All posts by Gregory Murray

Tour of Margaret River 2017 – Calling for Expressions of Interest

Interest. Expressions of. Margaret River. Tour of. Yes indeed……..

Do you:

  • Hold a Cycling Australia Race licence with SPR?
  • Ride  with the SPR as a member on our Club Rides IN CLUB KIT?
  • Want to have the ride of your life in green?

SPR has a number of team places allocated by the organisers this year in the Women’s and Men’s categories. We are now opening expressions of interest to Club Members. Do we have a deal for you!

Now, understand there are some expectations if you are intending on registering interest. The Club fronts up cold hard cash for deposits for our team Rego and accommodation. There is also a huge amount of organising done behind the scenes by the Race and Main SPR Committee – as in hours and hours that could otherwise be spent riding with you. So we have a few biggies:

  • ToMR is a commitment – if you nominate you need to commit to the event
  • Nominees are expected to volunteer as support at one SPR event this year
  • We are creating a “squad” initially, with graded teams to be selected by the APRC
  • Expected to attend group ToMR sessions and race at lead up events (Collie-Donnybrook, Pinjara Classic, Beverley Handicap RR) to assist in grading teams.
#squadgoals

We also want VOLUNTEERS – for both the SPR teams, and some extra special ToMR Official Roles. What’s needed first up?

  • Email your EOI with your name and mobile number to race@southperthrouleurs.com.au;
  • Attend the EOI session at Dome Westralia Plaza after Saturday Main Rides at 09:30 am this week or next week.

We’ll cover this at each of the Dome sessions. And the “Disclaimer” stands: as always, selections and decisions are at the discretion of the All-Powerful Race Committee (aka APRC).

You never know who will stalk you.
You never know who you can stalk.

Tour of Margaret River 2017. It begins.

Here we go again – it’s ToMR time!!! Get ready, because Expressions of interest are about to open.

Shameless publishing of that time we met Marianne Vos. Shameless, I say.

The Tour of Margaret River is an annual, raced over three stages and three days, 9th to 12th November 2017, in the iconic South West region of WA. SPR has been represented at ToMR since…… forever. ToMR is in a Pro Race-like environment with a bigger-than-ever-before “Pro-Register”, where current top level and retired legendary pro riders are amongst the teams. Speak with the
SPRouleurs who have raced it previously, or read here, here,  here, here, here or here and you’ll hear how this is one of the best run events going around. So much fun, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, last year we rode with Marianne Vos. The one and only. True story.

This year the ToMR Village is based in a new location – the town of Nannup for the duration of the three days of racing. So we’re looking at 50 minutes’ drive to the start/finish location in Nannup. Teams of six riders, racing three stages, different formats and different courses to previous years:

  • Stage 1 40km Team Time Trial sees a start and finish in Nannup. The teams are seeded for subsequent stages, recorded at the 5th team rider crossing the line – tactics count, as you cannot drop (or sacrifice) your team mates.
  • Stage 2 50km Road Race doesn’t let up, following the start of last year’s stage 3 from Nannup to Greenbushes. It’s a hilly course with 2 significant climbs (and needing a ride or a car shuttle back).
  • Stage 3 110km of hills is a tough day, starting  in Nannup via Balingup, Kirup and back to Nannup.

Take a look for yourself…. http://www.tourofmargaretriver.com/

Mid-Tour Transition stage – transitioning from hungry to full and sleepy.

As with previous years, SPR will be staying in team houses. We are booking self-contained houses of a generous size and based in Dunsborough where we can locate all the team houses nearer each other – this is an SPR Club outing, after all.  This year we will be running a package-only arrangement inclusive of accommodation and race registration, expected to be somewhere between $600 and $650.

We will open expressions of interest soon, from which will be formed an “SPR Squad”, with graded teams to be nominated dependant on form and speed – graded by the *APRC and the SPR ToMR Team Manager.

Get ready………………………..

*APRC – All-Powerful Race Committee

KB. Focus.

SPR Calling All SPRouleurs! – Invitation for Volunteer Register

el Prez, Dr J, #theflyingmoustache and the Race Sub-Committee want YOU!


SPR has an involvement in a number of events throughout the year – those we do from the ground up (the Beverley Handicap Road Race, SPR Water Tower Challenge) those we do in partnership (The Ring Crits, Renae’s Race) and those we attend enmasse to reprazent! Generally, the same people come along to assist at every event and there’s no reason why we should keep all the fun to ourselves when there’s 400 odd SPRouleurs out there!

We now seek to establish a Volunteers Register from our SPR members – a chance for you all to be a part of what makes SPR awesome, and be better prepared in the long run for our events.

This will allow us to set up an availability schedule, roster in people ahead of time, plan around the events you may be participating in and just get you all involved. Also it will serve to have members engage outside of your own regular Saturday ride group and give you the chance to give back and contribute to the SPR activities.

What do we want from you?

ONE OR TWO VOLUNTEER ATTENDANCES A YEAR. That’s all.

A group of 30 SPRouleurs will cover our basic manning for SPR run events. More SPRouleurs will mean we can assist actively with MORE CycleSport WA events and build the WA Cycling community even further.

We aim to generate a list to cover these types of duties across the events we are involved with:

  • Set up and pull down Crews – pitch the tents, ice up the esky’s, raise the flags;
  • Registration Desk – smile, laugh, get their license and get ’em racing;
  • Drivers – Lead, Follow and support vehicle drivers, and some experience is needed for these;
  • Traffic controllers – any ticketed traffic controllers out there in the membership?
  • Marshalls – assist with ushering spectators and participants.

Email the Race Sub-Committee at race@southperthrouleurs.com.au, reply to this post below, or come and catch up Greg this Saturday morning 6th May, post Main ride at Dome Westralia Plaza.

Request for Volunteers – The Ring Crit Series Encore, Leederville

Not quite what we expect at The Ring Encore, Leederville. Photo: GMo TDU 2017

We have a request for supply of some volunteers for The Ring Criterium Encore event, taking over the streets of Leederville this Sunday afternoon. We have a tent – need people!

All the famous Perth Champs will be there, getting papped.

If you are available, willing and able for either set up (from 11:00am), pull down (after 18:00) or for marshaling duties (2 stints of 3 hours, starting at 12:00 and 14:45) then please drop an email to Greg over at race@southperthrouleurs.com.au with your best contact details and availability times for the day.

We will also have an SPR Club area set up with the Green tents. Bring your stationary trainer, your masseuse and massage table, a camp chair, cowbells, loud screaming voices, food, drinks…… We’d really like to see some supporters out there for the event. It’s taken a lot of effort from WestCycle to make this one happen, with Oxford and Newcastle Streets being closed for US to ride around in circles really fast!!!! How good is that?

SPR. Have van, will travel.

Entries are open until this Thursday night, and are online entry ONLY. Further details for the actual event are available on their website here  and updates are on the FaceBook page as well.

Tour de Bintan – Race Reports

Tour de Bintan – Race Reports

The Tour de Bintan has had patronage from the Dome Coffees Cycle Team for a few years now and was familiar to those familiar with Toby Brown. You may well have been bombarded with social media updates about the event and results over the Labor Day Long Weekend, so you too may be up to speed.

So it was that a contingent of SPR members – and full disclosure from me here – and my training crew, Strive Cycle Training, fielded a team of SPR Chicks (known henceforth as the Strivettes) and a token Dude (Andrew Williams aka Big Willy) with the Dome Coffees Cycle Team also making a return to the Island of Bintan.

These are their stories (Law & Order sound effect here).

 

Tour de Bintan – Stage 1 ITT. Andrew Williams. Red Helmet Owner. Token Dude.

All aboard the 6:10 to Bintab Island.

The first stage of the Tour de Bintan was a 17km individual time trial, however, unlike most TTs, the stage had to be completed on a standard road bike.  This was my first race outside Australia and the nerves were on high alert. I felt very well prepared thanks to Toby Brown and the many practice runs back in Perth, but I always struggle with nerves on race day.

Race day came and I was desperate to do a recon ride.  We had done one the day before when we arrived on the Island, but best to say it was confused with people lost and/or taking different routes.

The Strive ladies were starting early in proceedings with Kathryn Buckley the second rider on the road at 12.30ish.  I was the last of the Strive/Dome group and not off till 4.32.30.

Andrew Ballam and I rode out with the ladies and managed to get in a quick recon in before they closed the course.  That settled the nerves considerable and by the time I got back to the start line and the Dome/Strive tent I was starting to think this might be OK.  After wishing the ladies good luck it was back to the resort and sitting around trying not to get nervous.

Mid-afternoon saw me trying to wriggle into my new skin suit and head off for the start line, warming up as I went.  In the tent I was given some ice for cooling (How the ever resourceful Travis Keen has procured kilos of ice in the middle of an Indonesia island with no apparent shops is worthy of its own story!).

A quick last minute warm up, a bike check by the commissaries and I was on the start ramp.  I will mention this was the first time I had started from a ramp and was terrified of starting (and finishing) my TT by falling off the edge of the ramp (and going viral on YouTube!). Despite my concerns the start was good and I was off.

The first section was flat and I was pushing hard but felt OK.  I got through the right hand turn OK and the climbing started and I was up and over the first hill before I knew what had happened.

I would love to describe what happened next, but to be honest it is a blur of climb, descend, pedal, turn, climb again.  The middle section of the course was a series of small lumps.  Then before I had chance to think too much I was back on the main road and knew I only had one climb to go.  It was a bit steeper than the rest and I was determined not to overcook myself.

I hit the top of the hill and found the biggest gear and just pedalled.  Past a couple of riders on their way out from the start, round the last left hand corner and I remember thinking “just a few minutes of pain”. The sight of the finish line lifted the output a little, across the line then suddenly realised I had to turn left or run into the barrier!

The Andrew’s. Or what was left.

Just over 28 minutes for 17.1kms was a little slower than I thought I could do, but turned out it put me in 12th place out of the 26 starters in the TT which was much higher than I expected. Back to the tent and once again Travis was there with ice and a coke.  I think oxygen might also have been a good idea!

The whole experience felt like it was over in a flash but I had just completed my first overseas stage.  Pretty cool and I’ll be back to take some more time off.

Tour de Bintan – Stage 2. Vanessa Johnson. Ex-Golfer. Podium Girl.

V. Johnson, #59.

Day 2 dawned with clouds as heavy as my thoughts. My goal for the tour had been to improve my race craft, and if lucky perhaps snag a podium. Here I was, through a series of serendipitous events (and no small amount of sweat and grit), wearing yellow in the 45-49 category. Don’t stuff it up.

Yellow Baby!

While we breakfasted the skies opened, easing to a light drizzle by the time we arrived at the race start. The women were first off, yellow jerseys congregated beneath the start gantry, the performance of the traditional dancers not enough to distract minds anxiously focused on the 140km ahead. We rolled out into the undulating countryside at a pleasant pace and the Strive women (all SPR members) found good positions near the front of the peloton. Laurensia Rosana in particular worked selflessly, protecting the yellow worn by myself and Amanda Nabi.

As we approached the first significant corner of the ride I heard the sirens of the 18-34 men’s convoy approaching. Keen to clear the corner ahead of the men I moved to the front, looking for an unobstructed line. Unobstructed – yes; correct – no. Dropping in to salvage an exit from the wet, 90 degree left-hander my wheels went from under me and I slid across the road as if it was an ice rink. Jump up fast-I’m OK-bike’s OK- bar tape plug, quick shove it in-OMG my prescription glasses are under the peloton-put the chain on-get my glasses-dodge the convoy-find a flat spot-get on-RIDE!! I had lost 60 seconds on the group. It’s OK don’t panic, pedal.

I set off, capping my effort at 80% power as I knew the men were not far behind. Soon they were with me and I gratefully eased into their peloton. We steadily collected the tail of the women’s group, but I did not catch sight of Nabi’s yellow jersey before the men ramped up for the first sprint point, and I was shed from the group, losing my tube of electrolytes & food tablets in the process. It’s OK don’t panic, you packed extra.

Along the coast the breeze was persistent. I was fortunate to catch a small group of women and  organised them into a nicely echeloned pace line (taking liberty whilst wearing yellow). Groups came by; I jumped on, dropped off, then rode mostly solo between 95-110km after falling into a nutrition-hydration hole. Why are all the sprint points at the top of freakin’ hills! I recovered after making a concerted effort to eat and drink and joined another passing group. I shook my head ruefully when they asked if I was in the breakaway. I could only hope that Anke Hoskins-Bergmann was riding strong. It will be OK if Anke can keep yellow for us.

The rain was torrential at times, like riding up a river but with less visibility. I was counting down – that’s a Saturday ride, that’s a river loop, that’s to work & back – and very glad to catch Katheryn Dines and her group at a little over 10km to go. No sprint finish for me. I was straight to the medical room to have my wounds tended and then out of my saturated kit, glad to have a towel and change of clothes.

Watching the presentations it was clear that it had been a great day for Strive and Dome. Plenty of podiums and Jarred Anderson, Amanda & Anke will ride in yellow. As my category is presented I sit and watch, wearing my shirt and towel (leg too cut up for shorts), feeling glum about my Zoolander moment (can’t turn left). Third place is announced – well I didn’t see her – then oh horror and joy- ‘2nd Vanessa Johnson’ – OMG I am in a towel – I can’t go up there- how embarrassing, oh well…

“The Podium Towel” incident, with the winner, Anke Hoskins!!!

 

Tour de Bintan – Stage 3, Amanda Nabi. The Queen. Full Stop.

Charlie Sheen, winning all over this.

The challenge of a tour is being able to back up your performance from day to day.  The Tour de Bintan was three days of hard work!  Whilst I had personal success in Stages #1 and #2 I got the most satisfaction from Stage #3.

As others have probably already describe­­d, we experienced varying conditions on day 1 and 2 – from hot and windy to monsoonal rain – but Stage #3 was the weather we had been expecting…hot and oppressively humid.  Motivation was probably pretty low after days of force-feeding yourself, aching legs, and the nervous exhaustion that comes from trying to do your best day after day.

Going into Stage #3 the Strivettes were top on the Team’s Classification and I was leading my age group and was also the fastest woman overall.  The challenge was keeping it like that.  For the Team’s Classification the focus was for us all to try and win the two sprint points from our age groups and for the GC I had to basically stick with the two girls immediately behind me on overall time, a couple of younger girls on the Singapore national team who were 12 and 17 seconds respectively behind me.

The girls’ peloton was the first to take off.  The first 25kms were cruisey as just like in the previous two stages it wouldn’t be long before the 18 – 34 year old boy group would catch us and boom, the girls’ peloton would split and the strongest of the girls would jump on the back.

At the 30km mark the boys had caught us.  Anke, Louise and I managed to jump on and as expected the pace was on.  All three of us managed to win points at both sprint points on course but following the second sprint point at the 77km mark (which was more like a KOM) a few of the boys attacked over and down the crest of the hill and the peloton was in pursuit.   I managed to hold on by the skin of my teeth, sometimes literally, for another 20kms but at the 99km mark, 6kms from the finish the hilly course and high pace just became too much and I popped…and with that went my hope of being the fastest woman overall.

It was relief as I rolled across the line.  I was understandably disappointed that I wasn’t able to take the Tour win, but as I watched my team mates come across the line that disappointment was replaced by the joy of taking the Team Classification…I soon forgot those last heart-breaking 6kms.

Bring up the Coach, we’re too tired to lift the Teams Cup.

Standing on the stage with such a wonderful bunch of girls as the Strivettes, and our coach Toby Brown, spraying champagne was definitely the highlight or the tour!!

Tour de Bintan – The Struggle is Real, Laurensia Rosana. Tenacious.

The Tour de Bintan was a well-run event which you all should know about. I think it should be part of your “to do list”. I decided to sign up for this event late last year as my personal goal after a back surgery I had mid last year. It has not been easy to train again while I need to be mindful with my injury. There are few people I know in the club going through similar situations. This story is to tell you my riding journey post-surgery. What I have achieved in this race is something I would like to share with you. If I could do it, so could you.

Relax.

In preparation for the race, my awesome coach Mr Toby Brown designed a training program suited to my recovery process. On top of my time on the bike (approximately 10-20 hours per week), I also had gym and yoga sessions. Strength work and flexibility was as equally important as training efforts I was doing on the bike. All these really paid off based on the fact that I experienced improvement in my performance until we were due to fly to Bintan.

Bromo: Lean on me.

Day 1 of the Tour was an individual time trial over undulation course of 17 kms. Time trialling is the riding style that I always enjoy. I prepared myself on the day expecting to give my best performance by far. It unfortunately turned out not be so great after all. With the heat, humidity and wind, I struggled to maintain my pace throughout the ride. Although I went as hard as I could do, it was not enough getting me qualified to be a time trial qualifier. I ended the day with so much disappointment.

Day 2 was a big day, 140 kms grand fondo. Going to day 2, I made rookie mistakes: mentally talking myself down from day 1 outcome and sitting in front of women peloton for approximately 30 kms. Yup you read it right, 30 kms. When 18-34 men group passed us, I did not manage to hang on and got dropped. Although I managed to ride in a small group for the next 70 kms, at 100 km I was hit by reality. 40 kms to go, my lower back was sore, which forced me to drop off from the group I was riding with. It sucks to ride on your own in discomfort and wet from the rain. I crossed the finish line close to 5 hours on the bike.

Many things went through my mind at that time and I almost gave up right then. I asked myself “could I do this again tomorrow?”, I bit my lip hard and swallowed my disappointment for the second time. You know what guys, I would really hate myself if I didn’t give it a go on day 3. All tears and sweats would have gone down the drain if I was not on the start line on day 3. Day 3 was another big day with 111 kms course. The first 3 kms was not great with me getting mechanical difficulties. Wait, it was not as bad as you would think! I managed to get back on to the women peloton and rode with them until 18-34 men group caught us. I got dropped and I rode with the same ladies I met on day 2 (yes an odd way to make friends hey!) for most of the race course until the last 10 kms. This time, I crossed the finish line with so much relieve and satisfaction. I did it – a 3 day racing tour is complete!

Looking back, lessons learnt which I would like to share with you all especially riders with injuries:

  1. Be patient and follow the recovery process as advised by your experts
  2. Have your coach involved in your recovery process
  3. Celebrate and cherish small wins. I think completing day 1 and day 2 despite of my disappointment was significant wins, which I did not realise at the time.
  4. Injury should not prevent you from doing what you would like to do. Your determination and commitment will supersede your body limitation.

Here, I end my story with this fact:

“I might not win anything on this tour, I however walk away as a winner of my own battle. “

The calm before the tropical storm.
SPR Chicks – Winners, one and all.
The Queen.
SPR Chicks, Post-Stage 1 ITT.
What evah?
Probably my (Greg’s) favourite photo. It’s been a while coming, but so, so, so hard earnt. Love your work Anke!
20km from home, Jared Anderson attacks, solos and………………..
……………TAKES THE STAGE WIN! Well done, Young Man.
Jubilation. Fist pump!
Because, Champagne.
Andrew Ballam. The bloke has had some awful luck in crashes, but is one of the most positive and generous people SPR has. And over 140km Stage 2 he placed 3rd in a hotly contested age division. Boss, all over.
Recce ride. Good times.
Eating.
Stage 3 start line. Awaiting fireworks.
SPR. Strive. Remember those names, Bintan-ers.
Fruits of labour. The Jersey. ‘Nuff said.
Celebrate.

All photos courtesy of the SPR competitors. There are many more on their FaceBook pages and on the official  Tour de Bintan website.

Pemberton Classic – Race Report

Last week over the public holiday long weekend saw the staging of the Pemberton Classic Road Race. SPR had a contingent of competitors across most grades – some in team kit and some in GREEN! And it was an outing for the new SPR Club van. Swish!

Van, Mo, Stripes

The event consists of a Saturday afternoon criterium on a challenging circuit with a kicker of an incline that peaks on the start/finish line. The Sunday saw an early morning Road Race over different distances per grading on an undulating, rural road course with beautiful views and plenty of speed.

Saturday Crits saw SPR members in Mens A (Patrick S-W and Matt H in GDT team kit, Matt C in neutral), B Grade (Elar and Alex B) and C grade (Jon Hanson, Simon Millichip, Bryan Thurstan, Peter Wilshaw and myself in SPR kit and a few others – names escape, sorry!) and our SPR Chicks in A grade (Sarah Fitton, Corrie F and Michelle Mc in respective team kit) and B grade (JJ and Rebecca). In a word, tough. The course has a punchy climb preceding the start/finish and in 26 mins (for me, anyway) it took its toll – my Training Peaks Intensity Factor registered as 1.11. Ouch. There were no podiums for SPR, but a few places of note with a 5th to Corrie, 5th to Rebecca, a 7th for Bryan T and a (upright and intact) 9th to me. And Tony Lendrum caught a good pic of the Mo – let’s have a beer (Jon and Bryan concur).

Photo: Tony Lendrum
SPR Squad. Spent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning saw a nice early start for the Road Race, with different distances per grade. Mens C grade set off first and a mere 600m is all it took to reach Pump Hill from the start line for the first climb. A sharp 70 vertical metre, 4-5 minute kick skywards, then 35km of undulating rural and Karri forest-lined roads ensued. Peter W and I made the decisive and early split on the first Pump Hill ascent and the pace stayed solid through the first lap. Jon managed to hold a disturbingly close distance leading a small group no more than 100m back but couldn’t quite bridge, with Bryan and Simon also back. The second lap up Pump Hill saw me dropped, getting closed in and stuck behind a rider with a dropped chain at the base of the climb – 50m of gap opened before I could get around the stationary bike and moving again and that was day done, never making contact. Peter W finished in the lead group, with apparently a crash on the last corner into the finishing straight.

What happens on tour………

Results are not yet website published and there was no timing system due to illness affecting the volunteer team. HOWEVER…… Mens A grade saw Matt C top 10, Mens B grade had Elar finish with the lead group in what were both fast races, averaging over 38km/hr.

Womens A grade saw Sarah Fitton back in race mode after some recent time off and appeared to be straight back into it – in search of “up” – and finishing only a few minutes behind the winning group. Our B grade women, both of whom were in their first graded road race. SPR Chicks, represent.

To round out the weekend, we elected to head to a local winery and brewery, soaking up the afternoon sun with some live music from a local Bridgetown blues and roots musician and some tasty beverages.

Michelle McLintock. Photo: Tony Lendrum
Jiyeon Kwan. Photo: Tony Lendrum
JJ and Bec. Photo: Tony Lendrum
Womens A grade, Corrie Fillmore and Michelle McLintock. Photo: Tony Lendrum
Jon Hanson. Towed a bunch all the way home and still punched the sprint.
Too fatigued to get both thumbs up properly.
Minions, Specialized, haybales, Smithy. Photo: Sarah Fitton

The Pemberton Classic is staged over the March Labour Day weekend annually, and I haven’t attended an event more thoroughly supported by the local community than this one. On the approach to town, right through the town and around the course on rural roads there are white painted bicycles hanging in trees, mounted on fences, on 12ft high stakes in garden beds. We weren’t able to readily identify a local business that did not appear on the list of sponsors for the weekend. The local pub, cafes, the general store, the coppers and local drivers on the road were fantastic, welcoming and hospitable. We spoke with one of the cafe owners – April (we won’t be spruiking specific cafes, but come and speak with us if you’re after a killer iced latte in P-town!) – who said the race coming to town and building over the years has seen a big change in the tourist traffic that they experience during and then returning after the event. It’s a lovely little town that truly earns the support this event gives back. Get on board for next year.

COMING SOON: Tour of Bintan race reports

EVENT EOI COMING SOON: Goldfields Cyclassic

Tour of Margaret River 2016 – Race Reports

_dsc5021
Photo: Tracey Hassell.

The Tour…. Well, our Tour. This year SPR entered 6 teams in the Tour of Margaret River – 3 Womens and 3 Mens teams. With more changes than a petrified chameleon, we settled on final team’s only days out from travel.

It would have been hard to miss due to the saturation on cycling social media, but we were treated with appearances by current and former Pro riders such as local boy Luke Turbo Durbridge, Robbie McEwen, as-good-as-a-local Emma Pooley, commentator extraordinaire Matt Keenan, Rabo Liv rider Moniek Tenniglo, and the incomparable Marianne Vos. Just……. Wow. It was special.

spr-team-m3-stalkers
SPR – Pro stalkers, one and all.
spr-team-tent-stage-1-numbers
D. Harvey, SPR Treasurer. Watching the numbers, as always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our teams had some deft old hands, some returning for another crack at Marg’s and a few brand spanking new racers on board. There’s nothing like a three day, 200+km stage race to dip your toe into racing, eh?

Something different for this year’s ToMR Race Reports. We thought we’d get a few perspectives from different teams on the individual stages and compile them. From our racers, their ToMR 2016 stories.

Stage 1 – Team Time Trial – Kat Buckley, Team SPR W2

KB. Focus.
KB. Focus.

Now the pain of the tour has subsided from my glutes and quads, only the mental scars remain (read: memories from a truly awesome weekend of riding bikes, pushing power and mateship).

In the lead up to the tour our team did a lot together. We sweated together, we had numerous coffees, meals, chats, interval sessions, recovery sessions, hill repeats – you name it and we pretty much made it into a Tour of Margaret river training thing. The beauty of all this was that when it came to team time trialing we had a pretty good idea of how we would work together.

Team trialing is about working efficiently and almost in unison to get the best possible outcome for your team. TTT works best if you have practiced in a variety of environmental conditions together and can learn/adapt how to read the wind and road conditions. After all, you are only as strong as your weakest rider.

The TT course was two laps of a relatively flat course with a few left hand turns through the scenic region of Cowaramup. This year’s race rules stated that the 5th rider to cross the line would determine which category the team would race in. Meaning you could drop a 6th rider if they were weighing you down. However this would be a call the race leader/rider could make for our team.

spr-team-w2-stage-1
SPR Team W2 – precision, balance, speed

On race day there were patches of sunshine through imminent rain clouds and a slight southerly that would cause chaos to some teams. Our team rode smart and we rode strong. Once our team was on course we found our rhythm early and managed to stick to a decent speed over the whole course. The first lap is always an interesting one. As a team (that is full of women with a competitive edge) we discussed the possibility of a negative split. That did not happen. For us, the first lap was slightly quicker. But one can try.

As a team you anticipate a few things will happen, the good, the bad and the shoot me now moments. The only memorable thing that did happen was our race leader politely reminding the team upon the last climb after the round-about “LADIES THIS IS A RACE, UP UP UP!’

A few thoughts that were running through my mind during the race were: why did I choose this st*pid sport and race? WTF?! [race leader name here who shall remain anonymous] I am at my heart rate maximum. FFS I hope I get a flat and fall on my face. Please note: Looking back at my race data I can say I was working hard during the TTT, all perfectly normal dark thoughts on a TT event.

To sum up the Tour of Margaret River, it’s joyfully painful. Give it a shot you’ve got so much to gain. The friendships you form, the determination and commitment you dedicate to the training and the race and the limits you push yourself too are fantastic.

Post Stage 2 SPR Squad Dinner

spr-squad-off-duty
SPR – The Squad, off-duty
spr-team-dinner-no-party-house
BBQ, beers and lots of war stories.

Stage 2 – Nannup 102km RR – Doug Flanagan, Team SPR M2

Lining up for the start of Stage 2 was a whirlwind of excitement and nerves. “Is 3 gels and a banana enough?”; “Hang on, I’ve never done this before, how to I peel and eat a banana while gasping for breath in the peloton?” Disappointment, I’m standing next to Marianne Vos and I didn’t have my phone for the obligatory selfie. She’s so awesome.

We shuffle to the front. Then, GO!

Liam Donley takes the lead and charges off like a bat out of hell! Was this team plan? Did we have a plan? Liam WTF!? CHASE! The only race plan I had, was to try to be on the front before the climbs to try and get away, oh and not blow up. As the first climb came into sight we saw Division 6 spread all the way up the hill. ATTACK!

We overtook most of Division 6 by the top of the hill, and then while people were recovering over the crest, we kept chasing everything in sight. A few of the Division 7 riders had come with us, so we had to keep pushing. Once we felt we’d hit the front group of Division 6 we sat in to recover for a bit, even had a bit of a fun ol’ chat to our Division 7 competition. The comradery was fantastic. Then the attacks started. Game on. Not wanting to be in a group for the next climb, we gave chase to everything. Is that good race craft? We didn’t know, but it was a truck load of fun! I think people were just more interesting in having fun creating havoc than getting away.

At the start of the next main climb at 39km in, we saw Division 5, this gave renewed energy to attack up the hill and make as many places as we could. Shattered. Everyone was a mess, a mix of many Divisions coming together, all glad the main climbs are over. Attack! Get to the next group in front.

It now all becomes somewhat of a blur – shut up legs, don’t get dropped, cover the break. There is no more peloton. Where are my team mates? Keep pushing.

Somewhere around the 60km mark we catch up with Carlos and Meghan, not easily mind you. Then we hang on for dear life as Carlos relentlessly powers along rounding people up. I’d burnt my candle at this point so it was all I could do to hang on, and wonder what the fire truck I was thinking when I signed up for this, tried to stop staring at the odometer and attempt to look at the scenery. Are we there yet? These rolling hills are relentless. When Carlos takes a break off the front, no one can match his turns, and most don’t want to try.

“1km to go”. Everyone finds renewed energy at the thought of the finish line. My race craft sucks, I find myself on the front, oh well, dig in and SPRINT! Finally over the finish the line and almost fell of the bike, I felt great relief and satisfaction, knowing that I had given the race everything that I could.

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Doug on the gas in the finish straight, 2nd on the line for Stage 2, Division 7. Photo: Tracey Hassell.

We tried to thank all the spectators, and encourage anyone we passed, such a great atmosphere. Really well organised event.

Most. Fun. Ever. When is the next TOMR? TAKE MY MONEY!

Stage 3 – Leeuwin 58km RR – Nancy Sawitchaya Tippaya, Team SPR W3

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SPR Team W3.

It was a beautiful day, lovely weather, no rain and not that windy. I was expecting a good result from our team at this stage, and we might be able to finish together. We started from the gravel road which was great fun, and the rolling pace was quite gently increased. We all managed to jump from the back to the middle of the group after the starting line, except Rebecca who could jump to the front and joined with NBCC team, while the rest of us stuck in the peloton.

The pace was around 35kph-40kph only because of surging, heavy braking and surprisingly there was no breakaway. I remember I did one little breakaway on my own to see Rebecca just to check she was not working alone. Then that was when I ended up dragging the peloton! After a few minutes later and I could see that she was absolutely fine, so I pulled off slightly to the left. She kept telling me to save the energy for the next climb but whenever I slowed down other riders also slowed down too hahaha! Few kilometres later, we turned right into the real undulating course and again, there were some tactics in here. No one wanted to break away, and no one wanted to keep that momentum after coming down every hill (which I certainly needed!). Lots of half-wheeling and I felt that there was only a little space between two riders. I really enjoyed the first 45kms until the Boranup climb.

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Cramps and eyes on the finish line/paramedic vehicle. Photo: Tracey Hassell

It was such magnificent scenery around here. I pushed harder, pulled harder at this hill to catch the front rider but ended up having terrible cramps on both quadriceps (especially the lower part), and my left hamstring was terribly hurt now (I got this after Nannup stage). I dropped from the peloton and stay with another two riders. One of them told me to keep drinking, and I did, but that pain was still there. I wish I could have something I can swallow and no more pain. Another epic bike handling was I did myself riding on a gravel side when I felt the second round of pain. I definitely just completed one of the skills for the Cyclocross.  There was only less than 10kms left … “Do anything, never say die” (thanks, David Menarry for this quote). I kept dragging myself and finally crossed the finish line (unfortunately I could not sprint which I always love to do!). I stopped at the paramedic for a moment. Thanks to Sarah Fitton, Tracey Hassell to help me back to the tent and take care of me. Thank you, my team, everyone in SPR tent, who helped to lift me up, gave me all sugar, food and water. Big thanks to Cathi Dixon and Fiona Williams for the great advice and pain relief massage. Everyone made an excellent effort at this stage, and more importantly, we all enjoyed the ride.

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SPR Team M1 with el Prez on a happier day.
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SPR – sometimes friends, sometimes enemies! Lorna Henson riding for the winning team in Women’s Division 2.
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Cathi Dixon doing what Cathi Dixon does best – spending generous time enabling otherwise healthy, fit adults walk again.
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SPR Team M3 on cheer squad duties post stage.
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SPR Team W1, showing what it takes smashing Stage1……
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……. but the view most of the field saw having to chase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, back to us. SPR represented so well this weekend. You racers should be proud, as should the club. Again, Cathi Dixon appeared for pre and post massages, one P Mah who was everywhere at all times, partners/husbands/wives that assisted – or in the case of Sam and Liam TRUE Soigneurs – all your efforts are massively appreciated. And we had controversy, with el Prez called up for an SPR breach of rules – an alleged illegal team support car driven by “Some Guy With a Moustache – it must be Greg Murray” (it wasn’t – I was racing!).

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It’s impossible to congratulate Brendan Morrison and Co. enough for being able to pull off the appearance of Marianne Vos and Moniek Tenniglo. I had the treat of riding with Marianne in our Division, pace setting and swapping turns through the first half of the Nannup stage – possibly the coolest km I’ve spent on a bike. For me, it was also my first racing since February, after my quiet year off the bike with a mending elbow, and on a new rig, AND racing alongside Rebecca in only her second race. And that’s what makes this event so special – everyone can have a crack alongside some of the best in the world. Anyone up for ToMR 2017?

The Beverley – Race Report

Last Saturday, SPR hosted its first road race.  A proper, 113km handicap race through the rural lands and National Park areas of the Wheatbelt town of Beverley.20161007_134757

To quote me – “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 Lennard Rd with 4km to go– the first rider to crest holds the advantage in a fast run into the line.”

Could not have worded that better myself!

As a first time event, a large field would not be the expected norm, but we secured 91 entries for the day. A strong contingent of SPR riders were in that number. But most impressive – 30 entries were for racers on a one-day or three-day license, with even a few more on a brand, spanking, shiny new, never before used CA Race License.

The weather was variable to say the least. The wind was a Nor-Easter at 35+Km/hr and the rain patchy and ever threatening – head winds out, tail winds home. The race started with those off a 40 minute handicap, and one by one the remaining 9 groups went off. Showing solid teamwork and work ethic was the 32 minute group, comprising Phillip Stevens, Jon Hanson and Bryan Thurstan from South Perth Rouleurs. The group started eating up the earlier  groups quickly and became the mob to watch.

Coming off scratch were three of the big names – Stephen Hall, Michael Freiberg and Cameron Meyer. Along with a concerned Patrick Saccani-Williams (come on Pat – they’re only FORMER World Champions!). The scratch boys hit hard from the get go. From the Race Directors car, it was an awesome view. From the saddle, maybe not so much. There were reports of huge wind gusts blowing the groups metres sideways, patches of hail and rain…. definitely a challenging day.

As the race progressed, our Commissaires indicated they expected the Scratch men to catch the lead groups, but the 32 minute crew had other ideas. They held their resolve and worked like dogs (plenty of tongues out!). They maintained the lead on the road and looked like they may get home first. At 15 km to go, there was a jump from one of the 32 minute men. Solo. 15 long, lonely km. Gutsy, bold and brilliant, Col Tierney was off. Two and a bit hours and 100 km in, the Scratch group by this time was in proper contention. At 6 km to go was one small kicker, and then a rise up to Lenard Rd. First rider over the top should get the win. Unless perhaps you are being chased by 2 World Champions…….

Tierney crested first staring down a long fast descent with a massive tail wind. Close behind were the remaining Scratch men Cam Meyer and Michael Freiberg.

At the finish line we had reports of one lone man out front and two stupidly fast in pursuit coming into the final km. When the riders came into view, there were two, exploding off the front to the chequered flag. Cameron Meyer – multiple Track World Champion, WorldTour rider, Tour de France finisher….. and local Perth legend, won our humble little race, just ahead of Michael Freiberg. Col Tierney, third, in what one of our Commissaires described as the ride of the day. To have this calibre of riders contest our race was a joy and a privilege – thanks Cam and Michael.

1st Cameron Meyer

2nd Michael Freiberg

3rd Col Tierney

4th Jarred Anderson

5th Jayden Waters

Fastest Female Rebecca Mackey

Fastest over 45 year old Col Tierney

Fastest time Cameron Meyer

There were a few hiccups along the way on our part which lead to the incorrect prizes being awarded on stage. Pretty embarrassing, but unfortunate for one Col Tierney who missed out on receiving Third place and Fastest over 45 year old. On our maiden voyage with the timing system, we have missed an offset of times from the start process, and given our top ten riders were so close, this affected our reading of the results. I’d like to apologise again to those racers affected and thank you guys for your understanding. Your generous spirit and support was most sportsperson-like. Col – make sure your wife reads this!

Some lessons learned for us in future events – events I’d love to see you all return to enjoy with us.

Other notables –

  • Philip Stevens, Bryan Thurstan and Jarred Anderson – SPR top ten finishers!!!
  • Lorna Henson – recently returned to racing after an extended time off from injury and smashed home 2nd place female.
  • My mate and SPR Race Committee member Jon Hanson in 12th, from the 32 minute group.
  • elPrez raced.
  • Daniel Harvey – a tough year, a tough handicap and our Lanterne Rouge. Declined the SAG Wagon and still finished with a smile. Everything this Club represents!
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Race Director on the road. Literally.

The event has been run in conjunction with the Beverley Heroic weekend, an event that has been running for a few years now, and has some loyal patronage from SPR riders. Our own member Toby Hodgson runs the weekend, with a selection of participation style rides through the Wheatbelt back roads on the Sunday, with plenty of old school gravel and dirt roads in the mix. If you haven’t been, mark it in the calendar for next year. http://www.theheroic.com.au/

Thanks to the Shires of Beverley, York and Northam for their support. Thanks to Tourism WA for their support as sponsor. Thank you one and all to our competitors and Commissaires.

And finally, thanks to our generous volunteers who gave up their day to make this happen:

Julian Johnson; Belinda Evans; Brooke Colton; Andrew Williams;  Fiona Williams; Jennifer Williams; Rob Ramsden; Paul George;  Cameron Dawson; Laurensia Rosana; Jay Richardson; Shelby Corbett; Allan Penaranda; Stuart Carson; Peter Lander; Mike Madsen; and Lachlan McRea, VP of Midland CC.

Until next year……………

Calling All Volunteers – the Beverley Handicap Road Race

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The SPR Race Committee are requesting for volunteers for the upcoming Beverley Handicap Road Race that SPR are hosting at Beverley, in the picturesque WA Wheatbelt on Saturday 8th October, 2016.

This event is the inaugural running of the race that we are aiming to make a permanent fixture on the Perth and WA racing scene for years to come. And to do that we need your support.

We require three drivers for lead, follow and sweep car duties (with money for fuel), and eight people for registration desk and finish area marshals, based in Beverley Town.

To volunteer, please reply to this post or email direct to  race@southperthrouleurs.com.au. Get on board SPRouleurs!

The Beverley Handicap Road Race 2016

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It’s not long now…..

The inaugural run of the Beverley Handicap Road Race is about to be run 8th October. The race is a 110km Handicap road race, starting
and finishing in the Wheatbelt town of Beverley, one and a half hours from South Perth.

The race heads North West out of Beverley over the rolling, quiet rural roads, following Talbot West Rd into Wandoo National Park before the turnaround for a slight downhill run all the way home. More event info is here.

Trophies and Prize money on offer:
1st $300
2nd $150
3rd $100
4th $75
5th $50
1st female $300
1st Over 45 year old $250
Fastest Time $250

Entries are open until midnight Friday 30th September – enter here.

Any enquiries please email to race@southperthrouleurs.com.au.

Be heroic. Get on board!