Three WCC teams braved cold, wet and gusty Ballarat to compete in the Victorian Clubs Team Trial Championships. Teams consist of 4 riders with 3 required to finish and cover distances of 40km for women and masters and 60km for open men. The very open out and back course goes from flat to undulating on Snake Valley Rd.
First off for a start in the rain was the Masters team of, Thomas Sandner, Paul Rowse, John Salton and Gerard Donnelly. Paul Rowse put in an explosive effort during the opening kilometres and sacrificed himself for the good of the team. This left the enduring three to work hard, taking quick turns into the burly Ballarat head wind. Burning legs had a moments respite as the team tacked around the 20km marker. A couple of quick carriage shunts during the first kilometres in the tail wind put the Tank at the front to fire up his steam engine and tow the express train home. Thomas “had a ball” stomping the 12 cog home at speeds up to 60km/hr. After several years of only seconds relegating the team to minor places, GOLD was deservedly won. Well done team.
Due to illness the women’s team was short one of their stronger riders and were left to compete with three (Monique Hanley, Helen Bowyer, Glenda DeBlauw). With 15 seconds before they were due to begin Glenda discovered a broken spoke on her rear wheel! Unfortunately the backup vehicle had assumed they were okay and had taken off for a quick pre-race pit stop of their own. This caused a sprint over to the spares car (by bike) to pick up a rear wheel for Glenda while race officials continued to note the passing time. By the time the girls had the wheel replaced and were onto the road precious time had been lost. Ballarat’s howling westerly, an awe-inspiring headwind for the first 20km, provided the ladies with some disincentive to regain lost ground, but with the adrenaline pumping from such a start they dug deep. Helen charged fearlessly out in front, and Monique provided Glenda a helping hand on the hills. Passing a St Kilda team in these conditions was a big morale booster. Muscles burned as the turnaround approached but their spirits rose as they were able to cash in on the wind now behind them, giving the legs new life. The women happily hammered it home, vowing to learn from the experience and return bigger and better next year (& with pre-peed backup)!
Carbon aero wheels, trick bars, skin suits, oiled legs, roller warm up sessions and team talks gave the impression of a very professional open team comprising Murray Fenwick, Dave Salton, Shane Stiles and Scott Keeble. This image was soon marred when a scattered team missed their start by almost a minute. A heavy workload into the wind took its toll on Dave Salton who withdrew. The team managed to regain some composure over the 60km course and finish a respectable fourth. Next years assault should see some better time management and preparation from the lads who are considered realistic contenders for the title.