Taupo Cycle Club Team / Dynamo team series 2106-2017

Team: Taupo Cycling Club
Race 2 – Tamahere, (Near Hamilton) – 20/11/16

The team had started solidly in the first race, landing in around 6th position, with Tony Tinworth being 5th individual. Barry Pritchard had finished 18th and Ross Castle, Darren Hume and Glen Sando had solid mid-field placings ensuring that the cumulative placings for the team put us in a solid mid-field position. This had not been an easy feat as the conditions had been very trying with extreme wind and a very fast start on a relatively flat 60km course which shed riders immediately as the front riders attacked from the start. Luckily our team had anticipated this and had positioned themselves well forward and were able to mitigate this to some degree.
Our campaign towards Race 2 of the Dynamo Team Series suffered a blow when Tony e-mailed to say his wrist was broken and he would be out for at least the next race. Barry was also going to be away, but was able to be replaced by Elliot Orr who had previously been away, so in theory this left us with 4 riders, the minimum required to be able to start on the day.
Everything seemed to be tracking okay until the next e-mail from Ross the afternoon before the race telling us he had picked up the “Lurgy” and was very unwell, too unwell to ride. Unfortunately the only person left on the roster was Team Manager, Rachel Bartells who had intended to ride earlier in the year, but due to a lack of fitness (sick toddler, wet weather & illness, excuses, excuses!) had decided that she would fulfil the Manager’s Role instead. However, for the team to start it was clear that she would need to pack her gear and bike and get to the start line.
Hence, the Team arrived at Tamahere School with only the 4 riders and stepped out into a howling gale (which had only briefly abated on the drive from Taupo which was equally windy.) Glen was already feeling under the weather with a bad head cold that was affecting his breathing, so we strategised that Elliot and Darren would get as far forward as possible and try to stay with other teams and finish well and Glen and Rachel would stay together and look after each other with the goal of ensuring a finish and that the team would cut it’s losses and take a “damage control” approach.
The race started with a lot of surging as there were several roundabouts and intersections to get through and then railway tracks before more intersections and the extreme winds. Rachel managed to hang in for the first 20kms or so with help from Glen to stay in touch with the bunch when the surges were too difficult to stay with in the wind. However, once we turned for the hills the pressure got too much and Rachel blew a foo foo!!  This was the point when “damage control” kicked in and they soldiered on, with finishing being the goal. Glen gave Rachel a wheel to shelter behind, some gels to get up the hills and words of encouragement when the hills got knarly!
Up ahead in the main bunch, Darren was able to get himself far enough forward that when the bunch split on the hills he was able to stay with the front bunch. This was a real fight at times, but he was able to guts it out and stay in this main bunch throughout the various descents and climbs that followed and then through the undulating straights and flats that followed to the finish line, where he finished in the middle of the front bunch.
Elliot hung in the front bunch until the first big set of hills where he ended up on the front of the second bunch, where he was able to stay and finish solidly in the sprint.
Hence, the team are now in 8th position out of 14 Teams, and Tony has now slipped to 8th position in the top 10 Individuals, due to not being able to compete. This is still a solid result given that we struggled to even field a team for Race 2 and is a platform that can be built on going forwards. Hopefully Barry will be back for the next race to replace Rachel and we will keep a close eye on Tony and his wrist to see whether he will be up to racing again soon!

Posted: Mon 21 Nov 2016