Category Archives: Northern Cycling
The radar looked clear, however the windscreen wipers told a different story as we headed towards Broadford to Northern Cycling‘s ”Ex-President Mountain Goat Classic” handicap in honour of Warren Smith. And as has been the case the last couple of times we have crossed the Mt Macedon ranges, we arrived at the Glenoura CFA in bright sunshine and perfect racing conditions.
All up a small but dedicated bunch of around 30 riders were competing for a prize purse generously boosted by Woodards Real Estate. Paying down to 8th, plus fastest and first un-placed female meant that the odds of getting a return was a handy 1 in 3. Not that we are in it for the money.
There was a slight twist to this race with the handicaps not only issued on time but on the distance. The club’s handicapper, Bruce Logan, did an extraordinary job and set up a spectacular race where every rider had a chance to get in the results.
Unfortunately, or not, I was fulfilling my club duties and was assigned to driving the lead car. My job was to guide the 20 minute bunch of four riders around the 57km circuit. However, four quickly became three as Mark Collins found the early hills a little too much.
After around 15km of racing, the rolling hills near the traditional Broadford finish line saw David Watts drop off the pace which left John McKinnon and Stephen Saunders to soldier on as a duo.
From the rear view mirror it looked like John was doing it easy and was nursing Stephen through the hills and encouraging him to do turns when he could. The lads were working well and managed to keep it together after the completion of the big loop (33km) and the first of two of the smaller loops (12km) and now had to catch the remaining back markers who were doing one less small loop.
Ian Buckingham was riding well and was able to latch on to John and Stephen as they came thru. Sites were now set on the green socks up the road of Terry Duggan.
It looked like it would be a formality with 3 guys working together to pull back Terry. However it was the School House Rd climb which proved the difference. Terry spun his way up the hill seated, while the chase group splintered with Stephen, the sole survivor, muscling his way up & over the climb.
Terry opened up a considerable gap which Stephen now had to close down by himself. It was agonising to watch as Stephen slowly but doggedly reduced the margin over 5km of chasing to catch Terry inside the last km.
Stephen rolled past Terry within a stone throw of the finish and it looked like he would power away for the win. However, Terry still had some fight left and managed to grab Stephen’s wheel as he came thru and make it a sprint for the line which he narrowly won by half a wheel. It was an amazing effort by both guys.
Meanwhile Trev Coulter, who just got back from a Cycling Tour of Tassie, was in a 3 man chopping block group defending a 2 minute start on the 4 man scratch group. Scratch caught chopping block at around the 17km mark which then went on the catch the remains of the 7 & 10 minutes bunches at 37km.
The pace had been lifted a few notches and Trev was still there doing his fair share to help chase down the back markers. 2nd time up School House Rd, Agostino, still in the big ring launched a big attack in a bid to whittle down the size of the bunch. Trev’s anticipated the move and was quick to respond and managed to make the break.
Shayne Kirby & Michael Borowski also made it across and managed to catch Ian Buckingham inside the last km and were racing for third. Shayne won the close sprint for 3rd with Agostino 4th, Michael 5th and Trev 6th. Ian Buckingham held on for 7th with Darren Roberts in 8th. First un-placed woman went to Christine Foster.
Warren Smith’s 4 years at the helm of the club was recognised and he in his proficient style handed out the trophies, medals and envelopes to all the place getters. Hell of a nice bloke and one of the reasons as to why I joined the club. As always Northern Cycling put on a great race on a challenging circuit and with good handicapping had something for everyone. I was so lucky to be in the right place at the right time to see the action.
Thanks to Tony Quick for providing the following race report from the 10 minute bunch.
Woke up to grey clouds, rain showers and a reasonable degree of chill in the morning air. After completing my usual race morning routine and preparations I headed out toward Hume Hwy where conditions didn’t get any better and looking as far as the eye could see in all directions it didn’t look like improving. The Northern Cycling FB post showing dry Broadford roads and the local weather forecast for the day did give me some hope that a dry race was still possible, only time would tell.
Arriving at the Glenaoura CFA Station race day volunteers were being briefed, usual queue at the registration table and competitors chatting about their mark, bunch strengths, weather conditions, course challenges and those hills. Considering the additional prize money put up by Woodards Real Estate competitor numbers were low but still included some quality riders like Shane Kirby, Ag Giramondo, club champion Michael Borowski, Phil Bramich and Trevor Coulter to name a few.
With my race numbers pinned on, bike prepared, refreshments and food on board it was time to warm up before heading to start line with seasoned campaigners Ian Ravenscroft and David Brown, Seymour CC regular Warren Osborne, new members Terry Dwyer and Christine Foster to form the 10 minute bunch.
Heading out for our first and only lap of the very undulating Broadford-Glenauora, Broadford-Sugarloaf Creek and Pyalong-Seymour Rd circuit David Brown got everyone organized into rolling turns and keeping together up the many ascends.
The opening 26km of the big loop went relatively smooth with everyone doing their share of the work, block and cross winds, passing vehicles, a brief rain shower and even an encounter with a stray sheep did little to interfere with the bunch tempo. We passed our first limit rider approaching the floodway and climb on Broadford-Sugarloaf Creek Rd and once we turned onto Pyalong-Seymour Rd the cross block wind put pressure on the bunch with a few turns being missed here and there as riders struggled to maintain the tempo.
David Brown punctured in the first 2km’s of the School House small loop however the bunch continued to work together as we plunged down to the floodway and started the climb up High Camp-Seymour Rd for the first time. Rolling turns continued into the wind as we made our way back to the start finish line recovering and re-fuelling whenever the road went downhill. As we turned left onto Pyalong-Seymour Rd we caught sight of a fast approaching bunch passing the CFA Station, the catch was imminent it was just a question of whether anyone in our bunch could make the jump.
On the climb toward High Camp Rd turn off for the last time we passed several limit riders and Dave Watts from the 20 minute bunch but with couple bunches riding the shorter 41km course it was difficult to determine how many more riders were up the road.
A small bunch containing scratch and couple other riders from 2:00 and 6.30 marks scorched passed about 1km from High Camp Rd turn off and Christine jumped out from the middle of our bunch in pursuit and to her credit she bridged 80mt gap to get herself on the back just before the turn.
I hesitated initially but decided this was probably my best chance for high place finish, provided i got over the School House climb in reasonable condition. With my head down biting the bars and heart pumping out of my jersey I managed to close the gap to about 40mts and then realized I still had to get over School House climb so it was time to sit up and conserve energy.
As I watched the scratch bunch crest School House climb about 100mts up the road a fast approaching Pete Knight from 6:30 bunch caught and passed me about 30mts from the top with Ian Ravenscroft and Warren Osborne not far behind. Pete wasn’t stopping to take on passengers and opened up a good gap after the turn into Pyalong-Broadford Rd but I’d recovered enough to bridge and gave him the nod that I was ready to work to the finish.
A couple km’s before the last left hand turn into Broadford-Glenauora Rd, a strong rider on a notable Specialized Tarmac thundered past with Ian Ravenscroft locked on his wheel and then me and then Pete. With the number 5 pinned to his jersey I knew he was from the scratch bunch so it was a good but difficult wheel to hold and eventually Pete then Ian dropped off by the time we turned left to head for the finish line.
It took all my effort to keep on this wheel as we passed couple more of the limit riders on the approach to the line and without knowledge of how many riders had finished before us I decided to use what little energy I had left to come around the outside and sprint to the line. 11th overall and pretty happy with that result on a course suited to the climbers.
It turned out the ‘freight train’ (rider) wearing number 5 was Phil Bramich and to his credit as we rolled on past the finish line we engaged in a healthy conversation about sitting on, racing etiquette, ‘Rookie’ racers and how the knowledge and experience of the clubs seasoned racers can be used to educate new members. Thanks Phil.
Racing this week was a scratch race at Lancefield with Northern Cycling. The course is the Lancefield-Cobaw-Newham-Rochford-Landefield loop which is roughly 30km with 270m of climbing. A and B grades were going around 3 times while C & D Grades did 2 and E & F did the one.
Showers were in the weather forecast and it was looking highly likely we were going to get wet. The roads were damp from earlier rain and we were chased by some big fat black clouds on our drive up to Lancefield. Fortunatley, these clouds were not that good in the hills and we managed to drop them as we passed Mt Macedon and we arrived at our destination bathed in sunshine. Mind you it was still cold due to the southerley blowing in straight off the Antarctic.
I was one of 12 starters in B Grade which included Darryl O’Keefe, Trev Coulter & Tom McDonough who have all had recent wins. Pat Coe, George Goodrope , Peter Mazzarella, Kevin Russell too have been in solid form. Pete Knight was ticking off the return to racing box after undergoing hip-replacement surgery 3 months ago. The dozen was rounded out with Michael Hartman, John Clarkson & Emilio Romano.
The highlights from the first lap was seeing Tom McDonough doing a couple of turns on the front as we headed out to Cobaw, Darryl setting a nice tempo up Dons Rd, Trev looking for the early break and then Darryl launching the big counter attack after Newham and ride solo all the way to the based of the Rochford climb.
The Rochford climb didn’t seem all that menacing today with the wind on our backs, however coming down the other side was hairy as we hit speeds in the 70s in the gusty conditions. It was here we thought we would lose Tom, however instead it was George who lost contact. Amazingly George managed to claw his way back into the race with a massive 20min solo effort.
The 2nd time down Rochford the bunch was split in two as Darryl, Pat Coe, Peter Maz, Kev Russell, Trevor and myself got a gap and worked some hard turns to keep it.
We kept it pretty much together, although Trev did chuck in a couple of attacks in a bid to shed a rider or two to improve the odds at the end. Peter Mazzarella looked a treat in his 2xU team issue Target Trek kit and was riding like he was an NRS racer. He goes alright for a bloke who reckons he can’t climb and he was still there at the end.
Pat Coe, not a confident sprinter, was happy enough to lead us into Mc Masters lane for the final sprint. I was sitting behind Trev who was 2nd wheel. The pace was slowing down as Pat was finished for the day. It was still about 400m to the line and I knew I needed to get a jump on big Darryl if I was to have a chance. I went early. I was feeling good, the wind was behind me, I could see the chequered flag in the distance, I was holding it. 30 meters from the line, almost there, it was starting to hurt, Darryl gets by me on the left and then Peter gets around me on the right. I hung in for 3rd with Trev closing quickly for 4th followed by Kev and Pat.
The big fella was just too good. Darryl rode strongly and deserved the win.
Graham Carlson had a super impressive win in a very fast A Grade race. New member Alain Hosking wins C Grade. Terry Dwyer takes out D Grade while Terry Duggan & Angelo DeFrancesco win E and F Grades respectively.
Once again thanks to Harry, Bruce, Faye and all the corner marshals for putting on a great race.
Last week Trevor Coulter picked up his new race machine. He was unable to make it to last weeks handicap, however he more than made up for that with a scintilating display at Campbellfield today, demolishing the B Grade field to take the win.
— David Anderson (@GoBraveDave) October 26, 2013
Trev provides the following report of how the race panned out..
We lined up on the old start line outside the new cafe which serves as a registration and presentation venue which is great. Harry informed A grade they would be racing for 1:15 approx. Rolling up to the line Harry instructed B grade they would be racing of about an hour but couldn’t say exactly how long as this would depend on when the bunches could be safely given the bell.
We set off at a very leisurely pace. I was none too keen to be on the front. George (Goodrope) seemed to be on the front a lot. Col Morris rolled forward and took a turn and so it went for about a dozen laps. I had a couple of test cracks during this warm up stage and it seems to me at least I might be a marked man.
I thought the only way to open up a break would be to let a good rider drift off the front and then hopefully have enough speed to bridge without bringing anyone with me. George had done about 5 or six laps on the front. I think Col relieved him for a bit and then George was back on the front and I was second wheel. I let George get about 200m up the road and jumped over.
No-one came! So off George and I went gradually building a lead. Figuring on an hour race I thought we might be a chance. I was giving George lots of encouragement and trying to ensure he maintained 42kph down the finish side. I think he’d spent too much time on the front earlier. He lost my wheel up the back straight. I thought oh well should only be about 15 min to go I’ll have to stick with it now. Not my usual forte soloing off the front especially in the very windy conditions.
The new bike was a real confidence booster and I was going pretty well. I could see a patch of green caps behind me at one stage but I dug deep and they were out of sight again. I got to about an hour five and started looking expectantly at Chooka for the bell. No bell.
Three more laps and I was thinking this is really getting hard now and if he doesn’t ring it soon I’ll be lucky to hold them off. Dug deep again. Still no bell. I think I got to about an hour 15 and I was seriously thinking of getting off the bike an helping Chooka find it. I sat up on the finish line making like I was going get off the bike and Chooka yells “ keep going keep going” Anyway seems he eventually found the bell and I have never been so happy to hear it. Rolled over the line at 1:21:01.
I’m buying Chooka a new watch!
The Highlands Spring Classic hosted by Northern Cycling is an epic race pitched at the climbers of the club. Just short of 1400M of climbing over 105Km for the A and B Grades, while C, D & E grades do almost 800M over the 60k out and back run to Seymour.
Definitely a good week to volunteer where I drove the lead car and got to watch the C Grade race from my rear view mirror. There were 6 starters in C Grade, however this soon became 5 as the distinctively bearded Peter Castle was left behind as he tentatively descended some of the early hills.
This remaining 5 shared the load pretty evenly over the first 30km of the race with speeds hovering in the low 40s. It was early on of the return lap that Ron Peel started to flex his muscles and it was Andrew Havers who was the first to drop off the pace and soon after that Terry Dwyer. Ross Morgans and first time racer Hamish Beaumont, however were not so easy to dislodge.
The decisive move though came from Hamish where he launched a counter attack into the head wind to open up a good sized gap which he was able to hold for the final 15km of the race. A mechanical issue with Ron’s bike where he lost his top 3 gears added a degree of difficulty on the steep bits, however Hamish’s win was a super impressive effort for a big guy. Ron and Ross ended up finishing on equal time 2:30 minutes behind.
Tom Leaper dominated the A Grade race where he rode much of the race on his own to finish 6:33 ahead of Jason Laird and 9:13 ahead of Northern Cycling’s Club Champion, Michael Borowski.
The B Grade race was pretty much together until a relatively fresh Tom McDonough attacked the bunch at the start of the final climb. Tom went on to win the race from Doug Renyolds and George Goodrope 3d. Trev Coulter was closing fast in 4th and Noel Jacobs in 5th.
Vince not only survived the hills, but he also managed to survive an attack from a giant echidna.
And Alison Watt rode brilliantly to win E Grade convincingly from Ian Buckingham, Angelo DeFrancesco & Mick Powell.
Amazing effort by all the riders on such a tough course. I definitely had the easy job..