Monthly Archives: April 2012
Lachlan Harrison-Smith was one of the HCC members saddling up to tackle the Hell of The West which incorporates the savage 20% climb up Mt Wallace. Here is his report from the D grade race where he just missed that decisive break, turned himself inside out and came away with a hat full of learnings. Great report Lachlan and good luck in your next race.
Here is a shot of the young man as he is saying his prayers before he takes on the demons from hell.
I’m not sure I can live up to Fuzzy Dave’s gripping race report from last year but I think it falls on me to provide the group with a summary of the racing from Saturday’s Hell of the West out at Balliang.
This is particularly true as there were only about 4 Hawthorn riders who managed to put in their entries in the 5 minute window before they closed (the notable absentees being certain Boomchikas who may have still been curled up in the foetal position after Baw Baw the week before).
Anyway, here is my race report of my second attempt at the Hell of the West (and my third road race):
I arrived nice and early on Saturday morning, having iphone-GPS’ed my way through the fog-covered paddocks west of Werribee to find myself at the Balliang memorial hall well before entries opened at 9am.
The advantages of my early arrival were twofold:
1. I was able to have a nice warm-up and stretch along the finishing 5km of the course (noting the splendid ’20 dead foxes hung up on a fence’ exhibit about 2km from the line); and
2. I avoided repeating my mistake from the Buller road race a month prior, where I was still utilising the public amenities as the race started and forced to chase on to the peleton through the backstreets of Mansfield.
The race itself started as it had last year – with the entire field conscious of ‘that hill’ and not wanting to exert any more energy than strictly necessary at this early stage. The result was that everyone in D grade attempted to find a wheel to sit on at 32km/h, so the field was stretched out in single file at the front, with me stubbornly heading a second column of riders from about 8th wheel onwards. And so we rolled on until the traditional ‘early break’, which I duly chased down for the peleton. I will call this “first burnt match”. Just testing out the legs.
I had thought about the tactics required to do well on this course and had concluded that I, too, should play it safe until Mount Wallace (about half way round the 65km course in D grade). So it was a bit of a surprise to me to find myself chasing and joining in another early break away a few kms later (we will call this “second burnt match”), with no real prospect of success.
Around the 90 degree corner it was on again, and having enjoyed the sensation of going fast and being in a break a few more of us tried to put the pressure on and stretch out the peleton a bit.
A few kms down the road, a strong solo rider in a black top and with curly hair rode away from the bunch (we will call him Curly Black). Shortly after that I was off attacking again, chasing down Curly Black with a few others in an effort to make it to Mount Wallace first (we will call this “third, fourth, fifth and sixth burnt matches”). We held off the bunch (which had been well and truly broken up by now) for a while but the real result was that I was hurting big time by the time we neared Mount Wallace, and slipped down through to the back of the pack to catch my breath. Ouch.
So I had totally trashed my race plan and my fresh legs, and we were up to the hardest part of the race. I worked my way back up through the pack on the hill, passing most of the pack again up the 1km section with an average gradient of ‘ridiculously steep %’. Cresting the top of the hill amongst the leaders, we formed up and took off across the ridge. Mostly St Kilda riders, a couple of strong women but no familiar faces, it was just holding on at this stage as I tried to recover from the max effort of the hill climb while not dropping off the group.
Curly Black, meanwhile, was way out in front somewhere with another rider. We weren’t sure where he’d gone, but I think at that stage he was still leading.
Anyway, I knew at this time that if I could stay with this group I would have a chance of snatching the choccies but alas, in a moment of weakness I dropped the wheel and exploded, burning all my remaining matches – it was simply too much time in the red zone. I caught my breath and rode pursuit style at a good pace trying to catch back on, but I was useless against a bunch of 7 rolling turns ahead of me, so eventually they slipped out of sight.
I had recovered by now so put on the afterburners, and this is my preferred style of riding so it took a while for me to be caught by 3 chasing riders. We worked track turns and put on a fast pace to try to catch the group in front, but didn’t get close enough to catch them. We dropped one rider and caught another from the group ahead, and almost caught another as we came up to the finish but the real race had been in the group of 7 up ahead of us. Deep down I knew that if I had been fresh enough to hold that wheel and stay in that chase group the day could have been quite different, so I slunk home in about 12th place in my little group of 4.
As for Curly Black and his accomplice? Well turns out that his mighty legs and lungs were no use for the smarts of the chasing group behind him, as there was no sign of him at the finish line when we got there. Maybe he took a wrong turn at an unmarshalled corner? Again the lesson to everyone is to KNOW THE COURSE. He will be kicking himself once he makes his way back to Balliang (he’s probably still riding out there now looking for the corner marshall).
The conclusion for me? Well, I started the day as one rower/cyclist in a bunch of strangers but was shaking hands and smiling with my finishing group at the end like we were old mates. Turns out it’s 100% true that you only have so much energy to use in a race – and I could definitely have raced a lot (LOT) smarter, but blooming heck it was fun while it lasted.
So the big question is, who is this Curly Black?
Going through Rod & Jo Upton’s photos it was good to see Paul Ambry and Laurie Lovelock flying the HCC colours.
Shane Miller’s A Grade report about his 2nd consecutive win of this race is a compulsory read.
Thanks to Dave “Spider” Hendy for the following race report from the Baw Baw Classic.
After three months of training and being coached towards this day it had arrived. After some research into last year’s results and looking at the competition I set my goals to finishing mid field; staying with the peloton to Vespers Hill and completing the race in ~4hr 30.
At the allotted time the MAS 4+ field of 33 riders were away, with the kind words – don’t stop riding until you go under the gantry at the finish! At about 23 km in to the race it all changed dramatically, someone really put the hammer down and I found myself spat out the back with the peloton of about 30 riders heading up the road. I managed to catch up with Jason Scott (Laongatha CC) and suggested that we work together as it’s such a long way to ride solo!
We caught up to Malcolm Dow (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and the three of us worked well. Jason peeled off the back before the feed station. Malcolm and I rode together swapping turns and picking up other riders who would stay with us and share the load until the next set of hills then it was back to Malcolm and I; that’s the way it went until just after Icy Creek (about 30km to the finish) from there on it was pretty well just the two of us.
On the climb into Tanjil Bren I was scoffing all the lollies, gels and drink I could. A rest on the descent to the base of Baw Baw. OK just 12 km to go, only one more hour! But there was no doubting the lactic acid in the legs, the signs of cramps in the calf muscles or the sharp pain in the lower back. The first 5.5 km of the climb is gentle (1 in 20 like) lulling the uninitiated into a false sense of security.
We got to the Gantry where Baw Baw instantaneously transforms from the kindly and gentle Dr Jekyll to the ugly, utterly detestable and misanthropic Mr Hyde.
So off we set up the wall that is the final 6.6km of Baw Baw; it was here that Malcolm peeled off the back (he made it to the finish), Was I glad that after my first ascent of Baw Baw I had changed my gearing from 34 X 28 to 34 X 32; yep almost 1 for 1. If someone had offered me a 34 cassette yesterday at the start of ‘Mr Hyde’ I would have taken it! It makes such a difference.
Getting to the resort turn off (2km or 1/3 into ‘Mr Hyde’) was just a matter of every now and again getting out of the saddle to relieve the lower back, but not putting down too much power to save the thighs, until the calf cramps came, then to fix the cramps put the power down to stretch the calves. Then back to sitting in the saddle to save the thighs. The resort turn off provides 30 seconds of relief, then Mr Hyde’s back with a vengeance.
I had heard the fables of riders zigzagging their way up Baw Baw (from one side of the road to the other) of walking up Baw Baw. It was on this last 4 km that I saw firsthand at least four riders zigzagging and three walking, another just standing. There was also irrefutable evidence of others who had over cooked their lunch.
It’s a mind game; counting the orange roadside guide poles, one down……long wait, two down….. sh.t there’s not another one for 200 metres; OK count the ones on the other side; three down….. And relentless swapping between in and out of the saddle to relieve whatever muscles were complaining the most. Seven minutes per km.
The finish line was just the best sight. To see James Grey and Liz Hall on the podium was tremendous.
Even half an hour after the finish I don’t think I was making any real sense. Thanks to the Lovelocks I was well looked after; Jono got me feed and changed; sit down, you need sugar get these gels into you, and drink; OK glasses off, jersey off, wipe down, singlet on, shirt on etc. Laurie took the numbers and transponder back, dismantled the bike and put it in the boot.
Jono asked if I would do it again, I don’t know, I said, ask me a few days time.
A few days isn’t up yet.
I achieved two of my three goals, mid field and within 4:30, two out of three ain’t bad.
Without a doubt it’s the hardest, most challenging 103km I have ever ridden and 97 of those, while hard, were relatively straight forward.
Amazing race Spider. Well done on getting through it and I am sure you will be back giving it your all next year.
Genesys Pro Cycling’s Nathan Earle continued his comeback from injury today when he took out the ANZ Mount Baw Baw Classic for the third time after wins in 2009 and 2010. An incredible achievement in it’s own right made even more specical considering that he set a new course record time and that he has only been back on the bike for 6 weeks. See the Genesys race report for more details.
Blake Hose who spent a significant part of the race off the front was able to make it a Genesys double with Jason Spencer (Budget Forklifts) rounding out the podium. See Jason’s race report on the Climbing Cyclists Blog for details of his encounter with the orange army.
Liz Hall (HCC) was third in the women’s race which was dominated by Miranda Griffiths (SKCC). Read Liz’s race report within the Woman@HCC Wrap.
Ed Powell was a convincing winner of the B grade race and HCC young gun, James Gray held on to win the C Grade race by a mere 6 seconds.
Mick Jameson has written a report within the EVCC Newsletter which gives an account of the how the EVCC riders got on.
|6th||David De Pedro|
Tony Chandler, who was looking for his 4th straight win in this race, had to settle for 3rd behind CyclingInform duo Danny Kah and David “Steggles” Sturt. Check out Team Adriatic‘s newly pressed blog for more news & photos.
|A Grade||15th||Jono Lovelock|
|B Grade||7th||Peter Wood|
|C Grade||1st||James Gray|
A big thanks to Dave Tennant, Laurie Lovelock & Stefan Kirsch for the pictures.
The final race of the EVCC summer team series was a Dunlop Road criterium where a some what undermaned Croydon Pick-A-Part team were looking to defend a slender series lead. Doherty/Eltham Cycles were looking to ascert their advantage with Rob Amos, Guy Green & Peter Howard in a lot of the early action.
Phil Cavaleri (Adriatic) had a cracker of a day. Phil is a very good sprinter and usually plays to his strengths where he is invisible during the race and saves himself for the final run to the line. However today was the Phil of old where he had a couple of good cracks off the front.
My Coonara team mates raced their final race in the flaming woodheater kit. Steve, Frank & Darren all put it on the line and Damian looked like he had succeeded in getting into the winning break. However a mid race fall involving one of the Croydon riders resulted in a couple of laps being neutralised and it all being brought back together.
With 15 minutes of racing remaining, Stefan Kirsch (Doherty/Eltham Cycles) hit out and capitalised on the earlier good work of his team mates to build up a nice little lead. With no real response from the bunch, Stef was able to ride out the remainder of the race solo & notch up a fantastic win.
The remaining places, points and envelopes was decided in a massive bunch sprint. With riders taking the full width of the road it was Mark Kinzett (EVCC) who prevailed and Roy Clark (Croydon Pick-A-Part) in 3rd. Boyd Friis who was the sole representative for Giant-Celtic claiming 4th with about 5 other riders but ended up being awarded 6th.
Race 6 Results
|1st||Stefan Kirsch||Doherty/Eltham Cycles|
|3rd||Roy Clark||Croydon Pick-A-Part|
|4th||Peter Howard||Doherty/Eltham Cycles|
|7th||Mick Jamison||Croydon Pick-A-Part|
Final Team Standings
What a great way to finish of the series with Doherty/Eltham Cycle and Croydon Pick-A-Part being all square on points. It goes to show how important each and every point is in the final wash up. A count back based on number of wins was employed and the top team prize was awarded to the Croydon boys.
|TEAM||RACE 1||RACE 2||RACE 3||RACE 4||RACE 5||RACE 6||TOTAL|
Final Individual Standings
Tom topped the individual standings even though he missed the last 2 races. Jamie Steward moved up the ladder into 2nd spot while Gerard Donnelly shared 3rd spot with Roy Clark.
|1st||Tom Leaper||Croydon Pick-A-Part||52|
|3rd||Roy Clark||Croydon Pick-A-Part||34|
|5th||Guy Green||Doherty/Eltham Cycles||30|
|6th||Stef Kirsch||Doherty/Eltham Cycles||27|
|7th||Peter Howard||Doherty/Eltham Cycles||26|
|8th||Rob Amos||Doherty/Eltham Cycles||23|
|David DePedro||Croydon Pick-A-Part||15|
Well done Damian Burke and Nigel Kimber for promoting and managing the teams series and to EVCC for supporting it and conducting terrific, safe & hotly contested racing.
Southern Masters Criteriums at Lakewood Boulevard over the Easter long weekend is becoming somewhat of a tradition to entertain those not Maryborough bound. Today was a typical 4 seasons in one day, where racing started off bathed in sunshine and continued under the threat of some pretty serious looking rain clouds which opened up at the conclusion of the first half of the race program.
The absolute highlight of the morning was the A Grade race where Dave Tozer (Fenton Green) must have watched Paris Roubaix last night and was inspired by Tom Boonen’s effort. Dave snuck off the front around lap 3 & the bunch appeared to be content to leave him out there alone. The bunch no doubt assumed it was too early to be a threat and that Dave would come back to the pack when he had had enough. Well this never happened. Dave just seem to tuck himself up and made himself invisible to the elements and opened up what started as a 10 second break, soon to be 20 seconds, then 30 and in the end was able to hold a 40 seconds gap to the chasing bunch.
The chase bunch wasn’t hanging around either. First to respond was a Hampton Cycles rider along with Big Mark “Road Block” Thompson and Russell Newnham. Dean Heathcote (Total Rush) and Nick Youngs (ZoomVideo) were next across and then a big effort from Gary Polack (Omara) and Kevin Murphy (Classix) to form a very solid 7 man chase group.
The clouds got darker and wind felt as though it was picking up too. However this did not seem to bother David as he appeared to be on auto pilot and towards the end of the race lapping all but the 7 chasers. Dave took the bell after 60 minutes of racing and powered on for a terrific win. Gary Polack was best of the chase group with Dean Heathcote hot on his heals in 3rd.
The C grade race had plenty of action with the bunch was not letting any break stay out for very long. Steve “BMX Bandit” Ollerenshaw was quite active as were Classix riders Angelo, Johnny and Marco.
In the end Marco won the C Grade race in a tightly contested sprint from Simon Higgins with Michael Opie 3rd. Carolyn Phillips was the first lady home. Jarrod Adem took the win in E grade with Brent Stafford and David Thompson filling out the podium. Suzy Barrett was the first unplaced female.