Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recon Ride: SRAM Tour de Ranges

Today, I reconnoitered the SRAM Tour de Ranges route. The race is next Saturday, January 19th in the Hunua Ranges just south of Auckland. Camila and I drove to the start in Clevedon this morning and then I rode the 110km course. 

Unfortunately, the course is not well suited to me. Its mostly flat and undulating with just a few climbs. The first (and biggest) climb, at the 4km mark, is just 150 meters of elevation gain and the gradient is ~6% at most. The leaders will probably big-ring it. Even if there is a selection on this first climb, I don't see how a small group could stay away for the remaining 100km. 

Starting at the 75km mark, we have a series of 4 climbs. A couple feature decent gradients (~7%) but they are so short (50 meters of elevation gain), that again, its hard to see these as decisive points in the race. I'm sure we'll see some attrition, but there is still a good 20km of flat-undulating roads before the finish. 

One possibility is strong north or north-east winds blowing across the Firth of Thames. We have a 20km stretch of road that hugs the coast. Its flat and exposed to the wind. Strong cross-winds could split the field into multiple groups. I had a ~30kph headwind today (northerly) and it was hard work. 

So, overall, I'm not sure what my tactic will be on race day. I don't think any early break can survive. I would prefer to bet on splintering along the coast due to cross-winds, and/or a small group of 6-10 cyclists gaining ground on the climbs 20km from the finish and having enough brute strength to maintain their advantage into Clevedon. 

Anyway, today was a good ride. The last time I cycled in this area was in my half-Ironman debut back in February 1991. I finished 4th in the under-20 year-olds (I was 17 at the time). 

1 comment:

  1. Great looking scenery. You look thin and fit. The Cosmic wheels look screaming fast.