Sunday, 31 August 2014

2014 SKCC Road Club Championships - August 31st

St Kilda CC holding an event without coffee is like a desert without sand, like an ocean without water, like Hollywood without colour!

Despite this decaffeinated debacle, St Kilda CC put on a great show for their 2014 road championships, on a great circuit, with spectacular weather. Even the stiff northerly wind was welcomed as it meant a super-fast final 20km to the line for all riders.

Von has had this race on her calendar for a while. I decided to tag along and have a roll in the Masters 2/3 category.

A moderate sized bunch rolled out at 10:30am into the headwind. There were a few shuffles in the bunch to see who'd hit the wind, not many was the answer. The pace stepped up when Rohan Andrew (Charter Mason) was allowed to roll off the front solo at about the 6km mark. With nobody reacting, I jumped across.... soon followed by all the fresh legs in the pack.

Onto the 19km She Oaks circuit, SKCC President, Lee Hollywood Turner was gifted the downhill KOM by the bunch, taking the win with both arms raised. Those arms were soon back on the bars and hanging on tight as the race came to life up the hills. Rohan Andrew was steam-training through to the front and clearly on a mission. I didn't want to chase (and be chased) again so I was hovering near the front.

The 2.2km Steiglitz Rd climb was started at a white-hot pace. Keen to test bunch, and my legs, I put in a short effort and drifted off the front. 60km to go.... solo? Shit, I hope not. I kept riding and soon three riders broke clear from the bunch. Excellent. The chasers were Rohan Andrew, Lynton Zawadzki (Canard) and Brian Darby. Darby then attacked across to me solo. Darby loves a time trial, so I had a perfect ally. Andrew and Zawadzki weren't far back but never made it across before the turn south onto the downhill section of the loop.

Darby and I set into a rhythm right away and the follow car soon moved up behind us, a good sign the gap was going to stick. I was assigned to the hills and Darby was providing a solid wind block over the crests and helped with motoring the flats. Without knowing any time gaps we never stepped off the pace.

The third and final time up Steiglitz Rd was were we knew we'd have the 1-2 for the race. Finish line ordering was still not important as we had 20km to keep turning the cranks.

The last 18km were FAST. 49km/h fast. At 4km to go I kicked clear for a solo crack at the line. I'd gapped Darby, but was unable to shake the magpie we saw swooping riders earlier in the day. I had my head down trying to win a race and all it wanted to do is molest my helmet. After landing two good whacks to my head, it returned to base, then started bombing Darby (who I hear made hand-to-bird contact with a well timed swat!).

The finish line was everything we'd dreamt of all day. Downhill, tailwind, and sooooo fast. I rolled over the line at around 80km/h (yeah, it was fast) and Darby soon followed. Our move with 60km to go might have been a little ambitious, but it paid off with some old-school no bullshit hard road racing - the kind of racing we did when we first took up the sport.

Must... hit.... lap....
Zawadzki and Andrew crossed the line in 3rd and 4th respectively. I'm not sure if they went back to the bunch after the chase, a rock solid effort from both of them either way.

The post race show was world class. Food, drinks, photographers, Hollywood on MC duties, and SuperG doing what she does, making sure everything is super.

In short - A top day. Good people. Good food. Great (hard) racing. This is what cycling is all about.

Favourite shot of the day. Check the smile on Darby (center). Awesome.

No comments: