A strong field of 24 riders competed at Wangaratta yesterday and I was a corner marshall and also managed to sneak in a few photos.The Limit bunch were to strong on the day with the first 5 places going to that group. Peter Gottschling getting the win and Matt Clark (scratch) taking out fastest time.
Just released is the Wangaratta Cycling Club Autumn Series of Races.It looks excellent with a little bit of everything.Graded Scratch Races,a couple of big Handicap events and some ITT's.Not forgetting the excellent Club Tour on the first weekend of June.Come and join us for some hard racing with friendly competitors on quiet country roads.More details via Wangaratta Cycling Club's website.
I received an email this afternoon from Tom Barry regarding the upcoming 2nd launch of the NRS Bicycle Superstore team this weekend in Albury.I've copied the majority of Tom's email into the post below which contains the relevant information.
Sounds like a great opportunity to catch up with these inspiring women some of whom I've had the pleasure to meet.
I don't think I'll be able to do the ride but may try and head up for the presentation of the team at 4pm.The Granya Grind (135km) would be awesome training for the BDA charity ride coming up pretty soon too.
The NRS Bicycle Superstore team is having their (2nd) launch in Albury this weekend at the BSS store in Lavington and I was wondering whether you could let people know around Wang.
It is comprised of multiple local ladies, including my wife Lisa Barry, Flick Wardlaw and Clare Dallat (Alexandra- but we will claim her!) and a lot of the horsepower on both the technical side (Osteohealth doing the bike fitting, strength and conditioning, injury management and Peter Collier from Riverina Podiatry Group assisting with lower limb biomechanics and Solestar orthotics) and the management/logistical side comes from the North East. It is a great endorsement of the skills and talents of this region and one of their reasons for existence is to help promote women's cycling in the region.
They will be riding the 'Granya Grind' on Saturday morning http://www.bellbridgerotary.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=39 (a 135km charity ride through the stunning Granya/Tallangata region) before the presentation at 4pm in Lavington.
There will be some interviews with the girls, a bit of a chat from the people behind the team and just explaining their goals etc. The women are quite amazing with their time management and dedication and if they can expose a few more women to the sport it would be a great thing.
Anyway- thought you may be interested and if you could pass on to anyone who you feel may be keen for a ride with the BSS NRS Women's team or to meet them and listen to their stories feel free to do so.
I guess I shall catch up with you at the next major bike race!!
The first weekend in December saw the running of the Alpine Cycling Club's very popular and tough 3 stage race. The "Tour of Bright" has with no doubt become one of the most popular cycling races in Australia, selling out this year in about 30minutes flat online.If you weren't sitting at your computer when entries opened the odds are, you missed out.I've spoken to friends who've raced it 7 times in a row that told me you used to be able to decide 2 weeks before the race if you wanted to compete.
Not any more,the entries are capped at 550 riders across 9 grades.I raced my second Tour in the Masters 4/5 field of 70+ riders, which is about double the size field of the next biggest race I competed in this year.
Stage 1. The Gaps Loop.
Climbs both Rosewhite Gap,at around 50km,then finished on top of Tawonga Gap for a total distance of 91km.Last year,2011, the pace was faster than I could cope with on Rosewhite Gap and this year I was nervous about what would happen when our group hit the climb.Saturday morning, as we rolled along the Ovens Valley Highway with the customary surging, as riders tried to get off the front and were consequently chased down again.I must admit to be feeling pretty comfortable and how easy the pace was.Enter Rosewhite Gap,bang,the hammer went down as our large peloton of riders splintered to pieces.Watching the strongest riders disappear from view, I found myself in the company of who else but Dr Gav from Wangaratta CC, and many others as we crested the Gap in the next main bunch of riders.This was a better result already than last year and as we flew down the descent our chasing group was growing as we collected more and more riders.Local Cobram legend,Ray Jarratt, was in the group too,Ray has ridden the Bright Tour many times.We probably had between 12 and 20 riders in total and it was quite a task getting the group to cooperate.Half of them need some schooling in the art of Handicap Racing to learn how to work as a group.A few would ride through too hard making the pace impossibly high to keep up with.So after doing a couple of turns on the front you would have to sit on and recover,then they wondered why you weren't helping.
Our group eventually caught the front bunch a few kilometres before the start of the final Tawonga Gap Climb.That was my goal for this stage, to at least start the final climb with the leaders.I hung on to Dr Gav's wheel for most of the climb,it was quite warm and very humid at this point and I was soaked in sweat as we ascended.I lost contact with Dr Gav with about 1.5km left in the stage and just rode the rest of the way as hard as I could.Wangaratta Cycling Club member Matt Clark, overtook me about 300 metres from the finish of the stage.I knew he was about to win the stage in A Grade and I was thrilled for him.He also managed some words of encouragement which lifted my spirits too.
I'd come in in 18th place for my grade which was great and much better than I'd expected.
Stage 2. 15.7km ITT.
There was plenty of time between getting back to Bright around noon and my TT start time of 5.03pm.Recovery drink first then into the icy waters of the Ovens River to cool down and soak the tired legs.Out of the river and some real food,check stage 1 results and change the timing transponder onto the Time Trial bike.Plenty of time for a stretch and rest before starting to warm up around 4pm.Using my stationary trainer outside in the humidity, I'm not sure if I've ever sweated so much in my life.When it came to putting on the skin suit I could hardly get it on.
I've ridden the course for the Time Trial several times in practice and this was really reassuring, knowing the road,where the rises were,where you could rest a little and where to go all out.I managed 23min 58sec which was a little slower than I'd done in practice but still ok.My "Wiggo" style side burns had kept me at 18th on GC after the ITT.
Jo Upton kindly sent me the image below to use in my blog. Please visit her website where she has been busy editing and uploading photos of this years race.
Stage 3 "Mt Hotham Ascent"
Sunday morning saw us race from Bright to the top of Mt Hotham.A distance of 56.5km,I had it in my head it was 52.5km so was far from impressed when my Garmin ticked over 52km and there was still a long way to go,4km at the end of Mt Hotham is a long way, let me assure you.
A small breakaway rode off the front of our group as the race got underway on the outskirts of Bright.I saw Ray Jarratt ride across to it and thought to myself,that's a good move.I decided to stick with the main peloton.We kept a good solid pace along the valley towards Harrietville with a pretty large group hitting the climb together.It kicks up quite sharply right at the beginning and stays that way for the first 500-800m where the gradient eases of to a more comfortable incline.About 20 riders had ridden away on this section and I was trailing them by about 50 metres.Some self urging and digging into the "suitcase" got me back onto their wheels.
Gradually riders found their own pace with some going ahead and others falling behind.Who should I find for company along this section?Dr Gav,my Wangaratta Clubmate,friend and someone I've had countless battles with on the bike over this year.
By about this time we arrived at "The Meg", a nasty little pinch that only lasts about 400metres, but feels incredibly steep.It's all you can do just to propel your bike forwards.Once you get past The Meg it's a few more kilometres before the road levels out to what's known as the false flat section.Here I found myself pretty much alone and put my head down and rode as strongly as I thought was sensible knowing what was to come.The last third of Mt Hotham is the toughest part of the climb.There are a few very steep sections,that when you're fatigued from the effort of the previous days racing,plus already having climbed around 20km.So arriving at the ticket box you know your about to enter "A world of Pain".During this roller coaster section of the mountain, I seemed to be overtaking plenty of riders from other grades but not so many from my own Masters 4/5.In fact,I felt like many Masters 4/5 riders were passing me.I really now wanted to keep my spot in the top 20 on GC, as this meant automatic qualification into next years event.When I finally crossed the finish line,exhausted and relieved, I was pretty concerned that my top 20 may be gone.
Kindly, Howie and his wife Bid had space for me in their car, which meant I didn't have to ride back to Bright.I can't begin to put into words just how good that felt.Also booting up Howies' iPad to check the race results, my GC place was number 20,you bloody beauty.Last year I'd finished 53rd in the same Grade so felt quite happy to have made up 33 places.
Many people are responsible for making "The Tour of Bright" a success and The Alpine Cycling Club and all the volunteers do a wonderful job.They have been always very welcoming and friendly at any event they run.
To finish I'd like to share a couple of paragraphs from an email I received yesterday.This was in response to a message I'd sent to a friend to find out why he hadn't ridden Stage 3.He was riding in my Grade and I was concerned about him when I saw DNF next to his name.
"I was a DNS on stage 3. I was pretty keen to have a crack, woke up Sunday
morning ready to go and happened to see the Cycling Victoria website that
outlined the entry criteria for next year. The fact that the first 20 in
each age group get auto entry next year and that the rest was open to
ballot gave me a clear indication that the event has become more for elite
riders, not riders like me.
That's fine, it should be for elite riders - not riders like me. I just
felt no longer welcome and that I didn't belong anymore. I didn't feel
like riding then and will not participate next year. I will go back to
Audax in January 2013 and focus on training for the Gran Fondo and Southern
Masters club rides. Cycling Victoria has a TT series that I might look into
as well. Maybe I belong somewhere else?"
His response put me in a reflective mood as to why I race my bike and what I want to get out of it.
Should/is "The Tour of Bright" for elite riders only? One of the things that attracted me to it
in the first place was that anybody who had a race licence could line up and have a go.
No doubt with more riders wanting to enter than places available they have no option than to
make changes to the entry system.It will be interesting to see how the race evolves over the next few years.
Below are some photos from the presentations and at the bottom the video highlights package that has been put together.
Last weekend's racing was the second weekend with back to back racing. Wang CC club race on Saturday and then a drive over to Eildon for the Damian McDonald Memorial which was held on Sunday.I would be racing in C Grade which would also incorporate the woman's A Grade in the same bunch.After the Wangaratta Club Race I drove over to Eildon where I'd booked accommodation at the Golden Trout Hotel which was one of the race sponsors.
There was just enough light left in the day for a drive down Skyline Road which would be the major climb of the race and more than likely where the major action would start.The KOM sign was just being erected so I made some mental notes on it's unusual position.1.5km after the main climb finished was what my speedo showed and almost on a downhill section.
The start time for our bunch was just after 10 am and me being an early riser there was heaps of time to get organised. We would have around 10 C Graders and 5 Women in their A Grade race.Everything seemed very well organised and I'm pretty sure everyone started on time.There were a couple of Wangaratta riders in my group,Chris Howard and Trent Hyde, also included,Thomas Slingsby and Michael Stringer, a couple of young 17 year olds whom I raced against earlier in the year at the Wangaratta club tour.
Our race began with a 25 km circuit of what's known as the Pondage Loop which is largely flat with some very gentle undulations, but nothing that would create any selections in the race.There were a few attacks but nothing that looked likely to succeed.Eventual race winner William Key had several attempts to get away including riding off the front of the bunch at the start.
That would all change however when we hit the Skyline Road climb.
Four of the C Grade bunch,Key,Slingsby,Stringer,Hyde, and Amy Bradley from the women's A Grade group, managed to gap the rest of us initially, but after delving into the "suitcase of courage" 3 more of us,Howard,Everard and myself managed to ride across and make contact with the front group about two thirds of the way up the climb.The further the climb went the better I felt and we all crested the major part of the climb in our small group.There was no sign of other riders behind us and knowing where the KOM point was I put the hammer down.After a glance over the shoulder, and seeing only empty road, gave encouragement that I may be able to get the KOM for our group.I was disappointed when passing the KOM sign there was nobody there so my attack had been for nothing but it felt good.
At this point the decent had started and I love descending,it takes me back to the days of riding my 1982 900SS Ducati in the mountains around Bright.I could sense another rider on my shoulder, so without really thinking about it tried picking the best lines and keeping off the brakes as much as possible.It was great fun and I only wish I knew the road better so as to be able to really lay into the corners.By the time we reached the bottom I was alone again but was soon joined by Slingsby and Stringer.Our little trio rolled a few turns together but were eventually joined by the balance of our climbing group minus Chris Howard.Bugger,Howie is a good friend and I hadn't given any thought to the fact descending is not his strong point.Talking with him after the race, he had to come to a virtual standstill on the descent, trying to avoid another rider who had taken the wrong line into a corner.As he's quite experienced and we'd of had our 3 Wang riders in the bunch that would of been handy.
This was not to be however,with our group riding strongly into a head wind there was nothing to do but keep rolling turns.
After the climb, it's around another 40 km until the finish and our group worked pretty well for most of it.The young riders were pulling through pretty hard causing the bunch to surge which made it tough at times.I ended up saying to young Key that if he wanted me to come around him at the front then not to pull through so hard.This helped, and made life easier for me at least.We had one rider sitting on the back of the group, not contributing, which was a little concerning but I wasn't about to make a big deal out of it.That pretty much remained the Status Quo for the remainder of the race.There was a little excitement when my rear derailleur and somebodies front wheel came together in a hell of a clatter which apparently nearly caused a fall.I didn't position myself well near the finish and was caught behind at the roundabout which is around 300metres from the finish.Not that it would of made that much difference as the young trio bolted to take the first 3 places.Replaying the finale in my head the only way I could have made a difference is to have tried to attack with about 1km to go and hit the roundabout first.But it had been a tough race and after Saturdays club event I didn't have the legs anyway.The young riders deserved their results and all have a bright cycling future ahead of them.Amy Bradley came in with us in the front group so taking out the Women's A Grade race.
Men's C grade
1. 52 KEY, WILLIAM1:59:001:59:00Ballarat/Sebastopol C C
2. 53 SLINGSBY, THOMAS1:59:00stPreston Cycling Club Inc
3. 51 STRINGER, MICHAEL1:59:00stBlackburn Cycling Club Inc
4. 84 HYDE, TRENTON1:59:00stWangaratta Cycling Club Inc
5. 57 REECKMAN,ANTHONY1:59:00stWangaratta Cycling Club Inc
6. 56 EVERARD, CRAIG1:59:00stBlackburn Cycling Club Inc
7. 55 WEBBER, VAUGHAN2:04:455:44Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
8. 29 HOWARD, CHRIS2:04:485:47Wangaratta Cycling Club Inc
9. 54 O'SULLIVAN, CRAIG2:06:307:29Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
10. 28 JEHU, NICHOLAS2:09:3810:37Wellington CC
11.50 WOODING DREW2:21:0622:06Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
Full results here.
Read about Damian McDonald here.
Thanks to the Blackburn Cycling Club for organising the event and all the helpers and volunteers who make these events possible.
Also the Wangaratta Cycling Club had a large involvement in the day bringing Damian's Race(Under 17 men) across from Wangaratta.
When the organizers tweeted there would be a reconnaissance ride of the course on Saturday it seemed like a nice idea to tag along.A few text messages later and it sounded like a good group would be taking part.I've put my hand up to photograph the road race so would use the recon. to check out possible vantage points.For those needing a refresher on the Sam Miranda weekend of racing and the Gran Fondo I've written a blog about here .
A group of 12 gathered at Sam Miranda's cellar door,not for partaking in the produce unfortunately,but to ride the 100km course.It was nice to see Glynn Matthey who had made the trip up from Melbourne to ride the course with us.
I'd ridden about half of the course before,albeit some of it in the opposite direction that the race would go,so was looking forward to the expedition.The first few kilometers are along the Snow Road, before turning left into Kilfeera Road,which is a nice undulating quiet country road.The pace was pretty steady with 5 minute rotating turns on a magnificent winters afternoon with a slight head wind all the way until the Myrrhee (Benalla - Whitfield Rd) turn off.
After turning toward Myrrhee on the Benalla Whitfield Rd you could feel a slight uphill gradient,a false flat,some may call it.Also the wind seemed to be coming right into our faces.There are some good undulations along here and the first KOM point just before Mhyree,although not that long will be tough enough to create some gaps in the field.Not long after the Myrrhee KOM it's time to turn right onto the Benalla Whitfield Rd for the infamous "Strade Nero" which is the dirt road climb included in the road race.Any advantage gained on the previous KOM could be added to here and this climb is long and hard enough to split things up even more.I've previously blogged about the Strade Nero here so wont go into detail about it again.Everybody on the ride was impressed by the dirt road and was looking forward to racing over it when the time comes.
After the climb,descending down into Whitfield is spectacular,forget the brakes,don't need them here.
I would like to be able to report about all the things I saw on the run from Whitfield to the race finnish, back at Sam Miranda's Winery.But in reality, I pretty much had to concentrate on the back wheel of Tully Lyster's bike as he averaged 43.5kmh for the slightly downhill run down the King Valley.We had been following the scooter briefly but just when I asked about the little roller on the rear guard of the scooter it fell off onto the road.As Glenn pulled over to repair it we just powered on.It was a little under an hour of pretty hard riding and come race day should be a very fast pace.Below is the Strava segment thats been created that includes the whole circuit.It was a nice ride with a great bunch of people who all enjoyed the day.The only incident worth reporting is race directer, Marty Tobin, who had organized the ride had 2 flat tyres before we even got to Myrrhee and had to be rescued by friends.
It seems most people I talk to,myself included, are interested in the condition of the "Strade Nero"(the dirt road climb) that will be used in the upcoming Sam Miranda Road Race.I wrote a blog about the race last week and decided that today I would go and investigate this infamous piece of road for myself.
After watching my recording of Stage 6 of the Tour de France the frost had started to melt, although I couldn't get any water out of the taps in my house due to the pipes being frozen,I headed off on my journey.The plan was,drive to Mohyu, jump on the bike and ride up Boggy Creek Road,which the Sam Miranda Handicap Race would come down the day after the road race.
That meant I could kill two birds with the one stone as I'm keen to race the handicap on the Sunday myself and this way I could see a section of the course I didn't know.It was a gentle uphill gradient most of the way to Myrrhee so coming back down will be pretty quick in a bunch.Nice quiet country road,I think I saw 2 vehicles in around 16km,perfect.
I would then be able to turn into the Benalla-Whitfield Road at Myrrhee.Within approximately 1km I would be on the dirt section.The gradient at the beginning of the climb is very gentle (big ring country) with the steepest gradients being in the middle of the climb(between 5-10% on my Garmin) and then levelling off a little for the last km or so. The following photographs are taken in series moving up the climb from the beginning to where the dirt finishes at the Junction of the Mansfield-Whitfield Road.I've endeavoured to photograph the road surface in a few locations and in various conditions.I will say there was no trouble riding hard up the climb and most of the time you could choose a fairly smooth path amongst the few potholes and stones.There were some corrugations and rougher sections but it's mostly a hard packed pretty good surface.The conditions were sunny and the road surface dry,I imagine it could get slippery if it happens to rain.The reward after the climb is a fantastic flowing descent down into Whitflied on an excellent road.
And,yes,there is even a Strava segment for the "Dirt Berg" which I've included at the bottom of the post.
Don't forget you can keep up to date with the latest news about the race from the official Sam Miranda Road Race Blog
Pencil the weekend of the 25th and 26th of August into your diary.Thats when the Sam Miranda Road Race,Gran Fondo and Handicap will be held. What promises to be a fantastic weekend in beautiful North East Victoria with plenty to keep non cyclists entertained as well.The area is full of excellent wineries,wonderful restaurants and is also just a stones throw away from most of Victoria's Ski fields.Sam Miranda owns one of the areas best known wineries. The Sam Miranda cellar door is open 7 days from 10am - 5pm with lunch available 12pm - 3pm.
A special thank you to Marty Tobin for providing most of the information and photographs.
I was quite interested Sam Miranda's interest in cycling and Marty provided me with the following.
Sam has been a cycling tragic for quite a while, long before he moved to North East Victoria from Griffith.
He still has his classic custom made 1990’s Zanella Road bike that he got made when on a trip to Italy, sitting in the shed.
Sam’s involvement with cycling in the north east came after a chance meeting with some local club members at the winery in about 2005.He then started donating a few bottles of wine to the Wang CC for the Club tour, then it grew. The next year Sam was the Sponsor of the Wangaratta Cycling Club tour.In 2007 Sam became the major sponsor of the Wangaratta CC.
Also in 2007 Sam became the major sponsor of the High Country Road Race (Mansfiled to Oxley) a joint club run event with Mansfield CC, in 2008 the race became bigger with a criterium added to make it a weekend.
2010 saw Sam Miranda King Valley take over management of the event.
There have been some big changes made to the format of the event from previous years with some very exciting additions.A Road Race and Gran Fondo will be held on Saturday with a Handicap Road Race held on Sunday.
"The ROAD RACE has been changed from the point to point circuit to one big loop(See map below). We feel the circuit is just as challenging as the old course. We have kept the distance to 100km, like previous editions, and have incorporated some fantastic roads not previously used."
"This year we have two KOM’s. The first as riders come into Myrrhee (km 50) and the second is the infamous ‘Strade Nero’ which will take riders from Myrrhee up towards Whitlands (km 60) is sure to test and some have said “this will make the race”. Just like the Italian classic ‘Strade Bianche’ this climb is on dirt! The surface is in really good condition so you don’t need your Paris – Roubaix wheels!"
There will be an intermediate Sprint and a teams category has been introduced for A Grade Men.
Minimum of 3, maximum of 5 riders per team.
Riders who are not part of a team, who wish to ride A Grade will be placed into a composite team by Cycling Victoria.
The Teams Classification winning team will be taken on the combined times of the first 3 riders in each team.
Champion Systems are on board again to provide Race Winners and KOM Jerseys for all grades.
Another first this year is the Sam Miranda ‘Grand Fondo’ over 100km to be ridden over the same circuit(see map below) before the Road Race.
The Grand Fondo is a participation ride and will start at 11:00am one hour before the first riders set off in the 2012 Sam Miranda Road Race.
In true ‘Grand Fondo’ style this ride has full event timing and is a mass participation ride preceding the Sam Miranda Road Race. The circuit is a mix of quiet country roads, unique climbs including the famed ‘Strade Nero’ to Whitlands, a great descent into Whitfield and rolling country side and vineyards.
SATURDAY 25th AUGUST
SAM MIRANDA ROAD RACE:
GRADES: A, B, C MEN
A, B WOMEN
(A GRADE MEN – TEAMS CATEGORY)
START TIME: 11:00 AM ‘GRAND FONDO’
12:00 PM C GRADE
12:10 PM WOMEN B
12:20 PM WOMEN A
12:45 PM B GRADE
1:00 PM A GRADE
KOM: 2 PER GRADE
50KM MYRRHEE SCHOOL
60KM ‘STRADE NERO’
SPRINT: 15 MILE CREEK 35KM
PRIZEMONEY: MINIMUM $5,000 CASH & PRIZES
WINNERS / KOM JERSEYS ALL GRADES
ENTRY FEE: $60.00 – INCLUDES DINNER SATURDAY NIGHT AFTER PRESENTATIONS.
EXTRA TICKETS FOR THE DINNER ARE AVAILABLE FOR $25.00
On Sunday the 26th the inaugural SAM MIRANDA HANDICAP will be held.
GRADES: Open to all riders U19 and above
START TIME: 10:00AM
COURSE: Oxley, Moyhu, Greta, 15 Mile Creek, Myrrhee, Moyhu, Oxley(See map below)
PRIZEMONEY: PRIZEMONEY for the weekend exceeds $6,000 in cash and prizes
Prizes for 1st Unplaced U19, Woman, Fastest Time
ENTRY FEE: $45.00
PRESENTATIONS: AT CONCLUSION OF RACING
AT SAM MIRANDA CELLAR DOOR
Should you require any further information a race website has been set up www.sammirandaroadrace.wordpress.com
Follow on Twitter - Sam Miranda RoadRace
Cycling Victoria’s race listing http://vic.cycling.org.au/?ID=46867
I went out to Strath Creek today to photograph the Preston Mountain Classic.A chilly winter's day which produced some nice light .Check out the Image Gallery.
The past weekend saw the hotly contested Wang. CC 2 day tour featuring 4 stages of racing.The A Grade field was seriously strong with many competitors with National Road Series credentials.As I race C Grade my blog will mainly cover our race.
I also really appreciate Steve and Helen Bean from the infamous "Captain's Crew for making the effort in coming up from Melbourne,as did many others,to attend the weekends racing.Steve won just about everything in D Grade so looked pretty pleased with himself on Sunday arvo.
Stage 1.Road race over 52km depending on your Grade.
Stage 2.14km Individual Time Trial
Stage 3. 25km road race with a hill top finnish.
Stage 4. Kermesse over a 6km course.2-6 laps depending on Grade.
A chilly morning greeted us in Wangaratta as we rolled up to register around 9am.I was in C Grade and checking through the field I recognised many of the names and new it would be a competitive weekend ahead.
C GRADE FIELD
Zane Douglas, Wayne Reid,Dr.Gav(Gavin Frawley),Geoff Morley,Geoff Damm,Aaron Smith,Tony Reeckman,Mick Carmellotti Andrew Doyle,Michael Stringer U17,Thomas Slingsby U17,Stephen Damm U17,Gifford Crosswaithe, Stephen Field
I've had many a good tussle with Dr.Gav, and knew this weekend would be no exception,with the other strong riders in the field any victories would be hard earned.We rolled off somewhere around 10.30am for the first stage, which is the Under 17 Road Race course.This meant 2 climbs over Taminick Gap, which would help sort out who made the finish for the sprint.For the first few km's there were a few attacks but everything was chased down.As usual I messed up the intermediate sprint and with generous bonus points on offer, these are important.Managing to stick with the first 6 over Taminick the first time, the race was on.We rolled turns most of the second lap to ensure we stayed away,the 6 of us got over the gap again for the second time together.Knowing sprinting is not my strongest point I was wondering if I could get away solo.First attack turning into Warby Range road, unsuccessful,hit them again on the run down Shanley St,gap opened maybe 30metres but I was again closed down.Ended up finishing 6th for the stage as the last attack had hurt.
Would be a 14km Individual Time Trial with no time bonuses,a race against the clock.Pure and simple,no hiding.I love them in a weird love /hate kind of way.They hurt big time and you have to look deep inside yourself and be prepared to suffer the whole way.In some way I reckon it's a spiritual experience and I always get very anxious before the start of a TT.
Rolling off at 1min. intervals we were underway around 2.30.Remembering the golden rule of the ITT,dont start to hard,dont start to hard,dont start to hard I tried to keep the excitement under control until the Warby Range Road turn.Managed this partially well and was pretty well at full effort by the first turn.Passed my minute man before the first turnaround and pushed hard into the head wind.Rounding the first turn around I was in too big a gear and laboured a little to build up speed(mental not,dont do this at next one) coming back along Warby Range road the pace was much quicker with a tail wind helping matters.Passed another rider,good.Head down passing Shanley St and next second I'm off the road in the gravel,shit,that's not in the race plan.Hold on and slowly look to get back onto the black top.Relief, I'm still upright,put that out of the mind and keep pushing.Around the next TA point in a better gear and back up to speed.Rounding Shanley St corner managed to pass another rider from my grade and all out for the run to the finish.Trying to hold top gear the legs were burning.Finish,relief.
Official time 22min 42secs and first on the stage by 54 seconds from DR.Gav and Gifford Crosswaithe a further second back in 3rd.
I had the big guns from "Team Kosdown" staying with me over the weekend,so we had a great evening on Saturday eating home cooked lasagne and toasting a few marshmellows on the open fire.The big Lama can toast a wicked marshmellow( and is also especially handy on a TT bike blitzing a star studded A Grade field in their TT).
Sunday's weather forecast was not promising with showers predicted for Sunday afternoon,after checking the BOM radar upon waking,a band of showers was just to the east.
A 25km hill climb.After the ITT I'd managed to be leading the GC for C Grade by 20 secs on who else, but my favourite nemesis,Dr. Gav.Time to play the game.I glued myself to his wheel and didn't go to the front once.This caused the reaction from some in our group.I heard"you should be up front protecting your lead","the way you can TT why are you not driving the pace?" Well the answer to that was,"there is a hill to climb at the end and I'm planning to go up it as fast as possible". Intermediate sprint came and the points were won by others is the bunch with myself and Gav getting none.Suits me fine.
All together at the base of the climb and this is it.We had 2 under 17 riders in our bunch and boy could they climb.They took off like scolded cats leaving us mature aged gentlemen gasping.Me and the Dr. going head to head for the minor placings.
Now at this point I must digress.Back prior to the start I noticed Jake Morgan and Ash Baines looking on.So I wandered over to say g'day to these likeable fellows.Their instructions"after the last left hander on the climb,hit it in the big ring,nobody will be able to go with you"I'd been chewing this tactic over all race and had decided to give it a go.
With the 2 under 17's up the road it was also important not to lose too much time as one of them was not to far back from Dr Gav on GC.So with this is mind as we rounded the left hander I applied the required pressure with the left index finger to shift the chain into the 54.This is gonna hurt.Out of the saddle and go for the finish about 350metres away.Dr Gav is holding,we are side by side,another 100m passes in slow motion,I have half a wheel,another 50m the doc is gone and I'm looking at third.It's hurting now and I'm not sure if I can make it in this big gear.No negative thoughts, c'mon of course you can it's not much longer, 200m,100m finally the top, 3rd,happy,stuffed.
The Kermesse,4 laps,24km.I have a 20 second lead in GC to Thomas Slingsby,one of the U17's,and Dr. Gav another 11 seconds back.We roll off a little early it seems and Dr. Gav is not on the start line.Bugger,he has missed the start. My plan is to stick on young Slingsby's wheel and not let him get any time.With sprint bonus points on offer at the intermediate sprint and the finish he could still win the race for GC.His young friend Michael Stringer road a gutsy race pulling some big turns on the front helping close down any breaks.I had others to watch my back too shall we say, and had also been offered good advice from my more experienced riding friends.Also Dr Gav had turned up and was allowed to join the race after one lap. Young Slingsby won the intermediate sprint and I could do nothing about it,wow,that boy can ride.He picked up 10 seconds so had narrowed the gap by half.After the intermediate sprint Mick Carmelotti went up the road which was fine by me,he was no threat to GC and I would be more than happy for him to win the stage and get the 20 second bonus for the win.It was up to the younguns to chase and the efforts of Michael Stringer were nothing short of outstanding.However when he took off again and his young team mate failed to go with him this also was good for me.All I had to do was sit on and not let the others get to far up the road.When Geoff Damm took off from the bunch this was also great for me,I expected my young counterpart to go with him, but it never eventuated.Along the back straight of the final lap Dr. Gav's bike started to make some unusual noises and it appeared he was in trouble.By this time I had ridden to the front as I wanted to asses the lead of the 3 riders up the road.Making a quick calculation, they had about 13 seconds, all I had to do was make the finish line with the others and the GC was safe.Rounding the final bend the group go a little ugly and I bumped another rider pretty heavily but we managed to stay upright,not to stressful but you never know what can happen until you cross the finish line.
The weekend was a great success for me personally and the Wangaratta Cycling Club ran another wonderful event. I heard nothing but praise from fellow riders who attended the weekend with many talking about next year's race already.
You can also check out Wangaratta Cycling Club's facebook page for more.
Shane Miller also has a write up of his experience in our neck of the woods here
Shane is Australian Masters 1 ITT Champion and races at plenty of events.
"From the secretary Paul Lane who should also be thanked".
THANK YOU : John Myles, Rob Greenway (Mansfield) Dave Wohlers, Ros and Geoff Clarke, Suellen and Frank Loki, Maureen and Ian Bott, Meredith and Rosie Lane, Mal Kay, Bill McKay, Jim Samon, Fred Pane(Brunswick), Cathy Boal, Sarah & Dean McDonald, Graeme Rose, Jeff Little and anyone else that I didn't see or escaped my failing memory. Great team effort. Our Race Director was Frank Loki and our Commissionaire was Ian Bott. Top job by Both.