Road to Redemption

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Hi Team!

Only a couple weeks until I head back to China in search of some redemption. I’ve been there 2 times so far this year and haven’t finished a race. Next up is the Tour of China 1&2 both UCI events. Then it’s back to Melbourne to get ready for the Tour of Southland and the Tour of Rwanda. I’ve got some big goals for the back half of this year but mainly I just want to race!

 

In case you missed it here is my crash at Qinghai Lake and a quick video of me trying to do push ups along with some crowd funding for the team.

 

Cheers,

Morgz!!

 

 

 

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Hub Tour 2016

Just wanted to have a bit of racing in my legs before NZ Cycle Classic so the Hub Tour was the perfect opportunity being on the way to the Wairarapa.

I was happy with the Time Trial and knew I was going well so to end up second was awesome. Regan Gough, who finished first, pulled out and I was awarded Yellow. I didn’t wear it in Stage 1 as I didn’t think I had earned it but I defended well in the stage anyway.

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In yellow for the team.

Stage 2 was another story.  Made a few tactical errors and got a little frustrated with NZ racing which had me chasing most of the breaks when I really wanted to hold back a little.   I could have been a little smarter about it but at the time I made decisions on what was in front of me.  I really wanted to chase with others as people headed up the road but they were happy to let me do the work so when big hits went up the road later in the stage I had nothing left.  When I realised they had made the decisive break I decided to let it go and come back at them on the final day.   Lost 2 minutes.

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Stage 2 in Yellow.  Photo Credit: Ramblers Cycling Club

Day 3 and stage 3 I just waited in the pack and decided to let Fraser do work while Andy was up the road.   On the 3rd lap Fraser, Callum and I went up to leaders. Callum then went for the points, I attacked with him and we ended up riding away together.  With 10km to go we had 2 minutes but at the line we only had 1min15 which wasn’t enough on the day.  I was really there for the stage as Callum was ahead on GC and I managed to get the win on the day.

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Taking the win stage 3.  Photo Credt: Bob’s Bikes, Hamilton

Really wanted it to be a small hit out but got a bit excited at times.  Also now very happy to know my legs are back!  This was my first stage win of my career and first time in Yellow, I would say it was a pretty good week for me.

Exciting African Times

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Since signing with my new team this proverb has stuck in my mind.

I am really excited to be part of a new team that will be travelling afar as Asia and Africa.  I may only be part of the team that heads to Asia but really excited to have the opportunity to race that style of racing.

I’m looking forward to hanging with my team mates and our Kenyan members to see a different cultural aspect and the racing style adopted in different countries. As well as  hopefully pass on the knowledge of our style.

The new African Continental team Kenyan Riders Downunder (KRD) is the amalgamation of Kenyan Riders and Pro Team Downunder. The 2016 team consists of 6 Kenyans, 4 Australians, & 3 New Zealander riders.

KRD have carefully selected talented, up-and-coming and motivated riders who all want an opportunity to prove themselves against the best in the world. “We have provided a race schedule which will ultimately develop and challenge the team throughout 2016 by providing a range of international racing opportunities focusing on UCI tours in Oceania, Asia and North America. “ Stewart Crowley, Team Manager.

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Tuesday morning I flew back into Melbourne and was lucky enough to meet four of my Kenyan teammates as well as Nick one of the men behind the ‘vision’ of KRD. My first impression was how polite they are and their willingness to help.

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No rest for the wicked though with the Cadel Road Race on Sunday and with 9 world tour teams taking the start line, excited is an understatement.

From there its straight into Herald Sun tour which starts on Wednesday night. Sun Tour is the one I’m really looking forward to starting in. Hearing stories from some of the guys I train with, its a tour I really want to do.  This year with 3 world tour teams doing it its a chance for us to shine on a world stage.  Put our ‘noses out front’.

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Keep an eye out for our team kit courtesy of Ventou Custom Cycling Wear

Thanks everyone for the continued support and I look forward to seeing you all out there on the road!

Nationals a good gauge

Napier hosted the Cycling New Zealand Elite Road Nationals this year and what a test it was.

I flew in from Melbourne on Monday with just enough time to be fitted by the Master – Jeff Webb of Avantiplus Waitakere on my borrowed TT bike (thank you – Michael) and after a 7 hour drive spread over Wednesday Thursday there was enough time for a small reccy of the TT course Friday race day.  It was great to catch up with an old team mate Daniel Molyneaux who managed to helped me out on Friday.

Also really good to catch up with my old mate Jim Denton who started riding at the same time as me 4-5 years ago and we both raced the Taupo – Rotorua Flyer as our first race.  Great to see him bright and chirpy after facing some adversity in the past couple of years.  Inspiring bloke!

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Jim & Me

The TT on Friday was a challenging 40km with 2 descent climbs and a couple of kickers around the back.  Average race for me for a few reasons but gail force winds didn’t help.  I changed my wheel choice a couple of times with the final choice of an 808 on front which was a bad move.

Tried to pace myself and caught first guy just after first climb which was great and I felt like I was in a good rythm.  The last climb of lap of the first lap I could see a second rider in front but now it was into a block headwind.  I managed to catch that rider on the second lap but was then passed by a flying Tom Scully which meant I had already lost 2 minutes o him. (He did hold the fastest time until the last 2 riders of the day).  Tried to keep him in sight then dropped chain on last climb.  No excuse as I was already down by too much at that stage.   Overall I felt good but just wasn’t feeling as efficient as normal and struggled with big dish up the front having to ‘catch the wheel’ a couple of times.

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TT on borrowed bike.  Credit: Wheelworks Racing

A day R&R followed including a ride on the road course to see what hills were involved and get my head around it.

Sunday, race day, we woke to howling winds and sun, it was going to be a tough day in the saddle.

Break was the place to be on the day but I didn’t want to spend too much energy until the end of the race and as there weren’t many teams it just turned into a race of attrition.  When the break formed no one would really chase it so you had to make your own way across or stay in the bunch.   Coming back into town the cross winds split the field and I was with the main bunch of 20 which was falling back off.

The town section has us doing laps of Napier to finish off the race and Hospital hill was a steep kicker with a good crowd which we had to negotiate more times than I enjoyed.  This is where the bunch split into 2 and I managed to get back on after the hill before the head wind section, block head wind.   Followed a couple of the big hitters through next section but wasn’t keen on taking a turn with a team mate up the road.  Next time up the hill the bunch split again and again managed to get back on but the next time up it really split as they were trying to hit it every time.   There was no getting back on again so I ended up riding a couple of laps by myself enjoying the atmosphere and amazing crowds before being pulled out with the rest so I spent the rest of the afternoon watching my new team mate ride like a boss.

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Hurting on the hill. #sockgameisstrong Credit:  Gillian Krzanich

A big bonus for me was seeing my new team mate Jason Christie (read his race report) taking the overall win for the day with a lone break 30k from the end.  It is going to be a real privilege riding in the team of the silver fern this year.

Jason Christie win

Credit: Alphapix/John Cowpland

Europe, Injury, Future!

So! What happened in Europe? What am I up to? What’s next?

Well let me fill you in!

Europe started off on the wrong foot with me snapping my bike into pieces on the 1st Stage of the Tour of Ulster in Belfast. Unlike my crash 4 weeks prior in Adelaide I couldn’t do much about this one as I was taken out from behind. I came out of the crash with just bruising and swelling to my lower legs from being run over but my bike was worse for wear.

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Snap!

That stage got abandoned and I was able to complete the rest of the tour on a borrowed bike. I jumped on another borrowed bike until the backup arrived and brought over a slick looking 2014 team issue Trek Madone. I tested it out with the rest of the team at the Shay Elliot Memorial cruising in for 16th after three of my teammates were in the break, Jesus finishing 7th!

The time had come for the UCI 2.2 An Post Ras and I felt like I had okay form but I lacked legs early in the first 2 stages losing time. Heading into stage 3 I was sitting 27th GC over 6 minutes down. The chance came to jump across to the move of the day around the 60km mark and I took it. The day planned out well, I didn’t have the best legs but I rode the smartest stage of my life, I thought. I saved energy where I could and coming into the last 30kms with the peloton beginning to chase I dropped back to the car to talk with Frank. The 6 of us in the break started working well together like we had most of the day. I saw who was strongest on the long roads into a headwind and with 45-50sec at the 10km to go mark it was looking unlikely that the bunch would let us survive. We were down to 5 men and I covered the Team 3M rider. He attacked and so did I straight over the top of him inside the last 4kms.  For a minute they all looked at each other and gave me a bit of space, but it didn’t last and they came across to me and at the 3km mark the peloton had arrived and it was over. I rolled in on the back of the bunch dreaming of what could of been but I wouldn’t say I was disappointed as I rode smart and left it out there. Of course I had ‘what ifs’ that night but it was over, time for the next stage.

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Subaru once again looking after us in another country.

The next two stages hurt. Mentally more than anything. I didn’t put myself in the best position and paid the price getting caught out in the crosswinds both days. I wasn’t riding how I wanted. Both legs were attached, but they weren’t working how I was telling them to!

The last two stages were chalk and cheese from the previous two. Finishing in the pack, something I came a long way not to do. I was on the up and my legs were feeling better on the bike day by day although a little tight in places, on to Belgium it was.

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After a day of travelling Daniel and I arrived at ‘The Farm’. A well known home stay for cyclists owned by Staf Boone. The home of Kingsnorth International Wheelers a cycling team with a prestigious pedigree I later found out.

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The stairs of death at ‘The Farm’

I was excited for our first race coming off the Ras, sadly it wasn’t what I had hoped for having to pull out half way through thanks to a swollen lower leg. Also making the trip from the Ras to Belgium was the NZ track team. In good kiwi spirit they helped me out and made their resources available to me. Rest was on the cards for several days to try get through the problem but stepping out again the result was the same.

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Catching up with Mudgway at the NZ headquarters in Belguim, was cool to see Agostino’s bike up on the wall.

I was lame! Not happy. I rested a week trying to get one last race in to no avail. While this was happening Daniel crashed out snapping his bike, while Darcy was flying!

Belgium was everything they say; windy, narrow roads, full gas. If you’re not in the break your nowhere, simple as that.

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Another kiwi, Cory Cannings!

I arrived home and after sleeping for a day I was straight into the Dr and then on for an ultrasound. The news wasn’t good, an inflamed plantaris saw me on the sidelines for 5 weeks.

Frustration was an understatement! I wanted to ride. Wind, rain, cold I didn’t care I just wanted to be on my bike getting ready for the next assault. Reflection just made me realise two things. One, it confirmed where I want to go with my cycling career. And two, I had unfinished business! The news was also bad on the Australian front. With races being cancelled the calendar has thinned out.

In my break I have turned to other ways to drive my motivation along and get ready for the second half of the season. One thing is for sure I’ll be on the hunt for more racing to get me up to speed for the big goals I have highlighted.

Massive thanks goes out to my team Subaru Albion and our sponsors for giving me my first taste of European racing as well my personal supporters who without I don’t think I would be in this position.

Stay tuned!

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Nice to be the profile shot!

Great shot from stage 7 of the bunch behind! Twitter profile for An Post Ras 2015