Year started with the Carnival on Denton Park which is always a buzz seeing the mix of Juniors Masters and some of the best Elite riders in the World. Syd has done an amazing job bringing this together for the last five years and 2015 looks epic.
Then it was straight into the Elite Road Nationals where I was on the Commissaires panel for the first time. Holder for the TT, Com 3 in the Women's Race and Com 4 in the Elite Men's which started at the front of the race driving lucky ticket winners round the course before they jumped in a Helicopter while I got to float around where needed. 2015 is the last time on this circuit which is a shame because the last time I saw crowds like that at a Bike race was 1974 Commonwealth Games.
Both Track Nationals were in March so we had plenty of time to prepare unlike this year where the sprinters are already in full track mode and pursuiters will soon be joining them. Age Groups were first down in Invercargill where the crew struck Gold and and I was the coach to the first ever Canterbury Team to win a U17 medal at Nationals in Teams Pursuit and Gold was the icing on the cake. Not going to lie, after watching Christine Lambley win the U15 girls Scratch Race in 2013 I was ecstatic to watch Jessie Banks to the same this year.
Then it was straight up to the new Avantidrome: Home of Cycling for Elites. It is an amazing facility but is totally out of place in Cambridge and a pain in the arse to get to. But once there it is a fantastic venue and once the air con was sorted we started to see it's potential for fast times and in the background how the place will help to develop our Elite riders. Still see a lot of work needed to bridge the gap between Development, Junior HP and the High Performance riders.
The racing in Cambridge was excellent, especially seeing Eddie, Sam and Ethan racing in their newly won World Champions jerseys. Spoke with Eddie who was still pretty emotional two weeks after achieving a pinnacle in any cyclists life. The crew were on fire winning medals and setting PBs and I was coach to yet another Canterbury Team Sprint Gold in the U19 Women's event.
After winning 5 Gold medals and hitting U19 qualifying times at Elites Olivia Podmore was selected for the Junior World Champs which meant we had a big challenge working with Ross Machejefski and Stu MacDonald from Bike NZ and locally with Andrew Ellis and Todd Andrews from Sport Canty and HPSNZ to prepare Olivia for the next level. Having had a rider compete at Junior Worlds level for the last 5 years certainly helps with this. Great input from Mark Lucas as well, his Father Ron coached me on track back in the Dark Ages. Also named early this year was Sam Buckner after his performances at Nationals earned him a spot in the NZ team for Oceania Champs.
Thanks to the way they always conduct themselves Phoebe McCaughan and Christine Lambley were selected to represent NZ at the 2014 Tour of Canberra. This meant they were in for some sessions to prepare themselves for the hilly nature of Canberra and without ever asking them they punished themselves racing up the Hills each time. The result was NZ's first ever win in the event as Phoebe and Christine guided Mikayla Harvey to the Yellow jersey.
I was full on with my Masters degree research and as an added bonus my Supervisor Prof Will Hopkins was sending me to a conference in Leeds to present my research. This went well and my speech was well received but the bonus was getting to meet top coaches and sport scientists and see the start of the Tour de France inc Cancellara, Kittel (who I high fived before he won the first stage #justsaying), Contador and Froome.
While I was doing this Lucy Timmings was racing in Canada for a team I arranged for her to race on. A great opportunity and I wish her well as she tackles the immensely hard Health Sciences at Otago.
On my return to NZ it was full on into the Schools cycling and I had two firsts being a Comm at both Cuddon Schools Tour and NZ Schools Road Nationals. Both are amazing events, different to Road and Track events, but a special part of developing our young riders as people and members of a team!
Then it was back into the track and full on for Southlands where I had a large crew competing while others were up doing the business at Manawatu. Been great to have such a large group of people contributing to track this season. It's given me the confidence to step away from a few roles I have had in recent years and get back to what I am best at: coaching!
Huge thanks to so many people, the riders who come to me full of ambition and a willingness to learn. All the people who have helped me over the year, especially when it was a "pull ya head in" type of help. My awesome Sister Sarah, Trev, Sid and Jamey. Bruce Milne, Shane Buckner & Sarah Whylie, Geoff Searle, Exquisite Professor Geoff Chase, Richard Smith, Nades for your Anti Bagel crusade, Mark and Debbie Ogle, Martin Jones, Shona my Maths Coach (sorry I "low" failed), Ross Proctor, Ian Lambley, the awesome awesome awesome team of Bruce and Amy Dawe, Andrew Williams for the always excellent service you provide everyone at Hub. Phil and Nienke Podmore, Gordon McCauley: still the only man I would turn gay for. Olivia Podmore who I learn so much from and inspires me to new levels of coaching, Giles Potter, Steve and Nicky McCaughan, Paul Flattery, Grant Tyrell, Paul Odlin, Derrick Nelson; still warm is the blood flowing through those veins, Ken Lord, Leanne Creighton, Gemma Payne, Alan Kelly, AP Will Hopkins for sending me to Leeds, Alex Simmons, Dr Stuart Wise, Mark Lucas, Bruce Wilson, Rickoshay: pew pew!!! Tim Carswell, anyone named R Sheath for all the incredible support, Carl Brewer "don't fear the Carbs man'!!! Pip Keenan, Oli Brooke-White, so glad we're mates again, Andy Timmings, Gary Gibson, Steve Stannard, John Rippon, Robert Chung, Ian and Rachel Walsh, Peter Tomlinson, Katri Laike, Lee Yaxley, James O'Donoghue, Julie Friel, Mark and Vivienne Reiber, Steve Flanagan, Scott McDonnell, Andy Coggan, Lynn Murphy, David Osten, Chris Foggin, Amy Taylor, Dianne Manson, Heiko Salzwedel, Chris Harnish, Jim Martin, Cog O'Grady, Lee Povey, Jon Fraley, Darren Small, Steve Hurring, Ivan Aplin, Mark Ireland, anyone named Kiesanowski, Angela Clarke, David Martin, John Cobb, Glenn Rewi for the awesome caffeine hits and always amazing high standard of service you set at CC, Arron Perriam, Sue Harrison, Patrick Harvey, Dr Harv, Rachel Ellis, Brendon Downey, Richard Aitken, David Rowlands, Wayne and Desere Girdlestone, Neil Ludlam, Chris Whitley, Graeme Hunn, Graeme Bell, Zac Prendergast, Simon Hollander (especially for the kick up the arse), Brian Roulston, Lance Spencer, you go good mate!!!, Karen Fulton, Sarah Smallman, crikey I hear a orchestra starting to play in the background. Sorry if I missed anyone, you know the help and support is greatly appreciated.
WHAT AN AWESOME 2014, HAVE A SAFE NEW YEAR AND A FANTASTIC 2015.