Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wangaratta CC - Mini Tour 2013

With a recent shuffle to their race program, Wangaratta CC added the "Mini Tour" to their summer calendar of racing. This pop-up tour was organised just in time to test the legs before the Tour of Bright.

The elevator pitch on their Facebook page read: "This weekend is your chance for some quality racing 3 weeks out from the Tour of Bright. Wangaratta Cycling Club has a Mini Tour on with 3 races over the weekend. 2 Road Races & TT over the 2 days."

Running through my check-list of priorities: Stage race - Check! Time trial - Check! Run by a great group of people - Check! An event we could use a silly hashtag for - Check! #smallwangtour was go!

Stage 1 - Taminick Gap x2. 58km.

Same loop as the Tour of Wang earlier in the year. Saleyards -> x2 Glenrowan/Taminick Loop -> Saleyards. The 2pm start time gave me enough time to drive up from Melbourne in the morning, wash the car at The Best Carwash, and down a healthy burger from Maccas. (*Sponsored plugs for businesses owned by Wang CC members!) :)

The entry numbers were thin, so A and B Grades were combined. We soon split apart on the rise up to Glenrowan. The five of us in front were Matt Clark (Charter Mason), Thomas McDonald (Wang CC), Tully Lyster, Tomarsh Loki, and me - all Kosdown.

No fireworks on lap 1. Loki took the KOM and took off up the road for some solo time before Clark and McDonald upped the pace to bring him back on lap 2. Clark soon threw in one almighty effort that had everyone on the ropes. Only Lyster and I could respond with the two younger riders watching us drift up the road. We backed off the pace for them to get back on, only Loki made contact before the pace went up again.

Taminick Gap - Lap 1
At the base of Taminick I was stuck on the front and decided to set the pace..... 400W+ for 3 mins then kicking to 600W for the final 30 seconds. I was pretty happy with that until Clark clicked down a few gears and shot up the road for the KOM! He's made of harder stuff than I am! I took a few risks on the descent and tried my luck at getting off the front solo. Clark and Lyster were back on my wheel soon after for some finish line tactics that saw Clark take the win by 1/2 a wheel from me in a three up sprint.

Nothing like being reminded who rolled you in a sprint like having their photo hang over where you're sleeping that night... Thanks Tony! ;)

Stage 2 - 16km Time Trial

With GC based on points, not time, I asked Lyster and Loki to give it everything in the TT to see if they could get themselves between Clark and myself in the points. With a win on stage 1 and a hill top finish on stage 3, the only way to knock the classy ascender off top spot was in the TT.

I took the win in the TT by around one minute. Lyster and Loki not only put in a huge performance, they rolled in 2-3 putting Clark 4th and down on GC points. Young Loki also rolled Lyster for the first time in a TT, a credit to his progression in the sport (and coach SLane!).

Stage 3 - Hill Climb Road Race. 30km with one hell of a finish!

This stage was an all-in start. Once we hit the dirt and 1km 10% climb, the course would decide the result, not the bunch tactics. It was B Grade who called the shots early on, Tony Reeckman launching from the pack solo, soon joined by Ray Jarrett. A Grade were happy to let them go and not get involved. We were all saving our legs for the all-out battle near the end.

Alex Meyland (Giant) was an A Grade ring-in for the day, so wasn't in contention for GC points. He drifted off the front of the group a few km before the battle commenced, only to be seen just before the finish.

The GC calculations were done prior to the stage. We'd assumed (correctly) that Clark would dance up the tarmac section of the climb for the stage win. I needed to roll in 2nd for outright GC, or 3rd to take it on a count-back on the TT. Loki drove the pace into the final corner before the dirt on the front and I went full gas. The Strava segment is called 'The Bone Shaker' for good reason. It makes the NC Hell of the West gravel section feel like smooth tarmac. The nastiness of this road was proven by Ray Jarrett exploding a tyre on the slow descent back to the club rooms.

With no time to look back I thought 450W+ for 2 minutes on 3% of nasty bumps would be enough to shake everyone.... and then Matt Clark clicked down a few gears and came past, again. I had nothing to respond with even when Lyster was revving me up to latch on. My latch doesn't hold very well at 10%. I slowly watched Clark spin away up the switchbacks to the line. He swept up Meyland who was just out of my reach on the line. 3rd on the line for me with 4 points was enough to claim the overall GC for the #smallwangtour.

The numbers were low but the racing was top quality. Going head to head on GC and to the line in a sprint with the 2012 Tour of Bright A Grade winner was a blast. Thankfully I don't have to race against him up the real mountains in a few weeks. Great to see a rider of his calibre supporting his local club and their events.

Keep an eye on the Wangaratta CC Facebook page and Twitter feed for the the racing and results from the events they put on throughout the year.

Random Things:

How to take a 'selfie' on a hay bale: Set iPhone to record video. Do tricks. Play the movie and take a screen shot at the right moment. Post to Facebook.

I was out for the count on the day after the Wang Mini Tour. Sick as. Down and out for a week. Not so perfect just before the Tour of Bright. We've spent a few weekends up in Bright hanging off the side of the mountains trying to find some last minute hill climbing form. Mine is still to be found. The fight after a long year of racing most weekends just isn't up to scratch. I'm heading into ToB to tear apart the TT on Stage 1, then do everything I can to repay someone who helped me win the 2012 yellow jersey. If you're planning on marking my wheel once the road points upwards, welcome to the autobus.

Finally, #NoFoodNovember has worked a treat. Sub 70kg super-domesTTique!

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