Category Archives: Jaeger Renn-Jones
St Kilda Trophy race is one of the most popular & hotly contested races within the Northern Combine winter program. The Lancefield course is considered to be sprinters race, however, I recall it having some testing rises along Dons Rd and a few bumps through Rochford.
The SKCC boys and girls get right behind this race and are keen to sweep each grade and bring home the booty.
Nicole Whitburn was the winner of the womens A Grade race, Nonie Carr (Brunswick) the B Grade winner and Hawthorn rider Bridgett Slocum was first home in C Grade.
Liz Hall’s Women@HCC wrap (5.5Mb) has reports and photos from all the 3 races.
Kos Samraus (Coburg) was in a two man break which lasted 87km. Nathan Elliot (Brunswick) & Peter English (SKCC) managed to bridge across to the break late in the race to steel the win with Stuart Hill (SKCC) 3rd and Kos in 4th.
Ritch promised and he has delivered. Here is his report from the B Grade race:
B grade rolled out on lap 1 with a dangerous looking move of about 8 riders causing a little split that needed closing, but things settled down quickly as Andrew McGrath (HCC) attacked solo. The bunch was happy to let him go and so it went for the next 50 or so km, McGrath was up to a minute and a half up the road as a BG rider rode a lot of tempo on the front with few helpers.
We made the catch most of the way around lap 2 as the counterattacks started. I joined one just before Rochford KOM but it went nowhere and then saw Andrew Heraud (O’Mara Cycles) hammer across the top. Shortly after, a mad chase of a number of riders took about 5km to catch the flying Heraud. He was brought back and the front group continued to keep the pace high onto Three Chains Road.
Finally they slowed down and I rolled through to second wheel, looked back to see Michael Read (Preston CC) moving up. Sure enough, he lit the touch paper so I jumped on and we rode away from the uninterested bunch. We got away a fair distance but were caught by Heraud and Ryan Nyberg (HCC) on Don Rd as we came into Newham. Read was dropped on the steep pinch out of Newham, which left the three of us to roll track turns to the end.
Nyberg attacked us at Rochford KOM, but we caught him by the top. No time for messing around as the bunch was closing after the descent towards the finish, Nyberg attacked again but was unable to escape, while Heraud burned his last match as we turned into the finishing straight. Nyberg was able to close the gap and it was straight forward sprint from 300m. We just held off a fast finishing Rick Horvat at the front of what was left of the main field.
Thanks very much to all the volunteers organising and marshalling, was great fun!
C Grade by Jaegar Renn-Jones
A big thanks to Jaegar for providing the following report:
On Saturday I raced the St Kilda Trophy as my first foray into C-Grade club racing. After a good result in Hell of the West the handicapper saw fit to promote me, along with half a dozen others, to C grade. I suspect the main reason I got the nod was just the lack of an E grade race – hence the redistribution of riders – but I wasn’t about to look a gift-horse in the mouth.
In the week leading into the race, assuming that I was racing D, I’d planned to ride quite aggressively and try to force a split early in the second lap. I’ve raced that circuit three times and I’ve always felt that the pinch into Dons Rd is the perfect place to attack on a final lap. It is just steep enough that a 5-second jump can force a gap, then the sustained but gentle incline for the next 500 metres or so is enough put some distance into the bunch. Following that you have 14kms of undulating terrain to hold the bunch out.
But I wasn’t racing D anymore. So my strategy switched completely. Instead of being that person who rides aggressively, I set out to be the biggest wheel-sucker in the race, and watch the stronger riders to see if anyone attempted anything interesting.
Once we rolled out onto Three Chains Rd the pre-race nerves settled somewhat. I started out mid bunch, but I had no intention of burning any energy trying to maintain my place in the bunch. Because it was relatively small – around 25-30 riders – I felt that sitting on the back was not a huge risk. The other thing that made me confident in this strategy was that the course, with its gentle bends and limited corners, does not encourage dramatic changes in pace. In a crit it is a lot hard to sit on the back than in the front third of the bunch, but in a race like this there really is no difference being on the back other than that you sacrifice the possibility of joining a break.
So as people jostled for position in the bunch I drifted backwards over the course of the first lap until I was right on the back. Whenever people started to drop a wheel I could easily roll around them so I was happy.
Obviously being on the back I wasn’t in a position to watch the breakaway attempts closely, but from what I could see no one managed to create any kind of gap in the first lap.
The race continued in that way, with me sitting on the back, until we hit Dons rd for the second time. As I mentioned above, I expected that someone would attack at that point. But nothing happened. There was a slight change in pace but really no one seemed interested in attacking hard. It seemed that everyone with eyes on the prize was betting on either creating the split over the Rochford hill, or hanging on and winning a bunch kick. And that is how it turned out.
As we hit the Rochford hill, I was carefully stationed in my position toward the back of the bunch. For someone who is carrying a bit more weight than I should be, this was precisely the wrong place to be, but I justified it because, entering the race as the least-credentialed competitor, I never expected to be in contention anyway.
As we started to roll up hill though, I noticed that a lot of the other riders were drifting back. So I rode a little harder. The bunch was scattered by that point with a group of about eight riders moving 50 meters or so ahead of me and the other stragglers. As I rode harder I could see that I was beginning to bridge the gap, so I kept the tempo up until with a hundred metres to the top I came up to the back of the girls’ bunch. As I rode around them, with other riders trying to get past too, I had to get a bit vocal and yelled at my mate Drew to get out of the way. He politely obliged and I finally bridged to the front group as we crested the hill. Perfect.
I felt ok at this point and could have sat in at a faster pace, but I knew from my experience riding with the Friday bunch in Williamstown that at this pace it only takes one turn of missed-placed confidence to end my day. So I sat in some more.
If someone at the front had started directing us and got us into an echelon I suspect we could have held the bridging group until the sprint, but that didn’t happen. By the bottom of the descent, the bigger guys had caught us. When that happened I thought that we’d get swarmed, crit-style, and I’d be completely out of position. But everyone must have been shattered because when those half a dozen more bridged the gap no one came around me.
The next thing that was on my mind was holding the wheel into McMasters Ln. When I raced three-day tour last year, in the exact same stage I had needed to bridge to the leaders on the descent from Rochford, only to be dropped in the sprint because I missed the jump as we entered McMasters Ln.
As we turned the corner the pace seemed to drop a little – the garmin later told me we took the corner at about 40km/hr – but I managed to stay on as we straightened up into the last 500m.
So here I was, with about a dozen riders, contesting the sprint. Excellent. It is a narrow little lane and I didn’t expect to be able to come around anyone, but I was getting a nice lead-out anyway. In that last 500m we averaged 56km/hr, but I never actually had to put out any spike in power because I would have just run straight into the wheel in front of me.
In the final 50m Preben Kohler powered us on the front. Preben raced strongly all day, attempting a break late in the piece and spending a lot of time on the front earlier too. I can’t say I knew exactly what was happening on the front in that chaotic finish, but as it unfolded a couple of guys in front of me started to slow up, and I saw some gaps opening on the right-side of the road.
So I drifted right while trying not to do a Ferrari, and coming up to the line executed probably the most uncoordinated bike throw of the day. I threw the bike a second too early but on the line I felt I’d edged two guys who had been in front of me, and thought I had 5th or 6th place. Ahead of me Preben had managed to ride like a monster and hang on for the win, and his team mate Ash Abdou grabbed a clear second place.
As we slowed up after the sprint I had a quick word to Liam Hood, who said he also thought he and I were 5th/6th with the order uncertain. I thought I might have been disqualified for going very far right as I crossed the line, but other than that I was extremely happy with the outcome.
Until my perception collided with reality. On attempting to claim my place – “fifth or sixth” I told them “I’m not sure which” – the commissaire Lisa said that neither she, nor any of the other finish-line judges, had me in the top six. So that was the end of it.
Although I was disappointed, I consoled myself in the fact that I didn’t even remotely deserve a place, since all the other riders I contested the sprint with had done significant work on the front throughout the race.
No actual report, however Jaegar was able to clear up the “Who is Curly Black?” mystery that Lachlan Harrison-Smith raised in his Hell of the West race report. Curly Black is actually Brunswick rider Jarrod Peck and from all accounts he has a quick sprint which helped him win the D Grade race.