The Cycling New Zealand National Road Series took place on the 18th - 19th June 2022.
Our Black Magic Women's Team were handed their newly designed kit which represents the autumn leaves of their home base in Wanaka.
Heading into the weekend our riders were so excited to be back racing with what looked like the biggest fields at the Cycling Zealand NRS (National Road Series) so far.
In 2022 we have only had a few opportunities to race together as a team, only Criterium Nationals in January, Elite Nationals in Feb and Age Group Nationals in April, so we were chomping at the bit.
This race was a great opportunity to practice teams racing together over 5 stages and 2 days and it was to be our first outing in our highly anticipated new kit thanks to an awesome design process with Jayden Fleming and the team at ilabb.
The first stop was picking up our new kit and our ilabb tents for the weekend. Our jaws dropped when we opened the box containing our kit, it looked so much better in the flesh! Thanks to Worrals we also had a sweet new helmet for our riders, the new ECLIPSE SPHERICAL HELMET, the fastest helmet ever made! A few airport pickups and drop-offs later and we were ready to race.
Day 1 was a grey and misty morning with an early start. First up was the Hill Climb and Individual Time Trial in quick succession. A real lung buster to start and what a start we made. In the U19 race we had Bonnie take the win, Arabella 2nd and Ruby 4th in the Hill Climb, with Ava also flying with a 2nd place to start.
A quick suck in of air and a spin of the legs and it was onto the time trial and boy did we deliver in this event. We took the first 3 spots with Arabella, Bonnie and Ruby going 1-2-3 in the U19 and taking all 3 jerseys and our riders in the first 3 spots on GC, and Ava smashing the U17 field and into Yellow.
Our riders took off in the misty rain for the afternoon road race. Our U19 climbing superstars Arabella and Bonnie, attacked immediately splitting the field BUT disaster struck, a key corner was left unmarshalled so both Bonnie and Arabella continued on on a separate loop unaware they had one the wrong way. As unfortunate as this was, we were incredibly impressed with their attitude and ability to persevere.
Ruby and Lola represented us in the remainder of the race with Ruby coming in 2nd and still holding yellow for the team (and the other jerseys too!). Ava was our sole representative in the U17 race, she raced aggressively and managed to make a break but the bunch worked well together to hold her in check. Ava also mistimed her sprint going too early to finish in 4th, 2nd on GC and still in the QM jersey.
On Day 2, the atmosphere during the warm-up was up beat, with an incredible team vibe in the team. Out of challenges comes opportunity and the team responded to yesterday’s disappointment by a 100% commitment. Our U19’s were going to use this race to practice a lead out, use the 2nd sprint to test the plan, then adapt to deliver Ruby into position for the final sprint of the day. It was magical to watch, although Lola was taken out in a crash, the team delivered to perfection. Was awesome to see the final lead out rider deliver Ruby for the final sprint and then capture 2nd for herself too! The post race photos show exactly the mood and spirit in the team after this race.
Ava stepped up her sprinting big time too, learning from the day before to be patient and back herself for a final big kick, and it worked taking out the kermesse and then into yellow for the final stage.
The final road race was a flat affair with both the U17 and U19 races staying together. In the U17’s Ava’s confidence in her sprinting had grown, and this time with an even bigger gap. For the U19’s Ruby looked totally in control as she finished clearly ahead and even our climber Arabella showed some sprinting kick for a podium result.
With 2 GC wins, 2 QOM jerseys and 3 Sprint jerseys across the U17 and U19 races with heaps of stage wins plus plenty of fast and aggressive racing, the team were all smiles after a fun, action packed weekend of racing together.
One of our riders Caoilinn was still recovering from sickness, her sister Kendra had fallen in love with the team kit so she also road for us as a quest rider in the Y7-8 category. Incredibly she won all jerseys too! Well done Kendra.
Image/content credit Craig Butland Photography.