Prizes mark year of successes with the promise of more to come
Many Bike Manawatu members received recognition for their efforts last year when an unexpected guest presented a number of prestigious trophies.
It was great to see many different recipients, showcasing the calibre of cyclists within the club.
Despite BikeNZ hosting a development camp which involved a group of our junior riders, there were good numbers at the Marist clubrooms to cap off an eventful year.
Santa didn't reveal his identity on the night but we all had our suspicions as to who it may have been.
■ Nine keen cyclists gathered outside the Stannard home on Tuesday, December 17, for a five-day trip to Ohakune and the chance to get in some solid kilometres leading into the new year.
Although we were slightly delayed in leaving, this worked in our favour as we avoided the rain for the majority of the day.
We rode to Wanganui, via Hunterville, on the first day before heading to Ohakune the next morning.
Denise Brown and Carol Roberts both did a fantastic job ensuring there was food, washed clothes and a roof over our heads. Thursday night saw the younger riders on the camp each allocated a day to write a report to go on the website. By the time Saturday swung around there were some fairly tired legs but there was time for one more ride in the morning, followed by lunch and the trip home in the afternoon.
A massive thanks to Denise and Carol for giving up their time to help, as well as Steve Stannard - who came up with the idea - and making it possible.
Also a big thanks to Adam Curry from Central Bicycle Studio for supplying us with plenty of water bottles to keep us hydrated, and to Martin Beverage Paints for providing a food voucher from New World to keep us fuelled.
■ Jesse Sergent spent the early part of December at a training camp in Spain with his RadioShack-Nissan Trek team in preparation for the long season ahead.
He got the chance to catch up with team-mates and staff members but he also found out which races he will be taking part in.
After a stellar first two years on the pro tour, there was no doubt he will be lining up for more big races. Jesse will start his season at the Tour Down Under in Australia, then the Three Days of West Flanders will be a big goal. He won it in his first season and finished second last year.
This leads into the big one-day classic where he will play a major role for his team leaders. The Giro d'Italia is again on his schedule, a gruelling 21-stage tour recognised as one of the three Grand Tours on the calendar. Best of luck to Jesse for his season.
■ Simon van Velthooven really is the name on everybody's lips at the moment. After a very successful and entertaining garden party in delayed celebration of his 21st birthday, he is now also a finalist at the Halberg Awards. Congratulations to Simon, this is well deserved.
■ One of New Zealand's most successful cyclists has decided to call time on his career. After spending the past 14 years on the pro tour, Julian Dean will move to the managerial side of the sport and take up the role of assistant sporting director and mentor in the Australian Orica GreenEdge team.
Dean will compete in the national road championships for one last time next week as his final event.
His career has seen him represent some of the sport's biggest teams and ride in 20 Grand Tours.