Life in the Peloton

Life in The Peloton: Tour of Southland Stage Four Interview with Brett Grieve

A friend of Qwik Kiwi, Brett Grieve is riding in the Tour of Southland for the second time. Brett is an officer in the NZ Army based in Burnham and normally rides for PKF Cycling in the Calder Stewart Elite Cycling Series. We will be publishing a daily interview with Brett after each stage to give you an insight into ‘Life in the Peloton‘.

Tour of Southland

QK: How did today’s stage unfold for you and the ITM team?

BG: So we knew the start was going to be fast and with direction changes and the wind the pelo was going to be split early. That knowledge didn’t help much though, as the neutral car stopped us after the neutral section. He then started the race from a standing start and most of us lost position. I was caught too far back and in the second group on the road initially. I was with Gordon Macauley all day, he was good to have in our group and we kept chasing all day. We were caught by a group from behind and the front group split again so we ended up being group 3 on the road. The first hour was super hard and fast with tail and cross winds. We all had to go full gas to try and stay at the front but it wasn’t enough. I struggled today on the hills and in the wind. I had nothing left for Bluff Hill so just dragged myself up as best as possible. Rod and Lewis from Team ITM were in the group that caught up to me from behind and we rode together until the final climb. They had better form than me and finished well up in that group. Frank was in the front group which became the second group and Rod nearly caught him on Bluff. Cam and Calvin were in group 4 all day and thankfully missed the time cut. A few riders got cut today.

QK: Gordon McCauley described today’s weather as “real Southland weather”, how did the conditions effect your ride today?

BG: Yes, it was mild early and too hot wearing a jacket and then way too cold when the rain started approx half way though. The wind was strong westerly all day which made the racing constantly hard. It was a miserable day to ride a bike and we were very cold for half the race (2hrs).

QK: You’ve had some big days with a lot of pressure, how is your body holding up mentally and physically?

BG: Haha… yeah it’s a test for sure. I felt sick after today’s ride. I’m feeling a bit better now 4 hours later but I’m physically and mentally exhausted. It’s interesting how quickly things can change, as yesterday I was feeling great after Coronet Peak. Today was a harder ride. Probably the hardest race I’ve ever done. I had to really focus to get through it. the desire to stop was strong.

QK: Tomorrow involves 150km to Gore with some hills thrown in towards the end for good measure. What are the plans and tactics you and the rest of the team will employ?

BG: The Gore stage will be wind affected, but the forecast is for lighter winds than today. For Team ITM most of us are thinking about survival. This is a dangerous view point, as to negate the cross wind riding aggressively and toward the front of the pelo is essential. I think it will split up again, with several groups on the road. Vink’s team will control the race and Roulston and Gate will potentially try to blow it apart. Unless the GC contenders give up, it’s going to be another hard, hard day. Tomorrow is the last real chance for the GC to be changed, so I think it’s going to be full gas.

QK: All the best for the remaining couple of days.

Brett has kindly given me access to his Training Peaks data for me to review and share my thoughts on as he progresses through the Tour. Unfortunately there is an issue with his race data from Stage 2 and I won’t be reviewing his data.

Life in the Peloton


Today’s stage took Brett just over 4 hours for him to complete at 35.7 km/hr including the climb up Bluff Hill at the end. He averaged 261 Watts for the four hours and maintained a cadence of 90 Rpm.

I’ve broken today’s stage into four segments. The first 60km where Brett was fighting for position. He averaged 310 Watts & 44.8 km/hr during this phase and was working hard.

The next 40km round the back of Matarua had some undulations (totalling nearly 300m of climbing) where he averaged 242 Watts and 36.2 km/hr. The temperature was starting to drop through this section down to 13 degrees.

The next 25km was relatively flat (with only 63m climbing), his power was down to 191 Watts and his speed was only 27.2 km/hr but his cadence only averaged 82 Rpm during this section and the temp had dropped to 10 degrees. I imagine Brett and the riders he was riding with were struggling mentally and the bunch he was in may have taken a ‘groupetto’ approach to this part of stage.

The last 25km his power averaged 247 Watts & 26.8 km/hr but included 300m of climbing (Bluff Hill making up 238m of that at an average grade of 10%). His cadence up the hill was only 60 Rpm and the temp was 9 degrees.

This stage contributed a Training Stress Score of 264.8 to the total from earlier in the week:

  • Sunday (prep ride and prologue) 96.2
  • Monday (170km) 293.2
  • Tuesday (150km) 263.0
  • Wednesday (138km) 245.6
  • Today (148km) 264.8
  • Total thus far 1162.8!!!

The Tour of Southland is a BIG week of riding and Brett is no doubt feeling tired. He has had a large training load this week. With two more days to go, a good night sleep tonight (& tomorrow night) and he’ll get through the next couple of days of racing.

A Strava link for Brett’s ride in this stage can be found here:

Previous episodes of Life in the Peloton can be found here:

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