Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Vets South Pacs - Maryborough, Victoria. Easter 2013.

2013 South Pacific Road Championships incorporating VVCC State Championships.

You either know all about these championships because you've done them before, or you've never heard about them. In an attempt to crack through the tough exterior of Vets racing, I'll write up the weekend in detail for those looking for information on the event in the future. Think back to where the clubs and CV were a few years ago, that is where things are at for the Vets.


This is an age-based championship event open to all AVCC licensed riders. The championship consists of four events over three days, with a separate handicap race on day four. All events, with the exception of the time trial, are based in Burns St, Maryborough right near the caravan park. Most riders stay in town for all four days over Easter. This makes attending the presentation functions each night at 6pm a lot easier. Von and I were both racing and staying with family in Ballarat about an hour away each way in the car. Next year we'll be looking at staying in town so we're able to attend the presentations each night at the Maryborough Highland Society.

Event registration is online and straight forward. They're now using MyLaps for timing (excellent!). The start/finish line is on a closed road - no center line rule. They even have the police stopping traffic for the run into town for both the road race and handicap. While full event information prior to the event was hard to come by, the complementary printed race booklet we received at registration on day one had all the race details/start times/etc. The organisation of these events is still very traditional, "because that's the way things have always been done".

Road Race - Friday. 62km. Flat/Undulating.

A large triangle shaped course. We had a small field of 8 or 9 in M35-39. A small bunch doesn't mean an easy race. There isn't many wheels to scramble onto when the moves start. Kosdown team mate Simon Welsh was keen to get up the road early on and test the legs of anyone who wanted to chase. I was happy to see him roll up the road early on with IronMan and recent Kona qualifier, Xavier Coppock. If those two went to the line I'd back Simon's grunty sprint..... so I was happy with the situation. Most of the field were still watching my wheel. A few attacks later the gap to Coppock and Welsh was closed down. Welsh attacked again, this time going solo. The bunch was happy to have me set the tempo on the front while my team mate was soon just a tiny dot up the road.

RR course map. Raced anticlockwise.
Through the town of Dunolly and into the hills with a slight cross wind. Finally the course started to dictate the race. First hill, attack! Second hill, attack! Third hill... wait.. yep.. attack! No hiding now. Welsh was still well up the road and we were all in the hurt box. Small gaps were opening and closing as nobody was able to get into a rhythm and work turns. Over the next hill I got away with Heath Jackson (BikeForce) and we were holding the gap from the chasers nicely. Jackson is with Northern Cycling (my Vets club too) so I was happy to have him locked on my wheel and soon working turns. Not long after, he drifted back to the bunch and left me dangling solo.

I could see the lead car up the road with Welsh still cranking away solo. Full gas time! It took about 15 minutes to get across to Welsh who saw me coming but didn't let up one bit. I finally rolled over him while mentioning something about his pace.... Welsh, "Oh shit, you're solo!".... Me, "Just like I said". Yep, Welsh got the memo in his inbox the day before! Jokes aside, we were still only 1/2 way into the race. We got straight into 1km turns, as smooth as silk. The gap was steady at around 40-50 seconds. Left turn and 22km from home the pace lifted again and the gap started to grow. We just might pull this off!

After his solo moves very early on, Welsh was digging deep to maintain the pace to ensure we'd keep clear. The flashing lights of the follow car behind the chase group were never out of sight, we could see them flickering through the trees on the bends as we checked our lead after each turn on the front. The final 10km were a slog. Welsh still digging deep up the final burgs to keep the pace as high as possible. The run through town was a blast. Police stopping cars at the stop lights that we smoked through at 60km/h+. Into the final straight and I was on the front leading out Welsh who had a monster ride on the day. 200m to go, I was spent, elbow swung, Welsh over the line for the line for the title. I rolled in 2nd with the same time, a Kosdown Performance Cycling 1-2, a Northern Cycling 1-2, and a tough hit-out for everyone.
Welsh driving it to the line.
MyLaps results.
Strava Link to my ride.

300m Sprints - Saturday morning. (Burns St, Maryborough)

Think drag racing. Think standing starts at full gas from a start ramp. Now stop thinking and SPRINT! These were a blast. Head to head heats to qualify for the finals. If you're fast enough, you're at it again for the medals. These would be a great twilight side-show event after the road racing is over for the day. Drinks, BBQs, sprints, a few riders spewing up dinner, it'd be great. Not to be though. We had an early 8:30am start to get these over and done with before the time trial in the afternoon.

I had a good qualifier and dug deeper in the final to have a crack at the best time across all categories. The power meter said I went harder in the final, my average speed said I was faster, the timing system said otherwise. I took the M35-39 win... but was a whisker off the time set by leg-ham-specialist, Carey Hall. Damn it. Next year.

Von's final:

Strava linky of my sprints

Time Trial - 15km. Timor Rd. Saturday afternoon. Starting at Dundas Rd and Fink St.

Full gas. More speed. More power. Leave it all out on the course. 15km out and back on a pretty fast course. This was to be a good 20min power test for the coach, so I was aiming for a sub 20 minute time :) Really happy to have gone better and ridden an 18:49 for a the title and a new course record.

TT course - Out and back.
New gloves!
Getting the low down before getting down low.

Photo by Michael McRitchie
Photo by Michael McRitchie
Von! Photo by Michael McRitchie

MyLaps Timing Results.
Photo Album by Michael McRitchie (has some great shots!)

Criterium - 30mins. Sunday

Only four riders in M35-39. They still gave us a race and we still made a race of it. Xavier Coppock was on the attack from lap 1. I sat back while Grealy and McKee worked turns to pull back Coppock who was opening up the gap even more. I soon jumped on the front hoping to work turns with the other two to shut down Coppock and make it a tactical race. Coppock had his own tactic, not to take Grealy to a sprint. McKee soon dropped off and Grealy dropped my wheel on a fast sweeping corner. With Coppock on a solo mission from hell, I had to get across!

Crit circuit
A lap or so later I was across to Coppock and we worked turns for a few laps. Lapping McKee on the short course as we set about hunting down Grealy. This should mean Coppock and I had 1-2 tied up, at 15 minutes to go I went solo from Coppock. Coming across McKee again I told him to sit tight and I'd tow him around for a few laps. He stuck to my wheel like glue. He'd been dropped and lapped, but was now sitting nicely on my wheel while I was cranking >350W laps! I was just about to swing my elbow and get him working turns as he sat up waving me on. I hope he had a blast. Sometimes the age grouping isn't fair, sometimes grading isn't either, as long as we're racing bikes and enjoying it, it is a good day.

Working turns with Coppock. Photo by Mandy Hosking.
I turned up the effort to full-blast on the last lap to see were my lap time would put me against the other bunches. Result... 45.8km/h, 435W, 1:44. Still 4 seconds down on course KOM. Next year I'll wear my aero-proven Melbourne Bike Share helmet.. or a Giro Dome-thingy.

McKee in tow!

Von working hard in her break:

MyLaps Crit Results (All Grades)

Presentations - Sunday Night

We stayed in town after the crits to attend the final presentations at the Maryborough Highland Society. Try the beef lasagne, it was a hit! Veronica and I had won our age group aggregates, so we're getting a jersey each to hang on the wall. To my surprise, I was awarded the 'Most Outstanding Performance' award by the officials. They were unable to split the performances of myself and Dale Maizels (Eastern Vets) - so there was both a male and female winner of this award for the first time! As a 'junior' Vet racer who was racing these championships for the first time I was grateful for the recognition over the weekend.

All up it was a good weekend. The long days took their toll once we arrived back to Ballarat to see the family each night. We ate and went straight to sleep. It was good to catch up with all the familiar faces we see racing all around the state, even some from interstate. Now we're more across how things work at these championships, we'll definitely be back next year. Hopefully we'll see more familiar faces there too.

Cec Cripps Handicap - Monday morning.

To finish off the long weekend 121 riders lined up in for a VVCC handicap around the same loop as the road race on Friday. One word: FAST! I was in the group of eight off scratch ripping into the course. We were only 90 seconds off pulling in the leaders at the finish. We completed the 62km course 12 minutes faster than the quickest road race time on Friday. Once we knew the race was already won up the road, I had a crack at fastest time but was closed down by the many sets of fresh legs who kept their noses well away from the front once scratch had swept them up. Still a great hit-out and good to be working with the well respected hardarse scratchmen of the Vets racing scene.

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