Luxurious fine weather greeted SKCC riders for the 2012 (World) Road Championships at the You Yangs, only a short drive west of Melbourne. Some say we are soft bunch of Beach Road riders but it is wonderful to have a car park, shelter, water, toilets, BBQ feast and a coffee van.
The tough course (111km for men and 88km for women) was going to be tactical challenge, like the Hunger Games the weak and aerodynamically challenged would have to dig deep. With lead cars supplied by Renault, follow vans by TFM and spares cars everybody was going to get home alive, unlike the Hunger Games.
It was a large bunch of 23 eager racers who lined up for the Women’s start. Teams were represented by SKCC Giant, Holden Cycling and Total Rush. No doubt the favorites were defending champion Miranda Griffiths (Holden) and Amy Bradley (Total Rush) – Miranda just returned from a stint of racing as a guest rider on US team, Optum, and likewise Amy Bradley (Total Rush) is just back from racing for both a Norwegian team in the Czech Republic and for UK team Team Ibis in France.
Amy Bradley reports……….on paper the course looked quite easy. A couple of gentle rolling hills, out and back roads, a couple of laps and we’d be done and back for the BBQ quick sticks. However, as the start time grew closer, the spring winds grew stronger, and combined with the dead country roads, I began to realise this was going to be a painful day. This was confirmed when no more than 50m after the flag had been pulled into the lead Renault car, Lucy Coldwell launched what proved to be the first decisive move. Looking around and seeing no reaction, I set off too, taking with me Clare Morgan of the SKCC Team.
Miranda then joined, along with Justyna & Jodie also of the SKCC team and the gap quickly grew. A few km’s later Lucy assessed the competition, and obviously not content to drag some strong sprinters around, attacked again. After I brought that break back, Miranda counter attacked, and in a repeat of last year’s Club Champs was let up the road solo to steal the day in a time of 2:40:47.
Lucy, in an imitation of the Energizer Bunny, launched again and after her attack and several counter attacks from Amy and Clare, a gap emerged with Lucy and Amy breaking away. Working well together, things stayed this way for another 60km’s until eventually Lucy grew weary of needing to encourage Amy’s legs along, and after a few more attacks managed to break and solo off to take 2nd (+2:30) behind Miranda. Amy managed to stay ahead of the chasers to take 3rd (+2:59).
The SKCC Giant trio of Clare Morgan (+7:24), Justyna Lubkowski (+7:25) & Jodie Batchelor (+11:07) finished 4th, 5th & 6th respectively and took the Women’s MAS2/3 podium places. 7th & 8th over the line were Dale Maizels (+11:12) & Fiona Carden (+11:16) who took 1st and 2nd in the MAS4/5 category. Impressively Dale went on to burn up the trails on her MTB directly after the race; it’s supposed to be a cool down Dale! A full list of riders, results and times can be found at the Mylaps website HERE.
A small but high quality field of Masters 6 men and women fronted for the 56km journey. As the only female entry Pip Read took a comfortable win, her last race at a SKCC Club Champs. The men’s race was a different story, as master of tactics and drafting Jeff Provan used the younger junior burgers to his advantage, leaving ‘the magnet’ Brad Speller to the ravages of the westerly wind. After riding solo for half the way Jeff took a well-deserved victory offering a master class.
Not far behind Jeff was (World) SKCC Junior Champion Adam McGillivray, very bloody pro, approved sockheight.
First away at 10am were 47 men with strong representation from O2 Networks, Bike Gallery, African Safaris, Stay True-Giant and Prime Estate. Again what looked like an easy jolly around You Yangs Regional Park was going to turn into three hours in the hurt locker for some and for 23 riders, DNF would be their fate. A grinding one kilometer sprint on a zombie dead road at 3% grade was going make any sprint finish epic.
Boom - after a short neutral period the red flag dropped and Steve Waite from African Safaris dropped the hammer, causing immediate carnage in the bunch and major brain fade as many rider echeloned to the wrong side of the road. As the Commissaires were considering whether to cancel the race due to mass stupidity the bunch swung into the head wind. Heading around the first turn around point the tempo lifted with more attacks. Two breakaways formed with Steve Waite and Craig Johnson followed by Rowan Dever and the Prime Estate rider.
After an hour of foxing and mini breaks the main field eventually reeled in all the riders except for Steve Waite who managed to maintain a one minute gap on the main field. With about 5 kilometers to go Andy Naylor attacked off the front of the main field taking with him Peter English (Stay True), Cameron McDonald (Bike Gallery) and Luigi Vecchio (AWS).
Andy then attacked again and bridged the gap to Steve leaving behind three riders. Rounding the final turn Steve and Andy faced a gladiatorial sprint up the hill to line. There was no time for foxing as the bunch was coming up fast and that zombie dead road was sticky glue. With 200 metres to go Andy found something somewhere and lifted for one final dash at the line. After riding solo for almost three hours Steve had nothing left to give surrendering the lead and victory to O2 rider in the last 50 meters and finishing just 1 second behind the new Club Champion Andy Naylor (2:51:18, 38.8 km/h).
Not far behind Cameron, Peter and Luigi had their own epic struggle up heart break hill, with the Stay True (+29) rider coming in third, followed by Cameron (+30) and Luigi (+32). Not far behind was a lone Rowan Dever (+49, John West). The best of the main field and coming in 7th was defending champion Aaron Salisbury (+2:34). Full results and times can be found HERE. More photos can be found HERE and HERE.
With everybody safely home riders enjoyed a feast put on by the hard working Social Committee.
Masters 6+ Champions
Masters 4/5 Winders and grinners