Wow! I am so far behind in my blogging, the end of season races were jam packed and I’m only just recovering from my latest bout of racing, but I decided to wrap all the league races into one and focus on the latter races in a seperate post.
The GP Koning Roller Coaster was a jaunt around my neighbourhood in the south peninsula. The race started fast and fresh and the weather was pretty warm. We were on the defensive here and just had to counter moves, but instead Robbie launched an attack along with Luke from Anderson to stay away most of the day. The real fireworks for the GC places were to start on Ou Kaapse Weg shortly before the home stretch so the gap grew steadily with no real chase from the other teams. I put in a few attacks to lessen the blow later on. The bunch hit Ou Kaapse all together aside from the two up the road and we held it together until midway up. Anderson attacked followed by Neil from Cyclelab and got a gap. We didn’t have the fire-power up there to counter and Clive didn’t follow this time as he knew there would be a one two move, it stuck and they held an advantage over the climb. I caught up to the pack at the bottom of the descent and we began a chase but most of us were spent already and couldn’t do much to close in, meanwhile Robbie had won, with Luke second, Neil had caught the break and snuck in for third and closely followed by JP. Clive came through to take the bunch sprint after we’d neutralized the secondary attacks in the chasing bunch to claim a valuable 5th.
The Medallion was next on the cards and was more suited to our team and we’d hoped to secure max points. In the early stages the climb of hels hoogte split the pack and saw us on the back foot. Clive and Steven made the cut but were outnumbered 4-2 and with two more cyclelab riders present the attacks were going to be numerous, it was simply a case of when the floodgates would open. I was in the second bunch and commanded our team of 5 to the front to chase down the break. it was a long hard chase and we crept closer very slowly and only eventually closing the gap at 65km. We went straight on the defensive and closed the counter moves down and then held a steady pace on front to keep the attacks to a minimum. The tactic worked and we went to the line with Clive well rested, Robbie was now a GC threat too after his double win was also rested. The tricky uphill finish proved perfect for Clive and he sprinted to 1st place, Robbie was well placed too in the top 5 and we gained great points for the weekend. Excellent teamwork made this day possible and we really came from behind to collect the honours here.
The Wellington Cycle race was the 1st of a double weekend, the open flatter race should suit us but the team was a bit disjointed and we didn’t get it all right on the day. Robbie and Steve made an early move which saw them away until the climb at 45km. Robbie wasn’t feeling too good and I sacrificed my bunch position on the climb to try get him over. I pushed and chased but we never regained contact. Clive and Steve were left to fend for themselves in a bunch of 20 and managed to get 3rd in the end after being attacked all day. We chased in vain and had a hard day out for not much gain. Kudos to Clive for showing his strength and form to hang in there and still provide a result.
The final showdown of the series and it was coming down to the wire, Clive had a lead but it was not unassailable. Two major threats in the GC would make it a hard day out. I decided the best for of defence was to attack, taking the opposition with me, but no their GC contenders. After a few early moves one stuck after the climb at Smitswinkel, I launched and was soon joined by Luke and Stuart Strang. We paced hard and opened about 45sec by Slangkop and stretched it out to two minutes by Ou Kaapse Weg. We thought we were away and eased up a bit over the climb, but the Cyclelab guys had jumped on front and blitzed the climb to close in on us by the top and it was all square again. I was disappointed not to stay away but set about defending Clive again. The attacking came all the way to the final kilometre and we’d managed to close them all down, I had surprisingly good legs still and jumped after anything that moved. True to form and after a good amount of chill time in the bunch, Clive emerged a clear winner by winning the final race of the season, cementing our overall victory and securing points to take 2nd in the team competition as well.
Overall it was fantastic season, we’d won where previously not thought possible and grown stronger as a team because of it.