Before A and C grades set off, B and D grades attempted to share the same space-time continuum. The result being a too familiar sight in those parts of Kew, a few guys on top of each other, some ending up with bleeding knees and feeling unfulfilled... (for not finishing their race....).
A poor showing of just seven riders started in A grade. We thought half the field had missed the start, but no, that's all we had. Steve Pilson (Footscray), Matt Fortunato (Carnegie-Caulfield), Lucas Reneiris (Hawthorn), James Butler (Sunbury), Cameron Clamp (HCC), Tim Retchford (Mt Beauty), and me... It felt like we were a breakaway with no bunch chasing us. Pilson was the rider to watch. He is happy to go off the front solo, work in a break, and can kick like a bull in a sprint. Reneiris and Clamp would be hard to shake, and the other three I wasn't sure of. I can't confirm or deny any discussions or collusion in the first few laps.... but some of us sat back and watched as a few tried to split the bunch early on. It wasn't going to happen.
Fortunato wasn't challenged for the sprint somewhere mid race. Pilson was soon on the attack, so it was now time to race. Butler had been putting in some monster turns with no damage caused, so was happy to see the pace heat up. He yelled something about enjoying the new pace and pain... perfect motivation for us to keep up the pace.. and wondering at what point the pain would no longer be enjoyable for him? :)
Retchford and Clamp were soon gone from the bunch. Clamp dropped his chain on the downhill and never rejoined, I'm not sure where Retchford went. Reneiris and Butler were still putting in some hard turns, and were next up on the chopping block as we tried to increase our odds of picking up some cash. I somehow ended up 20 meters up the road solo from the other four. Two laps went by as I waited for Pilson to come across and work turns... he didn't, so I put my head down for a 10 minute solo TT. At 'three to go' Pilson and Fortunato had jumped from the other two and bridged across to me.
The pace dropped but with Reneiris still in sight and going full gas we kept the pace just high enough to keep the three of us in the placings. No cat and mouse, no foxing, we all worked honestly right to the last hairpin. Pilson ripped up the inside of me, there was heaps of room, it was a bloody good move! I followed his wheel with Fortunato still in contact on my wheel. Pilson led out the sprint from the bottom corner, which I sat on until the top corner before reeling him in and hitting the line with just 1/2 my wheel in front.... Another win at Kew from a small field, stoked!
I finally have some power data from a hard run to the line against a damn strong competitor. But regardless of what the numbers say, I'm still a time trialist! I reserve the right to change to a sprinter given the projected northerly wind and 40°C this Sunday for round #1 of the Coburg TT series.... only 25kms, but it will be epic in those roast-a-rama conditions.
|Butler pulling another solid turn over the hill.|
|Fortunato takes the intermediate sprint.|
|Me solo for a few laps.....in the hurt box.|
|Three to go, joined by Pilson and Fortunato.|
A Grade (7 riders, 40 minutes + 3 laps).
1. Shane Miller (Hawthorn/Kosdown)
2. Steve Pilson (Footscray/Nemesis)
3. Matt Fortunato (Carnegie-Caulfield/Degani)
4. Lucas Reneiris (Hawthorn)
Intermediate Sprint: Matt Fortunato (Carnegie-Caulfield/Degani)
Full Results on HCC Website.