Tour of Margaret River 2018 – Race@SPR says…..

ToMR 2018 is over, and what a weekend it was. Reliably and as always, the Ride WA/ToMR Crew put on the most magnificent of cycling events once again.

Jensie finally got to meet Poodle. Photo: Poods.

The whole event consisted of some lead up rides around the SW – including an Albany stopover and the Medio Fondo with Jens Voigt, Jess Allen and Matt Keenan. Meeting Jensie was a treat. He is just as excitable and personable in the flesh as you’d imagine from his hilarious interviews and commentary. That he took my bike to lean up against his brand spanking new Trek when there was no space left at the cafe pretty much summed it up – both his enthusiasm and spirit of community. If only we got to share a beer as well…..

We’ll have race reports from the individual teams coming up over the next week from the three stages, but from Race@SPR here’s the broad view.

DOME clean swept stage 1. Photo:

We were able to secure five SPR team places this year in green – two women and three men. Amongst the other masses of racers were SPR members in non-green teams – Chaotic Energy in the women’s division, Cove Legal, JSTFUaR, King KOM and a few other moonlighters in the men’s divisions (Tim Hopkins in MCC – oh the shame!!) as well as the DOME Men’s and Women’s teams. Needless to say, there were many of us there.

This year we contested three stages over three days:

  • 42km Team Time Trial that dictates the division for stages 2 and 3;
  • 52km Road Race for points on your first rider only; and
  • 109km Road Race, where first and fourth team riders score points.

The points system did its job confusing all but the most applied accountants among us, but once racing started the concept worked brilliantly to spice up race tactics on the road. A great outcome for a new and initially mysterious system.

Non-Green SPR Chick Hitters. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

The whole point of this stage race is that it’s a team event. Teams of 6, a TTT that takes your 5th riders time, NOT the first rider, the final stage awarding more points for the 4th rider of a team. SPR takes it further and makes this a true Club outing. We select our teams, train together, stay in accommodations together, eat together, travel together….. you get the idea. In this year’s case, there were parts of previous year’s teams racing together again. And with familiarity comes speed.

Organising for 35 racers and volunteers to accompany for four days some 250km away is not a simple set of tasks. The reality is that we usually go through about 150% of the final number of racers needed by the time race day comes around.

SPR Royalty. Urhmm. Photo: Ashley Brown

Sorting accommodation for 35 people, within reasonable driving distance and at a reasonable price and quality and is available, chasing up payments, setting up team registrations and collecting all the monies for teams, planning the logistics of travel, of teams and bikes, coordinating times, organising Club tents, eskys, flags and equipment, shuttling of team cars from start to finish points with the volunteers, communicating to the racers over the lead up 6 months to event …………..

For the past three years, we’ve been doing this on top of and right on the back of The Beverley, which inevitably impacts on time for my own training and prep. Around 450 hours’ worth of time. Excuses, at the ready.

Race@SPR’s highlights? Well, there’s a few…..

SPR M3 put in an unexpectedly huge effort, gelling as a team and placing beyond expectations.

M1, who were returning against some seriously big hitters rode like a true Team.

The Artist formerly know as The Secret Weapon, Abi Smeaton. Photo: PB Photography

Our SPR W1 Womens team placed 3rd overall in the Womens’ division. Beaten only by DOME (with the current Singaporean National Champ btw) and a stacked Veris Team. Less than 4 minutes behind the TT heavy talent base of DOME in stage 1. Abi Smeaton took 3rd place on stage 2, beaten by a tyre width by the current Singaporean National champ, Serene Lee. Then a blistering ride from Kirstie Moore on stage 3 sprinting for 9th place and nothing but top end A graders ahead of her. This was a seriously fast bunch sprint too, and she nailed it. To round it out, W1 were the 2nd team to have their 4th rider finish taking a massive chunk of points. Our Club took third overall in the women’s division – a cracking result amongst some very fast Chicks.

Guns, only firing blanks. Photo: David Menarry

Amongst the inevitable social media onslaught (for which I apologise for nought – I am but a helpless camera whore myself), there is more to this Club trip than just the twits pedaling around in green kit. Above and beyond all else, a huge thanks goes out to our volunteers this year. It was the Rouleurs Soigneurs that essentially made everything logistical seem like nothing. We, the racers (and DS’s) didn’t need to do a thing. Michelle Bonner, Cathi Dixon, Greg Jones, Mike Madsen and Callum Stott – you are the true champions of this weekend. The results and achievements of the racers wouldn’t have been possible if we needed to faff about and coordinate anything once we arrived. I extend my endless gratitude to you fantastic five and everything you so generously invested. Write it down, read it back to yourself – THIS is what Club is about.

There’s a bunch of Race Reports to come – some horribly biased and very loosely based on fact. But a whole lot of fun nonetheless. Check out the links below. Cheers to rest weeks!

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 1 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 2 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 1 Race Report – COMING SOON

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 2 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 3 Race Report