Sunday, 12 June 2011

Northern Combine 3 Day Tour 2011 - Day 2. Team Kosdown FTW!

E Dog in yellow!
6:25am alarm, punching myself in the face putting arm warmers on, and a balmy 7 degrees outside - An almost perfect start to day 2 at the #NC3dt.

Stage 2 - 6k Time Trial
Everyone who'd glanced the route on CyclingProfiles thought it was downhill. Devil was in the detail, the actual scale indicated 30m drop over 6km. Even an unattended shopping trolley with ceramic bearings wouldn't ghost away from you on that kind of gradient. However the wind would ensure it'd leave one hell of a dint in your Datson 180B in the car park! 25-30km/h southerly wind, not too gusty, pushing us along the entire route. An atypical starting order, A Grade first in number order, not reverse number order. So we were off really early before the wind really started picking up.

Not much to report for a 6km TT - Peg that power number, then exceed it a little, then a bit more. I caught my 30 second man who was cranking on a road bike, no TT bars. No sign of Nathan Elliott (Search2Retain) who was my minute man. I was hoping to at least pull him back into sight, but with the tail wind and short distance, there wouldn't be much separating us anyway. I ended up with a 6:24, 421W, 55.2km/h average. I swung back around and Elliott's mum tells me the recorded time, 6:24, spot on! Elliott did a 6:30. So with his 10 second advantage at the start of the day, he would retain the yellow jersey for Stage 3, assuming nobody else came stomping in with a better time. No more results were spied from the officials, so we eagerly awaited what Nick Bensley (SoulDevotion) had done and some of those fast-spinning U19/U23 kids would rip out. Bensley wasn't too happy with his ride, somewhere around 7mins he thought when I had a chat with him. Official results will be more accurate than car park chatter - so we waited for those. And waited for those.... and waited for.... and waited.... and.... Oh look at the time, Stage 3 starts in 10 minutes.

There is talk of 'timing issues' for this stage. Mine was reported to me independently, and it was correct. I don't know the full detail. Maybe they sent riders off at the wrong times? Surely something that is sorted out with manual time keeping.... At the track there is the electronic system, plus three hand timers. A road TT being a little harder to administer with the finish being 6kms away.... but still... all too late now. Rumor has it the stage could be scrapped. I'll refrain from posting my opinion on that and what it means for GC and how it reflects on the entire tour..... no guesses I'd light it up with words that'd have that raggedy haired dude on SBS' Letters and Numbers consulting his monster dictionary for an epic offensive word-score!

A Grade - Time Trial Results

TBA. If the stage is scrapped I'll be asking for riders to submit their own times, honesty system, because the first rule of TTs is "TIME YOURSELF"....

Stage 3 - 70km Kyneton-Sutton Grange and back again.

SoulDevotion stomping! Bensely ripping it from the start. The TT friendly tail wind also became our friend for the first half of this stage. 41km/h+ average at a quick guess, with Bensley up the road on a solo mission from hell. Lots of friendly chatter in the bunch today, a few people had read my report from Stage 1, thanks to the promotion of it by Cycling Victoria. People seem to know who I am, I'm getting to know the other riders, and remembering names, such as the 'guy in LSDsports kit', Gabe. Handy to remember these things, who's who, etc. A Grade doesn't really suffer from any bitching and moaning I'm hearing from other grades, there is a level of respect we have for each other. No (intentional) wheel chopping, no (intentional) dodgy moves, no throwing people in the gutter and off the road. Just bloody hard racing 'when the shit goes down', and everyone looking out for each other. Potholes, cars up, cars back, all communicated well throughout the bunch. No psych outs, no shit talking, a few laughs here and there. The A Grade race results are all legs, lungs, luck, and a few tactics thrown in. Racing as it should be.

Back to the race.... A quicker than expected return trip as team work-horses got on the front for their protected riders. Bensely was soon back in sight. Tim White (Hawthorn) had a nasty mechanical on the way back, dropping his chain then somehow twisting it beyond a usable state. That was a loss, he's a fair unit with a good motor who'd kill it in the head wind. The hammer was down up the final climb around 12kms from the finish. A few attacks being launched but nothing getting away. Bensely was swept up after a huge solo effort, I had my fingers crossed for him, it would have been a gutsy ride had he survived. In amongst all the attacks and chasing 'the right' combination of riders split off the front. Three or four riders it looked like, with almost every team represented and no GC riders spotted in the mix. A few more were allowed to bridge across as the bunch watched, tapped away, and kept them just out of striking distance.

Elliott was a little nervous of the time gap and lifted the pace to minimise the finishing time as we came into the final few kms. The group up the road battled for line honours and the time bonuses on offer as the bunch scrambled for that coveted billionth place sprint (damn sprinters!), a lot of us sitting up and not risking the battle, a few crossing the center line for their run to the line..... Right where the officials were watching! We were told to keep rolling back into town. Um, what about claims....? Electronic timing should cover that...

So who won? Cam McKenzie from Team Kosdown. Hell yeah! Cam was taken out at Calder Park only a few weeks back, now he's back and ripping A Grade wins. He'd slipped into the break late in the race and hit them perfectly in the sprint. The smile on his face for the next hour was only matched by team boss Kos Samaras who'd seen it unfold from the chase bunch. The Milky Bars are on us! No change to GC that we're aware of. Tomorrow might shuffle a few things. Though having the TT results would shuffle things into correct order before that battle begins.

Klaus Mueller - Godfather, Cycling Australia.

A Grade Results - Stage 3 (from memory, I'll update when official results are out....)

1. Cam McKenzie (Kosdown)
2. Peter English (SoulDevotion) st
3. Tom Donald (Search2Retain) st
4. Gabe Carey (LSDsports) st

A Grade GC - After Stage 3

We don't know. Elliott in yellow we think.

Random Mechanicals.....

Too much power Tim!

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