For Team Cyclist Australia/NZ, the opening stage of Port to Port was one punctuated by punctures. Despite the sub-optimal start to the four-stage race around the Newcastle area, Thomas Treloar and Richie Tyler turned to the basics of stage racing to limit losses and focus on the fun of being out on course.
With a profile chronicling 1,160m of climbing over 48km, the opening day of this year’s Port to Port was bound to be more a test of fitness over finesse. With almost half of that delivered inside the first 15km the anxious wait at the start line quickly gave way to the sound of riders searching for as comfortable gear as possible for the slog up the hill.
A squirt of tyre sealant signalled the the first of a handful of unplanned stops approximately 10km into the stage. While forced to watch those you’ve passed return the favour, it’s important to put any frustration aside, and focus on the opportunity to hydrate, eat or take care of any other on-course admin. Besides, with regular exclamations of “are you guys okay?” filling the air, it was a grin-inducing reminder of just how brilliant your fellow cyclists can be.
Back aboard and onto the final stretch of fire road before the first of two relatively short single track sections, our limited preparation riding together was a welcome opportunity to find our flow through the curvy stuff. Unfortunately, another puncture broke the rhythm. Again: eat, drink, settle.
With half the stage yet to ride, and no more spares, lady luck finally held. Having spent so much time standing still, we resolved to use the largely downhill fire road run into the line, over the final 15km, to pick up a few places.
Grape vines signalled the finish was close. The sight of one of the top mens riders catching a lift on his teammate’s handlebars, his tyre-less bike trailing awkwardly alongside, was evidence we could be in worse shape at the end of stage one.
With a bit more technical riding at Killingworth on offer tomorrow, there will be plenty of time to get back to basics. Rest, refuel… and dig through our bags for a few more spare tubes.
Strava file: https://www.strava.com/activities/2389653899
Bidons/Litres consumed: 4 (2 each), 2.8 litres
Gels consumed: 2 (Richie’s trying to avoid gels until absolutely necessary)
Bars consumed: 4
Burgers consumed (post-stage): 2
Pies consumed: 0
Metres climbed: 1,160m officially, 1,237m corrected
Stage winners (Men)
- Tassie Devils (Ben Bradley and Alex Lack)
- Trek Shimano Team (Callum Carson and Matthew Dinham)
- The Ward Brothers (Kyle Ward and Jayden Ward)
Stage winners (Women)
- Sam N Kate (Kate McIlroy and Samara Sheppard)
- Specialized Shimano (Sarah Tucknott and Briony Mattocks)
- Trek Shimano Australia (Meghan Stanton and Zoe Cuthbert)
Solo stage winners (Men)
- Ben Mather
- Mitch Lozinski
- Scott Reynolds
Solo stage winners (Women)
- Cristy Henderson
- Kate Fluker
- Josie Wilcox
Full results here.