Round three of the Pedal Power Associations Sportif series took place on Sunday, seeing the largest turn out of riders to date. This probably had something to do with the confidence inspiring West Coast Express funride last weekend, which had a super flat course and no wind that normally makes the race very tough. That confidence may have been tested this Sunday with the route having a proper climb and crosswinds.
The boys met up at Windmeul wine farm and were greeted by a much warmer than morning than the first Sportif. There were very few sightings of arm warmers or leg warmers. While we watched the Vida e Café league riders go off, we completed our final bit of warm up and our base layer excuses were laid down.
The race officials grouped A to C seedings together which created a peleton of around 60 riders. We were set off just after the solo tandem in the tandem “group” start ahead of us. The group hustled off towards Wellington at an easy leg warmer pace on the downhill run towards the four way stop. The only action was someone jumping onto the back of the Think Bike Marshall and doing a little motor pacing.
In true fun rider fashion that break away was not allowed any breathing room in case he took a Strava segment without the rest of us. The group was back together until about 15km in when Will “I don’t train” Robinson went on the attack with Lloyd off the front, for further 15km. This meant Savage could do what we do best, sit around eating bars and bananas. This was much to the dismay of “Cannonball” Klyde that tried to reel the break in, twice.
Will was caught just before the turn off at Hermon, with the climb of the day looming the pace remained high. As we reached the climb Savage went to the front of the group so that Cannonball could take his last selfie with the group, after that the fireworks went off.
This is when the peloton splintered into four groups on the climb with a Star Team rider going over the top Solo. Four of the Savages made it into the breakaway bunch with Klyde and Stephen in the second chasing group. Brendon found out what it was like to be Chris Froome in the third week of a Grand Tour being shepherded. Although Brendon was grateful that Will paced him up the climb and back to the rest of the breakaway, Will did not have to do it in his big blade!
Over the top the breakaway got organised and set a Strava top 10 time chasing the lone rider off the front. Once the Star Team rider was caught, this just issued in the next round of attacks in the cross winds, with Kevin and Will this time going clear in a break away. This did not last too long as when they made the left turn back to Wellington they realised the block headwind was not going to help their cause and they sat up and waited for the front bunch.
The group worked very well together and began to swell from the 15 A riders that broke away on the climb to around 30 riders as the dropped league riders were swept up. One or two small breakaways found themselves off the front over the rollers, but with the nagging headwind there was no chance they were going to stay away.
The final drag to the line saw Savage come to the front again to keep the tempo and with the final push for the line saw the boys finish within the top 15. Well done on Rinaldo for the win and the youngster Hennie for taking second place. (Yes we stalked them on Racetec) Interesting to note, that on the same course as Sportif #1, we were 1 minute slower than last time, we reckon this was mainly due
to the block headwind coming home.
This was another great event held by PPA that allowed us to do some racing in a safer environment, unless you were in the elite bunch. Massive thanks to the Think Bike Marshals that were constantly behind us. We were really happy to see the Sportif have its largest number of entries to date, we chatted to our Pure Savage compact team and they also had a great bunch to ride with in H-K group!
The next cycle sportif will be on the 4 October 2017 and will be the same route as Sportif number 2, mixing it up a little. Hammer