Peninsula Connection Handicap November 26TH 2017 Race report and Results.
An air of anticipation had been building since it was announced that the last Cycling Otago handicapped race of the year would be held on the famous Vauxhall-Harrington Point-High Rd circuit (47km). Scene of epic battles in racing and training with Strava segments galore, and a treat to be racing right on our doorstep. Weather forecasts looked promising, and a good number of entries across a range of abilities meant that the handicap groups came together nicely. Alas, the mild Northeasterlies we expected turned into a full scale harbour wind tunnel special. Possibly favouring the Scratch riders, but not many others!
Now with two mountains to climb – the head-side wind outward leg, and then the High Rd – we set off with some trepidation. With small time gaps between the groups it was expected to close up quicker than if the wind had been more favourable. Many groups lost riders on the way to Harrington Point, casualties of the hard efforts required and the surging that occurred in and out of the Bays. Interestingly, it was after the turnaround that more group splits occurred. With the strong tail cross wind in play getting gapped was a real danger when riders further up the single file pace line dropped the wheel. This eventuated in the group starting at 15 minutes, catching out most riders, and enabling those at the front – Pablo Paulsen, Helen Beattie, and Nathan Forbes to get the jump. Despite a long chase and TTT effort from Anthony Rowcroft and Paula Hasler, the trio powered into the climb with a good minute gap.
Ahead of this group, strong riding from Rennie Smith and Paul Cardno (starting at 11.30 minutes) saw them hit the climb off the front of their group and they passed most of the Limit riders by the Wall. Spectators were treated to Rennie Smith doing a Sagan style wheelie at the top of the Wall, thankfully captured on film for the rest of us to enjoy. Smith then proceeded to ride away – now at the front of the race – and was not caught, claiming an excellent win! This was no mean feat as the Scratch and Break riders had buried themselves in the race to Harrington Point and return. The first break riders, Ben Hogan, followed by Louie Harris (starting at 23 minutes), were motoring and making serious in-roads through the field ahead. Not far behind, Scratch riders Ioan Fuller and Blair Martin (starting at 26 minutes) were an express train, powering up the climb and leaving everyone in their wake – except for Smith. They finished in second and third across the line with Ioan Fuller claiming fastest time in 1.18. A steady procession of riders from the remaining field made it over the top and into the final descents. Those on deep section wheels had some sideways action to contend with, but all finished safely and with stories to tell.
The Junior race was run from Portobello to Harrington Point return, which was a challenging course in the windy conditions. Chaperone riders report that the three riders put in very strong efforts. In just over 50 minutes, Sam Hughes was the first across the line, closely followed by Isaac Latta and Asha Claridge.
A huge thank you to the Road Committee for pulling this race together at short notice. And particularly Mark Adamson and Dom Elder for the logistics involved in getting DCC approval. Carl, again, for his excellent STMS support; and Louise, again, for expert race management. Mama Lazarou – you had some close calls today (dodgy riders) in the hunt for amazing photos – awesome as usual! And those who helped with timing and the junior race support, you are fantastic! Riders, you went above and beyond, even in the heat of battle to ride safely and keep the motoring traffic on side – The President salutes you! Those who DNF’ed, especially due to mechanicals, we give Kudos. One such rider, Nathan Forbes, was having a blinder! Sarah Ford, you again astound us with your courage and grit, battling through the full senior race despite the asthma and finishing strong as the fastest female junior – epic Kudos.
- Rennie Smith
- Ioan Fuller (Fastest time: 1.18:01)
- Blair Martin
- Ben Hogan
- Wouter Peters
- Louis Harris (Fastest Junior U17)
- Paul Cardno.
Fastest female senior: Helen Beattie
Fastest female junior: Sarah Ford (U15)