I've just added a gallery of images taken at Wangaratta Cycling Club's Ian Bullus Memorial Handicap. Click HERE to view Gallery.
It was my turn to be a corner marshall at today's race so it was only natural that I would sneak in a few photos as well.
Race Report courtesy Hume Veterans Website.
The Hume Vets Cycling Club’s race season concluded on the weekend with their “Christmas Handicap”.
In less than ideal conditions with strong winds, over half the Club members rode the 53km race from Benalla to Tatong via Moorngag and back to base via Emu Bridge.
The fairly easy course was marred by the very strong southerly that blew throughout the entire race causing many riders getting caught out in the side winds on the ‘top section’.
Scratch fronted with three riders and where chasing a five man ‘block’ group at 3 minutes and the lone limit rider who had a 50 minute advantage.
‘Block’ caught the 8 min boys at the top of the second and last climb of the day to make an 8 man group.
The 13 min group had broken up and the 16 min boys were in ‘no man’s land’ as the 19 min group had caught the 27, the 40 and limit man with 14 kms to go.
Both Grealy and Thrum (scratch) had bad days and dropped out of contention which left Lyster dangling behind the large group of ‘block’ and 8. With sheer determination and the aid of a very strong tail wind Lyster now the only scratchman crossed to the chasers as they turned onto Kilfeera Road for the final 8 kms to home.
Their sights were set on the 19 min group, still at a distance leading the race and Lyster turned ‘up the wick’ causing damage in the bunch which dwindled to five.
The leaders lost their lead with just 5 kms to the finish line although several attempts were made to join the fast finishing bunch, they were to no avail as the speed home for the new leaders were into the 50’s.
Rounding the final bend and facing a 1 km very strong side wind the five had to plan and wait until the last moment to launch their attack.
It was the older head of Lyster senior (Laurie) to take the honours for the grand prize and son Tully had to settle on third place as he was edged out by Gavin Frawley making it a Wangaratta 1, 2, 3 finish with Albury’s, Dave Mann stopping it being a clean sweep by the Wang boys as Geoff Morley finished 5th. Even Bernie Grealy, also from Wangaratta returning after almost a year off the bike (due to serious health complications), managed to sprint his way into 6th from the persuing 19 min group.
The younger Lyster also took out the Fastest Time award with a creditable 41.46 kph average and riding almost half the distance alone was a fine performance.
Apologies for my lack of blog entries of late but for some reason,there has been other things taking precedence. It's interesting writing a blog and sometimes getting stressed because you've not been posting anything, then wondering does anybody really care anyway?
I could probably write a novel on the last few weeks,but I will spare you from that, which included a trip to the Goulburn area to compete in the Australian Masters Time Trial Championships.Whilst reasonably pleased with my ride from a personal point of view there is plenty of work to be done if I'm going to be competitive at the pointy end of that competition. I placed 15th from the 23 riders who started in my category, Masters 4. Special thanks to Tully Lyster who was my travel companion and competed strongly to finish 6th in Masters 2.We also were given help and support by Shane Miller ,who blitzed Masters 1 and also claimed fastest time of the day,his Fiance Von Micich who finished 3rd in WMasters 1 and Stephen Lane ,2nd in Masters 1.
Returning from the Masters the dust had hardly settled and it was time to line up for the Keith Esson Memorial Road Race.This race is run by Shepparton Cycling Club is 147km long, starting and finishing in Dookie.Riding well in the C Grade bunch I was involved in a crash on the second major climb and came down heavily on my LHS.I was pretty gutted afterwards and without the help of Laurie Lyster, who towed me most of the way back to Dookie I would probably have abandoned the race.
So last week I couldn't get interested in riding and decided, with the advice of others, to have a few days off the bike.
Coming into the weekend I could feel the urge to jump back into it and with the Tour of Bright on the horizon,I didn't want to miss a weekends racing. On Saturday. the Wangaratta Cycling Club's Spring series continued and was a great hit out with 2 climbs over Taminick Gap.I was unable to sprint past Dr. Gav on the line and had to be content with second place in B Grade.
Hume Veterans Handicap
This race was held over a course I'd never ridden and was basically 1 lap of a 44km circuit and then 1 lap of a 22 km circuit.Pretty much flat as a tack with the only incline the freeway overpass.Not my preferred terrain but you have to work with what your given.My bunch contained 3 other riders I'd ridden with before in handicaps and I knew we would have a good group.My group,Block,were given 5 minutes start on a well credentialled four man scratch group with 15 minutes to the middle markers and the two out marker groups, 20 and 27 minutes.
Before the completion of the large loop scratch has lost Grealy due to a mechanical which reduced their fire power but the group had reduced the 5 minutes deficit to just over 2.
My Block group managed to catch the 15 min group just nearing the end of the first lap, which increased our strength, but were still 8 minutes behind the leaders with just 22 kms to go.
Next to be caught, the 20 minutes group as they turned into Emu Bridge road, but scratch were making no impression on us now, with our reinforced strong, 11 man/woman bunch.
Turning back onto Kilfeera Road with 8 kms to the finish we were still 4 minutes down from the limit group and the race was really on, trying to hold scratch at bay and also catching the limit pair who were travelling strongly.
I put my head down and pulled some really solid turns along Kilfeera Road nearly popping myself in the process.I knew the pace had to be lifted if there was any chance of catching limit.We could see them in the distance but were starting to run out of road.
The freeway overpass is about 600 metres from the finish and it was just after this when limit succumbed and had to watch the race lead get snatched from them.I'd found myself on the front with around 300 metres left in the race with no other choice than to lead out the sprint.At around 150m to go I hit out for the line with every ounce of energy that was left in my body, expecting to be swamped on the line by the following riders.It seemed to take an eternity to ride that last 50 metres and Dr Gav came through right on the line.Neither of us could be sure of the verdict, with the line judges initially giving Dr Gav the victory.However the camera revealed that it was 15 cms that separated us and getting the judges verdict was me with Morley a bike length back for 3rd in one the most trilling sprint finishes the Club has seen for a while. Strang sprinted in well for 4th just ahead of Davison with limit man Lea home in 6th place and the other limit rider Cathie held on for 8th spot.
Scratch, who’s firepower was reduced still did exceptionally well but didn’t make any more ground on the eventual winning group in the last 12 kms finishing just on 2 minutes down with visiting Northern Vets rider Simon Welsh (Team Kosdown) taking out the Fastest Time honours at an average speed just under 40kph.
Today was my third attempt at this race which runs from Benalla to Wangaratta. The first year I was in the limit bunch and got dropped after 20km,last year I was in second limit and made it through with my group to the finnish and this year I was in the group in front of what is called block and managed to ride with the group pretty well.I ended up losing contact a few kms from home whilst trying to hang on the back of a long line a little after the scratch riders flew past. Considering the quality of riders in that group I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed.
This is Frank Loki's take on the race.Thanks Frank for forwarding this to me.
We had 49 starters for todays Ian Bullus Memorial – Benalla Wangaratta Handicap race over 64km (Tomarsh’s SRM) with fantastic NE Vic weather, partly cloudy mid teens temp,
Limit (5 riders) set off just after 10am from Tekkers Rest in Kilferra Rd Benalla.
Other groups were 22 minutes – 9 riders, 16 minutes – 12 riders, 11 minutes - 10 riders, 5 minutes – 8 riders and scratch – 5 riders.
Riders from Melbourne, Albury Wodonga CC, Lavington CC,Mt Buller Mansfield, Cobram were in the race (hope I haven’t missed any).
The race goes via Lurg, Greta, Glenrowan and on to the Wangaratta CC club rooms in Shanley St.
All groups stayed in their respective groups until the left turn from Greta to Glenrowan, although the gaps started to diminish.
At the right turn in Glenrowan into the old highway, limit riders were still 3 minutes ahead of the next group, who were only a bit over a minute ahead of the 16 min group. Scratch were 8 minutes from the lead at this stage and most riders in that group felt that they had, probably, too much work ahead of them, with such a short distance, about 15km to go.
Along Warby Rang Rd, with less than 5km to go the 16 minute and 22 minute groups got together and were fast closing on limit, who were engulfed along Shanley St making for a bunch sprint.
Ian Strang (Wang CC) prevailed over Ryan Allen (AWCC), Tomarsh Loki (Wang CC) Damian Christian (AWCC), Cullum Dwyer (AWCC) and Rob Greenaway (Mt Buller Mansfield CC).
Best over 55yo went Dave Wohlers.
Winning time was 1:46:37, 2nd & 3rd 1:40:37 and fastest time going to Matt Clark (Wang CC) 1:27:03,
Big mention to Maurs & Suellen for BBQ, ambience and refreshments for riders & spectators.
Below is a Strava segment I created for today's race. I cut a little off the start and finnish of the race, just to make sure the start was a little after the official start, so there wouldn't be any mistakes with others times and for the future in case we don't quite start in the exact same place.
This is one of Wangaratta Cycling Club's biggest races of the year.This will be my third year in a row entering the race.I think last year we had about 70 entries and the competition is very strong.So if you enjoy country racing get on board to help make this year's race the biggest so far.