All posts by Gregory Murray

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

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 1 Race Report

Stage 2, Kandalee Catapult. A fantastic near miss in the words of Abi Smeaton. Aka When a Triathlete takes on a Cycle Race….

Wahoo, great I survived Day 1 of the Team Time Trial, now for Day 2. I’m fully briefed on the team strategy “SPR Secret Weapon” – first wheel over the line gets the points so stick to the front of the bunch and when the ‘break’ is made jump on. I’ve got my nutrition on-board…in my bentobox which is apparently so not cool.

If you look closely, you can see the bentobox bag. Photo: PB Photography

Right we’re off…following a car – what??!! Ok well at least I have a chance to work out this peloton thing while we are cruising at this nice easy pace. It’s definitely not a nice two-abreast ride with SPR, instead it’s a messy bunch of chicks on bikes where one second I’m following a wheel and the next its gone. Oh crap, I’m stuck on the left and people are passing on the right, hmmmm this is not what I was told to do (keep right and stay near the front) how to get out of this position? Thank goodness for my teamies who see my distress and tell me to move out in front of them. The car waves and the race starts. We start the climb and a couple of girls are off the front ahead of the bunch. I’m on a continual cycle of losing position moving back through the bunch then popping out and moving back up to the front. I’m nervous, sweating, and begin wishing I was up ahead with those two girls.

Talking tactics. White or red with dinner? Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

We continue climbing and the pace is pretty easy but I’m still yoyoing around. I’m moving up the front when I bump shoulders with Amanda – OMG what a newbie! Lucky she’s very cool about this but my cheeks are burning – so not cool. I’m part way back in the bunch when I see a few of girls surge off the front, I hesitate “Is this the break?”. Then I hear yelling from behind “Go go go” – is that for me? After what feels like ages I decide to go for it and get away from this bunch business. I surge forward ahead of the bunch and immediately regret my hesitation, those girls are a way up the road now. I settle in and push hard willing my legs to keep pumping, I’ve got to catch those girls. I pass someone dropping back to the bunch but the other two girls are still up there so I keep pushing.

Finally I catch my ‘break buddies’. One of them asks if we’re all willing to work together, I’m in but the other girl isn’t. Kirsty, my TT buddy and I set off with enthusiasm. We’re both delighted to be out of the bunch. Now to hold the rest of the girls off. We keep up a steady rhythm of a minute or so on the front and I keep looking over my shoulder expecting to see the bunch swallowing us up. I worry for the next 10km that I went too soon but little did I know the rest of the team was working to keep the bunch pace slow to let us get away. Finally, with only a few kms to go I see two K-division numbers up ahead. Kirsty tells me to go ahead, I’m strong on the hills and it doesn’t take long to catch one then the next. Dam I can’t shake her. We pass 500m to go and crest the final hill. She’s right behind me and I know her cornering and sprinting will be superior to my triathlete endurance.

Missed it by THAT much. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

We turn the corner and it’s a sprint finish, I can hear her just behind me. I’m ‘sprinting’ to the finish line pushing my bike infront of me like a jockey urging his horse to the line. I’m almost there when I see her wheel sneak in front. Third…I can live with that. I go to congratulate Serene but she can’t talk, I start thinking I didn’t try hard enough.

A few days later I see the photo. Talk about professional vs amateur. Oh, that’s what those curly bars are for…am I supposed to stand up? And why am I braking…too much speed or perhaps I’m getting ready for a flying dismount to start my run…

Guess I’m now the Not-So-Secret Weapon.

Tour of Margaret River – SPR Men’s 2 Race Report

A Race Report of stages, and of men in average mediocrity.

So. Men’s 2. Until the Tuesday before Friday race-day we were yet to finalise our team. An unfortunate and serious Saturday F2 crash took out powerhouse DeCastro only days before and left us searching. We found JJ and the rest was to become history. Pre-race day, several of us headed to Kirup to allow Jens Voigt to have a spin with SPR M2. Jensie, ever the character, was in fine form. Barely off flights from a worsening European winter, he managed to avoid all the usual WA summer pitfalls – sunburn, flies in the mouth, spray of cow pat from the wheel ahead, bourbon-and-bush-chook-swillin’-ute-drivin’ bumpkins stingin’ to bounce a cyclist off the roo bar – avoided it ALL. Espresso time.

Off to Nannup for the team rego, we caught up with our SW Faves – Brendon Morrison and Bec Cotton. South West Cycling royalty. The Gods. Teams registered, numbers and transponders in hand, we headed to our Busso digs for the campaign. Starting with a lovely local sports drink of choice and a Ralpha-prepared spaghetti bol, full bellies made for good sleeps.

 

Suggested Team Ralpha kit for next ToMR?

Stage 1 TTT saw us arrive at the Balingup start line without a TTT session with all members under the belt. No sweats. It was set out by Road Captain Ralpha what was what. 4watts/kg on the front, talk it up, no f*$king heroes. Call it when you’re struggling, longer turns if you’re not. The stage was rolling, and being mostly shaded saw us avoid the worst of the heat and look better for any photo opportunities.

Redeption. Photo: PB Photography

Poorly though, Mo was off colour and missed every snapper – looking down and not posing, looking left at the driver instead of right at the snapper. It all went pear shaped. Photo fails aside, we finished middle order of the middle group – E grade. Mediocrity gold, and right where we belonged. Five points – thank you very much. Head home to Busso, dig into a JJ-prepared red chicken curry, local recovery sports drink of choice and sleeps.

Early rise for the Stage 2 road race. As it was last year, a 52km, split by division road race going straight up. Then rolling, then down, hard left and then up, up and up again. Mucho ouchies.

Hanno. Concentrating, on a nice, cold fizzy sports dink. Photo: PB Photography

As Hanno does, having learnt from the best, he took to the road first, put in a 100m gap on the bunch and continued on with it………. through the neutral zone, until the base of said first “up”. That first up was a consistent wind up, speed gradually increasing the further into the climb and the steeper the gradient became. By the crest, Ralpha was of with the lead group, JJ and Jedsman barely a few metres off, and Mo was 300m back by the time he crested.

Smiling Jeds. Photo: PB Photography

I can make it. I can catch them. Head down, elbows flat, TT time baby. Over the next 3-4 km I hit flat power and got back to the boys in green, inadvertently dragging another 7 or 8 behind. Who waiting until I’d caught on to have a think about contributing – classy!

Without legs to go all the way, to work I went, rolling turns while JJ and Jeds took in the sights of Nannup’s beautiful green country side…… waiting. Lovely this time of year, apparently. Cresting Kandlee Hill – the sight of the most majestic of photos from last year’s race – there was Zac, camera in hand waving to the Mo. Tick.

Hill crested, Jeds still visible up ahead, we still needed backups in case anything happened to Ralpha. JJ is gone. Must keep going. Final drag to Greenbushes saw an obstacle course of many blown legs and spirits. Kicking over the final crest, finish line merely a right turn away, 1km to go, 500m to go, TIME TO GO! With nothing on the line other than another photo op, it’s a case of “look fast, not go fast”. Camera – tick! Coke, food, water, change, burger, cake, ice cream.

JJ – Supersub. Photo: PB Photography

We drive home to Busso with the now traditional Ralpha-small-bladder stop and then take in a local sports drink of choice and Mo’s Cooking Show. Chicken drummies with thyme, garlic and lemon coupled with roast veg. I know, right?

 

Another early rise for the Stage 3 Road Race. Can’t eat anymore. After 3 days of shovelling calories, it’s becoming like I’m A Celebrity eating challenges. Gear ready, check bikes – flat Di2… Shit, we’re supposed to be leaving. Nothing a borrowed Di2 charge adaptor and a power bank battery can’t fix in transit – McGuyver time, baby.

Stage 3 start is relaxed despite us all knowing the next 109km will be tough. Rolling to the start line, Zac is in the Start chute – in the drops, out of saddle, cheeky grin, snap. Tick!

Ralpha. Late again. Photo: Liz Sheehan

The stage saw points for your first rider, but MORE points for your fourth rider to finish. Finishing with four together was imperative. It is on. On the line awaiting the start Bec Cotton gives us a hug, wishes us the best and Mo leads out through the neutral zone. And then the next 4 km. Seriously – someone? Racing begins in earnest at the 25km mark with some firing off the front. And we never saw them again. Official ToMR (And Beverley) event snapper Daniela Tomassi drove past, hanging out a sunroof, camera in hand. Mo gets a nod and poses. Tick! Day 3 is going well.

Attack. Arrest. Attack. Arrest. This was the next 50km. More ouchiness. With 75km in, SPR M2 was still all together. Approaching the next turn, it was time to share some wisdom in getting “The Money Shot” with the bunch. Get in the drops – no question. Look fast, don’t go fast. Give a grin. Always have a moustache. The bunch nodded, astonished by the wisdom they had been bestowed. Tick!

Busy. Got a Wahoo to set. Photo: Liz Sheehan.

35km to go, Jeremy-O shot off the front on an all or nothing attack. Ham. Mer. Down. And down it stayed. One followed, many looked at each other. Away indeed, with 15km of chasing from the bunch done,  Ralpha jumped in an attempt to bridge, and he did. That’s 2 up.

Ralpha and several others got on with it. SPR M2 are still 6 – Rouleur Strong. Surges and moves continued before a lull and a hush came over. Mo time is Go time. To the front, feeling like the legs had some, we wound it up. The goal – roll hard, get a few un-necessaries off the back and ensure we keep our fourth up the front. Go, swing off, go again, swing off. Shrapnel flying as the pace stayed up.

Here comes another one, just like the other one. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

Winding up for the final right turn, I picked up 10 or so places in the finish straight and was our 4th rider across the line, hence securing points for 5th place for the team in Division. The team finished with 5 riders in the bunch, and one a smidge further back having emptied the tank for the team earlier. Together ’til the end.

Hanno, Ralpha, Jedsman, J-O, JJ and Mo. SPR M2, ToMR 2018. Fifth place, in Division E – embodying everything of average mediocrity. Six middle aged guys leaving everything on the road, having an absolute ball, and telling some tall-ass stories for the coming months, for sure.

Tour of Margaret River – SPR Men’s 3 Race Report

A South West rampage in the words of Poodle………

There are only two types of cyclists.  Sprinters & climbers.  You can see the difference a mile away.  Sprinters have guns.  Climbers have chicken legs.  Sprinters come first.  And the SPR Men’s 3 United Nations Team was all about being first.  No chicken legs here.   Australia, Italy, South Africa & the UK all represented.  The Prez, Poods, Barry, Andrea the Strong, Dermot & Ash, known collectively as BAD-Ash.  Race day kicked off with pre-race team briefing at the W2 house.  M3 in first, sprawled over the lounges keeping things chilled.  First to be cool.

M3 Ready? They had no idea what was to come, but smashed it out anyway. Photo: Liz Sheehan

The TTT saw M3 away first.  The team kept it tight, nailing the first cameraman at 500m in a move that even The Mo coveted.  The rolling climbs & descents quickly took their toll on all teams, with M3 passing six other teams by half way.  Dermot screamed “AAARRRGGGGHHH” which was the team sign to cut the 6th rider & pick up the pace.  The speed increased, the weather got hotter, Poodle sweated even more.  The Hand of God (aka Andrea the Strong) pushed Poods over the last climb.  Andrea will never wash that hand again.

Just chillin’ on the start line. Photo: Liz Sheehan

Day 2 would be for the climbers.  It would all blow to pieces early on that first hill.  Team plan – be at the front for the start!!  The UN Team started well, getting the first selfie of the day with Jens Voigt.  Now it was show time.  The team stuck to orders, pushing all other riders out of the way to be first on the start grid.  Dermot shoved three Midland riders to the ground.  Ashley coughed phlegm all over the start marshal.  The Prez made a Black Swan rider cry.  Best start photos ever.  M3 led the massive field out of town & up the first climb.  The field strung out & riders from the earlier divisions started to appear.  The Prez put the hammer down.  Again & again he struck his blows.  Poodle became the sparks, and the rest of the field was the anvil.  The Prez & Poods rode away with the leaders, while BAD-Ash followed team orders & sat up for a cruisy groupetto ride.

Barry Cook. In the drops, power down, eyeball the camera. So proud right now. Photo: PB Photography

The Prez kept Poods in touch up all the climbs.  The Prez was heard to say “I think I’ve broken the Poodle.  I think I’ve broken myself!”  Poods was calling it “I’m done for Prez, save yourself, go for the win!!!”  The Prez railed “I’m not leaving you Poods!!”  A Roues Chaudes rider heard the Prez’s voice cracking with emotion.  The duo were looking good until they were swamped by a bunch of wheel suckers at 1km from the finish.  But the pair still managed a beautiful finish, arms linked & held high like Hinault & Lemond at Alpe d’Huez in ’86.  Poods scored a DSQ for being overweight, another first for M3.

Dermot, pain face. Facing thy demons. Photo: PB Photography

Day 3.  Could M3 produce the money shot?  The team led out on the front briefly, before letting all the other mugs do the work into the headwind.  BAD-Ash followed team orders, staying tucked in & sheltered from the headwind.  Freshest legs in the entire peloton.  We will need them later!  A few B-Grade ring-ins went off the front.  Let them go.  The Team sniggered at the odd plonker trying to make a break into the headwind.  They’ll be back.

Ash. Photo: PB Photography

Move up & be ready for the right turn into Sues Road.  Head wind becomes tail wind.  Full gas.  The Prez confidently led the fresh legs of BAD-Ash through the melee and the red shift.  Poods kept a loose cover at the back bringing back any worthy discards.  The climb at 60km saw the bunch thinned, like a grevillea branch through a mulcher.  BAD-Ash moved quickly up the climb, as we closed on the bunch in front.  Andrea the Strongsacrificed himself to keep the back end of M3 in the game.

Poodle. Photo: PB Photography

The rolling grind home along Mowen Road had El Prez playing numbers games.  He has a mind like a planet, calculating the finishing numbers of our team versus the others, for the magical fourth place. Poods struggled to count to three.  Ash kept up the race signals, with a loud cough meaning GO!!  Barry covered all the moves up front.

The final climb & turn back into Nannup had the field of 40 now reduced to 15, including the 5 SPR riders.  Or was that 4 of us?  Nope we’re down to 3.  That last cough meant ease up.  The Prez went back for Dermot.  He would never quit!  Barry channelled the Prez’s anger to beat the Black Swan rider up front.  Poods caught nowhere in the middle was a free agent, delivered a gun-like explosive sprint to beat two women riders to the line.  Ash scored the coveted 4th place points.

A fine & noble finish.  And in another first for SPR, there was not a single #fts dummy spit from El Prez.  And the M3 UN Team were first into the post-race beer!

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 2 Race Report

Stage 2, Kandalee Catapult – 51km and 850m climbing, from the view of Debbie Bertolatti.

Photo: Liz Sheehan

It was with a certain sense of dread that Saturday 10th November dawned.

Deb, post -ToMR last year.

51kms of rolling hills sounds pleasant enough for those uninitiated, I was baptised by fire last year when I got to ride most of those “undulating” hills solo! I remember thinking I’ll never do that again. Just to prove my Dory like memory, I put my hand up again this year.

ToMR ‘18 I was determined to improve from last year, the weather Gods were on my side at a balmy 27degrees and as we all know no one ride is like the last.

Chick in transit. Photo: Meegan Fyfield

With only 9 women’s teams and one division all female riders were off at approximately 9:38am. When we hit the first big climb 4km in, as expected the groups split into their respective strengths in other words the fast chicks were off! If you can imagine cycling through sand with the brake clamped it’s somewhere close to the sensation. A cheeky little push got me over the crest and let’s be honest – I wasn’t about to catch up with the Dome girls so it was welcomed.

So it looked as though I might be in no mans land again when I spotted a bunch in the distance. I peddled like a bat out of hell and finally caught them…relief! This stage was definitely made for the Mountain goats it was magic riding with some of the Chaotic Energy ladies and to look over my shoulder and see Captain Meegan catch the group.

Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

A steady pace and smooth roll throughs, we were working like a well-oiled machine. After a high speed decent and a sharp left turn we hit Maranup Ford Road not sure what was worse – the amount of flies swallowed or that kicker of a climb.

 

We were on the home stretch now so just had to stick with the bunch past the Mad Max scenery of the Greenbushes lithium mine, and crest the last 1km to turn into the town and sprint to the finish. Last year, that 1km felt never ending, whereas this year it flew.

This was definitely shaping up better than last year I’d stuck with a bunch, quietly enjoyed those hills and the ride. So though I’m definitely not the fastest, and I don’t have Mad Skillz, I 100% had the feelz. I could almost see why Men’s 1 rode back home…almost!

Dizzy Time. No extra laps, though. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography
Women’s 2 – off duty and rehydrating. Photo: David Menarry

Australian Master National Championship – Race Report

Whilst Race@SPR has been busily losing all possible time to The Beverley and ToMR, a few of our current (and non-uniformed) SPR crew have flown to Victoria, raced, swept podiums and returned home. SPR and Dome clad, Sam Flockhart, Amanda Nabi and Michelle McLintock took some barnstorming results at the Masters Nationals Road Race events, including ITT, Road Race and Criterium disciplines. Amanda did what Amanda does most weeks, Sam – after quietly and diligently training whilst still FIFO-ing for work – took a Bronze in the ITT, and McLintock ………. Michelle has done a lot of work for team mates, but this particular weekend nabbed a 4th in Crit, 2nd in Road Race and GOLD in the ITT, winning the Overall Champions prize for age group.

Here’s a report from one of the SPR Hitters – we present Sam Flockhart.

ITT

Back in March I was looking at the Cycling calendar and trying to decide what events to target for the year. I figured I needed a goal that would keep me fit throughout the winter without succumbing to the cold and rain. I saw the 2018 Masters Nationals were being held in East Gippsland, Victoria this year, with a 16km TT on an undulating course in Metung, 76km Road Race in Swan Reach and a Criterium in Paynesville. I thought, why not, something to aim for but a 3-week holiday in July to Italy without bikes or bike training didn’t seem like such a great idea in the lead up to Masters, as I would only have 10 weeks to get back in shape. This coupled with a heavy work schedules and studying, (all due within about 2 weeks of Masters) meant the pressure was on. Time was against me and it meant a lot of hard work to get to race fitness. But not one to shy away from a challenge, I thought, what the heck. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Photo: Sam Flockhart FB

The TT was held in Metung (about 3 hours drive east of Melbourne), with an undulating 16km out and back course. Being my first TT at a National level, to say the nerves were at a premium was an understatement. The sight of familiar faces (SPR and Perth crews) put my mind at easy and the ‘hug of Ballam’ was a welcome comfort and was enough to settle me and get ready for action.

Warm up complete, it was off to the start line for bike and helmet checks before entering the marshalling area. Women’s 1 were off first and seeing Amanda Nabi take off down the ramp made things real. I was off at 12:21 and just a minute behind chasing me was former SPR member, Sarah Fitton. Called up to the start line there was nothing left to do but give it everything, roll down the start ramp and put 16kms behind me.

The excitement of the countdown got the better of me as I took off down the ramp, past the SPR crew and the Nascent crew who were all cheering words of encouragement as I went past, (although I have no idea what they were saying!!!). The first climb appeared and that settled me in to a rhythm and pace I knew I could hold. There were 2 climbs on the way out to the turn around point and my aim was just to get up them and to the turn around without being caught by the Fitton Train. A bonus would be to close in on the rider in front of me. As I was 1km from the approaching turn-around, I could see an official car on the course and knew the rider in front of me was just up the road. The rider in front of me entered the U-turn just in front of me and I was able to pass her on the return leg. I could see Fitton approaching fast as I came out of the turn for the return journey, knowing the 1 min gap had shrunk slightly, but I still had a decent gap and I just had to hold it.

The return journey was certainly faster than the first 8kms and this was evident by seeing another rider (who started 2 mins in front of me), just up the road. This was incentive to push a bit harder and see what I could do. The kms were ticking down and I could see the finish banner come in to view. The seconds were ticking by and when I crossed the line I had no idea of my official time or my placing.

I rolled to the end of the road and tried to regain my breath, (without much success) before I rolled back to the start to see the results. I looked up to see my coach and SPR crew approaching with big smiles on their faces. The words I heard next were “You’re in 3rd place at the moment”. I didn’t rejoice at that moment, knowing the results weren’t finalised and not knowing how many more riders in my age category were still out on course. Then the confirmation came, “Sam Flockhart from the South Perth Cycling Club in 3rd place”.

Nailed it. Numerous hugs, smiles and high 5’s were shared before heading up to the podium.

Photo: Sam Flockhart FB.
Photo: Sam Flockhart FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best part of the day was getting to share the podium with past and present SPR members, Michelle McLintock, Amanda Nabi and Sarah Fitton, (who grabbed 2nd place in our Women’s 2 age category).

Photo: Michelle McLintock FB
Photo: Sam Flockhart FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

RR

With the number of Masters categories, the Road Race was run over 2 separate days, Friday and Saturday. SPR Member Vanessa Johnson was up for the Road Race on Friday and got to enjoy lovely weather. The sun was shining, and the birds were chirping. Unfortunately, this was not the case on Saturday when Michelle, Amanda, Olesya, Teneal and Myself lined up for the 76km road race. Whilst it started overcast, the rain soon came and set in for the day. The race started with a neutral zone before we were given the go.

Photo: Michelle McLintock FB

The pace was steady with a peloton of approx. 25 riders completed the first lap. There were a few short sharp attacks over the next 3 laps of the undulated course, with only 1 rider getting away- Justine Burrows the winner of Women’s 2 who finished a whopping 8min 30 secs in front of the peloton.

A crash mid race separated the bunch a bit with 3 riders coming down, the SPR crew unscathed and continued in the bunch. From the back of the pack I managed to go around the outside and get back on the bunch. Last lap commenced with a ding of the bell and it was on. Pace picked up and try as I might, I found myself out the back door and wondering how I was going to get back on. The commissaire came passed and gave me the thumbs up before following the peloton – still in view, but felt like I was on an elastic band yo-yoing back to them.

Photo: Michelle McLintockFB

The pace came off on the last climb of the lap, so I gritted my teeth and put out some massive watts to get on the back of the pack, again. We were all together heading to the final climb that was 2-3kms from the line. The pack was a bit jumpy as everyone was looking at each other to see who was going to make the first move. The base of the climb fast approaching, the peloton split again as Amanda, Teneal and Michelle took off. The climb seemed to never end, but alas we made it to the finish in 1 piece. I finished 1 min behind the front of the peloton – a good effort considering an average day weather wise.

CRIT

Sunday, we moved to Paynseville and there was certainly plenty of pain dished out that day in the Criterium races. Morning session saw Tim Hopkins line up in the Men’s Masters 3 for his 40 min crit. Tim rode well and ended up being caught by the fast lapping peloton after approx. 20 mins.

Photo: Amanda Nabi FB

The afternoon session again saw the SPR women line up for our 40min crit. There was a lot of jostling for position early in the race with the pace being something I was unable to hold. I settled in to a rhythm and aimed to stay in the race just as long as I could. I saw 2 riders ahead of me and caught them before trying to work with them to stay away from the fast chasing peloton. There were various groups of Perth Peeps dotted around the course and their encouragement each lap really kept me going and aiming for that next lap. At the 25 min mark, I was caught, and race done for me.

Watching the finish from the side lines I was nervous for the SPR crew. Bell lap done, and it was on. A rider from Dubbo jumped to the lead out of the last corner with Amanda and Teneal chasing hard.  Michelle chased and came across the line mid pack, to secure the Champion of Champions jersey for the weekend in the Women’s 1 category. The smiles on the faces of all riders summed up the relief that a good weekend of racing was all done.

Photo: Michelle McLintock FB
Photo: Amanda Nabi FB
Photo: Amanda Nabi FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

To anyone wondering whether they should sign up for next year National Masters Championships, Absolutely you should!!! You may surprise yourself and the racing experience you receive racing with people from over Australia, some who race a bucket load more than you, is invaluable. Sign up, start training and pin a number on, cos it’s worth it.

The Beverley 2018 – Race Reports

 

Weather forecasts and predictions varied – from poor weather just missing our course, to full blown Armageddon. Both would be correct, as it turned out. A little late, but here they are. 

These are the stories from INSIDE the peloton:

*All photos – Paul George

Faye Daglish-Jones – Pre-Race Prep Time

I had the fantastic opportunity to join the volunteer convoy to the race with the wonderful SPR volunteers… all thanks to me….. volunteering my hubby.

A convoy. A convoy of soccer mum cars…… 😉

The convoy kicked off at 7am from Mundaring Dome. The drive to and ‘on the race’ course was incredibly picturesque, soft rolling hills and green, yes green, (SPR green) everywhere. Maybe that was an omen for what was to come (with SPR taking first place on the leaderboard for the Element Road series! Yay) There was also an off road’ detour (thanks to the VP) that made me wish I’d packed the CX bike.

Quick stop to drop off water supplies (last year Beverley was around the 40 degrees) just to keep this event interesting (& heroic) this year we were going to be swimming in it.

With destination Beverley reached, the hive of activity was just ramping up, starting with the “Mo’s” ride briefing – expertly delivered, made even more impressive by the fact that he had yet to have his first morning coffee !

SPR Chix. Check. Start line. Check.

With thunder clouds building, it was time to get ‘race’ ready. Luckily for me the SPR race registration team lead by Tracey (with help from hubby – guess he was listening to the Mo’s briefing !) was ready for their first customers. So before I had a chance to ponder “did I pack enough wet weather gear” I was through the registration process and ready for the adventure that lay ahead.

The Limit group started bang on 11:00 with our own Debbie, Faye and Liz departing to rapturous applause. And the groups continued at their handicap times. Some looking more promising than others. The Smart Money was on Scratch catching the Limit markers and storming home clear …..

The outbound leg was into a heavy headwind and squalls of rain and past the turnaround there were three bigger groups formed. The lead group made up of the 20-30 odd minute starters, the teens starters behind them, and a growing Scratch group charging hard. So many SPR jerseys were in there.

Bryan “Poodle” Thurstan – On the start line, outward bound

Weather forecasters!  What would they know?  Rain, storms, headwinds predicted!  Not today, the sun is shining & the air is filled with the scent of malted barley & stinky canola.  For the next 115km.

Poods. Leader of the Wolf Pack.

The Green Team SPRouleurs arrived in their droves.  The limit groups set out with a 45 minute lead, followed soon after by the SPR Chix.  Things started looking serious with the 29 minute D group, Shelby & Sam with game face on, Poods looking arrogant, Hanson surly, and Ash just bewildered.  The usual game plan:  Put on a bit of hurt on the way out into the first headwind climb, sort out the workers from the wheel suckers, like sorting the wheat from the chaff.  Some days you are the wheat, some days you are the chaff.

Fast blokes. Riding fast.

The plan worked, with the D group quickly thinning to a dozen riders, grinding out the miles into a headwind, reeling in all the leaders.  The early starters & the SPR Chix were all caught.  Jump on board, grab a wheel, but don’t do any work!  40km in and there was just one rider left up the road with a 2 minute lead.

The C group caught up, swelling the lead bunch to 40 riders.  Time to hitch on to the freight train & listen to the commissaire blow his horn at us. The 57km turning mark closed in, sharp turn, time for full gas with a tail wind home!

Ali Ramm had taken a turn on the front of the second group on the road, and quite literally blew the group to pieces. Scratch group swelled and kept gaining ground, but somewhere around the 95km mark, Scratch sat up and the work rate suffered. Little did the leaders on the road know, but for them it was ON!

There was a small lead group that crested the final rise of Lenards Rd Hill together. As they passed #Ramon it looked like there was just enough for the small group to stay clear. But who was there?!?!

David Menarry – Approaching the Turnaround, and it’s Getting’ Real

Menarry. Spinal Tap: “This one goes to ELEVEN”.

We quickly caught our minute group and recruited Jon Hanson and a few others to the cause, including the eventual men’s and women’s winners.  From that point onwards it was just a question of how soon we would reel in the other groups in front of us. We managed that by about 10km from the turnaround point. The pressure was on to stay at the front … but wait … it turns out there was a solo leader another 2.5 minutes ahead of us!

With the wind behind us we really started to increase the pace. We did catch and overtake the solo leader quite quickly though. And then the downpour started, soaking everyone to the bone and slowing us up.  I was getting worried about the faster groups catching us but couldn’t contribute as much as I wanted to: I knew we had nearly 50km to go and we needed to race within our capability.

With about 30km to go a few of the faster riders started trying to split the group, unfortunately again without much success.  This took its toll and we seemed to slow again. At this point Ali Ramm picked up the gauntlet and pulled the group along for several extended spells. As the kilometres passed by our group thinned out and with about 5km to go there were probably only 20 of us left when we saw a hill ahead.

“Surely this is the last climb?” came the shout from someone in the bunch. I wasn’t convinced and it turns out that it was just the entrée to another longer climb with 3km to go. I was feeling confident but nervous about the fast groups catching us. I started planning how I would play the finish. And then I was boxed in going up the climb. Not the legs. Not the heart rate. Just poor race craft.

By the time I got free there were 11 riders about 200m ahead of me. One thing I know how to do is time trial back on, and I got within 20m of the group before they kicked on again and I was gone.  I used one back marker as my target on the 2km downhill stretch to the finish as the group pulled away. I went flying past him but unfortunately he was able to jump in my slipstream and use me to get to the finish.

The challenge was on and I wasn’t confident I had the energy left to win a one vs one sprint, so I put the power down and went for the long finish. I just couldn’t shake him but despite a dodgy moment when I rode through some gravel on the side of the road, I managed to just stay ahead.

50m to go and he went for his sprint.  No way was I giving this one up and I put in my last effort, beating him to 11th place by half a wheel length and first in green and white (though not the first SPR member).

While I’m very happy with how I went overall (I could only have dreamed of 11th at the start) I can’t help but feel disappointed with what might have been. The fast group didn’t catch us and I felt great at the finish. Bring on The Beverley 2019!!

WITHOUT BIAS. OK, maybe a bit.

The sprint was tight, but the winner clear – Des Smith from MCC took the win, Matthew Pollard second, Owen Henderson third, Antony Smithson fourth and Thomas Graham fifth. Liz Burrows finished as first Woman, and Fastest Time went to Craig Wiggins.

Three moustache’s in the top 5. True Story.

There were some real notables from SPR’s contingent were Phil Stevens – giant killer of a handicap racer, but no green! – in 6th, David Menarry 11th for first SPR Green kit to finish, Poodle in 17th (true story!), Ali “Battering” Ramm with a ride and a half, and (with much bias) Rebecca Kelly beating all previous race “bests”. Love your work Hun.

As el Prez blogged recently, at the end of The Beverley, SPR took The Element Series Club Championship, and we celebrate two Element Series Grade Champions in Kirstie Moore for Womens’s B grade, and Tomasz Wolczyk in Men’s B grade, as well as a few 2nd and 3rd places. Not a bad years’ racing.

Thanks to everyone that contributed on the day, and especially those that raced. The pictures really do tell a story. Mo out.

Burner, pre-ignition.
Rollin’, rollin’ rollin’, Keep those home fires burnin’, Raw Hide.
Just a week from Peak.
Courgette, Incognito.
This actual drainage channel was a raging, overflowing torrent not 15 minutes earlier!
Head turn right, drop shoulder, aaaaaaaand pout.
Fehlberg and Burner.
NumbersMan. Crunching the numbers, and they ain’t looking great.
Strong. And my favourite.
Finish line. Focused. But not in the drops for a photo op. Claire, we must talk.
What rain?
It’s a wide open road.
Couples that ride together, stay to…………. DEAN! Get out of the bloody picture.

Musings of a Beverley Race Director

On the day, all will be OK.

The Beverley. SPR are the caretakers of this historical events’ revival. For three years, we’ve hosted this Handicap format race through the rolling fields of the Wheatbelt and Wandoo National Park. Fifty Seven km’s out, turn around, come back. Simple enough, eh?

This thing started as an idea from Mr Vesparazzi – to add a road race to the existing Beverley Heroic weekend. Within weeks I’d found myself newly on the SPR Committee, and a Race Director of a Race that didn’t yet exist, with little experience. She’ll be apples, Mate.

Year 1 and we were 80-odd entries deep, borderline hurricane-categorised weather, two Track World Champs and one Col Tierney on our podium. Year 2 doubled the entries on a scorching heatwave 36 deg October day.

Vollies. Working hard? Photo: Paul George

2018 saw a drop in entries – only two thirds of last years’ entries overall and also for Women. What we also saw was tighter racing, much more accurate handicaps, epic weather conditions (The Beverley in October is a bet-each-way kind of thing) and a great finish punctuated by many moustaches. But we’ll get to that in the Race Report.

Everything we have now has taken the past three years to build. We now have plans, processes, documents, relationships and knowledge in place.

Photo: Paul George

On race day, on course in the Race Director car, it’s a view back to front hitting the road after Scratch group. It’s a lesson in which groups work, which egos break a group apart and tactical sit ups waiting for the next group. I find it really interesting to watch from here, as opposed to racing like at Collie-Donnybrook – a different perspective seeing everything happening and not just your groups’ movements. For me, On Course time is also a meditation on everything it takes to get to this point. Of which there is bloody plenty.

Organised and taking no s*$t. Photo: Paul George

There are a small army of loyal volunteer contributions that make the day run. Most of these SPRouleurs and Ring Ins have been on board previously and keep coming back. Club Community, indeed. These are the Crew that make The Beverley Happen.

Our Rego Desk and Marshaling Crew were:

  • Sarah “Poster Girl” Smith
  • Tracey “The Organiser” Hassell
  • Michelle “B-Train” Bonner
  • Greg “Super-Sub” Jones
  • Al “Curly” Cook
  • Neil “New Face” Gerace
  • Dermot “Man in Black” Blackweir
  • Phil Edwards & Steve Dodd, PDCC “Bondi Rescue” – coming in very late to help us out on Traffic Management.
  • Daniel O’Donohue – MyLaps timing system

The Beverley Convoy was:

  • Lead Car 1 – Bill Darby and Cathi Dixon   #angryduck
  • Lead Car 2 – Adam and Arletta Ralph   #ralpha
  • Lead Car 3 – Eamon Doricott   #ramon
  • Lead Car 4 – Callum Stott and Audrey Xie   #dizzy
  • Lead Car 5 – Paul George and Liam Donley   #georgyboy
  • Lead Car 6 – Andrew and Fiona Williams   #bigwillie
  • Lead Car 7 – Julian Johnson   #vp
  • SAG Wagon – Rob Ramsden   #crumpet
Crumpetvagen, SAG Wagon. Photo: Paul George
Hands inside the car at all times…. ur. Photo: Paul George

 

 

 

 

 

In the wrap up post-event, we had run to schedule, on time to the absolute minute, we had no crashes, a record 56 SPR and Dome Team entries registered (half the field!). Some good handicapping resulted in the mix of groups in the leading bunches across the line. SPR as a Club had a smattering of members finishing through the top 20, but the first SPR jersey across the line was David Menarry in 11th. Awesome ride, Dave!

These IKEA instructions make no sense. Photo: Paul George

Despite the EPIC weather, what I saw were massive smiles, generous back slaps, awesome tales and a great vibe. It’s…… it’s just the vibe. There was a palpable galvanising of riders out on the road for this one, working hard in their groups for a poke at glory.

This thing has been a near one man show up until Race Day for all three events. For all the stresses, frustrations and challenges thrown up external to SPR, it has been a very patient, supportive and actively assisting Partner at home that keeps this rolling. I don’t think Rebecca’s contributions rate enough of a mention. She has allowed a lot to be put on hold for me to make the time to do this and has done huge amounts of work herself. So Babe, for the many hours I owe you, thank you.

Now, I’m going to have a sleep.

The Beverley is Here

As you may have seen in posts, SPR is once again hosting a handicap road race “The Beverley” in partnership with the Beverley Heroic weekend.

Tomorrow, Saturday 13th October, we continue the revival of the famous old race along the same format as our recent outing.s A 114km Handicap race, starting and finishing in the charming Wheatbelt town of Beverley – a quick one and a bit hours East of Perth.

Rolling over undulating terrain, riders travel through rural views gently uphill, into shaded bushland of Wandoo National Park. The turnaround on to the return run sees a fast flowing lightly downhill run. The handicap format encourages groups to work well together over the parcours. The racing climaxes in the short rise on the approach to Lenard Rd with 4km to go– the first rider to crest holds the advantage in a fast run into the line.

In the past two years we were graced with multiple Track World Champions and local legends Cameron Meyer and Michael Freiberg as our winner and runner up in a cracking sprint finish. We saw biblical weather conditions first year with rain wind and hail (!!), then 30+ degrees for last years’ edition. Thankfully tomorrow looks quite the middle ground!

One speed. Much Heroic.

This is a big day for SPR, but it’s also a massive weekend of cycling. There is The Beverley, Retro Bike show  and Cyclocross racing on Saturday, then the Beverley Heroic rides on Sunday. Make a weekend of it and come and stay overnight. An entire weekend ALL ABOUT BIKES AND RIDING – how good is that?

To the more than 50 SPR and Dome  racers (yep, half the entire field) turning out tomorrow, best of luck.  To The Poster Girl, welcome back to Perth, Mate! To those same hardy volunteers that pitch in event after event – thank you. YOU make this possible.

Heroic we will be. See you all tomorrow.

The Beverley 2018 – the time is NOW

As you may know, SPR is again hosting the handicap road race “The Beverley” as part of the Beverley Heroic weekend and The Element Race Series.

On Saturday 13th October, we continue the revival of the famous old race along the same format as the last two year’s awesome outings. A 114km Handicap race, starting and finishing in the charming Wheatbelt town of Beverley – one and a bit hours East of Perth.

As I wrote last year……..

“Rolling over undulating terrain, riders travel through rural views gently uphill, into shaded bushland of Wandoo National Park. The turnaround on to the return run sees a fast flowing lightly downhill run – handicap groups will need to work well to keep the scratch men at bay. The racing climaxes in the short rise on the approach to Lenard Rd with 4km to go– the first rider to crest holds the advantage in a fast run into the line. The handicap format encourages groups to work well together over the parcours.”

Yep, what he said.

Our first year we were graced with multiple Track World Champions and local legends Cameron Meyer and Michael Freiberg as our winner and runner up in a cracking sprint finish. Not to mention Col Tierney attacking solo from 18km out and ONLY JUST getting caught in the final 300m. Last year, the win came from the bunch off a healthy handicap. Element Series Grade points are also up for grabs. Who’s up for the win this year……. ?

Entry for The Beverley is now OPEN!!! The link to The Element page here.

This is a big day for SPR, but it’s also a massive weekend of cycling. There is The Beverley, WACX staging Cyclocross racing on Saturday afternoon, then the Beverley Heroic rides on Sunday. Make a weekend of it and come and stay overnight. An entire weekend ALL ABOUT BIKES AND RIDING – how good is that? We’d love to see a sea of green once again. You can race or volunteer to help run either or both of the days.

Volunteering and giving back to the Club is what makes our little green community great! Get behind and support the Club.

Be a part of WA Cycling history. Go on – be Heroic.