5 Tips for Success at the Tour of Southland
The Tour of Southland is likely New Zealand’s most prestigious road cycling tour. Known around the world for its brutal conditions and real ‘hard-man’ racing, the Tour of Southland is on the bucket list for true elite road cyclists, attracting top riders from New Zealand and overseas. Here are my top 5 tips for success at the Tour of Southland:
Without a doubt, the most important factor in road cycling and the Southland is your team. When you can race your bike with a group of good mates it makes even the hardest of moments manageable. There is no greater feeling than contributing to the success of a teammate and sharing that success with your team. If the goal is to win the Tour, a stage, or simply make a name for yourself, knowing your team has your back is priceless. The Oxford Edge team races together around the country year-round on the road and track. With a focus on preparation for international racing, our team atmosphere is unique and key to our success. Each rider contributes to the team's success in their own way, and we’re proud to have the backing of Tineli to ensure we have the best looking kit on the road.
Road cycling is so much more than riding a bike fast. Behind the team on the road are an incredible group of passionate supporters and sponsors who make our lives at the Tour easy. From the Oxford Edge race director to the mechanic prepping and tweaking our bikes, everything adds up to ensure things run smoothly. Plus you can’t forget the daily wash of the suits for a 6 man team of cyclists taking on the rain, hail and shine straight from Antarctica. Under title sponsorship from Oxford Edge, we are proud to race with the support of Tineli, providing the team's custom cycling clothing, tailored exactly to our needs.
Waking up to the sound of rain on the roof, and wind blowing through town, a strong mindset is a ‘must have’ for success at this Tour. Looking through the past winners and those with a stage win to their name, it’s not only the physical strength that stands out, but their resilience and mental fortitude. Knowing we are protected from the elements with the Tineli Winter Jacket means one less thing to think about, leaving more energy for the infamous crosswinds of the deep south.
Arriving at the Tour confident of your fitness and race condition is key to success. Whether it's getting to the start line after a full international season, or the light at the end of the tunnel following New Zealand winter, there is no compromise to putting the hard yards in on the bike months in advance. With Tineli on our side, training 500-700km per week all year round is no problem. The Pro Aero Jersey and Pro Elite Bib Shorts stand up to the constant test of many hours on the road, and the Pro Rain Jacket is never far away during those sessions out in the rain…. a taste of things to come in November!
There are so many factors that could be the final point in this list, from nutrition (Pure Nutrition of course) to rest and recovery, so many marginal gains add to a successful Tour of Southland; however, no matter what success looks like to an individual rider or the team, the memories from a week of tough racing will stay with you forever. Having had the opportunity to race my bike around the world, it’s the good times with great people that stand out strongest in my memory. From my experience, having fun enjoying racing directly contributes to success in racing, bringing results. Whether it’s racing over the cobbles of Belgium, up the mountains of the French Alps, through the thunderstorms of Asia, or fighting the gradients of Bluff Hill, the pain will quickly pass but the enjoyment and love of the sport will shine through forever.
Richard Lawson found the love for road cycling in 2005 and is well known in the New Zealand cycling scene. Racing in most corners of the world for eight years, Richard’s passion for cycling will never run out. More often than not, you’ll see him on the roads in and around Christchurch or at events all over the country on the road or track. Finally, as the team manager and rider for the successful Oxford Edge Cycling Team, developing the next generation of New Zealand cycling talent is his new motivation. A number of leading Canterbury businesses have come together to support the team creating not only fast cyclists, but great people.