Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


02 October 2011

Launceston To New Norfolk

With the big bird in the sky slowing edging closer to tarmac in Launceston, I was reminded just how stunning Tasmania really is.   I’ll admit it, I’m a real sucker for rugged mountain wilderness environments, and this little island gem fits the bill just perfectly.  I think the last time I was in Tasmania was perhaps for a mountain bike National Series race, or even the 4 day Wildside event, but either way, I kinda had that gut feeling that it had been too long and couldn’t wait to get out on the bike, let alone do a total of seven days racing here.

So the Lauceston To Norfolk race was a solid 208km outing featuring a nice 10km mountain berg up Poatina about 50km in.  From what I was told from the top there never is really a true descent, just undulations and smaller climbs to the finish.  The day started out with a brilliant morning, albeit a little chilly.  Despite some attempts, no break eventuated in the early stages of the race and it was going to be left up to the climb of the day to sort the peloton.  Coming into the base of the climb I was feeling great and soon enough settled into the first 10 wheels heading skywards.  It was a really cool climb for sure, nice and steady gradient with a few switchbacks in there and a sense of never knowing exactly how far to the top!  However by the time we reached the main plateau we were only down to a group of 15 or so, with myself, Tito Camo and Bernie representing the V.  At this point we had a significant gap on the main peloton and there was some hesitation between all the teams represented in fully committing to work the front.  With such unrest soon enough came a flurry of attacks between Genesys, the Russian National Team and ourselves.  A break of four snuck away featuring Cam P, Pat Shaw (Genesys), my old MTB buddy Ben Mather and a Russian.  We were happy with this combo and the gas pedal was then lifted from our group, enough so that 30min later the rest of the main peloton arrived.   

 The front group over Poatina. Photo Credit: Mark Gunter

With our main sprinter Aaron Kemps now back in the fold, the call was to start working the front, and we committed ourselves to the cause.  With the Russian in the break coming back to the bunch after a flat, they too threw a couple of guys in the pot and soon enough Pat and Camo were caught too, but Mather was on a mission still 4min up the road solo.  Dang.  This now meant full gas rolling the front with the Russians and I suffered like a dog.  We picked up Ben with around 20km to go and at that point I was running pretty ragged to the finish, crawling my way back to the bunch after spending a brief period in the cars with Camo. 
It was all for Kemps and coming into the final km’s the big man Sully was pulled some big turns to keep the pace high.  I will say that for a 208km race it was a nasty finish, with an uphill drag before a left hander into the finish line.  Kemps did well for a 4th place finish and so close to a podium spot.  I was pretty much crossed eyed rolling in not too far behind and satisfied at the end of perhaps the toughest day of racing I’ve had this year.  So the morale is high in the team for some good results at the upcoming Tour of Tasmania, and I hope with only one day of rest the legs will be keen to fire again!

Race Time: 5.22.43
Distance: 208km
Work: 4418kj
TSS: 350
Av Pwr: 228W
Norm Pwr: 271W
Av Speed 38.1km/h

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