I’m sure I’ve been here before! Yes, tonight the race used the same course as last week 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. This evening our sole short course contender, Kate Speedy, turned at the top of the first hill, to race approximately 15 kms.
With a brisk Norwest wind in play on this handicapped road race, it was a case of everyone peddling their very best to try to catch the group in front and stay away from those who left after you. Each of the bunches left at 4 minute intervals. Bunches that work well together – rolling through smoothly and steadily, keeping an even effort without leaving gaps, tend to travel faster overall than groups who struggle to work together as a cohesive unit. Of course if the group gets caught, then it’s a case of everyone for themselves to see if you can get on the back of a charging bunch!
Tonight those 4 minute gaps were not enough as each of the groups found themselves both splitting up and being caught by at least some of those in the following groups. Those who were lucky, got caught somewhere that enabled them to hook onto the back, even if only for a short time, whilst those who were unlucky got caught just when the road began to rise once again, making it almost impossible to stay on the back of the faster riders.
Over the final few kilometres, the front end of both ‘Scratch’ and ‘Break’ came together to contest the final hill sprint to the finish. The overall winner taking line honours and fastest man was Tom McCallum, closely followed by Richard van Lent and Mark Langlands in third. Lesley Mouat was the first and fast woman this evening finishing a little ahead of Donna Burkhart.
As ever, many thanks to the race management team for looking after us on the road.
Please note next week there is a course change to the scheduled race. We will now be using the Upper Manaia Road to Kaituna return course.
Full Results can be found:http://acm.kiwi.nz/running/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/WhangaehuBidefordHRRResults.pdf