roads and learn from the experts at Massey.
By all accounts, they had a great time and have asked when the next camp will be!
You don’t get much better days in the Manawatu than last Sunday, not for riding a bike at least.
The Tour de Manawatu is a fun ride, but it’s really the biggest local race of the year. Well organized, a great course, good traffic management, and usually a strong bunch of riders.
In contrast to other years, the start and first section down Napier Rd to Ashhurst was fairly civilized, with few random high speed attacks. A small group lead by Neil Martin did make a break about halfway along, but couldn’t get much more than 100 m and were hauled back as we went through Ashhurst.
With the first climb imminent though, the bunch was getting itchy and the paced was pushed up the hill out of Ashhurst such that a split formed. A solo effort then by Campbell Stewart saw him leading up the Watersheds, but also a “rabbit” for the other junior riders. In catching him the front bunch split again and a few dozen then remained as we pressed onto Colyton at speeds exceeding 60 km/hr at times. The attacks then started thick and fast nearly all the way to Cheltenham, but few breaks managed to last more than a minute or two.
It was Tour de Manawatu day and most cyclists in the region belted out 116km, 80km or 45km in the morning with mixed success. A number of regular competitors stayed home to recover but a hardy bunch made the trip to Johnston Park to compete in perfect conditions. A hot dry track, light to no wind and a warm day made up the conditions that saw an unprecedented 6 track records broken over the flying quarter mile distance.
The programme began with the Flying Quarter mile time trials followed by 3 lap handicap graded races then 4 lap scratch races and the programme wound up with graded long handicap races. The fastest Flying Quarter mile of the day went to the winner of the 80km event at the Tour de Manawatu Jordan Castle in a time of 25.84 seconds beating the previous mens under 19 record by 0.36 seconds. This made it a special day for Jordan as he also won each of the other 3 races he contested to make it a 5 out of 5 day. The Senior Mens records was broken by Jaycob Humphreys by 0.68 seconds. The Womens under 19 record was broken by Kate Stewart by 0.64 seconds as she prepares to represent New Zealand at the upcoming Oceania Track cycling Championships in Invercargill.
The wet early morning in Palmerston North might have discouraged some late entries, but as with all fun-rides of late, numbers were a little down at the start line.
Some 72 riders began the 96 km Rangitikei River Loop, one of the most enjoyable rides on the annual calendar, on Sunday morning. There are usually some riders from as far a field as Wellington and Taranaki, some using it as training for the Tour of Southland, others just wanting to see the fantastic country-side. This year was no exception.
The tough bit about this ride is the nasty climb straight out of the start line and as usual, this immediately split the bunch. A group of some 16 of the better riders formed at the front, with a couple of large chasing groups hoping to get back on before the first section on SH1.