On Saturday there were 2 races, the teams’ time trial (TTT) in the morning, followed by the road races in the afternoon. On Sunday, the final race held was the criterium.
We travelled down to Cambridge on Friday to do some reconnaissance-riding of the courses. As you may recall the weather was very marginal on Friday, but we rode anyway as it is important that riders see the courses, note turning points, hazards, and hills. We set out with the weather holding off but were caught in what I could only describe as a cloudburst, resulting in the curtailed-recce and an evening of furious drying out of shoes, helmets, gloves etc. Ominously it rained heavily on Friday night, but the weather was forecast for lighter showers but higher winds (the cyclist’s enemy) on Saturday.
On Saturday morning we had 3 teams entered in the TTT. The course started at Mighty River Domain and was 16km out-and-back. The best performance was the Junior A team - Will McAteer (Year 10, Major), Miles Preena (Year 10, Peart), Ashton Gormly (Year 10, Marsden) - who attacked the course and finished 7th out of 22 teams in the U-16 Boys grade. This represented a significant lift in performance for the team compared to results over the term in the regular TTT at Pukekohe.
The road race in the afternoon promised gruelling conditions as the wind picked up steadily over the day. Riders competed in age-grades with distances varying according to age-group (between 34-56kms). Our best result was in the U-17 Boys grade where Oliver Scott (Year 11, Peart) battled gamely with the usual overwhelming contingent of Grammar riders to finish a creditable 10th. On the last lap of the hill-circuit, with 2 Grammar riders having broken away already, Oliver tried to bridge the gap himself, and got 30 seconds off the front of the bunch in trying to close a 1-minute gap, however he could not hold off the bunch into the closing stages and was caught 3 kms from the finish. In the bunch-sprint he simply did not have the legs, having spent himself on trying to close to the breakaway, which in the end rolled over the line first and second.
There were some very tired bodies on Saturday evening, so lights-out was an absolute joy as most lights were out voluntarily! Sunday promised better weather with only scattered showers and light winds forecast for the criterium. A criterium (“crit”) is a fast race around a short-road course. This is held around the carpark of Mighty River Domain with some very fast average speeds and excellent spectating opportunities. For those that have watched track cycling on TV, it’s like watching that on a road circuit. Riders raced again in their age-grade, with each age-group being split into A and B races based on results in the previous day’s road race.
In the crit we featured more strongly over the grades, with our best results in U-16 Boys B - Ashton Gormly in 4th, U-17 Boys A - Oliver Scott in 13th, U-17 Girls B - Emma Mowat (Year 12, Taylor) placing 4th, and U-20 Boys B - Nathan Hill (Year 12, Peart) coming in 4th. Close to a few podiums, but no cigar.
That concluded proceedings for the North Island Road Champs, and everyone departed to start their Term 2 holidays. For the cycling squad we have 2 TTT’s remaining at Pukekohe, the Northern Tour in early September, and finally National Road Champs at the end of Term 3 in Palmerston North. Everyone in the squad is keen to up their game over Term 3 and we will be reunited with our Captain, Sam Scott (Year 13, Peart), who has been absent attending World Sailing Champs, and Tom Stephenson (Year 13, Greenbank) who has been racing in Europe. So, for King’s Cycling, Term 3 will be “moving term”.
Teacher in Charge of Cycling