Dewhurst blogs on the BDO Auck to Wellington cycle race - day 2
Two days done and five to go for Broadcaster and Commentator Andrew Dewhurst at the BDO wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge for 2015, and it has been a mixed bag for yours truly but I have loved every minute of it……well okay, maybe the climb up Paihiatua Track today was not that much fun!
Sunday morning saw the weather dawn cold and damp, the only good news was the southerly that helped us a little on the road to and up the Rimutaka’s. I safely negotiated the climb and then donned another jacket (sneakily hidden in one of the event trucks) at the top of the hill so I could at least keep a little warm on the ride down. The stage finished at the summit but we ride into Featherston for lunch and with rain falling, the body temperature threatened to drop dramatically on the ride down.
Stage two was through the Wairarapa in a roundabout route via Martinborough to Masterton. I was defending (or trying to) the Michael Springford Memorial Trophy on this stage, awarded to the first group 3 rider over the line. Michael was a larger than life character, a bit of a ‘jack the lad’ and a genuinely nice guy who sadly died of a heart attack on this stage in 2013, I met him that tour and in the brief chance I had, realized he was one of the good bastards.
I was very proud to have won this stage in 2014 and thought I might give it another crack, I did – that is until I did actually ‘crack’. I went off with the leaders in group 3 on the 66km stage but after averaging close to 35kph, I popped at the 45k mark and had to watch the leaders ride away. Bruce Carswell went on to win the stage and he too was incredibly proud to receive the trophy at prize giving that night, while I went off to nurse my sore legs with a dip in the ice cold outdoor pool at the Solway before a good night’s sleep – albeit bedtime was delayed by the incredible double overtime Breakers win in Perth – I was glued to the TV throughout!
Day two saw the 200 riders head from Masterton to Palmerston North, via Paihiatua. I took it easy on the morning stage, enjoying a great ride with the likes of Bruce (he too was in ‘recovery’ mode), Jan Litt, Loek (from Whangarei), John Alston (70 years old), and a few others, we worked well together and had a blast. Also with us was Noel McKay, closer to 70 than 60, Noel is an incredible story. Friday and Saturday he was at the Coast to Coast two dayer, unfortunately he tipped out of the kayak and was airlifted to hospital with hypothermia. He left hospital, flew to Wellington Sunday moring and was driven to the end of the neutralized zone (start of stage one proper) where he phoned in his departure time and headed off up the Rimutaka’s, so he could be given a manual time, he had a quick lunch and then joined the rest of us for stage two. What a character he is, a great Kiwi story and a great competitor on the BDO Wellington to Auckland, typical of the great stories lying behind the lycra on this great event.
In the afternoon I thought I would have a crack over Paihiatua Track, a short stage to Palmerston North but over the big climb (approx. 4k), I managed to stay with the leaders but was dropped haflway up the climb, recovered to catch a couple of them but then faded on the final climb into Palmy, to finish around 5th in the group.
But the sun is now shining, the stories are wonderful, the company is amazing and the organisers just superb for the atmosphere that they create and allow to grow amongst the participants. Stephen Cox is ‘mr grumpy’, barking the instructions at the start and end of each day, but someone has to do it to keep us all safe and remind us of our responsibilities, and he is a legend, we can all learn plenty from him. Meanwhile Ana and Nathan have a truly amazing team of volunteers and helpers, from the motorbike riders to the vehicle drivers, truck drivers, and general helpers, a true slice of all that is good in this country.
Tomorrow we are off to Wanganui, some rolling roads and a couple of big hills via Hunterville. I hope to keep the Avanti rolling smoothly towards the finish line on Saturday.
Andrew Dewhurst is riding in the BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge, leaving Wellington on Sunday Feb 15 and finishing at Pukekohe on Saturday Feb 21st. Follow his journey here and support his fundraising for MS New Zealand by CLICKING HERE
Follow Andrew’s fortunes with us here at Sportzhub and find out more on the BDO Challenge at www.dynamoevents.co.nz
This article is by Andrew Dewhurst, who's well known in the sporting industry as a media manager for national sporting organisations and also TV commentary for soccer to tennis.