Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Cycling NSW Masters Road Cycling Championships - Sept 2012

CyclingNSW and Goulburn CC are hosting the Australian Masters Nationals in early October and used their State Masters Championships as preparation. Same courses, same distances, and hopefully with the same success again in early October. I only had my eye on the 22km ITT out of Breadalbane but with Veronica able to get time off work and make the trip with me, she wanted to do all three events. All three events it was!

We're lucky enough to have met some great people while travelling around racing - Tony Reeckman being one of them. Tony is very handy on a bike, behind a camera, and in the kitchen! We're becoming quite fond of our stays at Château de Reeckman, and I'm even fond of the resident 'midnight sheep' baaaing their heads off in the adjacent paddocks.

More hours on the road on Thursday and we arrived in Gunning, NSW. This was the start location of the road race, and was on the same road as the TT. We got a look at the course first in the car before getting our bikes out for a roll (or, a wind blast) on the TT course. I've ridden in some pretty windy conditions before, these were the worst I've ever encountered. 18km/h at 350W into the wind. 67km/h at 350W in the other direction. Nasty.

Event promo in a Gunning cafe. Excellent! 
If you look really close, you'll see the wind farm..... That is
the TT turnaround and part of the road race course!

Time Trial - Breadalbane. 22.8km.

The wind was back again on race day making the first leg of the course brutal. The hilly section at the top of the course was faster and less hectic than the flat sections. The 53/11 was spun out a number of times on the return leg. My ride was good enough for the MMAS1 win and time of the day. Still a lot of work to do before the Nationals. Now I have the data from the course I might be able to knock a good few seconds off in a few weeks.

Getting aero.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
I missed the MMAS1 presentations! Oops!
They held this one for me with the WMAS riders :)

MMAS1 TT Results:
1 MILLER, Shane      30:53 Hawthorn CYC (VIC)
2 HANNAFORD, Brad    33:26 Sydney Uni Velo Club
3 WEBSTER, Kenneth   34:34 Canberra CC (ACT)
4 GALE, Alexander    34:46 Sydney Uni Velo Club
5 AUSTIN, Mike       36:36 Dulwich Hill BC
6 GREENVILLE, Jared  36:58 Canberra CC (ACT)
7 MARINELLO, Michael 41:50 Waratah Masters CC

TT: Full Results (All Grades)
Ernie Smith Photos (All Grades)

Criterium - Marulan Driver Training Centre. 1km technical loop.

The wind was blasting again the next day making the technical circuit pretty hectic even with small fields. MMAS1 had 15 on the start list. I didn't do a headcount on the start line, I just had to get up near the front and get used to the course. Sydney Uni Velo Club (SUVelo) had five or six guys in the field and were active from lap one. I marked every move off the front and put the hammer down myself a few times so I could pick a better line through the tricky corners at the bottom of the circuit. The circuit was only 1km long and pretty twisty. You could see the whole course at any given time. Great for checking on chase group gaps!

Early on there were three of us off the front for a few laps that caused a split the chase group. The front group soon grew again to 6-7 riders. SUVelo still well represented at the pointy end. The hill up the main straight wasn't as hard or as long as it looked from the sidelines - so I jammed it out of the bottom corner trying to split the front group. Brad Hannaford (SUVelo) jumped from the group to chase - I backed off for him to get on my wheel hoping we could really do some damage. Hannaford had come 2nd in the MMAS1 TT the day before, so I knew he'd be good in a break. Now, here is where some lol comes into play, Ronald Visser (also SUVelo) attacks from the chase pack to get across but in the process drags a few others too. I was watching this unfold....... and pointed out to Hannaford that his team mate had just chased him down and brought a few riders with him. Not ideal. The pace backed off just slightly as we were now a group of five...... and I went on the attack again. The four appeared to hesitate a little too long. I could take the corners a hell of a lot faster solo and the main straight became a TT drag strip.

On the attack.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
I was solo and pulling away. Time check on the Garmin? 18mins raced. Bloody hell is that all! 40mins 'plus three' meant for a longer day on the rivet than I expected. I was gaining a consistent 70m each lap (yeah, I was doing the calculations)..... then... from the sidelines something very unique..... a heckle! I could have been mistaken but I swear I heard an off the cuff comment "Slloaaww down".... (best Aussie accent I can type).... What the hell!? I'm busting my balls in a race I was never going to enter, and doing pretty well so I thought. The next lap around I called it out to the officials and everyone watching, including Von.... "Hear that!? I'm getting heckled mid race! hah!". I know I might not have been too popular crossing the border and racing their championship events... but the olive branch was already handed out in the form of trying to get away for a 1-2 with a NSW rider.... that must have been missed from the spectators stand point? Anyhows, I didn't need any more motivation than that to keep stomping.

I eventually lapped the 2nd chase group who latched onto my wheel as I came past. Now this is a grey area - What do you do when lapped in a crit? It isn't like a points score at the track. It is a mini road race.... and technically I'm 1km up the road which could very well be chased down given the right circumstances. What can't happen is that I chase myself down and take the lapped riders back up to my own wheel (insert space-time continuum theory here). If I had a mechanical or popped a heart muscle the chase groups were still very well in the race. I made it pretty clear that I wasn't going to let them sit on. Keep it honest. All but one dropped off. I pointed to the other side of the road, "You ride there, I'll ride here", "But mate, you've been lapped" was the reply.... I wtf'ed (not for the first time in this race) and responded with "MATE, YOU'VE BEEN LAPPED!" with some epic arm swinging and finger pointing that would have secured me a membership to the local Italian social club. Situation clarified, a few head shakes, and I swept up the main chase group on the final lap. They had another lap to battle out the 2nd place sprint.

Final straight.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
A pretty eventful little crit. I had a chat to a few riders after the race, most kicking themselves they let me escape and take their state championship. I won't be contesting the Nationals crit, so hopefully these boys will do alright come race day in four weeks. No chance they'll let anyone get away!

You know you're in a dodgy motel when the bedspread matches your race winnings....

MMAS1 Crit Top 10:
1.  MILLER, Shane       Coburg CC (VIC)
2.  O'CONNOR, Michael   Sutherland Shire CC
3.  HAZELTON, Jonathon  Manly Warringah CC
4.  VISSER, Ronald      Sydney Uni Velo
5.  HANNAFORD, Brad     Sydney Uni Velo
6.  HERNAN, Michael     ADF Cycling
7.  TAYLOR, Shane       ADF Cycling
8.  RATHBORNE, Nicholas Eastern Suburbs CC
9.  WRIGHT, Andrew      ADF Cycling
10. DONALDSON, Gerard   Lidcombe Auburn CC

Criterium: Full Results (All Grades)
Ernie Smith Photography (All Grades)

Road Race - Gunning. 117km.

25 on the start list. SUVelo well represented again, two NRS team riders from Parramatta Race Team (PRT), and a number of other NSW based clubs represented. The 8am start and 117km distance didn't really suit me, but, nothing to lose, I'd give it a shot. Like the crit, it wasn't my championship to lose... and it was my birthday, so I'd be eating cake regardless of the race result.

Sitting in... watching.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography

Sitting in... being watched.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
2.8km neutral.... yeah right... 400W up the hill in the neutral zone. The pace was solid from the start. We were strung out with guys willing to pull hard turns on the front. I was well and truly stuffed if this pace kept up for the next three hours. The pace settled up the climbs where I had a go off the front. If 5-6 riders came with me we could have established a pretty good break. I was closed down and the pace dropped. There were a number of attacks and small breaks over the next 80km that never looked committed enough to stay away. The SUVelo boys were motivated to get a result today, and mid way though the race I was happy to let them get up the road. I was done chasing for a while. I sat back and let the others pull things back and counter attack. Special mention has to go to Jonathan Hazelton, Harrison Morgan, and the two PRT boys who were all doing a fair chunk of work on, or off the front of the race at any given time. My mid-race money was on Morgan, he was super smooth and read the race perfectly. His tactic to split the field was spot on.

Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
The gamble not to 'go with everything' worked out for me. At 93km in (26km to go) after a solid effort up a climb the bunch let me go solo, still too far out to take the win. Ronald Visser (SUVelo) jumped from the bunch of 5-6 riders and dug deep to get across to my wheel. I backed off only slightly and put the hammer down once he was on. I told him that I'd bury myself to help him get to the line. If I blew up trying, so be it, no time to hesitate. It had to be balls-out racing or we'd be swept up. Once Visser recovered, he started ripping some honest turns. Our lead was looking good but we were never really out of sight. In the final 3km we had to lift the effort, the chase group were closing in. One rider had attacked and was only a few 100m back. At 1km to go we knew we at least had podium spots, one more turn each and I kicked at 200m to go, gaping Visser and taking the win. Visser was stoked with his 2nd place, enough to salute on the line in celebration. I was pretty happy with the win which meant I had all three Gold for the weekend, but I was just as happy to see what getting to the line for Silver meant for him and SUVelo. In the end it was close. There was only a handful of seconds separating us from the chasers, it was a relief to know every pedal stroke we put into the two-man break away paid off.

Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
One happy Visser!
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography

What was left of MMAS1 all stood around post race in the sunshine, all totally shagged. Sharing handshakes, laughs, talking shit, and watching a few of the other grades who were still out on course go around the witches hat and head off for their next lap. I might say this a lot, but it really was one of the toughest and most rewarding races I'd done in a while. The respect and friendliness from the competitors over the three days was totally unexpected. NSW does Masters racing very very well. The entry numbers and quality of competition reflect that too.

MMAS1 Road Race Podium.
Photo (c) Ernie Smith Photography
MMAS1 Road Race Top 10
1.  Shane MILLER      Hawthorn CYC (VIC)  3:02:22
2.  Ronald VISSER     Sydney Uni Velo     3:02:25
3.  Todd GREENLAND    Parramatta CC       3:02:34
4.  Harrison MORGAN   Northern Sydney CC  3:02:34
5.  Jonathon HAZELTON Manly Warringah CC  3:02:37
6.  Matthew WALLMAN   Dulwich Hill BC     3:02:39
7.  Jared GREENVILLE  Canberra CC (ACT)   3:02:39
8.  Kenneth WEBSTER   Canberra CC (ACT)   3:02:39
9.  Michael O'CONNOR  Sutherland Shire CC 3:02:47
10. Brad HANNAFORD    Sydney Uni Velo     3:03:00

Road Race: Full Results (All Grades)

MMAS1 - All three!

Random Visuals:

Tony's award winning quiche.
(Voted #1 in Norong by Von and I)
Windy. Confirmed.
We spoilt ourselves on the trip home.... with a fancy motel in Albury.

1 comment:

Ronald Visser said...

What a great blog you have Shane!

Was good fun racing with you.