|Elevation:||Ascent: 1253m||Descent: 1251m|
|Ride Data:||Garmin Connect Player|
|Location:||Hamilton, NZ||20 February 2010|
With an almost flat opening 30km it makes for a fast start in large bunches. I started on the "second wave". There seemed to be much more than normal levels of middle-of-the-bunch braking. This seemed to mostly be occurring from fellow cyclists moving forward, but not to the front of the bunch. The result was some interval work with the speed of bunch making sudden changes 38km/h / 44km/h / 38km/h / 31km/h / 43km/h without changes in road surface, nor incline. I wasn't quite getting on the gas as other riders and was slowly drifting backward among the large bunch with each rapid surge. While this surge and hold approach was not my preference I remained with the whole bunch at the base of French Pass with an average speed a shade over 35km/h - a good speed for very average me at my current fitness level.
Climbing non-performance is certainly something I need address. Although steep, French Pass is still only 170m high as I saw the bunch disappear over the hill in front of me. I'm not sure how it is that I seem glued to the road when climbing hills recently. Living in Wellington provides plenty of practice after all! Surely I should be better than this? Now isolated and riding alone, I had a lot of time to mull over the significant improvement needed from me uphill.
I was in a small group again at about the half way point but fell 200m behind them trying not to choke on an insect that I had swallowed after about 64km. For some 30km or so I was almost exactly the same distance behind and never caught them. Heading up the last hill a small group caught up to me and and we worked together toward to the finish. As we caught up to other riders the group expanded a little before increasing pace with 5km to go saw us dwindle to just three as we reached 3km to go.
Aaron (also from Wellington) pulled in front of me with about 1km to go. I was appreciating the breather as I contemplated the best time to dash for the line. Eyeing the left-hand bend 300m from the line I bolted out of the corner pretending I was a sprinter and crossed the line traveling around 42.5km/h, and five second lead built over that final 300m. Thanks for the lead out Aaron :).