It’s done.  The number got pinned on and the first race in ten years has been ticked off, and it was a totally brilliant experience.  The Hobbiton Movie Set Gran Fondo was an event to remember, 103km around beautiful Cambridge roads on a near perfect day.

There’s something familiar but unnerving about stepping back into something that you know very well but also don’t feel like you do at all.  We’re so used to bike racing, it’s what we do . . . from the other side.  We follow bike races, report on bike races, video bike races and have a great time doing it.  But getting to pin a number on and do it had me slightly nervous, but thankfully I’ve seen so many pros doing the job properly that some things certainly managed to slot into the memory and get sort-of-executed on the day.

The team at RIDE New Zealand’s Cycling Festival did a great job in providing a challenge that combined a bit of everything.  Flat and fast, slow and steep, the race had it all in wonderful surroundings that once in a while we were able to give a quick glimpse at.  The biggest headaches – i.e. French Pass and surrounding ramps – were reserved for the second half of the race but only after we’d enjoyed a breather at Hobbiton; timing that couldn’t have been better.

There’s something about the camaraderie of bunch riding that we miss all too much out in Raglan where we live, and it was a pleasure to team up with strangers for a little over three hours to get from A to B together.  Here’s our experience of the 2019 Hobbiton Movie Set Gran Fondo; and the enjoyment we got from watching stage 4 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.  Enjoy!

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