A few months ago I decided it would be a good idea to do some club cycling to get my cycling up to scratch and thought I would start with the Bev May Womens Tour which is a 4 stage tour put on by the Morrinsville Wheelers Club in the Waikato.
Having not much experience with club cycling I thought I would ease into things so I entered myself into C-grade, I thought I may be good enough to ride with B-Grade but they race with A-grade which makes things a bit tougher. Plus the C-Grade distances were less and a bit nicer for my first tour.
STAGE ONE - 21KM TT
Lucky for me this was the first stage, and to be fair to my fellow C-Graders I had the best gear out of everyone so expected I should do ok. The course was pretty undulating but not much wind and quite hot. I passed my minute-lady after about 6mins and my 2 minute-lady after about 25min and my 3 minute-lady was in my sights when I ran out of road. I won the stage by 1.19 which put me into the tour leaders jersey, so off to a good start. My time would have put me in 6th in B-Grade which I thought was ok.
STAGE TWO - 44KM ROAD RACE
We had a couple of hours in between the Stages one and two so just tried to eat and rest up as much as possible. I didn't really know what to expect in this stage and it was quite uneventful. I probably spent too much time at the front but didn't find many people in the group willing to go to the front which sucked. All I wanted to do was stick with the bunch and if I thought I was really awesome maybe try and get away up a hill near the end. There were a few little hills but not ones that were any good for my style of riding so after one failed attempt to break away with about 5km to go I just decided to sit tight. I got quite boxed in near the end and ended up on the left hand side of the road and then missed the boat on the sprint for the finish. Of course a girl who had never seen the front won the sprint... I didn't realize there were time bonuses for 1st-4th and just pootled up to the finish behind the group and lost about 15sec, whoops. But still held onto my jersey by 1.04 so all good.
STAGE THREE - 45 ROAD RACE
I had hoped this stage would be like yesterday but had to have my wits about me with quite a few attacks mostly coming from the girl in second. Fortunately she was quite predictable with her attacks so never managed to get away. There were really only 3 of us working at the front which was pretty annoying. I had a few moments where no-one would come through so I would just slow right down until they got message. There was a nasty section of road works that we had to go down and then up so I made sure I was near the front and followed the wheel of my new friend who is a MTB'er and I knew she'd pick a good line. I was in a better place for the finish and tried my best but unfortunately really suck at sprinting so came 5th so only lost 5sec.
STAGE THREE - CRITERIUM (15MINS + 3 LAPS)
I was very nervous before this and hoped that we could all just ride around nicely and have no funny business. Lucky for me there was only one sprint lap for the finish so I just had to mark my girl and not crash on the corners. It all went well, I think she was trying to get away a bit but I just stuck with her each time and after a few laps she gave that up. The last lap was obviously a bit of a fight and I dropped my chain at the start of it but lucky I have superior skills of getting it back on so I didn't lose the group. I had a go at sprinting and finished a couple of seconds back but the results somehow got me about 14sec but it didn't affect the overall placings so it didn't matter.
So my first tour and I won! Lucky for me I got a decent lead on the TT, but we all have our strengths and mine is NOT sprinting! So something to work on just in case IM ever comes down to a sprint, on the bike...