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Tour of Margaret River 2016 – Race Reports

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 – Pro stalkers, one and all.
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 – 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 – The Squad, off-duty
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.

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

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.

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.

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


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?

cyclo-cross race report – numbat cup race 01

Cyclo-cross race report by Daniel Mah.

20160522_132724After watching the first cyclo-cross race at the showgrounds, Dad made me do the next race. I didn’t want to do it, but Dad nagged me all week.  My brother was going to a birthday party on the same day, so it would only be Dad and I at the race.

I got a new bike for Christmas which was a lot bigger than my last bike, so it would be easier to ride over obstacles.  We packed the bikes up into the car and headed out to Fishmarket Reserve in Guilford.  I was wearing my SPR jersey, so Dad could easily see me on the course.

There were about 30 other kids in the race ranging from big kids on cyclo-cross bikes to very little kids on balance bikes. I knew that Alex, CJ, Jehan and Riyani were also in the race.

20160522_134235We started a warm-up lap, but I only got 3 seconds before all the kids were called to the start line.  The course was marked out by tape strung between plastic poles which guided us between trees and through obstacles.  The kid’s course was a lot shorter than the adult’s course and the race only went for 20 minutes.

On the first lap I discovered that the course ran through a very large, sticky mud puddle.  My bike got stuck in the mud and I fell over and was covered in mud.  When I tried to get my bike moving, my foot got stuck in the mud and it sucked my shoe off.  I had to walk through the mud in my socks to get the bike.  I wanted to quit the race, but I told myself that “I can do this”.  Dad helped me get my shoe back on and I started racing again.

20160522_133816The course ran past the edge of the river and if you took the corner too fast, you could end up crashing into the water.  There was sections of thick sand on the course that made it hard to ride through.  I had to stand up on the pedals and push hard to make it through.  There were other sections of easier mud for us to ride through, but it made my tyres heavy with mud.

After the first lap I changed to the number 1 gear on the front and number 3 on the back which made it a lot easier to ride.  20 minutes is a long time to be racing but I managed to finish 5 laps of the course.  Each lap I had to get off and push my bike through the thick mud which meant that my shoes also clogged up with mud.

20160522_133942By the end of the 20 minutes, I was exhausted and ready to get off the bike.  It was a lot of fun being able to splash through the mud and ride with my friends.  Dad then did his race while I got to play at the playground and on our bikes.  Dad’s race was even messier and he finished totally covered in mud.  We had to clean ourselves and our bikes up before we could get back in the car.

There are another 7 races between now and September in and around Perth with races for all abilities.  We should be all going to the next race in June at Victoria Park.


mandurah 70.3 race report

Ben - runby Ben Madsen

After getting back into some running after a long hiatus due to injury and looking for a new challenge I decided that Mandurah 70.3 (a half iron man) would be a great event to tackle. Signing up at the end of June I had a little over four months to learn how to swim again, keep building on the running whilst trying to minimize the impact of reduced time on the bike.

Having only ever done one triathlon before (sprint distance) in 2013, I was a novice but thought if I could get my swimming up to scratch I would be competitive for my age. It took a long time for my body to adjust to the demands that triathlon training places on it. There were numerous occasions where I had typically done a run after work, and then had dinner and it was already nine o’clock and I had to get up at 5am the next morning for either a swim/ride. The winter months did not make this task easier, but thankfully this year Perth was very dry.

I also fundamentally did not enjoy swimming, which made it worse as of the three it was the one I needed to work on the most but had the least motivation to do. I thus had many weeks where I only did one swim in the week as a result.

I had several bike and running lead up events and out of the three I was most happy with my running form going into Mandurah having achieved good times at the Perth Half marathon, City2Surf and down at Esperance. On the bike, I knew my engine (FTP) was well down on previous years but cardiovascularly I was actually fitter due to the cross training benefits. Amy’s Gran Fondo, a 40km ITT and a 160km Mandurah ITT training ride with varying results were completed.

Race day, and guess what, like previous years the forecast was not ideal – 31C with winds starting east to south-east 25-35km/h then turning south to south west 15-25km/h. In my mind however, despite the wind at least it was not going to be 37C like 2013. One thing that becomes very obvious to anyone who does a triathlon is the immense kit and logistics required to compete. In addition to the usual bike paraphernalia I had another bag dedicated to the swim, run & nutrition.

Mandurah 70.3, doubled as the Australian half iron man championships; unlike a full iron man where all the age grade athletes start together; wave starts were used with 3 to 4 minutes between each wave. I was very fortunate to be in the 4th wave starting at 6:41am. My age category was one of the two big age groups split in two waves with approximately 80 athletes in each wave (I was in the 2nd wave).

The swim leg is traditionally very fast with nearly everyone doing a PB for 1.9km. As my first half, any time would be a PB for me. Like most events, when the start horn sounded everyone took off like a bat out of hell, it was only when we were in the main canal that people settled down into their own rhythm. I pushed v hard for the swim and certainly towards the end started to fatigue a little but was very happy with my time (24m37s) which put me 16th in my age category.

Transitioning to the bike, something I did not practice and need to get faster and smoother at doing, the plan was to ride solid but still leave enough in the tank for the run. There was very little bike traffic on the first lap and I was able to get into my rhythm pretty quickly sitting on around 40km/h.

Despite the forecast saying strong winds, this was something I did not experience coming back towards the turnaround point nor when riding due east on the Paganoni road section. Only later (after the event) did I learn that the forecast was a little off, with the temperature getting to 35C with the winds more like 5-15km/h. The 2nd lap was a lot more congested and there were numerous people not obeying the 12m drafting rule (whether they got penalized or not I don’t know but I never saw anyone in the penalty boxes). I was certainly very conscious of not wanting to have to sit around doing nothing for 4 minutes. Official bike time was 2h15m55s placing me 5th in my age category.

Transition from the bike to the run and something was clearly up with the temperature as despite running with a cap it was really hot and there was no shade on the course. Based on the couple of brick practice runs I did, I though the first couple of km’s would be rough and was expecting 4:00 to 4:10 per km but my legs felt good and I was pretty much straight into my target pace of 3:40ish per km. Picked up several people fairly quickly on my first lap and saw Michael Raelert pass me as he went on to win comfortably (he was running 3:25ish per km pace). I had my gel that I was carrying around 8km and picked up water at all stations bar the first (which was at 1km?).

It was great to see and hear words of encouragement from my Dad, fellow SPR traiathelete Stuart Irvins and my running training partner Colin Lindqueue who had all come down to watch the event and support the participants. I noticed a few other SPR people on Mandurah Tce road who also called out – thx guys. There was also a lot of general support from the people who were directly supporting the triathletes. For the general public, having your name on the front of you BIB is a great idea.

Unfortunately at or around 14km, either through dehydration and or lack of energy (probably both) I hit the wall and started walking intermittently and completely stopping at the remaining drink stations. It now became a matter of “can I finish this race”; mind over body, counting down the km’s one by one. As I came into the finishing area, I heard the announcement that Assad Attamani (a Gold All World Athlete) had just finished 2nd in the male 35-39 category. Could I run another 800m to the finishing banner and secure 3rd place? I don’t know what pace I was running at for that last 800m but it seemed to go on for ages and there was no sprint finish, but the announcer called out my name stating I had finished 3rd! Run split was 1h22m33s, which placed me 2nd in my age category.

I had finished and started to try to walk away but felt and probably looked terrible was escorted to the medical tent where I spent the next 25m in the recovery position with ice packs on my body having my BP, temperature and pulse taken whilst taking on board several litres of fluid. There was a female pro athlete in the tent who was in worse shape than me who they were talking about needing to transfer to hospital. I learnt after the race of many DNFs; the run was brutal in that 35C heat.

Ben post raceThe awards ceremony commenced at 3:30pm once the final athlete had finished and the course officially closed (3:10pm). There were some super fit looking people waiting around for the ceremony to commence. The pro’s went first and everyone was informed that the male winner had done the 2nd ever fastest half iron man in the world (3h35m), proving that Mandurah 70.3 is a super fast course.

When it came to my category I started to head to the front as the announcer was saying ‘in 3rd place’only to discover that it was Assad and I had finished 2nd in 4h06m39s. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would come close to a time like this on my half IM debut.

Big thanks in particular to my fellow SPR traiathelets Kizzi Neale and Stuart Irvins and my running training partner Colin Lindqueue who all provided me with much advice and encouragement when I felt down/tired along with Andrew Ballam who loaned me his tri friendly TT helmet.

Great event – have a go!

Cape to Cape – race report

Cape to Cape race report

Gareth Vickers.

All photographs with kind permission of Travis Deane – www.travisdeane.zenfolio.com

C2C full size (purchased)

Having got into mountain biking and cross country racing in particular in June of this year, I felt it rude to pass up the opportunity to compete in one of Australia’s best mountain bike stage races which happens on our door step – the Cape to Cape. This stage race takes place over 4 days in the Margaret River region and attracts an entry of 1200 riders, with some of the best cross country and marathon mountain bikers from all over Australia and further afield entering.

I promptly entered and got busy tailoring my riding to best prepare myself for the event. Three weeks back in Wales visiting family in late August and early September gave me the opportunity to get in some serious km’s (by my usual standards) as base training in the hilly terrain of Snowdonia. Once back in Perth the opportunity to train was limited to the weekends due to my FIFO roster. My focus changed to building my speed and power, mainly by trying to hang onto the wheel of stronger riders than myself in the Saturday Fast group while also doing the EBR to build endurance, while I never managed to hang on for the whole Fast route steady progress was made each week. The Sunday long hills ride helped to further build my strength and also the endurance required for the 4 days of hard racing that lay ahead. Only the odd mountain bike ride was thrown in due to a shortage of training days. Going into the event I was content that I couldn’t have done much more to be ready for the challenge ahead.

Day 1 – Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse to Hamelin Bay

Although the shortest day by distance at 42km’s, day 1 has a reputation for being the toughest day of the event! This is due to a series of tough climbs early on and a 1.5km section along the beach. The news before the event was that the tough climbs had been washed out by all the rain over the winter and even the best of the elite riders had been struggling to ride them in pre event training.

My day started early with the drive down to Cape Leeuwin from Perth for a 12:30 start, in the lead up to the event I had been feeling a little under the weather and to my frustration I still wasn’t feeling 100%. There was nothing I could do about it other than carry on and hope it cleared up quickly. After all the signing on formalities I was ready to race in good time and tried to stay relaxed while checking out the impressive lighthouse and coastal views. I managed to secure a reasonable starting position alongside fellow SPR regular Jay Richardson, as we got closer to start time the nerves really kicked in and my heart rate was at 130bpm before I even turned a wheel!

With the elite riders gone first the remaining 1100ish riders rolled over the start line, once up to speed I found I was continually passing riders on the long drag up the hill away from the lighthouse along gravel roads, then we hit our first descent and the fun began with some nice little lumps giving the chance for some air time.


Go Johnny go – Johnny Keyes climbs away from the start at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse
Go Johnny go – Johnny Keyes climbs away from the start at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse

My heart rate was still elevated compared to usual however my legs were feeling good. We crossed some grassy areas where the organisers had kindly mowed a line to show the way! From here we hit the major climbs including the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill’ and as expected everyone was off there bike and pushing their way to the top, while this was frustrating and gave the sense that I was losing time in reality it was the same for everyone. From here the course flattened out a bit with no major hills just gentle undulations along sandy fire trails, feeling good I pushed on and managed to pass a fair few riders. The course then headed down through the sand dunes to the beach, some of it was rideable however it was very easy for your front wheel to get bogged in the sand and send you flying. Conscious of this I proceeded with caution and dismounted when close to the actual beach section, from here it was a steady jog pushing the bike down to the water line across the loose sand.

In previous years I gather the beach was rideable, however looking around there was very few people even attempting it. I decided I had to give it a go and promptly fell on my side and got soaked by a wave which was actually very refreshing; it did however make my shoes very heavy for the trudge along the beach. I tried on another 2 occasions to conquer the beach, 50ish metres being the longest I rode before the seemingly inevitable ‘timber’ moment. I admitted defeat and walked the rest of the beach and dunes section at a steady pace hoping my body would recover enough for a strong final 15km’s or so of riding to the finish line. Once back on the bike the course really did provide a sting in the tail with several fairly steep climbs on a loose sandy surface, followed by ‘Hamstring Hill’ which really finished me off and had me aching for the finish line!

I rolled across the finish line and was given the all-important black sticker for my race plate, this meant I had finished in the top 200 and would start each subsequent day in the first group with the elite riders! I was ecstatic with this as I had little idea how I would get on, but thought the top 200 was unlikely.

Stage result: 169th Time: 2hr 22min 29secs

Day 2 – Hamelin Bay to Xanadu Winery

The second stage started at the previous days finish point at Hamelin Bay Caravan Park and proceeded to Xanadu Winery near Margaret River, this was the longest stage of the event at 70km’s and was a mixture of open fire trails, gravel roads and some very nice single trail. Having taken the event bus to the start I arrived with only 20 mins until we headed off, this didn’t give much time to collect the bike from storage, lube the chain, have a bit of a warm up and get lined up on the start line. I had to jump the fence to get in with the first group and in doing so secured a decent position in the top half of the group which was nice.

The pace from the off seemed quick, certainly I was pushing quite hard to hold the wheel of the bike in front. Very soon we came to a short sharp hill and to my annoyance I couldn’t drop down to the small chain ring, I tried several times and adjusted the cable on the go but it made no difference. As a result I had to get off the bike and walk to the top losing a few positions. After this there were a fair few hills and one which seemed to drag up a steady incline for a long time. These were manageable in the large chain ring by grinding out a higher gear than I normally would, I’m normally a bit of a spinner preferring to keep the cadence up. In between the hills there were some sweet single track descents to have some real fun on, as well as a nice flattish section of single track to blast through.


Alison Ramm flies high on the single track
Alison Ramm flies high on the single track

This was then followed by some more open fire trails and gravel roads, I joined a bunch of strong riders including John Breed from the club and we took turns on the run in to the finish keeping a strong pace as we passed lots of riders who bizarrely didn’t seem to make an effort to join the group. I tired in the last few KM’s and the group kind of separated as well, I rolled over the finish line on my own feeling more exhausted than day 1, but confident I had set a decent time. A good rub down at the massage tent had me feeling refreshed ready for the second half of the event.  While the helpful chaps at the Giant service tent fixed my front derailleur, it turns out it had become bent, probably when it jammed during a gear change early in the day.


The top blokes at the Giant service centre solve my gearing gremlins – looking shattered!
The top blokes at the Giant service centre solve my gearing gremlins – looking shattered!

Stage position: 94th, GC position: 116th, Stage time: 3hr 1mins 53secs

Day 3 – Xanadu Winery to Colonial Brewery

This was the day people seemed to be looking forward to the most, with far more single track than any other day including the renowned ‘Pines’ section close to Margaret river itself. This was the only stage that started with a neutralised road section as we trundled through the grounds of the winery and down the high-street of ‘Margs’ before the racing started just North of the town, with a 7 km neutralised section and 47 km of racing. It was quite a spectacle looking back to see over 1000 riders filling the road in one big group, also riding through the town to the plaudits of all the watching crowds! Nerves also got the better of me and several others as we stopped for a ‘nature break’ before racing through the pack to re-join our correct group before the racing started.


Where’s Wolly/spot the SPR kit? – The neutral section down Margaret River high street
Where’s Wolly/spot the SPR kit? – The neutral section down Margaret River high street

During the neutralised roll out I had managed to manoeuvre myself towards the front of the group, probably in the top 50 or so riders (look to the left). I was conscious that a good start would be all important to make sure I didn’t get stuck behind slower riders when we hit the single track, aside from costing time this would have diminished the fun that could be had! As we rolled over the timing mat the surge came quickly before a tight turn off the road onto a narrowing gravel track, there were some big puddles and deep mud initially and a few riders went down, fortunately I managed to negotiate around these with little delay. The track went up and down several times and really put the hurt on as everyone wanted a good start, I knew I was going quite well as some of the elite ladies were around me. I was really struggling though and a downhill single track section came at just the right time to give me some rest. This was followed by another drag up a fire road prior to finally hitting the pines single track, by the time I got there I had dug real deep and was struggling to keep concentration, I was bouncing off obstacles rather than avoiding them and taking poor lines on berms etc. Thankfully after a few minutes I came good again and we hit the main section of the pines. As with the vast majority of the event this was my first time on these trails, and they lived up to their reputation for being ‘world class’. Beautifully sculpted berms, jumps and table tops provided an exhilarating ride, my plan had worked and I was not held up by anyone nor did I hold anyone up allowing me to relax and focus on my lines etc. The only sketchy moment I had was my front wheel almost washing out on a berm coated with pea gravel but I got away with it. After exiting the pines single track the remainder of the route was mainly fire trails and a bit of gravel roads with the occasional stream crossing to cool the feet, most of which was ridden within a group of about 10 riders.


Pull a silly face, pedal like hell and hope for the best – My tip for stream crossings
Pull a silly face, pedal like hell and hope for the best – My tip for stream crossings

At about 10km’s from the end my legs didn’t have it in them to keep up and I was dropped on a steepish hill, rather than going to deep to hang on I thought it best to switch to pacing myself for the finish line. Slowly but surely I passed a few other riders who had been dropped prior to crossing the finish line at the Colonial Brewery.

Stage position: 96th, GC position: 103rd, Stage time: 2hr 13mins 54secs

Day 4 – Colonial Brewery to Dunsborough Country Club

The final day has become known as the fast day with most of the route on either fire trails, gravel roads or sealed roads over a distance of 62km’s. However for this year the organisers had included more single track which I was happy about. As I was lying in 103rd overall I felt I had a chance of getting in the top 100 and was prepared to give it everything to do so, things didn’t get off to the best start however as I got to the start line too late to secure a good starting spot and was near the back of the 200 riders.

Straight off the start we hit the loose trails and roads and I was keen to get through as much of the pack as possible, spotting the stronger riders and getting on their wheels as they did the same, before long the trail narrowed and passing spots became limited. I was aggressive in passing some riders where it was safe to do so however progress through the pack was slow. Once back onto the more open roads I found myself in a group of about 15 riders going at a decent pace and gaining on a group ahead, however once we hit a hilly section the speed really dropped off. Feeling good I decided to try and jump across to the group 300m up the road, I upped the tempo on the hill and stayed strong once on the flat to catch the group. Shortly after we entered a sweet section of single trail known as ‘Middle Earth’ which featured some enjoyable drop offs and some rocky technical areas to negotiate, while the pace of the group was reasonable we weren’t exactly shreading the trail up! This did however give me a period of lower excursion to have a bit of a rest after my group jumping antics.


Jay Richardson traverses a log on the final day
Jay Richardson traverses a log on the final day

When we left Middle Earth and hit the open roads again the group had swelled in numbers, we must have gained time on riders on the single track section. I spied an SPR jersey further up the group and went to see who it was, it was Jonny Keyes and after a brief word I pulled into the main group with him. At this point there was a short hill pinch which wasn’t too steep, I noticed the group slowing and in a spare of the moment decision decided to pull out of the group and maintain my momentum and speed as the legs felt good after the relaxed single track section. I passed the group and hoped a few riders would follow me however no one did initially, by the top of the hill I was struggling and thankfully someone from the group had made a late surge to come across to me. From here we were able to work together well, we slowly caught some other riders until we had a strong group of 4 riders all taking their turn on the front. Before long we caught a group of around 10 riders and sadly the pace really dropped off with only a few of us willing to work on the front. I found this very frustrating, with hindsight the strong group of 4 we had would have been better off riding straight past the larger group or trying to break away again. I tried on a number of occasions to inject some pace at the front but no one would come through. This group stayed together until we reached Dunsborough and the final climb, at this point the group became strung out. I gave it everything I had left up the hill knowing a tight single track section was coming to end the stage and I wanted a decent position, this was the only trail I had ridden previously, while competing on a 3hr enduro a few months back. The trails were a lot drier than previously and being pea gravel based they were very sketchy but provided great entertainment and were a great way to finish off the stage after a long road section. Coming into the finish area I couldn’t help but get out of the saddle and give it everything I had left in the tank, this was the last day after all! What a sense of satisfaction after 4 hard days in the saddle J.

Stage position: 99th, GC position: 101st, Stage time: 2hr 29mins 49secs

In the end I didn’t quite make it into the top 100, which had been my target having been so close after the 3rd day. However I am very happy with my result indeed, being the first time I had entered a stage race I had no idea where I might end up but thought before the event that the top 300 would have been good. I was also happy with how my body held up to the consecutive days of racing, I had done a lot of research before the event on recovery and nutrition and sticking to it payed off. It was great to see numerous SPR riders in the event and exchange tails with them after each stage, as well as occasionally riding with them out on the trails. I highly recommend doing the event, even if mountain biking isn’t usually your thing the riding isn’t really that technical, I know a few of the SPR guys took on the event with little mountain biking experience. With the exception of the first day the racing is finished by late morning/early afternoon giving the afternoon to do something else.

Now it’s over I would just love to do it again! The organisers of the event are starting a sister event called the Port to Port in the Hunter Valley area of NSW in May, that could be another opportunity too good to miss…



smashfest race 2 – c grade ladies race report

report by Leigh Outschoorn

Summer Criterium series race #2, Tech Park, C grade ladies race report – 22nd December 2013….

Well, we had ourselves a real race!! We had solid competition, attacks, tactics and the best of all a sprint finish! We claimed the majority of the podium for today’s efforts, with Laurensia finishing 2nd and Sarah Smith 3rd.  Well done ladies!

In attendance for today’s race was 7 SPR chicks, namely; Laurensia, Sarah, Judy, Anke, Anna, Megan and myself. Although, Megan was not in her SPR jersey – pursed lips J, she attacked 3 times (someone ate her weetbix!). Anke attacked 2 times, and spent some serious time up front. Sarah was up front for pretty much the whole race and still had some in the tank for a sprint at the end. Laurensia was fearless and held her place amongst the front contenders and positioned herself well for the sprint finish. Judy hung on and was really pushing out the watts, but found herself spending some hard core alone time, lapped with only 2mins to go. Great effort Judy! Anna was our ‘confidence booster’, she took some headwind for the team and guided us through each lap, Thanks Anna! I was really happy you were there with us today. Thanks to the Hall girls for making it a very pleasant race indeed. As I expected, we were all very polite and of course we all cornered like pro’s! Anna, you might need to check out your carbon brakes, they really interrupted the serenity! 🙂 Meghan, thanks for helping us out for registration. Peter, thanks for just doing what you do…you were even seen trying to unblock the loos with a big stick today, honestly, you are just all things to everyone!

I had a lovely race, the pace was good and I was still able to talk which was nice! I hope that it was a good experience for those brave first timers. I am so proud of you for giving it such a red hot go!! You guys were nothing short of awesome! Thanks for a great race today 🙂

State champs B Grade Race Report

photo from tony lendrum photography
photo from tony lendrum photography

“Default! The two sweetest words in the English language! De-FAULT!” – Homer J Simpson.

I came home and told my wife that I am now joint B grade State road race champion (by default). Let’s start one year ago…

My first road race was last year’s state champs up in Chidlow. I had a great day in C grade… made the three man break but ended up coming third after stuffing up the sprint (went too early). It was also my first race as an SPR rider. I had previously ridden on Saturday’s but didn’t really know anyone. I bought my membership the week before, but didn’t even have a SPR kit.

Naturally I have fond memories of the state champs. A lot has happened in the last 12 months for me on the bike. I’ve moved up to Fast group, got a new bike, got a little more race experience and found Strava. Most importantly, by riding and racing regularly, I feel like I’ve really become a SPR member.

Given all of that, I was pretty keen to have a B grade hit out at the state champs as a final fling before tapering for ToMR. I knew SPR were in with a shot of taking home the goods. After all we had 12 riders in the group. Sam Luccitti and Paul Bakker were there to flex some muscle. If they didn’t break away I knew that Matt Wardynec or Des Mullins would have sprinted over the top if it was a bunch finish.

My preparation was a little more serious than last year. I didn’t drink any red wine when my wife and I went to her parents for dinner the night before. Usually my father-in-law and I tuck on in, so they knew something was up. I had been loading up on the magnesium tablets and had cooked beetroot for dinner. I even used Tom Barratt’s tip of sleeping in my Skins to help ease the aches from Saturday’s fast group. As I was going to bed, my wife said “I think you’re taking this cycling thing too seriously.” I comforted myself by thinking that’s probably what all wives say!

Pre race we talked tactics… Getting someone in the break was the general consensus. Let everyone else chase and when they get caught, someone else go again! If that didn’t work, line up Matt or Des for the finish. Paul told us about the hill 1km before the finish. If we got to that situation, I know Matty hits reverse on an incline, so I decided to back Des.

I’ve developed a good pre race routine. Register, poo, pee, eat, caffeine tablet (too serious?), warm up, pee and race. This was also the first time I’ve had spares to put in the van (thanks Heiko). I felt very pro. We lined up and after a short neutral zone were off and racing.

Except we weren’t really off. The pace was… leisurely to say the least. Nobody wanted to work into the howling easterly, so it felt more like a spin to the shops. A few people tried to stretch their legs out the front, but didn’t make much of an impact and after toying for a while got swallowed by the bunch again.

At the far end of the course Sam L was on the front and opened a break after a corner with a few others behind him. I jumped up to get on the back and yelled “Break’s formed!” but nobody heard. Sam just kept on like he was in Main 1 and the rest caught up.

We completed the first lap all together and it looked like lap 2 was going to be similar. Some bloke slipped off the front but was hanging 100m in front not going anywhere. I was taking turns pacing things when I heard “Let South Perth do work!” He thought that given we had so many, we should be doing the work.

I didn’t necessarily agree. I knew the lone leader wouldn’t last long on his own and the real action was still a few laps away. Despite being on the front doing my turn, I retaliated by sitting up and somewhat rebelliously sucking down a gel. Still no one else came around to do anything else.

A bit later, the lone leader had stretched out a bit further into the cross wind. Once again came the call from behind “Let South Perth chase”. Earlier, we had agreed that the best way to avoid missing the break was to make the break, so I jumped off the front, burnt a match and went for it! “Chase this” I thought!

Turns out, it wasn’t such a bad move. The crosswind was pretty bad on that spot of the course and I managed to solo over to the leader just as we turned to have a tailwind. I told him that they weren’t going to chase and we settled in for the long haul. I don’t know who he was, but I’ll call him Trek Madone 5.1, or Madone for short.

Slowly Madone and I got away. We were rolling turns well and I was feeling strong and not in the red too much. After another lap, we were out of sight! My excitement of being in the break was quickly swallowed by the thought of TTing 60km as a pair with this wind. I found out later that Paul and Des got to the front of the chase, sat up and started chatting letting us slip away. So far so good for SPR.

Halfway in the third lap, we were coming up the back straight with the tail wind and I overcooked the s bend in the road. I figured the commissaries hadn’t seen but a km up the road the lead car pulled over, out comes the judge and pulls us over. “What’s your race number?” he yelled. “Oh bugger… they saw me cross the middle and I’ve been disqualified” was my initial thoughts. No… they were halting the race due to the marshaling problem and wanted to time us so we could resume ahead.

The group got pulled over again and after Matt’s call of nature (prostate problems at such a young age?) we all cruised around to the start. I was basking in the glow of a 1min 30 upcoming head start. Unfortunately, we were unable to restart and the rest is history. It was a little disappointing, but realistically I know there was no way we would have stayed away.

I feel for the people at SPR and RCCC who put a lot of time and effort into the ride. I know El Prez Pete Mah did, as usual, more than his fair share of behind the scenes work. I hope people don’t complain too much about it. After all, whinging about having to stop riding bikes worth more than cars around and around a lake is an A grade first world problem. Lucky for me, I get to have another crack this weekend at ToMR. But I’ll still claim the joint B grade state title… by default!

Pickering Brook road race #2 – race report

So there are only 46 days to go until the last race of the Pickering Brook series for this season.

Craig put his experience of his first race 2 weeks ago together below, so if you like what you are reading and want to experience it yourself mark the 25th of August in your calendars for the next event.  SPR should be there with a fairly big crowd and we are planning to take the tent out to the hills too…  So get your training in, your kilometers up, and sign up for your (first) race

 Pickering Brook Rnd#2 C Grade Race Report – First Time Racer Craig Denham

I finally committed to signing up for a proper cycling race after first starting group cycling some 13 years ago as a 16 year old. Having spoken to Pete about this for about 2 years, it seemed like the timing and race format for the Pickering Brook series would be ideal. So I signed up for C grade, ramped up my training a bit, bought a trainer and did some interval sessions, even traded in my grizzly bear look I’ve agonised over for some time. I was ready, but for what?…..

Come race day I must admit I was quite nervous – I’ve always rated myself as a reasonable cyclist but how would I stack up in a race? To make matters worse my folks decided they wanted to watch – great, what if I come last?  Race format for Pickering Brook consists of a 1 lap time trial (7.5km) followed by the road race (5 laps for C grade). Started the time trial fully pumped up to push as hard as I can for the full lap – dear god it was painful. I’m no expert on doing time trials and I now get the impression it’s important to warm up properly and then not go too hard at the start – I did neither. Mr Bonner and the long hills group passed me going in the opposite direction which provided a nice bit of encouragement, but the lap felt horrible and I set a time of 12:32 – good enough for 11th. Not a bad result. Must admit, it was impressive to watch the likes of J Bolton absolutely smashing it on the home straight, respect.

So onto the road race. Decided to start off towards the rear of the bunch and then if I felt good, work my way forward. Laps 1+2 passed, the legs felt good so I decided to try to move forward from lap 3. Found myself on the front of the group for a fair bit of the last couple laps. I was really keen to hold a position near the front for the last lap as Amanda suggested it was important given the hotdog turn leading up to the final sprint. On the final lap, I held second wheel coming down the main straight leading into an uphill section prior to the hotdog and the guy in front decided to sit up – great, I was faced with leading the group a long, long way out from the sprint – race over. Then Alistair rides past and tells me to grab his wheel – my saviour! Alistair gives me a great tow up the hill towards the hotdog and really stretches out the group. He then pulls off so I’m on my own for the run down the hill then onto the up-hill sprint. This highlighted my complete lack of race craft; leading out the group with about 1km to go, I knew I was going to get swamped at the sprint, should I go flat out downhill and try to hold on to the finish, or go easier downhill and try for the sprint? I went easier downhill, then as the sprint started uphill got passed by what felt like the entire bunch, but I managed to claw back a few places and crossed the line in 5th place.

Conclusions: not going to lie, the ITT was hard work and I personally didn’t get much enjoyment out of it. The race however was great fun; I really enjoyed the tactics and will be signing up for Round 3. I’m really keen to nominate for domestique/lead-out duties for the next round. Alistair – I think you’d do a great job as nominated sprinter. I think if the SPR C graders work together we can come away with a win.

For those members of the club who haven’t tried racing, I strongly recommend you have a go. It’s great fun and really adds another dimension onto your cycling.

Thanks very much to Pete & Amanda for your advice and encouragement – much appreciated.

Ride Safe,



WCMCC Criterium Kewdale 1-Feb

Race Report

By Chris

levitra tablet

A club record turn out of 102 racers and a significant number of ladies too made for some good racing across

all 5 grades.

B and E grades were up first with myself and Bruce racing in B grade I can’t really comment too much on how things progressed in the E grade race.  However the podium had particularly feminine tone with ladies taking out 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

A, D & E saw attacking races although the only break to survive to the finish was in A grade with Eddy Hollands initiating the deciding break and earning the victory in a three up sprint.

The B grade race was reasonably quick with an average of 39km/h and plenty of attempts at breakaways. Aper our usual tactic I suggested Bruce just sit in and let me cover any moves and if my legs were up to it see if I/we could stay away. I wasn’t too sure how I’d go after a couple of heavy weeks back on the bike after a virus. Bruce and his extra mass were concerned they wouldn’t be going to well either, after his performance last week (3rd in a point score criterium) I figured he must be going alright.

The race was pretty typical, but I can’t help thinking why the rush to close down breakaways some times, and it looked to be coming down to a bunch sprint. With the time approaching the 45 min limit and the pace slacking off somewhat I thought I might be able to sneak off the front. Bruce had found my wheel in anticipation of the 2 to go board and followed my attack, he kept going and I eased up in a vain attempt to cover the bunch. As we came around we then got the board for two laps remaining and Bruce had some 50 metres on the bunch by this stage. I figured he had a slim chance of staying away and so stayed near the front of the bunch with the intent to launch another attack if/when we caught him.

Sure enough we caught him with about 3/4 of a lap to go, Bruce kicked and managed to keep himself near the front of the bunch. I was swamped by the bunch all aiming to position themselves for the sprint and aimed to simply finish safely. Bruce through skill and experience and by using the guts of Christmas ’08 hung in for the sprint and scored himself a 7th place and enough winnings to buy a couple of celebatory cokes.

Nice work mate, here’s hoping we can both get a leave pass for next weekends event at Wangara.

Another well organised event and a thanks to the club volunteers for allowing us to race safely.

Also a congratulations to Mel Davies who received an O.A.M. during the Australia Honours for amongst other things services to the sport of cycling.

For those interested in racing with the Masters, you can find more info here: