Howdy all

We had perfect conditions for a great night of events at Southwards on Tuesday night. 

It was fantastic to see a number of the Windy Wheels kids come out to ride.  We had 4 of them (plus Peter Abels - one of the Dads) enjoying the early event - and loving the course.   Sadly, there was a brush with the hedge and a couple of them went down partway through the event.  It seemed to be just a matter of scrapes and bruises and nothing more but it was unfortunate as they were all in a bunch and pushing each other well.   Millie Donald and Raphy Shiff-Abels managed to avoid the hold up - and pushed on with Millie taking a nice win.  But well done also to Notey Shiff-Abels and Martin Witta.   You are all very welcome to come and try again next week.

It was great to see better numbers this week so we were able to split out the D and C grade into 2 separate events.

Millie and Peter decided they hadn't had enough so they both then jumped on the start line of the D grade as well (this was a theme for the night with a number doing this - and thriving).   A huge welcome must go out to Elaine Sunnex and Luke Anderson who were both in their first event.   Elaine was at a number of the Peka Peka rides that we didn't manage to turn into proper events earlier in the season - so this was her first event.  And Luke said he's come from a running background and wanted to try it out.  Well done to both of you.   The first one is always the hardest - but I hope you both enjoyed it.   It was fantastic to see the finish being a battle between youth and experience with youth winning out and Millie Donald doing the double to take the D grade win from a gracious Doug Barrett.   John Rowlinson took a comfortable 3rd  with Luke 4th, from Howard Duff, Peter Abels, and Elaine.   Well done all.

John Rowlinson took a leaf out of Millie's book and decided to try his luck with the C grade as well.   Welcome in this event goes to Ryan Tate and Tom Gibbs who are both from the group of young men that Glynis and I have been coaching in skills and bunch riding - and who are going to be taking on the Coast to Coast in February.  It was quite an even-paced event with a few digs up the hill and a small attack from Billy Gibbs partway through (Billy looked strong and was on or near the front for most of the night).  Other than that it was a reasonably steady pace throughout.  Perhaps as the fitness and experience grow, there might be some attacks that will change the nature of the event entirely.   With (as it turned out) 3 laps to go - Ryan put in a big attack up the hill and the rest of us couldn't live with his pace.   So for Ryan, it was then a matter of holding on for the 3 laps - which he did beautifully to take a fantastic win in his first event.   The rest of us were all hiding from the wind for as long as possible.  I got a good run down the hill on the last lap, and managed to hold the pace over the top and get enough of a lead to hold on for a rare finish ahead of Greg Cundy who would normally eat me for breakfast in a sprint when he's fit :)...   John Pratt was 4th from Gill Donald, Glynis Te Maipi-Kemp, Billy Gibbs and John Rowlinson. Tom, unfortunately, had problems with his gears and had to pull out due to a mechanical.  You can show us what you can do next time Tom.   Well done all - fun event - in a great spirit.

And not to be outdone by Millie, Peter, or John, Ryan decided he'd like to try the next grade up to see how he'd go (it would seem there are some grading choices that are easily made :)).  Welcome in this event also to James De Hair who was another of the Wellington Windy Wheels riders.  We didn't quite have the numbers to split the group into a separate A and B event.  So it was a combined A/B grade event.   Much like the previous script - Mike Proudfoot and Katie cleared off by themselves after 5 mins or so.   They didn't have the legs - or perhaps the inclination - to lap the field (they weren't far from it though), so it came down to a sprint finish between the two of them.  There was a bit of jockeying for position going in the last couple of laps.  Katie timed it well and took a nice sprint from Mike.   That left a bunch sprint in the group behind (that had stayed together for the whole event).   The two young guys James and Ryan (it seems he could go pretty well in the A/B grade as well!) sprinted it out for 3rd with James looking like he had it but clipped a pedal and his back wheel jumped and punctured....   Nice work to hold on to that James - great handling.  That meant Ryan snuck past for 3rd as did a fast finishing Lee Pownall who also squeaked past James who took 5th.  Gary Clareburt, Leon Goodwin and Dwight Garton rounded out the finishers.   (Tony Levaggi was also in the event but pulled out early having put in a hard effort).

Huge thanks to Doug Barrett who helped me setting up and taking down the course.  This event is an easy one to do - but we still started at 4:30 and weren't finished till after dark.  So we are all in your debt Doug.  

And Chapeau ("hats off") to a few people this week...   To Peter Abels who brought his kids out from Wellington and also ended up riding in 2 events - what a great Dad!  And to the other parents - Martin's Mum, James' Dad, and Billy and Tom's Dad Pete Gibbs who is organising the Coast to Coast kids and is bringing them out to sessions.  Legends all of you!   And in the same category - but also got ropped in to help running the event - to Mark Donald who timed the final few events freeing me up to ride... Big thanks Mark.

Before I go and while I've still got you all, we're starting a new group in February - which is a development type group aimed at people who are either getting back into it - or wanting to take their riding to the next level.  We've had a great response with quite a few people signing up already - which is fantastic.  But please share amoungst people you think might find it beneficial, and join in if it fits with what you are doing (it's free for members).   You can find out more about it HERE and HERE.  

That's it.

See you all next week.