I had a great race this morning at the Fred Ogle Classic near Whangarei, finishing 12th overall. The course was 110km just west of Whangarei and covered some of the Tour of Northland stage-1 course. The race doubled as the Northland Club Champs and it drew a serious field, including semi-pros just back from the Tour of Southland.
After last week's implosion at MS Bike the Bridge, I wasn't sure how I would feel today. I did 4 rides this week - all pretty easy, just to make sure I was recovered.
We had some serious cat and mouse attacks for the first 25km. At times, we would push 60kph for a brief period, and then slow down to 30kph for a few minutes before the next surge. Matthew Markby broke away after about 45 minutes. He was waiting on others to join him, but no one bridged. Matthew realized he was committed and rode the next 40km's solo.
Meanwhile, there were several almost-successful attempts to break up the peloton. I made every break (there were two, I think), but for one reason or another we didn't hold it.
The decisive point was a climb at the 62nd kilometer. The climb is 3km with several steps and 100m of elevation gain. I got into a chasing group, while two bridged across to Markby (who had been solo, out in front all this time).
We were a group of about 12 with 45km to go, and about 20-30 seconds down on the three in front. We worked hard - bloody hard - but we couldn't put a dent into the three up ahead. By the 95th kilometer we were all wasted. We dropped two or three and we started to lose sight of the leaders.
With 10km to go, several of us, including myself, were simply trying to hold on.
The last 2-3km is a straight, slightly downhill, road to the finish. I knew I had no chance in a sprint, so I tried my luck at leading it out from 500 meters. My tactics failed and I ended up last of our remaining group. (I would've finished last anyway knowing my sprinting ability). We finished 110km in 2h.51m.35s and about 1 minute behind the race winner.
I was very happy with the result. That wraps up three consecutive weekends of racing. My overall results were mixed (27th, 15th, and 12th overall), but I did well for my age group (2nd, 3rd, and TBD).
Today, I put out my biggest power numbers to date:
My 2 minute peak interval is below. Pushing 434 watts on a slight uphill gradient early in the race:
I don't know what is next on the race calendar. I am looking forward to a little rest over the next week or two.
And photos below of our trip to Oceans Beach yesterday.