Sunday, 15 November 2009

Tour of the Wairarapa 2009 - ‘twas a fraction windy

It could only be described as ominous as I drove past wind warning signs on thw way over the Rimutaka Hill, en-route to the start of the Tour of the Wairarapa. The registration area at the Lakeview School was more sheltered than the surrounding areas. It was humourous when one of my work colleagues who had entered the event declared:

At least its not too windy

Well matey the rest of us don’t use our bicycles in the pursuit of the activity known as Storm Chasing. Perhaps you would like to head stateside and chase some real storms?

Ride Data:
Distance: 112km 5,328 Calories
Time: 4:26:26 25.2 km/h
Elevation: Ascent: 984m Descent: 932m
Ride Data: Garmin Connect Player MapMyRide
Location: Masterton, NZ 15 November 2009
My Tour of The Wairarapa Results
2006 3:18:13 (100km@30.3)
2007 2:42:47 (100km@36.9)
2008 4:19:57 (112km@26.1)
2009 4:26:26 (112km@25.2)

 

He of course had the last laugh by finishing a long, long way in front of me. Obviously not too much of a breeze for him. Phew, I kept within an hour – just!

 

Like in 2008, the date of this event clashed with Toast Martinborough. To avoid traffic, the course was relocated to the 112km version from Masterton, out to Dreyers Rock, looping around Alfredton and Eketahuna back to Dryers Rock before the return to Masterton.

 

I began the race in a bunch over the first 40-odd kilometres and we were travelling between a comfortable 35km/h or a struggling 20km/h depending on the angle of the wind. Mostly an interlaced mixture of heinous crosswinds and evil headwinds, with rare but appreciated brief tailwinds. The weather station at nearby Castlepoint picked up a gust at 139km/h during this time which verified it was not just our imaginations making this an epic ride. The road over this section is very coarse chipseal, with some areas of delamination making for rough ride. I was definitely appreciating a smoother ride this year having upgraded from an aluminium frame to the carbon of my Specialized Roubaix.

 

As has been the case with my riding of late, I was unable to hang-on to the bunch as we hit the hills from Alfredton to Eketahuna. Following the descent Into the wind I was unable to bridge the gap spent some 10km following the bunch by 50-100m. I was desperate to rejoin the bunch and find some respite from the wind. Sadly, I didn’t have enough in me to bridge the gap :(.

 

From a self-diagnosis point of view, I’m certain that I have sub-consciously grinding up the hills rather than “spinning” with a high cadence. This is something I am going to have train back into me for 2010. Have been well of the pace this year!

 

Thankfully once reaching Eketahuna there were more tailwinds, and smoother road surfaces. This ensured that while I was tired, and had no bunches for drafting the second 56km was no slower than the first.

 

I eventually made the finish, almost seven minutes slower than last year. It was certainly more enjoyable riding in the gale-force wind than on a broken wheel last year. There were numerous times during the event where I had to make substantial steering corrections in the fresh and gusty breeze. It was great to hear that there were no injuries to any competitors during this event. I suspect the presence of the ever imminent threat of being blown to the next province ensured our fellow riders maintained their concentration and kept the rubber side down.