Second tick on bucket list for Tour of Southland rider
For most of us, an impulse decision might include grabbing that chocolate bar at the checkout - not a spur-of-the-moment choice to ride New Zealand’s most gruelling cycle race.
Hawke’s Bay rider Steve Nicholls, who is riding with Finance Now. was one two brave souls along with Nathan Bell, who answered a call last week to fill late vacancies for the 2018 SBS Bank Tour of Southland.
“The message went out on Tuesday night and they needed a decision by Wednesday lunchtime, so I had a quick chat with the family and asked if they minded not having a dad around for a week or so,” Nicholls said.
“I did it last year and I really enjoyed it. It was sort of a bucket list thing for me and I thought I’d never get the chance to come back. Then, for various reasons, I finished up my job about two and a half weeks ago, so I had no job to try and get leave from. I thought I was in decent enough shape and decided I’d give it a crack.
Last year’s Southland tour was blessed with warm conditions for most of the week, nothing like the wintry blast which hit the riders during yesterday’s 150km stage from Riverton to Te Anau.
There were moments when Nicholls was second-guessing his decision to come back to Southland.
“At one stage I was wishing I could get off the bike and get into the van. I started to get the shivers and the body started to shut down pretty bad after about two hours but then i got a jacket and was able to warm up a bit,” he said.
“It’s cool to be here and to be able to say i have experienced a proper hail, windy, rainy day in Southland. Ask me at the end of the week whether I think it was a good decision or not.”