On the first weekend of December each year the international Festival of Cycling is held in Christchurch. This is a major New Zealand event featuring the cream of New Zealand cycling. This year our own Laura Luxford was an invited guest for the two day event.
The first day is the 80km Long Bays Classic which has been held over many years. This is a tough ride with about 150 riders male and female going toe to toe around the Port Hills of Christchurch. The field broke up on the first hill which came after about 5km and Laura was left with NZ champion Cath Cheatley and a couple of others to chase the elite men. It meant a hard slog out to the main hills which came after 40km. Cath Cheatley was able to use her experience to attack Laura and was able to break away assisted by some of the elite male riders. Despite being left on her own Laura was able to contain the losses to less than 3min despite riding solo against a large bunch. This gave her 2nd place for the day which was great remembering that Cheatley is a professional and finished in 9th place in last years World Championships.
The race on Sunday was a criterium around the streets of Christchurch in front of a large crowd. As Laura is relatively inexperienced in this type of racing she was not expected to feature against the classy riders that were chasing the title. However after some solid attacks to soften the field Laura used her head and waited for an opening in the final straight to surprise her opponents and rocket home ahead of Cath Cheatley for a well deserved victory! This weekend shows a great future lies ahead of Laura if she can continue to improve the way she has over the past year.
Check this out for the whole story of the Festival of Cycling