The Beverley 2017 – Race Reports from the SPR files

Last weekend with a sophomore appearance, SPR again staged the revival of “The Beverley” –  a 114km handicapped Road Race on an out and back course starting and finishing in Beverley township. First, a bit of history……

Hilton McMurdo, winner from Days of Yore.

This year marks 120 years since the very first running of what became “The Beverley”. That’s 120 years of WA cycling legacy we’ve been entrusted to care-take, and as one of the youngest Cycling Clubs in WA. Something we’ve taken on wholeheartedly.


This year a mighty field size of 170 entries including 37 female entrants, and a lot of SPR green, made up our peloton. Starting at 12:07 with the Limit group at 44 minutes we saw 14 groups in all hit the course. And it was a hot day out there. Very hot. 31 deg in October…… seriously?!?! Under the Handicap format, groups are “graded” according to their previous race average speeds, and matched up as start groups. As the early groups were caught and absorbed by the faster groups, there were riders some popped off the back, and some made to work harder to stay on.

At the turnaround point, it appeared that the pace had been pretty fierce in some groups. A mix of the 31, 33 and 36 minute groups seemed to be working together strongly, and held off the fastest groups on their tail. While the Scratch group were yet to get within sight of the leaders on the road, the Commissaire’s radio reports indicated there wasn’t a lot of cooperation in the chasing groups.

At the 18km to go mark, the Commissaires announced it looked unlikely Scratch group would catch the leaders, and it started to get exciting out on the road. At the Finish line there were radio updates coming through: “There’s a small group breaking away at 10km to go”; “There’s a solo break getting away at 6km to go”; “It looks like he’s clear over the top of Lennard Hill”.

And he was. Roger Blow from the Cove Legal team had got clear and rolled in for the win. Solo. Fifteen seconds back saw Anthony Smithson (also of Cove Legal), Michael Morris, Peter Hammond and SPR’s Adam Ralph sprint in for second through fifth from the chase group of seven. A group that also included SPR’s Yaro Volkov. First Woman was won by Ruth Murdie from East Goldfields CC, and First over 45yo went to Antony Smithson. Fastest time on the day went to Logan Calder with 2:36:16 – at an average speed of 43.77km/hr!!

There are heaps of great photos available to view and purchase. Search out Zac Willams (ZW Photography on FaceBook) and Daniela Tommasi (official event snapper). Check them out, buy some killer shots.

For the inside view we have invited a few of the SPR racers to contribute a Race Report – Debbie Bertolatti 5th in Womens D grade, Faye Dalglish-Jones 5th in Womens C and Adam Ralph 5th overall.

Debbie Bertolatti

It came as a complete surprise to learn I’d placed 5th in the women’s D grade at Beverley. A few weeks ago I’d signed up for this event to gain experience for TOMR having never raced 100kms nonstop.

It was the perfect testing ground to see where my fitness was sitting and more importantly the mental endurance needed to push on when all you want to do is stop.

As Saturday the 14th dawned we were greeted with blue skies and the first really hot day of 30 degrees. After a pleasant drive to Beverley it was wonderful to be greeted by all the SPR volunteers which helped allay the nerves somewhat. With registration done it was time to head off to the muster area for the riders briefing and head off to the start line for a 12pm start.

The D grade women’s group was fairly small with about 8-9 in total, we set off at a comfortable pace with some good roll throughs happening. The first 20kms of the race were the toughest for me as the heat of the day felt intense and there was a slight headwind and that little devil on my shoulder started whispering “if you’re struggling already there’s no way you’ll finish”!

But than something happened I’d made a promise to a team mate that we would ride together and I knew she was suffering more than me. If there is one thing I’ve learned from SPR is there has always been an angel in green for me when I’ve wanted to quit or thought I couldn’t do it. If it’s been “the look” from David Menarry, a wheel from Faye Daglish or a helpful push from Peter Mah.

It was my turn to pay it forward and well…suck it up! By the halfway point it was hurting with cramping in my feet probably due to the heat but thankfully we had some cloud cover and a much appreciated tailwind.
Rationing of hydration and gels was crucial as many riders had hit the wall by this stage.

The last 10kms into Beverley with one last small climb were fantastic and to see the finish line sweet relief.
The encouragement on the day was amazing from every SPR rider that yelled out as they sailed past to every support vehicle with hoots and waves.

I knew I hadn’t finished the race in a particularly good time but more importantly I was able to support a fellow club member and feel much more confident about ToMR. I felt surprisingly good after 114kms in the saddle so good in fact I’ll be back next year!!

Faye Dalglish-Jones

The day started with a cruisey drive through lovely soft green hills into the town of Beverley. After a cold & wet few months & all the recent rain we had been having, race day looked like it was going to be a hot one.

Photo: Davina Summers

In fact, according to my Garmin, it was a cracking 42 degrees when we started just after mid-day (Note to self, next time bring your camel pack). The route was a straight out & back ride (114kms) with a few lumps thrown in for good measure. I started tentatively due to the heat, not wanting to over cook myself too early.

I spent most of the ride attempting to work with groups coming through (ok it was more like just hanging on). It was great to see Meegan’s friendly face along the way & she really helped me out. A highlight was when Jon came through with a bunch of guys and for a time we were doing 55km and it felt easy, for a brief moment.

I still did a fair bit of time solo, riding as aerodynamically as I could to conserve energy but when fatigue hit, I felt more like an out of balance washing machine.

Whilst still being new to racing, the best bits for me, were the words of encouragement & the offers of taking a wheel from many friendly SPR faces. It really spurred me on & made the ride so much more enjoyable.  A seriously big thank you to all those that spent so many hours organizing the event, and for all those who volunteered on the day and some even the next day.

It truly is an amazing club!

Adam Ralph

Ubiquitous “Before” shot. Photo: A Ralph

Did that really just happen?  Nah, must be delusional, heat stress clouding my thinking, need water … I think I did ok, pretty happy to have finished with the first group … “What’s that Ginny, fifth?”  How??? … Wow!!!  That’s incredible … One of the best feelings ever!

Whilst my day finished on the highest possible note, it certainly didn’t start that way!  This was to be my third ever race and my only reason for entering, my only objective, was to learn more about race craft.  It was time to overcome my hesitations, pin on a number and give it my best.  Well, sort of my best.  I’d been traveling during the week, not training whilst away, eating ok but not great, and flight delays meant about four hours sleep on Friday night.  Plus, I was committed to riding with my son on Saturday morning for his first ever taste of SPR (supporting his interest was a higher priority for me than my race).  A nice steady Trannies Ride turned bad when Ash went down hard (so glad that he’s ok!), and the awesome support by Leigh, Bree and everyone else went straight into action.  After getting Ash into the Ambo, my son and I had to hi-tail it home so I could get to Beverley.  Running really late, would I make it on time?  Panda sorted the rego, Ginny and Sarah kept me moving, and I was almost dressed as Cathi called us to the start pen.  Wow, talk about cutting it fine!

After a casual roll to the start line, chatting to Doug and Glenn, I was already huffing and puffing!  Glad for the rest, I immediately felt reassured by the strong SPR presence. A bit of banter with David and Ross, chatting to Alan, waving to Faye and Meegan, allowed the morning’s chaos to dissipate and the pre-race nerves to stay away.  Still, it was hot and I knew it was going to be tough.  Dr J provided a reassuring presence and my wife offered moral support.

Wow, so lucky to be part of the SPR family … What a great group, I hope I can learn from this experience and race like these guys.

Niceties concluded, off we rolled.  It was hot … very hot.  It was fast … very fast.  And it was really, really hard!!!  The group started to work together at the front, then stopped, and then started again.  A few of the stronger riders worked hard to maintain the roll throughs, and whilst it took some encouragement for some others, those that could did, those that couldn’t genuinely couldn’t and would eventually be shelled.  I was burning matches rapidly.  Cooperation and working together was the key.

Do your turns, not too much, not too little,  keep playing your role. Watch for the group accelerating when rejoining at the back of the train.  C’mon Al, dig deep buddy … Argh, watch the pacing, learn and don’t get caught out and get gapped.  Focus, Aaron has already punctured, hang in there and focus, racing is said to be unpredictable.

It was still fast and hot.  With our group working well and keeping a rapid pace, we hunted down earlier groups.  Soon we’d caught all of the riders ahead of us, picked up some that were really strong (I think first and fourth were from earlier groups), and approaching the turn I was feeling ok.  Hoping for tailwind on way home, it started to feel great just after the turn.  Not sure if it was downhill, downwind or purely psychological.  Either way, it was really hurting again by 70 kms. I kept trying to hang in there, doing what I could when it was my turn and recovering when I could.  A solo break went off the front but we kept a cohesive pattern.  Let him bury himself and we can still catch him.  It took another 25kms before he came back into range!  Then a rider (second place getter) bridged over whilst his mate sat on the front slowing us down (the ultimate winner).  One unsuccessful chase down, some frustration in the group and I decided to try to close down the break.

“C’mon fellas, he’s protecting his mate and not working. We’ve got to go around him!”  Go hard and deep, great, got them.  OK, that’s me done.  Go get them Yaro, you’re smashing it mate!  I just need to try and hang in there a bit longer, don’t let them get away, hold that wheel.  A little bit longer.  No one’s going to catch us now, just go as long as you can.

Photo: A Ralph

It was a proper race now, attacks firing off the front, the group closing them down … exciting to watch and incredible to be part of it.  The end came around very quickly after the bridge, having let the winner get away to a strong lead.  Nearing the line I sat in third wheel readying myself to wind up.  I timed it as best I could, went around and gave it everything, only to watch two on the outside plus one more on the inside best me. All very deserving to do so, they were stronger and I had nothing more

Key learning: my sprint really, really needs work. Crits will be a great place to learn more.  This group worked so incredibly well together, that allowed us all to have a great race.

The hugest thanks and kudos to Greg, the SPR Committee and the dozens of selfless volunteers that made it such a professional and well organized event.  Finally, many thanks to my loving family for tolerating my Lycra fetish, SPR Ride buddies for pushing and supporting me, and my wonderful Soigneur wife for everything!  If you haven’t pinned on a number yet, why not give it a try?  You just never know how it might go.

Photo Gallery

Faye and Clare. Photo: Davina Summers
Meegan. Photo: Davina Summers
Bonner v2.0 Photo: Davina Summers
(L-R) Ross, Claire, Vanessa and Laurensia Photo: Davina Summers
Stuart and Bonner v1.0 Photo: Davina Summers
Amanda, Lorraine stalking, Paul and 75% Julian. Bargain price for a VP. Photo: Davina Summers
John, Amanda and SPR blowing in the wind. Photo: Davina Summers