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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sprint the Bay 2011 - postview

The answer would be 'yes' if you were at Sprint the Bay 2011...

The weekend started off remarkably dry on the friday evening, with a first up sprint around Frimley Park. A flat park and school map also used in the tour last year, this year two runners started at a time with a loop format, giving an exciting way to kick off the weekend. Piret Klade showed her speed to take out the win the the women's, with juniors Laura Robertson and Angela Simpson rounding out the top 3, whilst Oystein Kvaal Osterbo cleaned out the elite mens race by 26s, with Julian Dent in 2nd and local Ross Morrison 3rd.

Meanwhile, I occupied myself with the camera, and after some initial problems, eventually got a good photo!

However, STB isn't all about the yellow jersey and this year there were both the green (sprint) and pokadot (hill) jerseys up for grabs also. These were targeted by some runners, and it wasn't a rare sight to see people taking a good long breather before the sprint and hill climb legs. On the first evening the jerseys were taken out by Angela Simpson, Olle Poland (hill), Jula Mcmillan and Ian Lawford (sprint). Of these four, only one would go on to relinquish their singlet all weekend, making for some very muddy and sweaty singlets by Sunday evening!

Saturday morning brought with it the rain, and the courses around Te Aute college required real concentration not to slip over around the technical school buildings. The yellow singlet changed hands in both the men's and women's grades with Julian Dent taking out the win and overtaking Oystein in the yellow jersey stakes, whilst Elise Egseth showed her class with a 34s win while Piret slipped back to mid-pack.

The third stage, held on Maison de Sante, brought with it some tough hill climbs, more rain, and some tight intricate navigation among the accurately mapped blackberry labrynth. Oystein was back for revenge with almost a minute win over Julian, whilst the Kiwi's were packed in close behind; Karl, Darren, Carsten and Toby all within 13s of eachother (and Rassmus, is he a kiwi yet?). The hot potato Yellow Jersey work continued in the women's race, with Elise mispunching and Amber taking a well deserved win by 1.21!

The third race of the day, held on Sleeping Giant (te mata peak) was primarily down hill, with the last 1/2 of the course in beautiful pine forest. To add to the technicality, with the overcast weather it was getting pretty dim in the forest too! The yo-yoing continued in the men's class with Julian taking the win by 58s over Karl Dravitzki, and with Oystein a further 33s back, Julian reclaimed the yellow singlet. Piret claimed her 2nd win in the women, however Amber was close enough behind, and far enough ahead of Angela in third, and the rest, to ensure that she'd enter the last day wearing yellow.

Torrential rain overnight turned central Hasting's the next morning into one giant puddle. However the show went on, with the few passerbyes wondering what all these people were doing running and splashing around in the rain. Amber struggled with a 10cm diameter bruise on her thigh from a fall the previous night, allowing the on form Angela Simpson to slip by into the yellow singlet position, Piret sneaked in 2nd with Laura in 3rd ensuring a tight contest between Amber and Angela for 1st/2nd, and Piret and Laura for 3rd spot, going into the final race! In the men, Julian extended his lead with 40s back to Oystein in 2nd, followed by Rassmus and Ross seperated by a single second.

The finale for the weekend was held at EIT, one of my (and many other's i'm sure) favourite sprint maps. This year the technicality of the tight knit buildings was added to with slippery wet grass, and plenty of surface flooding to boot. It was the juniors' turn to shine, with Laura Robertson picking up her first elite win and placing 3rd overall for the weekend. She was 22s ahead of fellow junior Angela, who continued her consistant results to take Yellow jersey honours for the weekend. Amber came in 3rd for the race, and 2nd over all for the weekend. The men followed a similar tune to the previous races, with Julian again dominant in first, ensuring he took the Yellow Jersey home. Ross Morrison came in 11s back, with junior Toby Scott rounding out the top 3. That left Oystein in 2nd overall for the weekend, with Karl Dravitzki hopefully starting his comeback, taking out 3rd overall.

However, as mentioned earlier it's not all about the yellow singlet, with the green and pokadot singlet's also hotly contested throughout the weekend. Ian Lawford and Jula Mcmillan both dominated the green singlet standings, with Sara Bailey smashing the women's field on the hill climbs. Olle Poland looked to have the hill sprints cleaned up in the men's grade too, however Greg Flyn pulled out all stops to tie with him in the very last race of the weekend. As with the green singlet last year, this lead to a hotly contested race off infront of the crowd at EIT. However, after one tied race off, and a controversial head to head race, Olle Poland ensured that all of the men's race winner singlets would head across the ditch this year.

Of course, STB isn't all about the elites, as much as we forge sometimes! A huge congrats to winners in the other age grades: George Engleback and Danielle Goodall in the U12, Callum Herries and Lauren Turner both took out the U16 grades by large margins. John Robertson was almost 11mins ahead in M40, whilst Raewyn Simpson took out W40 by 25mins! Debbie Byers and Geoff Morrison had wins in the 50's classes whilst Nick Collins finished ahead in M60.

So once again, STB turned out to be a huge success. Personally, despite not running, I feel the more varied terrain, together with added features such as radio controls with results direct to Duncan commentating, ensured that despite the rain this year's version topped last years. Here's hoping next year is even better!

Cheers Morrison family for making this event happen. And thanks Val for the subway at EIT when I was soaked through, freezing and starving!
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