Monday, December 21, 2009

Auckland XC Champs Round 3 - Woodhill

The day dawned cool and fine for the hotly anticipated final of Auckland's XC series.

Racers converged on the much loved riding hub of Woodhill, where a twisty but fast course was put up for racer to get stuck in to.

After a solid 6th place in Elite at Christchurch's Festival of Cycling the day prior, Ollie's legs were less than fresh. With a carrot as big as the Auckland crown he was amping to race, however an adjustment to tactics was required in light of the marshmallows that had taken the place of his legs.

The usual furious start still made an appearance, although settling into a rhythm came much earlier than usual after cresting the sandy pinch climb after the start loop.

By riding at a steadier pace than usual Ollie could take advantage of the narrow tracks and force the tight lead trio to ride slower than they'd like. When it came to the road, it was into the biggy and smashing it, ensuring he'd keep his place at the front of the pack for the next narrow stretch.

And so the race unfolded, with Ollie's conservative tactics becoming the source for some good-hearted sledging between himself and a local pinner (and windsurfing champ) JP Tobin.

A promising young rider Tom Fox was in the mix at the start, and the three traded places as the laps ticked over. Riders were afforded great spectator support, with Ollie cheered on by boisterous cries of "Put it in the biggy" by Pete Fyfe; Ventana rider and recent receiver of a hip-op. Ollie and JP snuck in before the 5 lap cutoff and therefore enjoyed an extra lap on the swoopy trails. Endurance came to the fore here and Ollie extended his slender lead, coming in a minute or so ahead of JP.

So with the win and Auckland Championship title in the bag, Ollie reflected on the tactical battle which had been just as enjoyable as a race with fresh legs. Despite lacking the full arsenal of power he'd adopted a devious strategy that favoured endurance and pulled out a win!

Double high fives to the Auckland XC club for a great series on some fantastic courses.

Mountain Pedaler out...

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