Monday, 23 June 2014

CV Castlemaine Open ITT & 2014 Mirabella Trophy Race

Excellent entry numbers for the Castlemaine 20km ITT held last Saturday. Going head to head with the CX racing (better suited to the wintry conditions) almost 100 riders tested themselves against the clock.

The 20km course is on the old highway. A fast section of road, except for all the hills. Last year I recalled being at the top of the first pinch in a world of pain and hating life. This year I had a few specific points on the course picked out that I wanted to nail at full speed while in the correct mindset. This made all the difference. With the slight tail wind I was at top of the climb 7km in around 60 seconds up on last year. The return leg was harder than usual into the breeze. I had Nick Bensley (StayTrue) pegged at 30 seconds with a few kms to go, but the run back into town is super fast, so no dice on pulling him back any further.

We were back on hand timing which caused havoc with the initial A Grade times. These were sorted by the time we went home thanks to some quick mathematics and someone's dad keeping the time keepers honest. :)

Going up against NRS riders, some stomping TKM guys who are knocking on the door of TT wins, and Drapac pro Lachlan Norris who rocked up ready to play - I was pretty happy that the my ride was good enough to take the win.

Finish line Garmin lap press... Photo by Jim Morey

Eureka Vets CC -  Mirabella Trophy Race 2014.

Windy, 7°C, wet roads, and patchy rain in Ballarat usually means a good sleep-in at the in-laws. Not this Sunday. Local legend Tony Mirabella along with Eureka Vets CC were running a race with his name on it and I was keen to help the scratch bunch have a crack at the title.

Limit had 22 minutes over the 48km. The eight of us off scratch instantly became six when two riders missed the start. We were going to wait until one of the riders yells "We've got Miller, we don't need them!". hah! Oh shit, he was serious, and we were off....  flat out!

Mirabella took a few kms to start firing on all cylinders, I had to drop back and pull him back to the storming scratch bunch who'd hit the first hill way too hard. After that we used the crosswind section to do most of the damage to the time gaps. On the second lap we timed the catch of 'block' meter-perfect. Catching them unaware just as they turned into the headwind.

15km to go, Mirabella and I upped the pace on the climb out of Learmonth. The two of us were clear of our group and had the limit riders in sight. The catch was made with 8km to go. Straight into the crosswind only Graeme Parker was able to stick with Mirabella and myself.

5km to go Parker dropped off the back and looked like calling it a day. Mirabella and I could see we had enough time to throw Parker a tow-rope to the line. We dropped back and kept him out of the wind and clear of the chasing riders. Parker dug deep to keep with us and to secure a top three finish.

I had enough left in the tank to kick clear to the line once I knew we'd had 1-2-3 sewn up. Parker took a well deserved 2nd place, with race sponsor Mirabella in 3rd.

Finish line shot... pressing the Garmin again!

With the amount of work we had to put in with a reduced scratch bunch, I didn't think we'd close the limit riders down. It was a bit of a surprise we'd caught them all. It was a pleasure to have ridden the whole day with race sponsor Mirabella, and an honour etch my name into the 2014 winner's trophy.

The hospitality and post race spread of food put on by Eureka Vets is second to none. I even managed to pull off the meat tray raffle win (thanks Mega Meats!)

Eureka Vets CC Website
Eureka Vets CC Facebook

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