The Kapiti Cycling Club president, Bob Pratt organised a low key Cycle Challenge Time Trial on Waitangi Day. The challenge involved 3 of us including myself!
The challenge was on a regular training course that we call the Aka Block. The distance is approximately 100 km [60 miles] over hilly terrain.
At 7:20 in the morning the 3 cyclists and Bob assembled at the Railway Station, Paraparaumu. They were given their briefing by Bob and I was given some guidelines in to how I would get the best performance out of myself.
The challenge was that I would ride with my training buddy, Bryan Perkins and an elite Junior, Finlay Brazier would ride solo starting 10 minutes after us. Our plan was that Bryan would set the pace on the flat and I would keep the pace honest on the hills!
|Bryan at a recent Tuesday night race|
Bryan was a competitive cyclist as a Junior and has recently come back in to the sport after a long break!
We were both excited about the challenge but both knew it would be a tough ask as Finlay is quite a lot faster than us. However we had some confidence in the fact that we could work together and with the day being a little windy we would be able to rotate to ensure we would get some respite. No such luck for Finlay!
At 7:30 on the dot Bryan and I set off. Bryan was on Bob's bike as his own bike had suddenly developed a crack in the frame. Bryan set off at 35 - 40 km / hour [20 - 25 miles] along the flat highway section and I tucked in behind until we hit the climb up Paekakariki Hill. Bryan and I are evenly matched on the hills so we were able to sustain a steady pace to the top!
Finlay had started on his own at 7:40 and Bob followed him in his car for a bit before catching up to Bryan and I towards the top of the hill. Apparently we had managed to take out a small amount of time on Finlay.
Over the other side of the Paekakariki Hill it was an extremely fast descent and we arrived at Pauatahanui at 45 minutes riding time, the fastest I had done by a margin!
Bryan and I kept up the pace heading up the Haywards. Bryan was experiencing problems with the back wheel and Bob replaced it as I slowly continued and waited for Bryan to catch up. With a new back wheel Bryan picked up the pace and on arrival at the Hutt Highway we had extended the gap to Finlay by another couple of minutes.
The ride to Upper Hutt was difficult with a head wind. Obviously not as hard though for us as it was for Finlay as he had to do it all on his own. I know this was a frustration to him as making up ground into a wind is exceedingly difficult.
Bryan and I met up with another Kapiti cyclist, Derek Ward who joined us for a while. We arrived at Upper Hutt in about 1 hour 30 minutes which was a great time considering the wind.
We now started the make or break part of the course. We knew that Finlay would be making his charge up the Akatarawa Valley and with little wind to concern him would likely take considerable time out of us. We later found out from Bob that in fact Finlay had closed up the gap by 4 minutes having lost some time earlier.
We worked together well up the hills and fought with tiring legs to maintain a consistent pace. Bryan remarked that if we were still ahead by the summit that we would probably hold Finlay out.
Relieved but still a little anxious we reached the summit with Bob waiting at the top to advise us that we still were holding a comfortable lead on our chaser.
However we knew we could not be complacent or slacken off as there was still another 30 minutes riding ahead. We flew down to Reikorangi and kept pushing hard through to Waikanae knowing there was only another 10 minutes of hard fast riding to complete the challenge.
With a quick look at my watch at Waikanae I knew that I was on for my best time ever. Bryan and I helped each other along SH1 at speeds well over 40 km / hour [25 miles] and stopped our watches at 2 hours 51 minutes.
This was certainly a challenging but exhilerating ride and Bryan and I were thrilled that we had maintained the 10 minute lead we started with.
I know Finlay was disappointed but the wind factor was huge and for him to ride solo and still do the same time we did supporting each other was a top effort.
Thank you Bryan, Finlay and Bob for making this a most memorable and rewarding experience!