Photos thanks to Kirsty Kaihau
Remember 1973? I know I was still in school shorts and sandals, had long hair and was listening to Pink Floyd. The English rugby team beat the All Blacks 16-10 at Eden Park and Norm Kirk was the Prime Minister.
Cycling was not on my horizon back then but here in the mighty Manawatu there was a dedicated group ( as there are today) who had a vision around providing a multi stage event that would appeal to 15 and 16 years old boys.......a mini Dulux Tour of NZ! Many of our well known and highly successful cyclists have ridden this tour over the ensuing 40 years.
It has historically been run over the same weekend of the NZ Secondary School Champs an event also instigated locally. More recently the Tour has included an U17 girls division.
I flew down to Invercargill on Friday the 15th, and made my way to my accommodation, where I would be spending the next 3 nights with fellow WCNI rider Cassie Cameron, and travelling Scotsman Gus Gillies.
Saturday was day one of the UCI tier one event, which we started off with a 30 minute ride/crawl to the Velodrome. My Keirin was first up, however while racing I had a small mechanical. I still managed to finish a respectable third.
Later that night I competed in the scratch race but unfortunately the mechanical repeated itself, and I was forced to pull out. Due to this, I decided to enter the points race the next day. After lapping the field with a couple of NZ riders, and picking up a couple of sprints, I finished up 5th overall. I was very happy with this, as the points race is an endurance event and by nature I’m a sprinter. This 2 day event was a huge confidence boost, as I had proven to myself that I could kick it with the best of them.