Yesterday marked the second day of ALLTRACK in Auckland, and the first official competition, the Asylum Criterium. A three-lap, 13km circuit around the Unitec. Here's a bit of a writeup about the event...
Ivan Mennim, Jeff Whiteford, Mike Lawrence and Justin Sweeny were the head officials for the day, along with a few other volunteers. The field of roughly 40 riders was comprised of all types of cyclist, from people who'd been riding bikes all their lives (Tim White, Nick McLaren) to others who'd only recently picked up a two-wheeler after years of not owning one, to top level roadies on slapped together fixed gears and everything in between. The main similarity between 90% of the riders was their dress, either full length or cut off jeans (with only a handful of exceptions), and a pair of Vans Eras, or similar low profile shoes (again, only a handful of exceptions).
The first lap around the course was a look-see at where to go; let your concentration lapse on this lap and you'd get lost after the race got rolling the following lap. The first lap was a good opportunity for people to catch up, talk some smack about how fit or unfit they were, compare bike bits and discuss the benefits of having wide bars (as per Mike Davies and Tim White). Coming around the end of lap one the pace went up and the race was on.
The first race lap and a half the field stayed pretty tight, with the lead swapping out between a couple of riders and people getting sketchy, elbow to elbow, no brakes and around some tight corners, before Chris Masic took the lead for good.
Chris Masic (Google him) basically lead the race from mid way onwards, keeping a good 15 second or greater lead on the followers for most of the race. Chris is an animal and ground what was probably the biggest gear in the field up the hills, and what he lacked in skidding / slowing down skills and bike control he more than made up for in sheer strength and stamina. Chris took the win over fellow roadie (whose name I can't find anywhere right now) and myself rounding out the top three. And as a side note Chris was the only rider in boardshorts, and one of a few clipped in, maybe that combo was his secret? Hmmm.
Hot favourite and winner of last year's overall 'Alltrack' event, Ken White went down with a bit of pedal strike just over a lap in, then got a flat tyre, taking him out of the running, but he wasn't giving up that easily. Ken grabbed a mate's bike but with road shoes on and the bike having toe clips / cages and a seat set for someone much taller than him, he had to cruise on home, hopes and dreams in tatters!
Teva the Tahitian fixed gear champion was the most ecstatic finisher, just scraping into the top ten, and being fully pumped about it!
All up a super fun event, everyone had a blast, and even guys who came in a way back in the field did so with a huge smile on their faces, albeit a sweaty red face.
A special thanks has to go out to the Steady Rollin' guys for organising the whole deal and putting in some prizes, Vans for fronting up with more prizes that people were happy to win (for 3rd I got a New-Era cap, pair of shoes and a couple of tees!), and RedBull for rolling out the Hummer and icy-cold goodness.