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School Holiday Racing Wrap Up

On Thursday the 22nd I travelled up to Palmerston North for National Secondary Schools Road Cycling Champs.

I got out on the road race course the following day. It was going to be a tough race because of the wind patterns and it proved to be on race day.

It was a filthy day.

The rain was pouring down and it was really windy. We had two laps of a 18km course with a slightly uphill finish into a headwind. The race got underway and we were straight into a crosswind which stretched the bunch out instantly.

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Everyone was right up in the gutter trying to make the most of the slipstream in the wind. A breakaway got away in the first kilometres and it looked set to stick. It was the 2015 NZ Champ and the 2016 south island champion. They got a gap out to around 30 seconds to a minute in the tailwind. When we hit the headwind back to the finish of the first lap the wind was to much and we caught them.

Towards the end of the some attacks were attempted but the headwind was to strong and with about 2km to go the bunch almost came to a standstill.

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It came down to a bunch sprint and I was impatient and dived in on the inside of the road trying to get up to the front again. I got boxed in and didn’t make it out until the final 50 metres and by that time I didn’t have a chance to sprint with the front guys. I sprinted to 11th in the 97 man record field. I also raced a criterium but had a really bad race and couldn’t get a top 3 sprint to gain points. I finished back in 24th.

I was back in Queenstown mid day Tuesday and unpacked my bike and made it out for the first group ride of the summer.

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I then took Wednesday off to prepare for the junior tour of southland before travelling down to Invercargill on Thursday.

I was a first year U17 in the two year age bracket. We started racing on Friday with a 3.6 km ITT and a kermess and I placed 18th equal of 30 boys.

I conceded 18 seconds to the leader and in stage 2 I rolled through with the bunch and didn’t lose any time. Stage 3 and 4 were the same. I had the speed to stay with the bunch but couldn’t sprint with the leaders. On day 3 we had our biggest day with a criterium and a 80km road race. I started the crit in the morning despite feeling awful.

It was hard and I hung on to the bunch without loosing any time…. just.

I started the final stage and hung on for the first lap of the course but about 4km into the second lap I dropped when the bunch accelerated out of a corner. I time trialled for 36km to the finish loosing 10 minutes on general classification. I was stuffed.

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I then had south island secondary schools track cycling champs the next two days. I was pretty rubbish at that too but it was all a really good experience and the cycling I’m doing on top of my tri is really improving my ability as a triathlete. I spent the rest of the holidays training. I had a really great last day of the holidays over in Wanaka riding sticky forest and deans bank trails.

Reuben Thompson Outside Sports NZ

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