Tour of Southland Report. Part 1.

by Morgan Smith

People have been asking so here you go!

4km Team Time Trial
Woke up early after a restless night. We weren’t off until 4pm. How was I going to stay relaxed until then??
The team rode down early for presentation and to ride with the kids.  I got there saw them all as excited as I was.  How was that possible?  All the team vans set up.
“Man this is pro” ran through my head and did so the whole week! I started to warm up with the boys in the tent, starting to gee myself up!
This is it. Lined up on the start line looking flash and feeling the same. Nek minnet I was in the box!  Red had railed the first corner and we had drifted apart.  The next two corners were the same as I dropped wheels and had to miss a couple turns.
That was not the start I wanted.

Stage 1

160kms to Lumsden
We signed on as a team and rolled down into the Velodrome.  It is steep!
More and more riders joined in the lapping and with school kids lining the sides, chants were going up.
I think it was something like 8 sprints in the first 3kms of the race?  So the pace was maxed straight away, 20kms in I found myself heading towards the front.
Going over a bridge I hit the last join hard.  Shit I should of jumped that I thought, as I rolled up next to Gordy.  There was a small break going off the front.  Go Gordy said.
I looked at him, just checking. Go now, Hard!  I hit it and got to the back of the break and called the next couple ‘in’ so I could catch my breath.
Then I looked down and my back tire was flat as a pancake.
I watched the pelaton (main bunch) sail by, with my hand up waiting for a wheel.
The change was slow and by the time I got going again I was out the arse of the convoy (the train of team and marshal vehicles).
The Barry Stewart Builders van dropped back to motor-pace me back on, after a rise we started getting into a rhythm only for the van to get waved on by one of the commissionaire
(race police).
I was alone.  I took a few deep breathes.  I knew that I would be cut from the tour if I didnt get to the finish within 20% of the winners time.  That wasn’t happening.  No way.
Because I had read the race programme that morning I knew that they were expected to finish in 4hrs so 4.40 was the time to make.

How long to go?  I asked one of the tail end charlies.  100kms.  Do you want to keep going?  F*cking aye!
I was riding to time and was flying at times.  Even the policeman that was hanging around the race that day come up next to me. Shit your going good mate the are 5mins up the road,  you’re making up some time.
The closer I got the more the tail end charlies started to help me.  Bottles and a bit of motor-pacing here and there. I wasn’t saying no, in fact I was thinking “about bloody time!”
I made it in time, buggered but able to take my place for my team the next day.

Oh and the lads told me my brakes had been rubbing the whole way.


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