Today's guest writer is a profound Saddledrunker. His names is Daniel Carruthers.Daniel is in New Zealand racing at the moment for Adair Craik Chartered Accountants Team.Daniel will be keeping us posted everyday this week during the 2014 SBS Tour of Southland. We wish him and his team good luck.We are sorry for the delay but we are -13 hours from them, therefore he will be reporting after he has finish competing.
This is the second time at Tour of Southland, the first time was back in 2006 when I was still new to racing and now this time I hope I can be competitive and be active in the race instead of clinging on for dear life like I did in the 2006 edition. This is my 2014 season goal and have been steadily building towards starting in New Zealand’s biggest and hardest race; it has a reputation for being a very tough race especially when you factor in the arctic conditions riders often face. I recall in the 2006 edition, we had hail as thick as your thumb belt down on us, gusty wind that wreaked havoc in the peloton and snow falling for some of the stages. Tour of Southland is one tough race, but it does traverse through some stunning scenery New Zealand has to offer.
Day one of the Tour, riders were greeted with steady cold rain that fell throughout the afternoon which made the 4.2km 4-corner lap around the Queens Park quite challenging. I was riding for the Adair Craik team, a team mostly comprised of young talented under 23 riders with myself and one other in the Masters category. With most of the other teams being pro and prepared, they were warming up under tents on rollers and trainers while we had to contend with sitting in the van to keep warm. I decided I was not going to do that so did a lap around the Queens Park to get the heart rate going and some blood flow to the legs. We rolled up to our start time of 4.32pm and I was slotted into 5th position in the pace-line. The first lead out rider went nice and quick as expected at the beginning but the 4th rider dropped wheels so he had to close a gap and yelling at the front three to slow down a little. Going through the first corner, the same rider could not hold the wheels through the corner and was struggling to regain contact. I came passed him to close the gap and they slotted in quickly behind me as I went. The front three revved properly back into gear when I yelled GO and the pace line became smooth’n’fast. The corners were a little tricky due to the wet conditions, and we managed to negotiate them intact. On the back straight about 300m from the final corner one of the riders was unable to hold the power and this caused 2nd placed rider to hesitate and this made us bunch up going into the last corner. Fortunately, we made it through and it was a sprint to finish the fast opening TTT. I came through in 3rd place and we posted a respectable time of 5:24 with an average speed of 47.3km/h. The winning team, Avanti Cycling from Australia, posted a super fast time of 4:57 to be the top team on the day and lead the tour. I am sitting 2nd overall in the Master category and 63rd overall on GC from 108 riders.
Tomorrow’s stage is 167km starting in Invercargill and promises to be one full of attacking action. Depending on how severe the cross winds are, the peloton could be in pieces by the end. The Tour of Southland goes for six days and takes in the best scenery Southland has to offer. Visit www.tourofsouthland.com for live updates and results if you wish to follow the day to day action.