The Mike Greer Homes Black and Pink teams lined up across the very front of the start line ready for Race 5 of the Calder Stewart Series in Hokitika. This was my first race with the team after the Nelson race had been cancelled and was looking forward to getting started. We had all been given our part to play for the race and now all we had to do was execute it.
As we rolled out for the neutral start and onto the State highway down the West Coast you could tell the Westerly winds were going to cause a few challenges with crosswinds as they started to pick up.
The first lap the team worked well at protecting our key rides and keeping them out of the wind. There was a quick break of 5-6 girls in the first 10km including our Ella Harris which made for a good break in the opening of the race. Four of us girls worked well together to slowly gain some ground on the break down the coast while other teams just sat in for shelter. Turning left into the side road unfolded a few more attacks of singles and a few doubles from various teams but in the whole we were able to shut down most of the breaks and stay together.
We didn’t catch the first break until just before the end of the 2nd lap to which everyone really sat up and slowed right down giving Benchmark Holmes an opportunity to jump and make a break along with one of the FAST riders, with Niamh and Grace following suit.
The final lap was really about shutting down all the breaks and really riding tactically. There were numerous attacks from the Benchmark Holmes team along the coastline into the wind and as one was caught the next attack was launched.
Turning off the Highway out of the wind showed that this would be a very strategic last 20km race and the pace definitely went up for the hillier sections of the course. The front break had become only 3 riders as the main bunch was gaining ground and Grace and Niamh were caught in the last 2km to the finish.
With the latest bridging I had done to close the recent attack before the final decent my legs really were not ready for the lead out role I was supposed to play coming into the finish and literally gave it everything I could before Ella and Kate lead the team out into the finish shute.
It was a massive bunch sprint into finish with Mikayla still retaining her leaders jersey for the series and coming 2nd to Sharlotte and Niamh finishing first in the under 19 section to gain some valuable points on the leader.
On the whole the team worked really well together finishing in the front bunch and everyone really gave it their all.