Jack Bauer. Photo by Getty
After the high, the low. Jack Bauer struggled to complete
the final few months of the season for his new Garmin-Barracuda
team after the London Olympics but considers his build-up for
tomorrow's national road cycling championships as among his
The 27-year-old from Tasman has form on the Christchurch
course, too. He won the national title in 2010, catching
Julian Dean and Hayden Roulston napping in the final straight
in what was a surprise victory, and his progress continued
with his selection for the road race and individual time
trial in London last year.
His efforts in August resulted in a 10th placing in the road
race and 19th in the time trial - as an early pace-setter he
spent a short time on the "golden throne" in front of
Buckingham Palace before having to relinquish his spot.
Bradley Wiggins eventually took out a popular home-town
victory in the individual event.
Not surprisingly, the racing and pressure took its toll on
"I went downhill pretty fast after that," he said. "I found
it hard physically and mentally - just with it being such an
ordeal. I wasn't sure if I would make selection and when I
did it was a real high point of my year and I put a lot of
training and emphasis on it which paid off in the end.
"It definitely cost me. The months after the Olympics I had a
pretty rough time finding my legs again. I saw out the season
but had a couple of pretty dismal performances. When your
body tells you it's had enough, all you can do is shut it
down and recover and then try to bounce back."
He has done that now, winning two stages in the five-day Tour
de Vineyards over the New Year - coming second overall to
rising force Michael Vink - and he said he has got to grips
with preparing for such a tough race so early in the season.
The 183km nationals course around the roads of Christchurch
includes climbing Dyers Pass 10 times, a change from previous
years which included the climb 11 times.
It's a course which he doesn't particularly like due to its
up-and-down nature - "I'm not massive but I'm a little bit
taller than a lot of people which makes it a little bit
harder to get over the hill" - but Bauer's power and grit
means he usually features at the finish.
The impressive Vink is likely to be the biggest threat,
according to Bauer. The 21-year-old Cantabrian won last year
despite competing as an under-23 rider and he is showing
impressive form again.
"He's on another level at the moment. He is probably at one
of the high points of his year form-wise, going by the power
he's putting out."
Bauer said his main aim this year was to consolidate his
position at Garmin, where he races alongside high-profile
riders such as Robbie Hunter, David Millar and David
Zabriskie, and his Olympics experience is sure to help with
"Even more than being a personal confidence booster [London]
gave me a real rise knowing I could make the cut - actually
being picked to represent New Zealand in such an important
race carried a bit of weight and responsibility. Then to have
pretty decent legs on the day to sneak inside the top 10,
it's definitely something I have to improve upon in the