Gordon taking his show on the road
ASPIRING professional cyclist Callum Gordon is feeling fit again.
A bout of food poisoning after his memorable tour victory in China last year “just destroyed” him, but the 22-year-old appears to be finally over it.
He’ll need to be.
The Gisborne man and key member of Team Skoda tomorrow starts a gruelling four-week period of racing.
It begins with the Elite & U23 Road National Championships — a 169-kilometre road race in Napier — and continues with the three-day 270km Hub Tour around Hawke’s Bay from January 13 to 15.
Next up is the 30th anniversary New Zealand Cycle Classic — a five-stage Masterton-based tour totalling nearly 670 kilometres from January 22 to 26.
And he will finish with Race 4 of The Team Championship in Cambridge on January 29.
The legs start to wobble just thinking about the total distance he will pedal, let alone the intensity of competition.
But Gordon is looking forward to it and the signs are positive.
“I’m feeling fit,” he told The Herald.
“I’ve just come off some busy training and I’m getting back up to my former fitness. I had a race a few weeks ago and I felt good. It’s a good sign.”
30 hours training a weekGordon has increased his training to 30 hours a week, including sprint work, and aims to pick up his overall general speed.
It adds up to “long, lonely miles” in the saddle, which he doesn’t mind as long as he’s got music — he listens to “a bit of everything”.
Most encouraging is how strong he is feeling, a far cry from when he returned home from racing in China, where he had a one-second victory in the Tour of Salimu Lake race.
Gordon contracted food poisoning over the last few days of the trip.
“I was pretty sick for a while. It knocked me a lot more than I thought it would. It just destroyed me.”
So much so, it took him to the end of the year to recover and clearly affected what turned out to be a disappointing Tour of Southland in early November.
Gordon was part of a six-man Team Skoda Racing team. He was 49th on general classification, nearly 49 minutes behind winner Aaron Gate, and Team Skoda were ninth.
“It was not a very good tour for me.”
That struggle has been consigned to history and Gordon is looking forward to immersing himself in racing over the next month.
He has a simple mission in tomorrow’s elite nationals: finish the race.
Cut-off times add extra pressure.
“I’ve done it four times. I’ve never finished it,” Gordon said.
Last year, only 16 finished.
He is particularly looking forward to the NZ Cycle Classic, an important stepping stone for many of the country’s most successful tour professionals, and aims to improve on last year’s 14th place overall.
This year will also feature more overseas experience, including a return to China to defend his Tour of Salimu Lake title. He hopes to have more Team Skoda riders alongside him this time.
Gordon is also aiming to go one better at the 100km Le Race in Christchurch in March. Last year he was second to double Olympic track cycling medallist and four-time Tour of Southland winner Hayden Roulston in a sprint finish.