Elite Nationals 2013

Postby SamultheCamul on Wed 16/Jan/13 1:04am

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Elite Nationals – Photo Matt Seeley

The biggest cycling event of the year in our country, the National Elite Cycling Champs took place over the weekend and it did not disappoint. Masses of spectators crammed onto the ascent of Dyers Pass Road made for an absolutely electric atmosphere. The racing was hotly contested and it is safe to say the strongest riders shone in both the men’s and women’s races.


Fridays Time Trial was a pretty disappointing ride for me, although not exactly unexpected. In my limited build up for the event, I had struggled to get anywhere near the power output required to win, or even to match my second place performance of last year. Motivation to even start the event was low and while I did give it everything on the road, the end result was fifth place in a time of 51min24seconds. This was almost two minutes behind the winner, a very fit and motivated Joe Cooper.It’s fair to say I have a real love-hate relationship with the Cashmere Hills road race course. While it an absolute thrill to race on my back doorstep and in front of a massive hometown crowd, the challenging course in no way suits me at all. In fact prior to this year I hadn’t actually managed to even complete the 183km race. In the run up to the event, smack talk is always rampant with rumours of Dyers Pass ascent times of 3minutes30 or even less. Times that I would struggle to match even with some sort of electric motor strapped to my down tube.

With the knowledge that I would be completely outclassed on the ten ascents of Dyers, I went into the race with a simple plan, to get up road early. Being in the break allowed a more even and tolerable climbing speed up the climb while having to push a bit harder on the flat parts of the courseto maintain the advantage. I wasn’t alone in this tactic and joining me in the break this year were some strong and classy riders in Michael Torckler, James Oram, Dion Smith, Nick Lovegrove, Roman Van Uden , Mike Northey and Jesse Sergent. The break got out to a lead of around four minutes before the hammer went down in the chasing peloton on lap seven. Soon after we were joined by race favourites Roulston, Vink and Dean and it was on this lap that I found myself shelled on the climb.

As I was being dropped by the front group and picked up by the second group on the road, George Bennett was doing the opposite. He passed me effortlessly on the steepest section of the climb at an incredible speed and so it was of no surprise to me that he went on to place second on the day. I rolled with the second group for two laps alongside Jack Bauer, Joe Cooper and the several strong U23 riders fighting it out for the third podium spot in their category. Come the final ascent of the climb my legs were completely locking up with cramp and I found myself dropped from this group too. With the climbing finished and a flat run to the finish I stubbornly carried on, finishing solo nine minutes behind the winner Hayden Roulston.

While it’s hard to get excited by my results over the weekend I think being able to finish the road race is a good sign that the endurance base is there. With some good hard racing in the legs I’m looking forward to the upcoming season. Next race for me is the NZ Cycle Classic in my home town of Palmerston North. The Oceania Championships are also just around the corner in March where I will get a chance to redeem my sub-par time trial performance on Friday.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Sam

www.samhorgan.com



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Link to original article: http://www.samhorgan.com/cycling/elite-nationals-2013/
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Original Published: 2:47pm Tuesday, 15th January 2013 - NZST
SamultheCamul
Member for: 14 years 7 months

Re: Elite Nationals 2013

Postby great uncle bulgaria on Wed 16/Jan/13 3:24pm

The gritty effort at the end was admired by many including me. Chapeau to you Sam.
great uncle bulgaria
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