It was supposed to be a graded road race. At the last hour it was changed to a mass start road race. There is a difference. Graded races combine riders of a similar capability who then race within a race. Often they start at a leisurely pace. Mass starts are a different beast. From the gun the pace can be furious and the need and ability to stay with other riders can be nerve-racking. If a rider is in the company of faster competitors it can be all they can do to hang on. Frequently, somewhere along the course, they fall off the back to be consigned to the lonely road. Others may be on easy street surrounded by lesser mortals who offer little competition when the finish line approaches.
This was all true on Tuesday evening when 41 Athletics & Cycling Masterton cyclists took on the testing Parkvale, Martinborough, Longbush, Millars Rd circuit over 60km. This is the longest race on the club calendar. It can also be the loneliest. The south-easterly made its presence felt, especially east of Martinborough. It was hot at the start and cool by the race end. The ride is pretty straightforward on the run down to Martinborough but becomes testing leaving Martinborough with the wind in the face along the Tablelands. Longbush offers a series of sharp and narrow climbs. Then there is the steep side of Millars Rd to contend with and, for some, a flock of sheep. It was another excellent evening of racing undertaken in dry and windy conditions.
Like last week it was Ben Knight who shone. Before Martinborough and along with Dave Shepherd he got the drop on his usual A grade fast men. By the Tablelands Dave fell off the pace and Ben was on his own to the finish. His time of 1.31.38 was minutes ahead of the bunch. They were led by 14-year-old Tom McCallum performing exceptionally well as a junior who took second ahead of Phil Sutherland. That’s two third placings in a row for Phil. Dave Shepherd, who showed that early promise, finished in 11th spot but with his fellow A graders.
A lively group, a mix of C and D graders, appreciated the larger field and kept together to Millars Road where the C people made a break. Anil Raman did a great job to be first of the D riders in. The E people, without Stan Braaksma’s assistance this week, hung together and were led home by Viv Bunny.
Another six riders rode a short course which took them from Parkvale over Millars and back. Claudia Green led Robin Green and Kelvin Brown home in a time of 49.54.
Riders appreciated the marshalls spread all around this course even at the most remote corners, as well as the race management and time-keeping. Click on the link for the results. Enjoy. 03.02.2015 MSRR Parkvale.Martinborough.Longbush.Millars 60km
Next week: Tuesday February 10, it’s a ITT over 29km on Norfolk Road. Meet on Norfolk Road, over the railway line and up a bit.