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Coromandel Classic Two Days of Multisport Fun
By Joshua Harris
The Coromandel Classic over the weekend attracted one of the biggest fields in its 13 year history. The weather forecast was for fantastic conditions for the two days of racing and a magic blue sky greeted the competitors... for the race start of the race.
With a few of the teams & Individuals wanting to show their hand early, racing started with a bang!
One of the young teams in the field "Team R&R Sport" Consisting of Sam Manson and Josh Harris, were up from Dunedin and wanting to start the season off with a strong race. Here's a rundown on the action through their eyes.
The heat went on quickly on the Mountain Bike at the start of the race, and was needed as the temperature was pushing well below -2 in the valley ahead of the competitors. Sam Manson started day one off for Team R&R Sport with a strong MTB but the big mover of the day was Individual athlete James Coubrough who got onto the run in the first bunch and was leaving the other individuals (and most teams) in his dust.
With a cold transition complete Manson was off onto the run, and this is where the race started to happen! He killed the field and got the team in the lead in the 2 person category and sitting 3rd overall just behind Coubrough after an amazing run by the individual.
Harris was then into the boat and after being sick for 3 weeks leading up to the race, & only a couple training sessions before the race started he was into his stride and was able to hold on to the lead and got out of the boat over 20 mins ahead of the nearest 2 man team. Once onto the bike he was able to show some of the form from last season and was able to push the lead out and the boys finished the day about 25 mins ahead of the next team. Coubrough had a commanding lead in the individuals and a great battle was unfolding between the experienced (but still young) Rachel Cashin and young Dunedin athlete Emily Wilson in the womans individual category.
Day 2 started with a paddle through the Tairua estuary at low tide which proved to be more of a kayak-run-kayak leg as racers had to portage across mud flats to reach the river. Matt Tuck (Event Director) was quoted saying "Seeing 100 kayakers running across the mud was one of the most amazing things i have ever seen!"
Manson once again showed his run strength through the mud and was out of the boat 4th behind a couple of the local legends with Coubrough still showing his top form leading the individuals. Then it was Harris onto his TT bike and off in chase of the people out in front. He had a good ride and was able to catch the 4 person team in front with a couple kms to go. This meant Manson was off on the run in 3rd overall and a comfortable lead over the 2nd placed 2 person team.
With the boys keen to show their strength on day 2 Manson was off like a shot and was able to move past Coubrough and move the team into 2nd overall. With Sam posting one of the fastest times over the run it meant it was down to Harris to finish the race off with a 30km TT back into Thames. With a gap of about 5 mins between 1st and 2nd Harris was able to make some small gains on the team ahead but with a strong head wind to ride into, and chasing down fresh legs of a 4 man team he was unable to catch the team and the boys finished 2nd overall on day 2 and pushed out their lead over their nearest rivals. "It was one of the hardest rides I have ever done! I don't think i have pushed myself so hard on the bike before, but it paid off with a great time so Im happy" Harris said after finishing the race.
Coubrough showed why he is a contender for Coast to Coast next year with an impressive win and Rachel Cashin proved to be too strong for Wilson in the womans category.
Team R&R Sport would like to thank their sponsors - R&R Sport, Up town Art, Saftey and Tools, and AR Team Sponsor Konica Minolta.
The boys in Team R&R Sport are now into training for Motu and Southern Lakes 24 hr, Rollos and maybe a wee appearance at the Rogaine in Tarras on the 15th September.
They extended their thanks to all the support they were given out on course and to Matt and his crew for putting on another amazing 2 days of racing. "If you are wanting to find a race to kick off the summer season then this race is by far the best value for money race in New Zealand. We will definitely be back!"
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