I arrived in Invercargill on Friday to a surprisingly beautiful day, to join the Bike NZ under 19 Track team for a camp over the time of the Festival of speed and the Oceania track cycling championships. This camp is a huge learning experience on and off the bike, with a lot of racing and having to shop, budget and cook together within our teams, which for me is the girls sprint team.
The Festival of speed is a Tier one UCI event, which attracted riders from six nations. There weren’t many races for us under 19’s over this Saturday and Sunday of racing, which meant we had a lot of time to watch and learn from the elites racing. On the Sunday afternoon session of the festival we pulled on our black skin suits with the white fern across our back and rode a 7.5km scratch race. My teammates raced an aggressive race, with many attacks throughout the 20 laps. In a lunge to the line I finished fourth, behind my teammates Olivia and Nina, and Auckland’s Bryony Botha.
Photos thanks to Kirsty Kaihau
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.