Stage 5 – 132km Salt Village

Stage 5 – 132km Salt Village

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Today’s stage was the finale of the battle on the border for the NRS men. It was a 10km straight run out to a circuit that we had already completed a few days earlier and with two laps around the circuit the riders knew were the wind was coming from and where to attack coming into the finish.

4km the red flag was in and the race was under way as we were away. The neutral zone for today’s stage was only short as we had to. And it out of the Salt Housing Estate and onto the main roads. Even tho it was neutral we were still doing 48 to 50km this wasn’t a bad thing as it made the peloton stretch and less riders jump on the brakes which is usually the worst part in a neutral zone.

20km the peloton was moving and there was no stopping the pace hadn’t slowed down from the neutral zone it had only gotten faster!!!!
I was struggling just to hold the wheel and all I could think about was making it over the climbs with the group because it makes it so much easier alone the flats and undulating hills as you get sucked along. I was feeling pretty good and there was a fair few guys that were looking pretty cooked from the past few days of racing so I tried to move up the side of the peloton.
40km I had made it over the larger of the climbs in the front group and I was feeling good and sitting comfortably. As we started to descend down the other side I went to change up into my big chain ring and it over shifter throwing the chain off so I pedaled softly and shifted down hoping that the chain would go over the big ring and onto the small but all this done was jammed the chain in between the frame and crank set. I couldn’t free the chain so I had to stop get off my bike and the use my hands to pull the chain out and put it back on.

55km the last 15km were spend chasing trying to get back to the tail of the team convoy and then move back up but as the convoy was sped out because of dropped riders it made it hard to judge how far away the peloton was in front. I caught a few dropped riders and Team mate Sam Layzell had eased up and waited for me and then we all started to work together knowing that if we dig deep and get back on it is much easier sitting in the bunch then riding the rest of the way to the finish by yourself.

70km The pace was on and I was fining myself struggling to hold the wheel in front over some undulating terrain and so were other riders then all of a sudden two riders sat up and a group of about 30 riders were separated from the peloton and left dangling of the back having to scramble to try and get back on.
90km the chase continued with riders all by themselves trying to get any help that they could but it was starting to take a toll and the convoy was out of site and the race had moved on. We you have been dropped and are in the middle of know where you try to pair up with any riders you can see. This forms a mini peloton and makes it a much easier ride home.

100km Myself and a NSWIS rider had paired up and caught another rider so we all started to roll turns and get the speed back up so that he didn’t finish a long way behind. About 10km later we noticed two riders just behind us so we eased and let the get back on all of a sudden we were moving again as everyone done what they could but not too fast as in dropping anyone. We all rolled turns until the later kilometers where two riders sat on the front and picked up the pace along the main roads into the finish.

Now I have finished the tour I believe that it has given me some good leg speed for the upcoming Port to Port MTB stage race in two weeks’ time. I am going home now to rest up and I write this blog entry on my phone as I’m sitting on the plane. It amazing how in less than 24 hours I can go from racing a NRS tour near the Gold Coast back to working at my local bike shop in Lake Macquarie.  I would just like to say a quick Thank You to all the sponsors of the team and all who support me as well as Jim our Masseuse.

Paradice Investment Management

Oliver’s Real Food

Focus Bikes

Hunter Valley Orthodontics

Golder Associates

Honeysuckle Dental

Creer Property

Two Wheel Industries

HED Cycling

Scott Kerr Muscle Therapist

Retul Newcastle

 

Cheers
Chris Aitken

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