With record breaking rain in Melbourne and similar non-stop rain up in the North East, Wangaratta CC consulted with a number of riders and officials and put their race contingency in place. We'd sit out the morning and do a road race in the afternoon, an extended version of Stage 2. Sunday would run the same program as originally planned for Saturday, with the road stage in the AM and time trial in the PM. This meant the kermesse was eliminated but nobody was too concerned with that.
|Briefing... wet but not cold.|
Stage 1: Hill Climb RR + another loop.
Our neutral section was meant to be for the first 1km.... until the lead car hit 50km/h+ with three or four riders in chase. The rest of us were expecting the bunch to be back together before the red flag got pulled in. Nope! The flag was pulled in and there was panic in the bunch. With the calibre of riders up the road so high, I thought that was that. Weekend over already? Clark and Katsonis (Charter Mason Drapac), and Sully (Bike Gallery) had missed the move and were soon on the front trying to reclaim the race from the breakaway initiated by the lead car.
At 6km in, Clark and I made it across to the front group which contained Baines (Giant), Lyster (Kosdown), Boal (Target Trek), and Washington (The Full Cycle). From here until the finish line it was flat-out balls-hard save-nothing old school racing with everyone ripping strong turns. Bainsey pulling through with the experience and legs needed to keep the pace up at all times. None of us thinking about the result, we were just blasting away in the wet and shitty conditions knowing we'd all be rewarded with good time gaps when we got to the line.
Coming through Glenrowan for the second time we heard a "BANG" and thought someone had blown a tyre... no... it was just gunshot sounds from the Ned Kelly tourist show. As I said, unique courses!
On the final climb to the line Washington opened up attack proceedings. This was followed by an acceleration by Clark with Boal and Baines in tow. I dangled just off the back of these three to the line where Clark took a classy win.
|Wetter... still not cold. 4th @27 seconds.|
Stage 2: Road Race (Taminick Gap x2)
Stage 2 was going to be twice the pain as the day before with two climbs up Taminick Gap, and I'll make no secret of it, it was! With Baines, Pane (Kosdown), and Katsonis up the road on a short leash, the pace over Taminick was still red hot. Clark unable to shake 5-6 of us. Boal and Sully were keen to keep the gap to the break of three within a few minutes, which most of us contributed to.
Over Taminick for the second time Clark upped the pace, Boal following, then I was on the front not letting Clark get too far away. Last year I drifted off the back of the leaders at this point in the race wondering what it'd take to be up there with the front runners. 12 months later I know the answer. 50W more. With a 2 minute time gap to the three leaders we blasted down the descent, regrouped, and team time-trialled to the line to limit the time gaps. Four of us left in the first chase group 1:59 down on Pane who'd taken the win and a massive 20 second stage bonus! We first spotted James Pane at this race 12 months ago mixing it up with the best, 12 months later he's on Kosdown and a stage winner!
|Pane sitting pretty for the stage win in a few km!|
Stage 2 - Full Results
Stage 3: Time Trial
We weren't sure of the exact time gaps and GC standings going into the TT. Baines should have a comfortable lead with the other podium places being pretty close. It was probably better we didn't know the gaps - No mind games, no over-thinking, just get out there and get stuck into the TT.
I was held up for a few seconds by a car at the 6km turn, riding angry for a few kms after that nullified the disadvantage I had. I rolled in with a 18:54 for the stage win and a new course record. The time keepers were spot on, which turns out was a very very good thing! I'd managed to take the overall GC by 1 second over Baines with Clark another 3 seconds back. Doesn't get any closer than that!
Stage 3 - Full Results
|12 months to the day of TTing on the Shiv!|
A lot of wins, a lot of records, a lot of representing on this machine.
General Classification - Full Results
|Photo (c) www.tonyreeckmanphotography.com|
The lesson from this weekend - Every pedal stroke counts. The result sheet doesn't reflect the effort and sacrifices put in by everyone during the racing. Both by team mates and the other guys in the breaks who dropped off a few kms before the line totally spent.
Huge kudos to Wangaratta CC and the people behind the scenes. Their communication via email, Facebook, and Twitter over the weekend kept everyone informed and in the loop. A strength of the club is they engage really well with the riders and put on the best possible racing they can. We'll be back next year to defend this one.
Wang CC www site.
Wang CC Twitter
Wang CC Facebook
Jo Upton Photography Facebook / www
#wangtour Twitter Hashtag