Tonight saw the first Graded Road Race for 2020 beginning at the Whangaehu Hall, riding north on Bideford Road to Maungapuru School before returning to the finish line. For the main race the overall journey was about 30 kms and for our short course contenders who turn at the top of the first hill, it is about 15 kms in length. The course involves negotiating a number of climbs and descents, so it poses a few challenges for most riders.
A number of riders begin contemplating their tactics for a Graded Road race well in advance of the actual start. As riders are only racing with their start group, and are not allowed to participate in the race of any other grade, the questions get posed, ‘do I attack on the flat, or should I attack on the first climb’? ‘Should I try to get rid of a few competitors before the final climb or should I see if it is possible to sit on the back and hide for as long as possible so I can reserve my energy’? Tonight a reasonably brisk North-East wind also impacted on the strategy in the bunches, making it less attractive to attack on the outward journey. The first climb on the way out did stretch some of the bunches, but it was the return journey that bunches really began to split up.
Riders began in 4 grades beginning with A-Grade who had 12 contestants, then B-Grade with 10 contenders, followed by C-Grade with 10 riders and the final bunch in the main race had 9 riders. On the short course there were 4 riders.
Congratulations to all the grade winners from this evening:
A-Grade: Mark Langlands
B-Grade: Duncan Cameron, and Finn Roberts – first junior boy
C-Grade: Caleb Roberts and Kirsten Goodin – first woman
D-Grade: Andrew Bond, and Donna O’Sullivan – first woman
Short Course: Karen Blade, and Jaimee Blackburn – first Junior Girl
Chocolate Fish awards go to a couple of riders did not register times – perhaps they left their transponder at home! Full results can be found at:
For Full Results: http://acm.kiwi.nz/running/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Results.pdf
As always very many thanks to the race management team who keep us safe out on the road. Also, thanks to Ricky Blade, Di Dowding, and Eastwoods for the post-race BBQ.
Next week is a Handicapped Road Race starting at Gladstone Church, racing south, then returning to finish at the top of Admiral Hill.