Ask RIDE…Trust House Cycle Classic – Stage 1

Stage 1 in the House Trust Cycle Classic begun with a 20km neutral zone until we reached the start in Upper Hutt. It is common for tour stages to begin in a busy town, travelling down busy streets with parked cars and encountering traffic obstacles which would make it too dangerous to commence a race. The neutral zone is where the leading vehicle of the race driven by the chief commissare sets a pace of around 30km per hour and riders must stay behind until a flag is brought back inside the car. It then speeds ahead and racing begins. They can be only a few kilometres or like yesterday, up to 20km. During the first stage last year the commissare set his cruise control to 60km per hour for some unknown reason and with a stiff cross wind the bunch split in two. Half the bunch was at least five minutes behind by the start proper and so the leading group had to wait until they caught back up before the race could restart. Thankfiully this incident was covered in the managers meeting before the race and it was agreed this could not happen again.

Attacks begin as the flag dropped and we were soon speeding up the first climb of the day. A couple of riders had already fallen off the pace by the time we hit this climb and it wouldn’t be any different when, at 18km we started the climb up to…. This was a tough climb because it was exposed to winds at the top. A group including Chris Jory of BikeBug.com attacked over the top and this would end up being the main front group of the day. I wasn’t having the best day and crested over the top with a big job ahead to catch back up. Some questionable decending closed the gap and then a group of seven of us worked like crazy to catch back up to the main bunch. As soon as we caught another eight including Sam Rutherford and me went off the front. Sam and I did not assist with the chase because we had both Chris and Geoff Straub ahead of us. So we got a free ride for about hour, much to the annoance of the other riders in the group. The gap never really closed from five minutes and by the finish it was more like 15 which was not a problem for the team. Chris had finished fifth and Geoff came in with the group racing for a top twenty place.

Chris sits 30 seconds off the leaders jersey with tomorrow being the most decisive of the tour. Two climbs feature in the last twenty kilometres and the hilltop finish rising 500m in about 10km. Today has set up most of the general classification for the rest of the race. A map of the race route shows the elevation and climbing of the stage and unfortunately I was unable to get the SRM file uploaded. I averaged 262 watts for the day which shows the difficulty of the stage and I was down around 30th place. Apologies but I couldn’t get the SRM file to work but I will have the current Kiwi time trial champion Westley Gough’s data for tomorrow.

The Garmin data is courtesy of Sam Rutherford from BikeBug.com.

Bike room

The bike room where all of the team mechanics assembled the bikes the days before the race. Most hotels don’t take kindly to saddle marks and chain grease on bed sheets so they assign a room for everyone. The same hotel has been used for the past 24 years, the Angus Inn.p1260055

The main climb of the day seemed much longer than 6km. And yes, it went all the way to the very top.

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Sam Rutherford in the main bunch approximately five minutes (at this point) behind the leading group.

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With temperatures around 35 degrees it was important to take water whenever possible. I would have drunk about four 600ml bottles of water and three of electrolytes during the stage. For a race of only three hours it was still important to keep up the liquids because if you dehydrate on a day like this it makes recovery much slower for the following stages.

Alex Malone

Alex is the Technical Editor for RIDE Cycling Review

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