One hot lap of our well worn loop. An undulating 32kms and hopefully no not longer than the 45mins something I did last year when I rode elite. Tom Crebbin rode a 44.x last year to post the fastest time of the day. My two goals today were fastest overall and to beat Tom's time from last year. The sun was out and again we were faced with a warm northerly wind. No start times posted, just "don't go too far" was the instruction once the elite guys were under way.
Out of the blocks and it was a headwind for the first 2kms down the road. My minute man had said to warn him as I was coming past, but it took until km 4 before I reached him and his 30 second man (who had missed his start). There are a few bends on the course so I couldn't see anyone up the road just yet. 1km from Cobaw I'd captured another marker. Up into Dons Rd finally a tail wind, but its an undulating uphill grind so all this resulted in was a slow grind with zero wind nose - where all you can hear is the ticking over of the chain and the whooshing of wheels. Into the downhill towards Newham and I was starting to worry about my pacing plan. All had gone well so far, but now it was the hills, headwind, and finish to get right.
I spotted CamW take the left hand turn at Newham and marked my time as I hit the same corner. I was 1min back. Up over the first crest towards Roachford and it was full gas all the way - it took another few kms to pull CamW back, passing him on a slight rise. Another three riders were in close proximity leading towards the Roachford climb, John 'Spinny' McDonald was one of them and in my sights. Spinny was a good carrot to chase and I only got him about 1/2 way up the climb. Onto the downhill... but into a massive head wind which meant the top speed took a hit. Onto the final few kms and I left it all on the road. On the final corner I had another rider only 50m ahead who I managed to pull past in the last 50m. Official time of 42:20. Polar was 42:40 but the time keeper said that if I was 20 seconds out, so was everyone else - so that evens it up. Fastest time of the day over Jake Sutherland (elite) by only 5 seconds. No official results have been posted online yet, I'll link to them when they're out.
So that's two from three 2008 Northern Combine titles for the year, only placing 4th in the Crit bunch sprint earlier in the year. I'm racing Mansfield to Mt Buller on Thursday in the Herald Sun Tour support race, that hill should give me a good indicator on how my hill training is coming along.
Shane Miller Hawthorn 42:20:00 1
Andy Van Slobbe Hawthorn 45:31:00 2
Cam Woolcock Hawthorn 46:20:00 3
John McDonald St Kilda 48:19:00 4
Richard Longmire Hawthorn 48:38:00 5
John Marcan Sunbury 48:45:00 6
Lee Clinnick Sunbury 51:35:00 7
Peter Brew Brunswick 53:38:00 8