Editor's note:  Sorry for the late publication of this - great read nonetheless.  We really want to get more reports and stories on the website - so please tell us what you've been up to.  (Adrian McKenzie)

Well, yesterday I hit the National Road Cycling Champs. It was held in the Wairarapa in very windy conditions that were certain to have a big impact on the results. Luckily for me I am a pretty big fellow, so not too likely to get blown off the road (or so I thought at the time).

The race blew up almost immediately, attacking hard out with the cross tailwind pushing the speeds up into the high 40's. I love that kind of riding though, so I held my ground up towards the front of the race, watching for any attacks from the race favourite. After about 30km of that kind of carry on the field was down to about 30 riders, and we started hitting up the hilly part of the course. No one was too keen to attack into the big headwind up a hill at that point though, so although the pace was hot, it wasn't unbearable by any means. At this point, I was feeling really good and the pace wasn't too trying, so I decided to have a look around the peloton to check out who was still there. Unfortunately for me, this was the moment the decisive break went up the road, with six strong guys smashing it off the front. I saw this pretty much straight away, but I was about 15 riders back at this stage, so by the time I got to the front, they had a pretty decent lead. Bugger. Still, no point in crying about it, so I attacked as hard as I could to try and bridge over the gap, taking a couple of Canterbury guys with me. We slaved it out as hard as we could, we got to within 3 seconds of the front group, but we just could not get across that gap. Then there were 6 guys at the front, 4 of us chasing, and behind us a group of about 20, the remainder of the race spread back over the course. In the end, we decided we couldn't catch them by ourselves and to try and organise a decent chase group from the bunch behind, so we eased back into the peloton and tried to get everyone to chase.

Good plan, but every time we managed to get a pursuit line going, some teammates of the guys up front would block the turnover, or slow everything down...there was some pretty strong banter going down but everyone stuck to their guns and so it broke down into a series of attacks and catches, which tends to lower the average speed and let the front group ease away further. Not that it was easy up front though, two of the original breakaway got dropped and fell back to our group.

So, we were in a group that was going to end up sprinting for 5th place, oh well, such is the situation. So I got myself into the front echelon, no mean feat in itself, and we were back with a really strong cross tailwind again, when a massive gust of wind took me off the side of the road at 45km/h. There I was slaloming along in the gravel thinking to myself, this could end badly. So I used some mountain bike skills to pop back up on to the tarmac, and then, it was time for the sprint. Straight into a block headwind, everyone trying to keep out of the wind tunnel I fought my way back into the front echelon, hit the wind too early, attacked again with 50 to go...finished in 5th for the sprint, anonymous 11th place overall. Oh well, only 100th of second out of the top ten in New Zealand in my age group. Not too shabby

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