Rowley Handicap Report by Rob Monk
While many Warragul members were contesting the SMCC race at CorraLynn and handing victory to the Valley rats, Cy and Rob Monk represented the club in the Rowley Handicap at Briagalong. Raced over 70k on a flat but windswept circuit the handicapper did a good job and the bunches didn’t come together until the final 10K.
Rob was in the 10 minute bunch while Cy was on scratch.
Rob had the pleasure of riding with Mike Renehan, one of the smoothest pedalers in Gippsland. If anyone wants to learn how to roll smooth turns in a handicap, they should ride with Mike.
The 10 minute group was smooth as silk but things got messy when they caught the 15 minute group. A touch of wheels saw two riders crash and the bunch stopped to see if the riders who touched down were OK.
In the cross wind on the final lap all the out markers were caught and dropped and scratch group were bearing down on the 10 minute bunch.
Big Jim had hung onto Cy in the scratch bunch and now animated the race on the only hill on the circuit. He was keen to drop the passengers. He got rid of all but Monk and Renehan from the 10 minute group. A bunch of 7 were all that were left with 2 riders still ahead.
Cy drove the bunch hard in the cross winds with Aaron Wain and Kai Rothlisberger keen to assist. Glen Schoer chimed in with some strong turns. Monk and Renehan sat on and did nothing.
Big Jim put it in the gutter and had everyone except Cy in the red zone. Rothlisberger did the turn that nearly broke him and Cy sensed the moment and attacked. Big Jim was gassed. Rothlisberger was nearly dropped, Wain chased hard and Rob Monk, Schoer and Renehan just hung on.
As Cy disappeared into the distance the bunch recover a little and passed the two remaining out markers. Rob took the role of wheel sucking pest and refused to help anyone chase Cyrus down. He channeled his inner “little Neil”, sitting third wheel, and contributed nothing to the chasers. The cohesion in the bunch was quickly eroded and Cy rode away to take the win.
Rothlisberger launched some strong attacks taking Wain with him but Monk and Big Jim were able to follow. Mike finally found the pace too high and was dropped.
Rob talked Schoer into and attack with 2k to go. Glen grovelled 40 meters in front of the bunch until the quicksand he was riding through became too great an obstacle and he sat up.
Big Jim opened up the sprint and was looking good until Rothlisberger went past him to take second. Big Jim and Aaron Wain tied for for third, with Schoer 5th and Rob the pest 6th.
Southern Masters at Cora Lyn B Grade by Simon Baxter
Another race, another road captain. It seems that WCC keeps swapping leadership in the quest to find someone who can deliver results. This week’s 76km race on the flats at Cora Lynn was always going to deliver some Belgium style racing with rough roads and crosswinds.
After last week’s rather animated race and even more race reports, there were some notable absences from today’s hard man’s race. Road Captain Rob Monk passed the cap to Mark Masson on Saturday but he was MIA. Other rides from last week’s strong team included Jason Tubnor, Glen Walker and Glenn Marriott (who was clearly still upset about last week).
The Drouin South race results were debated amongst the Gippsland cycling community but other teams took note and decided to bring reinforcements to Cora Lynn. This was always going to be a difficult race to control and win and I reluctantly took the responsibility of Captain. The plan was simple and it had to be with only 4 riders. Pete Macdonald and Jason Fritzlaff, to patrol the front, don’t work on the front and go with any rider from Team BRC. George Tambassis, to hide and wait for the sprint and I would look for a late move.
After a solid lap 1 with no real movement, lap two was always going to see some action. Pete was performing his duties like a pro covering moves. After another crosswind section he was looking for some team assistance. I dropped back through the field to check on my team. Jason was struggling and paying the price for all the running he has been doing. This news didn’t faze Pete as it seemed to inspire him to work even harder and smarter. In the crosswind along Humphries, Pete went with a 3 man group, which forced others to the front.
WCC once again followed wheels, didn’t contribute to the chase and placed faith in their man. This eventually got brought back as we neared the end of lap 2. After that it was in the gutter and the real racing started. George was still sitting well in the bunch and Jason was starting to ride himself into form. Pete on the other just got better. After the peloton left Bayles for the last time, Pete once again went with a 4 man group with a ripping tail wind. As this group edged out to about 150 meters and with the dangerous Colin Aitken in the group, I attacked across. Having done a stellar team ride Pete then went back to the peloton and Colin and myself got down to swapping turns. Jason, George and Pete took pleasure in watching the lack of cohesion and didn’t contribute to the chase.
With the final turn for home into the headwind, Colin and I had a 30 second gap to what was now a chase group. In the end, Colin was too strong for myself and took a well-deserved win. George had the lead group covered and went with a late move to take the bunch sprint for 3rd. 6th place went to guess who? The man of the day Pete Macdonald. Although, the top step still eludes WCC, this was a great team performance. With strong riders to return to this team, a win is just around the corner for this club!
Southern Masters at Cora Lyn C Grade by D-Mac
In C Grade, the WCC representation was left to Pete Finno and De Mac, a couple of likeable rogues, similar to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, only older… The race started off fairly sedately, with De Mac rolling on the front and coming to the realisation, around 500 yards into the race, that there weren’t a whole crew of workers wearing red numbers. After the initial rounding of the corner onto Pitt Rd and the nasty cross-headwind, De Mac stuck it right on the centrline, only allowing space for his team-mate and stringing the rest out. This helped to dispatch a few and their day was over at that point. On lap two a couple of strong attacks went off along Ballarto Rd and the pace was kept high throughout, with no let up into Pitt Rd. De Mac, Pete Finno, John Beech and one other, swapped turns on the front, again, softening up the wheelsuckers. Onto lap three and the pace along Ballarto was frenetic, cruising the tailwind, with JB opening the taps. Nearing Pitt Rd, De Mac opted to soft pedal, which enabled JB to open up a good gap to the bunch, who, it seemed, were afraid of having any form of wind touch their nostrils. Into Pitt Rd and De Mac pulled his final turn for the day, stringing the bunch out, but providing Pete Finno the opportunity to shelter for a short time, then jump across to JB, by the home turn. With that final cross-headwind effort and the bank account drained, De Mac opted for the Autobus to the finish line, where, as it turns out, Pete Finno advised him that he took the win, stating, ‘Well, after all that work you did, I had to finish it off!’ Great ride Pete!
Tour of the South West – Masters C Grade by Paul Yeatman
This weekend I did it solo over at Warnambool for my fith participation in the Tour of the South West.
On stage one, for most of the first lap I sat in. On lap two I had a go at an attack and lead the bunch for a few kilometers (even over some rolling hills). Each lap there were sprint points and bonus seconds on offer. I had a crack at the end of lap two, but when four other riders came over the top of me, decided to save my bikkies for the final sprint.
The pace heated up on the final lap. A lone rider attacked right after the sprint. It would take the bunch until the old KOM about halfway through the lap to catch him.
Along the undulating climbs a 6Amer kitted rider took off as one of his mates sat on the front. Soon after it was two 6Amer’s heading along the main road back to the finish. They’d created a pretty decent gap of 300m or so. At this point I was on the back counting on the bunch to catch the break. They did so before the hill into Wangoom began. As we passed the general store, I moved up on the bunch on the outside. Having both lanes for the sprints made it easy to find gaps and unlike the first sprint, I did not get boxed in. With 500m to go I turned on the power and pretty much time trialed to the line. Craig Keane (ADCC) had a great sit for about 300m of this and he won (he also won the sprints). I placed second in a tight finish. With sprint bonuses, I wound up third on GC.
Stage two was my favorite race – an individual time trial. On paper, of the known riders I was fifth fastest. On paper, I should be able to just catch my bunny. The wind had picked up so we were all riding into a large westerly for about a third of the race. Up until here I was up on my time checks. After that, I bled time. I failed to catch bunny boy by four seconds, though was in the hot seat for about three minutes. In the end, I was sixth fasted and also sixth in the GC.
Stage three was my nemesis. A hilly criterium where in all but one year I’d been flagged off. This year an attack went right from the gun an I’d started towards the rear of the field. This meant I was chasing, chasing, chasing and losing ground on the climb each lap. With three minutes to go, I was flagged off. Booooo! Here I was marked down as finishing in 20th place. On the GC. I finished one higher than last year in 19th place. Woo hoo.
Warragul’s next race is the Tim McArdle Handicap at darnum over 48kms. The race is also fifth in the Warragul City Motors Combine Series. Enter here.