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.
I had a trip to Sydney last week to visit family and catch up with legendary bike fitter Steve Hogg. I have recently changed from Speedplay pedals back to Shimano and wanted Steve to set up a couple of pairs of shoes and check my bike position.
My appointment was for late afternoon which coincided with a couple of quiet beers with a couple of Steve's mates when we had finished.My bike fit was pretty easy as once the shoes were set up nothing else was changed.We also organized a ride for the Sunday which I was looking forward to.Sunday turned out to be pretty wet and we rode in some pretty ordinary conditions around Botany Bay.Still nice to get out on the bike and the feast at a local Bakery on our return was pretty special.
Yesterday I decided it was time to get out for a decent ride, I also wanted to have a play with a new toy I'd purchased in Sydney during a rush of blood and retail therapy. The new toy is a Garmin 800 bike computer which I bought mainly so I could read it's larger display as I struggle with the Garmin 500 which is much smaller.During yesterday's circuit I planned to call into local chocolate producers, Renaissance Chocolates,where I also have some of my photographs for sale.
On arriving and looking forward to a coffee and beautiful chocolates,only about 4kms from my place,Neil said"we've got a present for you".This was certainly unexpected and I wondered what was going on.After sitting down to my feast Robyn came out of the chocolate making area bearing the gift.Both Robyn and Neil have just returned from a trip to France and Italy and happened to be in Milano on the last day of the Giro d'Italia
They were initially unaware what was going on as they are not cycling fans and it was pure coincidence they were there.They told me initially they were a little annoyed, as the tourist bus that you can get on and off at the various attractions, was cancelled for the day.After trying to avoid the cycling crowd for most of the day they weakened and went to have a look.
It turned out to be the final TT of the Giro with the top 5 riders still left to start.So they saw history being made with the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour,Ryder Hesjedal.After 3 weeks of racing and over 3,500km he took the overall victory by 16seconds.After 3 weeks of racing
Now,back to my present.You can see the pic above and there is a signature on the hand.I asked Robyn who's signature it was and her reply was something like."Some Canadian bloke,the winner"Not only had they accidentally stumbled across this very exciting event,Robyn got the signature of the winner because she new I would like it.
Like it?I love it and it's gone straight to the pool room and if it was in a wrapper I would not have taken it out.
Drove up to Sydney a few days ago with my mother.We're staying at my sister Anne's and husband Gary's beautiful house in Woolwich on the Sydney harbour.Here are a few photos of them preparing Pizza last night.
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.