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PCM.daily » PCM Stories & Story Games » PCM 15: Stories
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The Life and Times | Axel's Army
jandal7
@Croatia - Gonna be a hard task to complete Wink But as you say Joseph is putting in the hard yards and always improving. Maybe we'll see some effects riding against Hayden over summer and then back into higher levels in 2014 to see where he's at Smile
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
S6/E32
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Dip

"After a month in the country I was still winless."

The first race of November was on the Open Manawatus course. I like it - hilly but not too hilly. Unfortunately for me Hayden loves it and I'd never beaten him there (well, maybe once). We both needed an out from the ongoing radio silence from Avanti - me quite publicly but he had it bottled up. I really wanted a win, he wanted it too. I wasn't favoured but I had a plan.

Now I know I sound really negative - like I thought I'd never beat Hayden. Truth is I wasn't that negative: I could and had beat him before, from groups and one-on-one duels, in hills and flats. A surprising amount in TTs. But right now he was on top of his game preparing for the summer season and racing with Avanti. I'd had a dip in form after my great end to the season and was just getting back into the groove of things. However if you're a long-time reader of my story then you know how my work pays off.

So in that race I attacked a lot. Just before the crest of any hill, big or small, catching many older guys out who thought they'd done enough. Hayden and I had a huge weight advantage over a lot of them and cared a lot less about safety than most of them. There were other young guys too but most of them weren't on our level or weren't regulars. Today Joe Greggs and Jak Hastings were our main young competitors. I'd had some great wins and hard-to-take losses from both of them, but I knew on my day I could beat them, especially as I kept focusing full-time on cycling. So they followed some of my moves and I was always brought back, whilst Hayden played it patiently and didn't respond or even chase. I knew I wasn't tiring him out - though the group was getting smaller. There were 7 left with just one short ascent to go before going back around to the uphill finish, which Hayden would win if I wasn't there.

I attacked this hill hard from the bottom and had a small gap to Greggs, Hayden and another guy over the top. I took the downhill fast and still had the gap of a few seconds with a kilometre to go. I swung around to the final corners of the uphill sprint and opened up, starting to go full gas. However, with 250m to go I heard someone come up behind me. It was Hayden. With a short stop at my wheel, he accelerated again. I tried to follow but my legs just gave out. I managed to hold off the other two for second but I couldn't match Hayden. Not today.

The rest of November passed by without too much racing actually. I had a fourth and a fifth over the next three weeks, one in a sprint, one where I initiated a move but couldn't follow the counters and ended up in no man's land. Hayden won the latter, and was third in the former. December was here and my legs felt better after some more recuperation and training. My form was on the up but I was still winless. I promised myself a win before Christmas. I had two chances left in the series.
Edited by jandal7 on 20-12-2017 09:57
 
Aquarius97
Oh, it was so close to beat Hayden Sad Looking forward to those December races to finally see Joseph winning Grin
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix


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jandal7
@Aquarius - Yeah a good effort but not quite there Sad Hopefully you're right, he needs a win Grin
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
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jandal7
S6/E33
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Two Steps Forward

"I promised myself a win by Christmas."

I had two chances to fulfill my goal of a win by Christmas. The first was a rolling race out around not far from where I lived. There were a couple of decent hills earlier in the day but mostly they were quite steep and very short, constantly coming at you for sections of a few kilometres. Basically my talent for not needing brakes downhill on roads and then my status as the the lightest rider meant this was as good an opportunity as any.

Many riders dropped off over the hills earlier in the day and instead of attacking every one of the rolling sections hard I turned up the pressure on the heavier riders on the longer hills where their downhill momentum ran out but staying in my comfort zone. Hayden didn't mind this at all - a situation like this going into a sprint handed the win to him on a plate. But I had other ideas.

On the final section of undulations - the last 2km of the race. I attacked the first one quite hard. Only one triathlete, Greggs, Hayden and I made it. Greggs was in pain but trying not to show it and stop us making him handle it on his own by dropping it so tried to set pace, and the triathlete was yoyo-ing, dropping uphill, catching us on the short descents. On the third-to-last undulation Greggs cracked. On the second-to-last one, I made a big move, going 100% on the uphill. I dropped the triathlete and had a small gap to Hayden. Barely 250m to go I started the downhill as aerodynamically as possible. I maintained the gap over Hayden and went full out up the hill. I felt Hayden come up behind me and start to come around but unlike last race, today it was too little too late. I crossed the line ahead of him and took a win I was very proud of and finally was over the hump.

Yeah, I won the first opportunity. Life isn't always dramatic or poetic.

The second was a flatter course. I still wanted the win despite already getting it but to be honest I was lucky that I didn't need to get it. I finished 5th in the sprint, but I didn't have the legs to attack the more powerful guys.


On the 23rd of December I opened my emails to finally find some communication from Avanti.

Subject: RE: Contract
Message: Dear Joseph,
Unfortunately, there is no room for you or Hayden at Avanti this year. Whilst we would have loved to make you part of the team there was not enough room in the squad for either of you for 2014...

I'd read enough. Merry bloody Christmas.
Edited by jandal7 on 20-12-2017 09:57
 
Aquarius97
For the win! Banana Banana

Fuck you Avanti! Angry Angry Also got the feeling that there could be something interesting in the rest of the email that Joseph has missed by not reading it...Rolling Eyes
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix


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jandal7
@Aquarius - Was a good win Grin And yeah not good from Avanti, as for the rest of the email, you'll have to wait and see Pfft

S6/I
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Interlude

"Merry bloody Christmas."

It feels like yesterday when I opened that email and trudged off to find Hayden. In reality it was almost two years ago. I know I say this every time but there's still a long way to go, but also not too long until I've told you all you need to know (and also a load of stuff you didn't) about how I got to where I am now, on the cusp of joining the professional peloton.

On December the 23rd I was a bit angry, a bit disappointed but at least I had an offer on the table if I didn't find a CT contract. I was more worried about Hayden's future and how he'd react.

So as you may have guessed me teasing the Avanti contract as a big factor in my career path is true - just not in the way I'd hoped for it to be. So as 2014 held much of the same circumstances as 2013 I'm splitting season six into two sides - Side A, and Side B. Side A was entitled On the Mainland, but I think I'll hold onto the moniker of Side B for a while...

i.imgur.com/1UCk0Td.gif

Edited by jandal7 on 11-03-2019 23:35
 
jandal7
S6B/E1
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
One Step Backwards

"Merry bloody Christmas."

I was really pissed off about this. I stormed out of my room and went outside looking for Hayden. As I searched for him I was trying to figure out why Avanti would verbally agree to a contract then pull out on two young riders like that. They have a reputation for being decent to young riders so it was bitterly disappointing for them to screw us like that. However it was two days until Christmas and our chances, mine at least, were next to none to secure any kind of CT contract. I wasn't interested in a year in NZ - I knew Hayden regretted it and I didn't want to, especially after such a great year in Roanne which I had the opportunity to follow-up on. In the evening I planned on calling C4RC to confirm - I had committed before the Avanti news but now had them on hold.

Hayden was outside sitting on a fence with a half-drunk beer in hand.
'Bit early.' I remarked, raising my eyebrows.
'Screw that. I'm having a bad day, I don't care.' he said blithely.
'Greeeat attitude,' I said, 'You saw the email then?'
'No. What email?' he asked. What had happened to him to make him need to drink at 10am?
'Oh, erm... shi- wha?' I spluttered. 'Why are you drinking?'
'What email?'
'Avanti pulled out on us.'
'You have got to be joking.'
'Nope.'
'Bastards.'
'Yep.'
'Hope they rot in hell.'
'Greeeat attitude.' I paused. 'So why are you drinking?'
'I had a few - well, a lot - last night and had some deeply depressing thoughts about how Rose probably doesn't love me, Avanti probably doesn't want me - thank you for confirming - and how the world generally kinda sucks. Dreams didn't help, neither did waking up with a killer headache - not alcohol-related, I wasn't that drunk.' He shrugged.
'Yeah you've clearly got issues, I'm not going to touch that for a while.' I said cautiously. He had slumped down to the ground now and was sitting up against the fence.
'And now this - what am I going to do?' he shook his head.
'Oh come off it Hayden, you're way too tired and worried about not much. The Rose stuff, you can work through. Avanti, screw 'em. You're obviously talented enough to find a CT team in Oceania this year and a European amateur team two years ago, nevermind now. World's your oyster mate.'
'Yeah, Europe might be good. Is there any space at Roanne?' he chuckled.
'You joke, but if you're serious I could ask...'

Later that night I set up a Skype call between my manager and Hayden and by Christmas it was sealed. Finally together on the same team for 2014, I couldn't wait to get started and neither could Hayden. We'd also both be in the U23 grade so riding together there as well. And that tale will be told in Season 6, Side B: Double Trouble
 
Aquarius97
Nice to see Hayden joining you in Roanne for the next season, although i don't think moving to France will solve his problems with Rose :lol:

Also, i wonder if Lana will ever know that you were going to be riding for Avanti initially, instead of coming back to Roanne as you promised to her Pfft
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix


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Croatia14
Double Trouble Cool Now it's time to turn the disappointment around to show then Avanti f****** what they passed on.
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

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jandal7
@Aquarius - Yeah it should be fun. Well Rose was at a club not far from Roanne last year if you recall - maybe she'll be there again Wink Well you'll have to wait and see Pfft

@Croatia - Yeah it is Cool
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
@ALL - After over one and a half years of it sitting there and 6 months of occasionally doing stuff I've finally completed the Rewind post for anybody who wants to re-read any episodes or quick links to earlier seasons Pfft

S6B/E2
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Why Always Now?

"Time for the real holiday episode."

After another quiet but great Christmas it's time for the real holiday episode of this story - Boxing Day.

Morning cricket - great as usual, I didn't do so well though as Alex controversially got me out lbw after just two overs. Wasn't out. Whatever, I don't care. Just wasn't out.

Hayden still wasn't mentally feeling great and said he did want to talk a bit more about what he was dealing with back on the day Avanti didn't offer us a contract, so we planned to just go to the café for lunch. But before I left Rose pulled me aside.

'Hey Rose how are you doing?' I started.
'Yeah yeah great we just said hi to each other this morning,' she said hurriedly, 'do you like my necklace?'
'Can't say I'd noticed it... erm yeah that's really cool, what is it - greenstone?'
'Yeah it's very nice. It was a Christmas present. From Hayden.'
'Oh.'
'Yeah. It's really weird - is he going to ask me out again or something? Like some Love Actually type move? Jay. Jay! What is he planning?'
'I don't know I swear - I didn't know anything about this.'
'Okay I believe you.'
'Do you want him to?' I asked.
'No! I don't know - maybe?' Rose admitted.
'Well as usual you two make my life so straight-forward...'
'Oh grow up Jay-'
'Well what am I supposed to do? I'm not your messenger. If he asks you and you don't want him to say no. If he does and you do - yes. If he doesn't and you do - ask him.'
'Fat chance.' she scoffed.
'Okay so I'm picking up that you don't want to go out with him-'
'One day you'll understand things like this Jojo-'
'Excuse me I'm actually in a relationship-'


'Hayden what the hell was that necklace about bro?'
'She told you?'
'Well it was a pretty weird move.'
'Yeah I know I regret it already but - I do like her.'
'Are you going to pull some big romantic move here?'
'No. I want to ask her out but...'
'But what?'
'But I know you already know what she'll say. Will she say no?'
'I'm not going to tell you...'
'So she'll say yes!' Hayden laughed victoriously. 'You'd tell me if I was going to get shot down. Thanks Jay!'
'That's really flawed logic.'
'No it's not!'

And for another year running, with just an hour or two to go until the race, I was completely sick and exasperated with two of my potential allies. Too bad Mac wasn't coming again. Guess it's just me and Alex.


I was feeling pretty good during the early stages of the race over the smaller hills - keeping up where others couldn't. There were just a few more short sharp undulations and one bigger hill before the final climb. Two years ago I was already solo by now on my way to the win. Last year I was working with/for Hayden (McCormick) on his way to the win. This year there were still 8 or so riders left (no Alex) and heading for a similar conclusion to last year where two-three riders get away on the penultimate hill. However this year they'd be no Mac to hold off Hayden for the win. My brother had won on this course - or at least the final hill - plenty of times but never in a Boxing Day race. This was looking like his year after being quite easily the best in the hills so far in the open grade.

I stayed close on his wheel throughout the undulating roads, considering a sneaky attack before the penultimate climb but deciding against it. On the hill, Hayden was looking around a lot and seemed very jumpy. One notorious local KoM hunter decided to attack but he was eaten up and flushed out the backdoor very quickly. However by the top the seven of us were still all together. Hayden went to the front for the descent to neutralise it - nobody really complained about that one.

At the foot of the final climb, I was prepared for an imminent attack from Hayden but instead he kept pacing on the front. Was he trying to go for a sprint? Bluffing? Trying to use a big sustained effort to drop everyone? Well, he got a couple via the latter, intentionally or not. Five left. Rose, Hayden, a couple of older guys and I. One of the two older guys made an attack. I was quick to latch on, Hayden wasn't so fast on the draw but made it up to me, Rose behind him. Four left, two kilometres to go.

Hayden continued to set tempo, though not as fast as he was earlier as he started gripping the width of the bars - not really his style of "dancing on the pedals" as Phil may say. He was keeping his pain quiet though, an I think only I and maybe Rose picked up on it. However Rose had to let the group go just outside the last kilometre. Hayden continued to lead and the other guy was in pain now. 900m, 800m. I waited for my chance to strike.

With about 600m left I went for gold. The other guy was too tired to respond but Hayden tried and just about hung on, a few metres behind my wheel. I kept going as fast as I could whilst pacing myself. 400m, 300m as the road flattened out. I looked behind me. Hayden looked up at me and seemed very tired. Rose and the other guy were both way behind. 250m, I can do it! 200m and I started to ramp it up to hold off Hayden but I soon discovered I'd blow up if I sprinted. However, I saw from the corner of my eye Hayden was sprinting, coming up behind me.

Cheeky sod. He wasn't bluffing because he wanted to not seem tired, he was bluffing to Rose and I that he was tired. I tried to keep up but there was no use - he was gone, having gone under his max leading up the climb and somehow stored up the energy to completely blitz me at the end. He took the win and I was feeling pretty cheesed off as I crossed the line a fair few seconds behind him.
 
jandal7
@ALL - Unfortunately this hasn't been a very good year for this after a better 2016 - almost been in real-time given it's spanned less than a year in the story. I still do as always genuinely want to keep this going for a long way into their professional careers. It's been a very different couple of year's worth of story than I anticipated but I hope to have a lot of fun with Double Trouble - and hope you do as well Smile Pace will be upped, I definitely want to be writing the 2015 season - whatever happens then Wink - in the not too distant future and to catch up to "real time" where Joseph is writing from. Thanks to everyone who reads this, silently, actively, occasionally or often. You're great Grin

Woah that was kinda sappy. My apologies. This episode might be very bad. My apologies Pfft

S6B/E3
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Spark

"With two of you there, you'll need to pitch in.."

'Joseph! Get Hayden into here, now!' my Mum shouted at me from the door. I called my brother in from the neighboring paddock and shrugged when he asked me what the issue at hand was.
'Look I know we're pretty well off in terms of supporting you two with my parents helping out and the farm - but we're not super rich. You know that and obviously as young adults we trust you to be responsible around money. With Cycling NZ supporting your racing almost completely for a season each we could afford to help the other one reach amateur races and some national ones at your clubs. But two of you at Roanne - it could take a little more.' she explained to us. 'You don't need a lot but your father found a lot of young guys can fundraise a little bit of it and with you both going to the same races normally cause of your ages we thought you should set it up together.'
'Sure, how do we start?' I asked brightly.

To be honest maybe I'd taken it for granted slightly when it was just me at Roanne - I'd not had much spare money and had been trying to do things as cheap as possible so I could use the van to get to more races but Richie's wealthy background helped us out for the bigger races but I'd never had to not go to a race because I didn't have the money. With Hayden in Roanne too it made sense that we might be a little more strapped for cash and so even a few hundred euros would help.


We decided to head out for New Year's - Me, Hayden, Rose, Alex and some others. Just outside of, and maybe into, the town, down by the river. A popular spot for some but nevertheless a nice one to have a drink - a quieter time instead of the parties we may have gone to. I was a bit anxious - but privately quite looking forward to the entertainment - of seeing Hayden and Rose interact after the events of Boxing Day. They'd talked since but not in private - at least not to my knowledge. Neither had changed much in their ways but had both calmed slightly - Rose was still worrying and Hayden was still scheming or planning or fantasising or something, but they'd stopped doing it all over me, which was nice. Especially that last thing. Ew.

So we watched the sparks and fireworks, talked, drank, laughed and mucked around. Hayden and Rose went between what was their recent default of flirty back-and-forth and getting along fine, and some awkward moments. Alex asked me a couple of times how they hadn't got together yet. I told him I didn't know, and the second time not to make me puke. Eventually Hayden, Rose and I left to go home - getting picked up by Rose's cousin. Screw that long ass walk in the early hours.

We arrived at Rose's house and decided to sneak in (Rose's parents were starting to get a bit snappy with Hayden and I now) and sleep in the yellow room - where we'd usually stayed at hers since we were kids. A trundler bed and a couple of couches, whilst Rose decided she'd come as well. We hadn't done this for a long while and after an up and down year it felt oddly nice to do.
'What a year eh?' Hayden said to me when Rose had gone to get changed.
'Yeah it's been alright - another step closer to the peloton, right?' I asked him, a little unsurely.
'I guess so.' he smiled. 'Even if we were almost even closer.'
'Yup. But other stuff too, y'know?' I said, starting to grin. 'Alex'll be a Dad, Matty moving away... me being in a relationship, you not being in a relationship.' That earned me a punch on the arm. 'Anyway I gotta go take a leak.' I said, getting up and tiptoeing down the hallway. 'Nice pyjamas, Rose.' I smirked as I passed her. She stuck her tongue out at me and kicked my shin.

When I got back I happened to look around the corner through the doorway before walking in, just as Rose gently kissed Hayden. My eyes widened in shock but I tried to back away to let them have their moment. I turned around and tiptoed back towards the bathroom, but in my pretty tired frame of mind, a very loose floorboard was my undoing. A massive creak seemed to last a minute as a quickly heard the sound of Rose rushing away from Hayden in the yellow room. Ah crap.
 
jandal7
@ALL - A bit more awkward teenage drama, then back to the races Pfft

S6B/E4
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Coin

"Ah crap."

'You wouldn't have!'
'I'm telling you Joseph I fricken would've! It's your fault I didn't!'
'Chrissakes Hayden I was sleeping in the same room!'
'You could've slept somewhere else!'
'But to do that I'd have to have known you two were kissing, and have had to saw you, turn around and walk away, which I did!'
'Yeah but then you stepped on that floorboard, "accidentally", and made her jump about three foot away from me and barely look at me the rest of the night!'
'How is the floorboard relevant?'
'Because it's what made us stop you idiot!'
'Whatever, I'm glad you two stopped!'
'Oh so I don't even have your support now?'
'Right so now, after a fortnight of you two bouncing ideas and feelings off me, but then not listening to the response, now you care what I think?'
'Oh piss off Joseph, not everything's about you!'
'Well stop blaming me for it.'
'You're always just a stubborn git.'
'You're always an idiot.'


'Damn girl you're sending him some hella mixed signals!' I exclaimed. Rose raised her eyebrow at me, her face unmoving. 'Right I shouldn't ever speak like that again.' I said quickly, 'continue.'
'Well yeah I'm putting out "hella mixed signals" - only because I've got no idea why I did that, what it meant-'
'Rose - it meant that you obviously like him.' I said, stopping her worrying for a second.
(I'm not a professional advice columnist for a reason, I get it.)
'Well I know I do but I don't know what to feel, what I do feel, or why I did it.' she spluttered.
'Well, how did you feel right after I interrupted you two? After you jumped away.'
'I guess... I felt like I wished I could keep kissing him.' she said slowly.
'I think you know how you feel then.'
(Maybe I should be though - that's how I could raise some side money for Europe!)
'I dunno about that. I do feel like it was your fault though.' she smiled.
'It was not my fault!' I mock-whined.
'It so was Jay-Jay.'


2014 was here and as usual in NZ cycling the national champs were now closer than just around the corner: we'd rounded the corner and they were staring us in the face. This year was to be my first as an U23 and therefore I'd ride the same race as the likes of Roulston, Henderson, Bennett and Bauer. It was in the Manawatu this year as it had been and even passed my drive again, finishing in Wanganui. It had captured the young imagination of a young Hayden and I last time it visited and now we were riding ourselves. Despite the likes of Smith, Oram and Mac Hayden was one of the favourites for the U23 crown - Oram and Smith would be tough to beat though, each with a year of experience on Hayden. However even last year he'd outsprinted the former for a surprise win and so was definitely capable. I'd help him if need be but had a strong sense of what I wanted to do - attack!

To help out any local riders who were riding there was an exclusive Manawatu-riders-only race along a modified version of the course, organised as the last race before the champs after the holiday break. Hayden desperately wanted a win to take a bit of stress away from his personal worries and to prepare him for the champs. A decently hilly course with a possible sprint finish - pretty standard fare for the NZ champs and something for him to enjoy.

However, it wasn't he who'd take the victory in that preparation race.

I didn't want to use the same tactic I would for nationals but I did want to test my legs out over a long period of time, and try to win. So I decided to use the same tactic I would for nationals. It was roads I knew well and so I was confident about my abilities on the descents, and how to judge the hills. In the national peloton, it'd be a completely different ball game in terms of judging my capabilities - yet another reason to go solo.

During our race, I attacked with 25km to go. Nobody immediately followed as it seemed like a doomed move. And in a way, it was. I was caught 10km later by Hayden, Fafukai and another guy. There was one more shorter hill on the way into the city before the big downhill and flat finish. I tried to hang onto any potential Hayden move, but he looked oddly tired and so instead I decided to attack a few hundred metres from the top. I quickly got a gap, which Fafukai managed to bridge by the summit.

I took the downhill as hard as I could - though we didn't have a complete road closure so I had to be a bit careful. Luckily we took some quieter roads and so the risk was lower. We still had a decent gap for the finish. The road was flatter with 500m to go as I forced Fafukai onto the front. He tried hard to refuse it and even tapped the breaks. Big mistake. I saw his hand move a moment before he touched the breaks and I made an impulse decision to launch my sprint early. I wasn't going for top speed but with a quick acceleration I had a cool gap whilst he was still picking up speed. I controlled my effort well and Fafukai couldn't shut it in the few hundred metres before the end as I took the win.
 
jandal7
S6B/E5
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Nationals '14

"If you're a long-time reader of my story then you know how my work pays off." - S6A/E32, Dip

My excitement and nerves at the start of a race never leaves in two senses - I've got the butterflies deep down for almost the entirety of any race - and no matter how many times I race, those seconds before a race always bring that feeling in my stomach that i crave. But on the startline in Wanganui back then I had some unbelievable nerves. I couldn't wait to try and attack somewhere along the way - I'd have to do it earlier than in the prep race, though, as the favourites would probably be away by then. Maybe 30km? I didn't just want to be a part of the break. There were so many good riders here! How could I know I'd even be able to get away? How good was I going to be in the U23? I knew I had a good shot at being the best from '95 - but there was no prize for that.

The race was very fast - but I was handling it fine. I was feeling pretty good and though I still knew I wasn't going to be a top rider here I thought I could at elast make a fist of an attack. Richie was in the morning breakaway as he didn't think he was good enough at the punchier hills to compete with Hayden, Smith or Oram. Probably correct to be honest.

During the race, I was happy to stay mid-pack but stay attentive to splits. Hayden was usually nearby but was keeping an eye on Oram and Smith more than me. I was well prepared for my attack. With 34km to go, there was a slight lull in pace and I decided to go for it. Nobody followed and I was soon solo at the front of the race. I didn't look back for a while but when I did I was out of sight of the peloton. I knew if I did this right I could end up in the top 10 given the gaps this race usually sees, and decided to pace myself so I could ride like this to the end, and whoever passed me would pass me.

With 20km to go I wasn't really tiring and surprisingly hadn't been caught yet - I couldn't see anybody behind me over the medium-length straights. I wasn't expecting a result yet but it was nice to see. It was the same with around 15km to. 10km to go I still didn't see anybody! My legs were asking me to please god stop this though - I had been ramping it up a bit subconsciously as I dreamt of a result. Unfortunately, on the straights into the city, I could see a few riders in the distance, coming closer. 4km to go and we had the smaller final hill and the riders behind me were uncomfortably close. My legs were in so much pain from going solo over the hills dotting the parcours but I knew a win was now maybe possible if I held them off up the climb.

I was usually out of the saddle on climbs and this was no difference - I had learned to control my energies on climbs better than I could a few years ago and although they drew within 20-30 seconds of me I reached the top, nearly completely exhausted. My legs could rest a little bit on the descent but mentally it was going to be even tougher to find the right line and stay on it. I took each corner at full throttle and with the sharpest lines I could follow. I had a scare near the bottom as it flattened out but didn't lose too much speed.

I had about a kilometre of flat now and a slightly bigger gap than I did at the top. 900m, 800m, 700m. I counted them off as I kept going, pain throughout my body and a mix of sweat, dirt and non-emotianal tears across my face. Come on! Shut up legs!

With 500m there was a last corner. On my way around my eyes quickly darted to the group behind. I had a very small gap but none of them seemed to want to make the catch and sacrifice their chances. 400m, 300m. The gap was closing, only a few seconds now. I couldn't make it, I knew I couldn't. But I had to. Running on fumes and pushing through the pain with more adrenaline than I thought I'd ever felt. 100m, behind they were launching their sprint. I wasn't aero at all now, thrashing on the bike and eventually getting out of my saddle. 50m, 40m, 30m, still ahead and with enough of a gap surely! just a few more bike lengths to the line and Nobody was even in my peripheral vision. Just before the line I sat up and punched the air, shaking my head in disbelief. How the hell had I just managed to do that? I was the fricking New Zealand Champion!
 
Aquarius97
Dude, relax a bit! I can't read so much in that little time :lol: :lol: I understand that we are in awards nominations time, but most of the people have already sent their nominations in Pfft
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jandal7
Aquarius97 wrote:
Dude, relax a bit! I can't read so much in that little time :lol: :lol: I understand that we are in awards nominations time, but most of the people have already sent their nominations in Pfft

Only one per day, I go at this pace often when I have the time Pfft
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24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

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jandal7
S6B/E6
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Jetting Off

"My newfound status as New Zealand Champion earned me a spot in the New Zealand Cycle Classic."

'Hey Joseph how did you do I didn't see you?' Hayden asked, out of breath after finishing 8th, third in the U23 behind me and Mac.
'Well done on the win again kid. And sorry about the name!' the reporter I'd just spoken too called out. He waved as he walked away, but was evidently glad to get away from the race.
'You won?' Hayden grinned. I nodded and laughed in disbelief. He hugged me and it really sunk in. I was the champion of New Zealand. How on earth did this happen?


One of the perks of being the New Zealand Champion is I was offered a spot straight into the Cycling NZ team for our only UCI Tour race, the New Zealand Cycle Classic. It featured some of the best riders from Oceania and had been won in the past by riders such as Robbie McEwen, Matthew Lloyd, Hayden Roulston and George Bennett. As such I had no expectations for myself other than to promise to get into a breakaway. It would be a tough race, no doubt. The race wasn't far from home, in Palmy, and began with a prologue. I decided to give it my best shot because why the hell not. Mac did well for himself (not on our team) to finish fourth - for us I managed 23rd and Hayden was 34th. Not a bad start at all.

The second stage featured a few climbs but was generally pretty flat. I took the day as it went, helping out Hayden and James Oram, our GC leader. Oram stayed safe as I piloted Hayden towards the sprint and dropped him off with 5kms to go and drifted away from the pack for a finish in the mid sixties. Hayden was 6th in the sprint, whilst Oram stayed safe, only fifteen seconds behind GC leader Vink. The third stage was the second stage reversed because creativity is dead. It made it slightly more challenging with a tougher side for a few of the climbs - they also came later in the day. The day went by much the same though as I again worked for Hayden and Oram, with my brother cracking the top 5 in the sprint.

The fourth stage, I decided, was the time to show off my lovely looking sliver fern jersey. I tried time and time again to join breakaway moves to no avail, though, and ended up very tired for the first portion of the race. The circuit was several laps of a smaller hill, but ended in a sprint anyway, where Hayden was fourth. The fifth stage I tried again and managed to get into the breakaway. It was a tough day out there in the hot summer sun but I managed to hold on and be caught with the rest of the break. It was a very good day for us, as Oram claimed the stage and GC win with Hayden in 7th in the hill finish, with Hayden moving to 9th on GC in the end. I was pleased enough with my race and obviously stoked for Oram and Hayden doing well.

Unlike Rose who went on her gap year/become a pro by getting results in Europe year in January with little drama between her and Hayden, we spent the rest of February training, doing a few more local races and chilling out a little bit. But come early March our bags were packed again and it was time for the European season I was looking forward to being back at Roanne - Richie and Ollie were coming too but had left the week before. I'd love to see Cad again and get back to racing - and the U23 circuit with my brother should be very fun.

I also hadn't seen Lana since last October - we'd stayed in touch but not about Avanti. It wasn't a huge deal, I thought, and thought it was best just left alone. Those were both probably true. Probably.

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Croatia14
Drama, I sense drama. Awesome episode, the guys doing well at home and now ready for Europe. Big time welcome back I hope at Roanne, with all the guys that meant so much for last years development of Joseph.
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Aquarius97
Finally had the time to properly read the last updates.

New Zealand champion!! Banana Banana

A huge result for a 18/19-yo. I assume that this will lead to Joseph being considered as the next big Kiwi rider, maybe a lot of pressure on his shoulders very early in his career
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