This is my trophy for getting the “Tough as Nuts” award during the Five Passes Tour. What a superb event which you can read all about in my race report. It was my first experience of bike racing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a nice little bunch in A Grade with one guy way stronger than the rest of us and Richard (my teammate) a little behind him but still a lot better than the rest of us. It really highlighted my strengths and weaknesses. If I got on the front and really pushed the pace then a lot of the guys suffered but few would be dropped. However, I just didn’t have the turn of speed to easily cover all the surges and attempts to break away so every so often I would let a gap grow and I’d have to TT back on. One of the guys riding with us was 63 and he never got dropped. Damn impressive.
I did make some attempts to get clear but again just didn’t have that massive burst of power to get clear but also it seemed clear that I would not be allowed drift off the front and get away.
It’s funny how once you have a reputation you can find yourself living up to it. Several of the guys in A Grade had ridden with me and experienced me doing massive pulls on the front. There seemed to be an expectation of this. On the first day I did just such a pull and earned a beer that night from some of the guys. The rest of the tour I felt I had to live up to it. Day 2 saw me TT back on to the group which was trying to drop me on numerous occasions. Then day 3 I did a huge chunk of work to get us through the 50km stage 10 mins faster than anyone else. That evening, Daniel awarded me the above award. He explained how he’d ridden with me on Epic camp and explained some of the massive days I’d done. I’ll be honest I was chuffed but it’s just further cemented my reputation.
We’re now firmly settled back in Christchurch. it’s nice to be back. It feels like a lovely little community which was really hit home at the awards dinner for The Five Passes – so many familiar faces. There seems to be this core of people that organise, help, take part in all these events. The scenery in New Zealand and facilities may be awesome but it was is this feeling of community here in Christchurch that most makes me feel I could live here.
I would love to do this event again and am already wondering about coming here from Hawaii next year just for the event. If you’re thinking of coming to New Zealand I would fully recommend co-ordinating with this event. You won’t regret it.