Sunday, January 15, 2012
3 training rides had precluded:
15km around Wanaka 2nd December 2011
50km from Lake Hawea to Makarora 17th December 2011
70km from Wanaka to Roaring Meg Power Station 27th December 2011
25km on the tandem Wanaka to Lugatte and return 1st January 2011
Unsurprisingly, a different bike was rolling for this year’s ride.
The Wilier with Ultegra/Dura ace has a new home, so with a new to me 10 speed Dura ace groupset on hand I quickly loaded it onto the nearest available frame: a 1985 Panasonic Raleigh built from Reynolds 531C steel tubing.
Luckily my prior to event day rides had settled everything down and resulted in a few subtle changes:
A shorter stem
Different wheels with Alex A23 rims riding on 28mm Conti tires
Compact cranks but with a 36 on the inside, not a 34
A quick tune up from Sheldon Sharman who no doubt shook his head over a few small insignificant details that I typically would have overlooked.
I watched the weather like a hawk for a few days before hand....wondering if booties would be needed ?
Event day dawned bright and sunny.
Transport with Leigh (new owner of the Wilier) and Mr Ed (former owner of Radio Wanaka) was filled with speculation of a rolling quartet in tight formation and various other tales of conquest.
The reailty was of course very different as Marc Sheldon Sharman and I ducked off for a coffee up the road and arrived back with two minutes to start.
Marc tried to quietly sneak down the side of the 200 hundred strong bunch and bury himself in the middle, I called him back and said we could jump right in the front when the whistle blew, which is just how it played out.....
So, big ringing it up the road and main bridge over Lake Dunstan, I was bouncing off the cat’s eyes withTom Skully just in front of me.
I pondered how I could gracefully slide backwards through the bunch when the hammer goes down in a hundred metres....
Lucky for me a small gap appeared as we turned and slide over to the inside we go and backwards in one quick manouvre.
I figured a nice bunch would arrive sooner or later that would match my pace.
The tailwind to Tarras passed without event, the cross/tail wind to Lugatte did as well.
The two hills on this leg were ok for me this year – I even grabbed the pre arranged bottle from Keighley on the last uphill....
Leigh & Ed stopped by the Lugatte pub, but got the bottles and their mojo all mixed up requiring a quick swap around with the assistance of the Radio Wanaka car.
I started to hit the wall with about 30km to go, but another hot squishy yoghurt coated muesli bar soon had me back in the drops and ready to fire for the minor placings sprint.
Just so we’re clear here – I ended up 114th out of 215 starters, so it’s hardly podium stuff.....
However it may well have been Boonen, the Schlecks and Vinakorov the way the bunch was behaving....
Chicks were throwing in flyers, I got pushed into the pot holes and gravel to which I sat up and told the bunch they were about of get done over by a chick and they were a bunch of muppets.
Resuming the closing stages I found a small gap, slid through and fed it the jandel, unfortunately not leaving enough room to pass the lady in white shorts on a Bianchi with a squeaking dry chain.
However, a new course record for me of 2hrs 44.01 can stand for another year, while Marc, Ed and Leigh can only wish they’d sat on my wheel from the start.
Oh, I forgot: Joe Cooper smoked everyone with his hairy legs: 2hrs 14 mins