60k handicap with limit off 29 minutes over a pretty flat track with only a slight breeze blowing was going to make todays race a pretty tough assignment for the scratch markers to get up. I was in the 5 minute chopping block group along with Steve Ross, Rob Amos, Jean-Philippe Leclercq, Ray Russo, Simon Bone, Dayle Goodall along with Duncan & Shane.
We had a 5 minute head start on the scratch group which included Mick Hay, Matt Davis, Guy Green, Roy Clark, Geordie Probert and Frank Nyhuis. For our group to be of any chance, we needed to get out hard and pull back 4-5 minutes on the group ahead which included strong riders Wes Hurrey, Anthony Gulace, Trev Perry, Collin Morris, Callum Gough & Darren Woodhouse.
Steve, Rob and Duncan got to work straight away and everyone was contributing to good solid rolling turns with the pace sitting in the mid 40s. We kept it together pretty well, however J-P was like a dog on a leash and didn’t hold back on the small incline and soon opened up a gap.
We got it back together and as we made our way to the first turn around point we spotted our prey and it did not appear that we made any in roads on them at all. However the telling moment was around the 50 minutes into the race when we crossed paths with a huge group of riders who were already well into the 2nd and final lap.
We completed the first lap and we were told the lead group was 14 minutes up the road which meant we had pulled back 10 minutes. We had lost Shane and I was finding it pretty tough. Duncan did a monster turn on the start of the 2nd lap, however this effort must have paid a price as he soon too dropped out of the rotation.
Steve, Rob, J-P and Simon were doing an incredible job and didn’t miss a turn. Dayle & Ray too were working their guts out, while I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth and was lucky to still be there at the final turn around.
I dropped it back a gear, caught my breath, had a drink and waited for the scratch train to come thru. Like waiting for any train, time stood still. But when the Mick Hay led scratch train came thru, I quickly found out that they were not taking passengers.
Mick Hay provides the following report from the scratch group:
As I registered and checked the marks, I realised pretty quickly that the scratch group had been set an impossible task. Six of us were giving 5 minutes to the 9 rider strong second scratch group, with the other 73 riders spread out up to 29 minutes in front.
A highlight of the day for me was chatting to Lance Wearne about his Warrnambool win in 1966, first (and fastest time) from 2nd scratch. What a privilege for “youngsters” like me to be able to listen 1st hand to such stories!
That’s about where the highlights ended though. If we were going to have any impact we had to chase down 2nd scratch as fast as we could, so we started hard with the slight wind at our back. Too hard for Frank Nyhuis, who despite looking in great shape (and obviously riding OK given his recent Baw Baw win) couldn’t get the body working quickly enough and dropped off after half a lap.
Then Geordie Probert started struggling, and he was gone too by the top of the hill the 1st time out. Matt Davis was a bit under done so had to sit out the rotations. That left just Guy Green, Roy Clark and I to take track turns. Again I think it’s a privilege to be able to ride with these two guys, two of the best riders of their age anywhere, they’ve won countless races and titles and the club is lucky to be able to count them as long-standing members.
They drove hard, Guy in particular was looking super strong. Guy also managed to coerce Matt to dig deep and he came back into the rotation for the finishing stages, but we still couldn’t even see the race ahead, so it was just a matter of whether we could get fastest time. With the help of one last big turn for the final kilometre from Guy, we managed to get there, Roy finishing fastest in front of Matt.
I rolled back into to town, encouraged on by some locals, to find out that Scratch didn’t catch chopping block who didn’t catch the 3rd scratch group.
John Thomas managed to surprise the bunch with a late solo break for the line. His bravado paid off handsomely as he timed his run well and secured victory ahead of Dean Niclasen and Martin Peeters.
I was quite fortunate to score an entry into the 5th running of the Bicycle SuperStore sponsored Forrest 6 Hour from Kris who manages the Nunawading store. The race was capped to 450 riders and was sold out a couple of weeks before hand. This race wasn’t really on my radar, however it seemed a natural progression from competing in the Wombat 100 a couple of weeks ago.
I took Friday off work and met up with Sean, Dave, Mick and his son Lachie for a reconnoissance ride and felt relatively comfortable that I could handle what the track had to offer. There was a nice mix of flowing single track & fire trails with enough bumps, jumps & logs to navigate to test my newbie skills.
The Solo category had a tad over 100 starters where we were given the privilege of starting 5 minutes ahead of the various teams categories. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere & I managed to settle the nerves by having a quick chat with Sunbury rider Col Bell. Col is backing up after a personal best performance at the Wombat 100 where he achieved the allusive sub 5:30 for the 100kms.
Also in the Solo start was Mark “Bobby” Withers, who played AFL with Melbourne and Brisbane Bears, looking super fit and ready to tick the 6-hour-enduro off his “MTB To Do” list. Bobby was going to take a conservative approach and ride out the 6 hours with his good mates JP and Wayne Watkins.
The start was very orderly and I was happy to sit back and watch a group of 15 or so riders take off from the gun. Col was in this group as were 3 chaps in BSS colours. I was near the front of the 2nd group and had a relatively clear path as we turned off the fire trail onto the leafy track. It was soon evident as to who was racing for early points and who was planning to go the distance.
I gradually pulled in a couple of the riders from the front group and found myself behind the 3 BSS guys who were sticking together. I managed to get a nice sit for a while, however I was not able to follow their wheels on the more twisty down hill sections.
I completed the first 3 laps in just a tick over 2 hours and all was going well. I stopped and picked up supplies and Sean mentioned that I was sitting in 6th position in the 40+ Category.
On the 4th lap I did crank it up however I obviously confused enthusiasm with capability as I came a cropper trying to hop over a fallen tree which was blocking the path. I had navigated this innocuous obstacle multiple times already. I couldn’t believe it as I had to pick myself off the deck, checked for damage to bike and body before getting going again. Back in conservative mode.
The teams were racing on a separate course to us, however there were a number of sections where we shared the same track. This was good and bad as it provided an impetus to keep going, but it was also an uneven playing field as fatigue built up. The solitude when we went our separate ways was always welcomed.
I had lost track of the number of laps completed. I gather I started the 8th lap with still 1 hour remaining. No idea of who was in front or who was behind, my aim was to make sure I got the lap done before the 6-hour cut off. It was going to be a close call as all the old football injuries were presenting themselves and the bike was making all sorts of noises. Fortunately or unfortunately I made the cut off with 5 minutes to spare and went out to complete the 9th and final lap.
Unbeknownst to me I was sitting in 5th position and was 10 minutes behind Stuart Morgan. I was absolutely stuffed at this point and with the sun dropping quickly, it was getting hard to see. I was creeping along. I saw Col riding back towards race central while I was still heading out. He went on to finish 6th in the open male category, which he is now counting as his best result.
It was pretty quiet and I sensed that I was the last person on the circuit. I felt that all the volunteers who have spent hours on the course were willing me on to hurry up. I finally stopped the clock after 6:44 of riding. My garmin tells me it was 120km with 2,120 metres of climbing, however the results have it down at just over 100km and that I came away with 5th place.
My camping buddies Mick, Dave and Sean were racing in a Triple 40+ team. They all rode brilliantly and got 4th.
Richard Read paired up young gun Mat Gunstun and did very well to finish 5th in the very competitive Male pairs category. They missed out on doing a final lap by less than a minute which put them 1 lap down to BSS JDT team of Ben Walkerden and Felix Smalley.
Garry Wishart and Stephanie Coulson placed 5th in the Mixed pairs and John Clarkson was part of the 4-person team which came 2nd in that category. Bobby & JP both completed 7 laps with Wayne clocking in 5.
It was definitely a great event, well organised, wonderful trails. Big thanks to the vols & organisers. Big thanks to BSS for supporting the race. Also thanks to Mick, Sean and Dave who helped & encouraged me thru out.
The following clip from our reconnoissance ride on Friday shows off the Forrest trails and terrain. It also shows off the amazing skills of 9yr old Lachie.
ANZAC day 1979, the Northern Vets Cycling Club conducted the inaugural handicap race in honour of the soldiers who went to fight overseas and made the ultimate sacrifice. The race was christened by Harry Sutherland, a World War II veteran, as the Benghazi Handicap to commemorate the 1941 withdrawal of Australian and British troops in Northern Africa from the pursuing German African Corps.
Lancefield, once gain, provided the picturesque backdrop for the race which was to be contested by more than 120 riders from all points of Victoria, split into 13 groups.
The 77km race was made up of a lap out to Newham followed by a larger loop around Carlsruhe. A pretty stiff breeze was coming in from the NorthWest which was going to increase the degree of difficulty on the outward leg along Three Chain Road, however could provide some assistance on the ride back thru the Newham-Rochford rollers to Lancefield.
The first bunch to head off, included Vince Sinni, the newly crowned president of Northern Cycling with a mark of 44 minutes. They were to be pursued by the 2nd limit off 35 minutes which included Eastern rider JC Williams who has been going very well of late.
The 24 minute bunch had a good mix of talent which included Dan Ives who was looking to back up after winning the Cec Crips handicap up at Maryborough over Easter.
Rob Amos wearing the lucky 13 was in the chopping block group which had a 3 minute head start on a very strong scratch group which included Guy Green and Roy Clark.
Peter Cooper’s 5:30 bunch also looked good on paper with many of his group in the top 10 of the Bradley Memorial Handicap from a couple of weeks ago.
Our 11 minute bunch got off to a good start, however we were a couple of guys down with Darryl O’Keefe missing the call up and a couple of no shows. It was up to Nick Oakley, Ash Yelland, John Clarkson, Bruce Will, Tony Michel and Michael Hartman to see if we could pull back 2:30 to catch the next group while trying to preserve a 3 minute buffer on our pursuers.
Ash was riding strongly and set a good tempo up the Dons Road drag on our way to Newham. However the tempo was not good for the group. Tony and I managed to stick with Ash and once over the top of the deceptive bump we had opened up a 100M gap. Do we sit up and wait? Do we carry on?
We decided to keep going. Whether it was an act of bravery or treachery would be determined based on whether we make the catch rather than being caught. We did pick up a few riders along the way, however, in the end we were no contest to the combined 5:30 and 8:00 bunch who reeled us in at around the 40km mark.
Geoff Marley from Hume Vets came storming thru, big smile on his face, showing that he still had plenty in the tank. He was soon followed by a steam train of what appeared to be a full contingent of the 5:30 and 8 minute groups who were motoring. It was also good to see Bruce Will was able to hook on the back and rejoin the battle.
I was looking for some recovery time after our little failed adventure, however riding in the gutter as we headed out to Carlsruhe was not much fun and therefore it was much wiser & safer to get back into rotation. The entire bunch work incredibly and by the 60km mark (I think it was) we managed to pull in another largish group and caught site of the lead car.
I was feeling ok, however I was still very conscious of getting up & over the Rochford hill. As we headed through the Newham rollers, I tried to keep near the front to make sure I didn’t get left behind. Fraser Short and the pocket rocket Matthew Grealy were riding the hills well and Paul Ranson and Mark O’Meara looked very comfortable and ready to pounce at any time.
Almost every race I have done on the Lancefield circuit, the winning move is on the Rochford Hill. I snuck in behind strongman Phil Bramich and was happy to sit 2nd wheel. However Fraser was keen to keep the pace up to see if we could spread the bunch out a bit. David Phillips also responded and while it was not a race winning move, I was very happy to be at the pointy end.
Phil and David flew down the back of the Rochford Hill & I was happily ensconced third wheel pretty much riding on the white line. The follow car was on the blower warning of DQs for who dared to cross the white line. This however didn’t stop a couple of lads performing a death-defying overtaking move down the right side of the road and quickly opening up a gap.
David Phillips did a mighty job to reduce the advantage and we turned in the McMasters Lane finish straight 5th and 6th wheel respectively. The run for the line was a little hectic with David cramping up and almost grinding to a halt. I managed to get around him but didn’t have the legs to get near Paul Ranson who got the close win from Tony Michel and David Mann.
Normally you would pencil Leigh Egan’s name down for the winning the fastest time, however his run was broken through a puncture which left it to Darren Roberts to take the closely contested sprint for the line from Andrew Pascoe and Neville Laffy.
Of the 9 women racing, Leigh-Anne Dynon off 16 minutes won the 1st un-place female prize.
The Northern Cycling team put on an impressive post race feast where a minute’s silence was recognised in honour of the ANZACs along with some of our members who have recently passed away. It was also quite moving to be told that Harry Sutherland, the man responsible for giving this race a name, passed way 5 days earlier.
Check out Harry on the following SBS article on the Rats of Tobruk.
SUTHERLAND. – Harry Ross. 25.12.1919 – 21.4.2013 Your nickname was “The Bear” but you were always Dad to me. Miss and love you forever – The Young Bloke.
|1st||Paul Ranson||Goulburn Valley||5:30 minutes|
|2nd||Anthony Michel||Goulburn Valley||11:00 minutes|
|3rd||David Mann||Hume||5:30 minutes|
|4th||David Anderson||Northern||11:00 minutes|
|5th||David Phillips||Eastern||5:30 minutes|
|6th||Mark O’Meara||Goulburn Valley||5:30 minutes|
|7th||Mathew Grealy||Central Victorian||5:30 minutes|
|8th||Jason Sherlock||Goulburn Valley||8:00 minutes|
|9th||Peter Cooper||Northern||5:30 minutes|
|10th||Bruce Will||Eastern||11:00 minutes|
Winners Time 1:54:30 – an average speed 39.82 kph
Fastest Time 1:50:01 – an average speed 41.34 kph
The original plan was not to race this weekend. I had thought I may have needed more than a week to get over last weeks Wombat 100 race and I was keen to go into next weeks Benghazi Handicap feeling fresh. However the lure of racing Dunlop Rd with EVCC in near perfect Autumn conditions was just too strong. The added bonus was catching the final race of the A Grade teams series, where my Adriatic team mates were racing.
Race Referee for this week was Richard Dobson. Richard is one of the band of contributors at the EVCC club who work tirelessly to make sure we all enjoy good, safe & competitive racing all year round. Richard, under the watchful eye of Ronnie, delivered the race briefing and set a full B Grade contingent of 25 off for an hour of racing.
After the completion of the slowest controlled lap in the history of cycling, the attacks began. There were plenty of action but with no reward. I did have a little go off the front too and joined forces with a very keen Darren Woodhouse for a lap or two, but really this was more about seeing who was who in the bunch.
After Darren & I were brought back into the fold, Glen Newnham counter attacked and was soon joined by Wes Hurrey. This was a brilliant move and they quickly opened up a good gap on the main bunch. We all looked at one another to see who was going to start the chase, however no one did.
The pattern from here on was one or two would attempt to bridge across to the two away, the bunch would then chase the bridgers and once they were caught, the bunch would sit up. There was no urgency to shut the break down and the gamble seemed to be on the break blowing up. With Wes’s break away partner dropping off and returning back to the bunch and with still plenty of time on the clock, that gamble seemed to be the likely outcome.
However Wes, who runs a the SoulRider Spin Studio, obviously knows a thing or two about pacing himself and kept the pressure on and preserved his gap right to the end to score a sensational win. For the rest of us it was gong to come down to a bunch sprint. The last lap was probably one of the quickest with everyone jockeying for position. Leading into the final corner Darren Woolhouse was the first to open things up and kept it tight on the left hand side. I was out wide sitting 4 or 5 wheels back and jumped with about 300m still to go. I got a good run, however not good enough to get over Darren who was able to hang on for 2nd.
Behind me I could hear Martin Peeters and Dave Hyde closing quickly. Martin was right on my tail and pulled out a little too late and was not able to get over me before the finish line with Dave Hyde right on his heels to finish up 5th.
I caught up with Wes & he provided the following update:
I really didn’t expect that effort when I went across to rider 150, Glen Newnham to stick. In fact I thought there were a few riders on my wheel. When I got to Glen I looked back and we had a 100m on the bunch. Glen and I put in a couple of big laps. He worked into the wind on Dunlop Road and I wound it up around the remainder. Unfortunately he dropped off. I don’t think I would have grown the gap to what it was if I hadn’t had Glen for those 2 or 3 laps.
From then on it was a case of, well I’m out here, let’s see how long it lasts. I expected the bunch to come back. Every time I got to the end of a long straight I would look back, ‘nope, not there, guess I better keep going’ 10 minutes , 15 minutes went past. It wasn’t until I got to about 50 minutes that thought I might make it. But even then I knew a few hard laps from the bunch, if they worked together?, would bring me back.
It was good to be able to focus 100% on riding efficiently and as fast as I possibly could at all points on the track while keeping the intensity right on my threshold. Every corner I was able to take the fastest line. Used the wind where possible, tried not to use too much energy into the wind.
While I had a good ride I also just got lucky that the bunch didn’t really appear to work together.
Thanks Wes!! Great ride and a well deserved win. Also a big thanks to the EVCC crew for another top day of racing.
A great effort by Mick Hay to race in a very strong Master A category of the Baw Baw Classic and come away with a top 10 result. Here is Mick’s report of how it went.
Masters A Grade Report by Mick Hay:
1st up, congrats to Lucy Coldewell, who won the women’s race in a canter and was generous enough to credit her team, but it really was a no-contest!
Also my mate Lethal Leigh Miller for tackling the monster in B Grade Masters. They don’t come any harder than Lethal. Who else would start their racing career with this one!
So to my race, in Masters A grade. It was always going to be tough, and I just don’t understand why they run a masters if it’s not aged based, but I knew to expect a tough day. Early on lots of attempts to create a break were made, none successful but lots causing pain, and I suspect self-inflicted wounds to the instigators of the attacks. I was sitting down the back trying to do as little as possible. I had forgotten how hard the 1st 40km is, it contains some challenging hills.
A couple of times Michael Gallagher went to the front and drove it hard, causing splits that came back together due as much as anything to him easing off – I think he may have difficulty descending (for those who may not know, he is a highly decorated paralympian and has 2 paralympics pursuit gold medals). He really is super strong. Two riders did get away – I think Stephen Lane was one – and they were well out of sight, but as so often happens in this race, they were not able to sustain it all the way.
No excuses from me, and in fact I believe I made the rookie mistake of changing my pre-race diet without having it sorted out properly, leaving me feeling bloated during the 1st half of the race. I was worried about hanging in over Vespers in what was a very strong field. I put myself near the front as we approached Vespers, anticipating that it would be a strong tempo with some surging near the top to force a break. Well, at the very start of the hill, the pace was cranked right up to a level I knew I couldn’t sustain, and I just couldn’t hang in; my race was run.
Four of us including my Eastern Vets mate Gerry Donnelly formed a group out of the remnants and rode together to the base of the main climb. By now I actually felt much better than I had earlier, and I was able to ride off from my companions and pass a collection of zig-zagging riders from the grades in front of us, some of them painfully under-geared.
At the finish (I was 10th, 9 minutes behind the winner) I felt much fresher (well OK, maybe just something less than totally wrecked) than I have in my 3 previous attempts at this race, perhaps a bit deflated but realistically it was probably a fair result. As part of the post-mortem, the best part of which consisted of steak and red wine, I had a look back at previous attempts. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the strength of the field (and I appreciate it’s not a time trial), but the time this year was a full 10 minutes quicker than last time I entered which was masters 4/5 in 2011, and my own time was faster by 10 minutes.
My garmin didn’t record a strava segment for the climb, I’m not sure why, but I estimated it at 36 minutes. This was probably OK without being great; I rode a 34/28 gear, compared to when I did a training ride back in January on 36/28, and in the race I think I was about 1:30 slower. I think the gearing was right, my cadence was down in the 70′s, which is very low for me.
At least the thunderstorm held off until the drive home!
- Full results
- Cycling Victoria report
- Cycling Central Video Highlights
- A Grade reports by Matt Clark, Trent Morey & Mark Fagg
- A Grade Masters reports from Cameron Clamp, Shane Miller & Brad James
- B Grade Masters reports by Sean Wilkenson, Cameron Senese & Andy Burmas
- Womens A Grade reports by Lucy Coldwell & Holden Women’s Racing Team
- Womens C Grade report by Verita Stewart
- Photos by Tony Reekman (Gallery 1 & Gallery 2) & Jim Jones
- Classix video summary