Saturday, 24 April 2010


Leongatha Handicap:
The roll from Inverloch to the startline had me a little worried, firstly we were getting closer to all the hills behind the coastal flats, secondly there was a ripping cross wind that I knew would play a role in the race.

I really wasn't sure what to say when I registered, it was a small club race, but it was also a handicap. I took a rough guess at rider abilities based off Justin's handicap and my ability compared to his and asked for scratch. The old dudes also off scratch didn't look overly impressive, but you should never judge a book by it's calves.


An eternity passed with a bunch being released every few minutes, surely there was no way we could catch that many rabbits with that much of a head start! The first turn took us out towards the hills and onto the ~35km loop that'd make up the majority of the day's racing (out a 3-4km road, round the loop, back down the road).

The first hill came up quickly and I pushed what I thought was a good tempo, one guy came around about half way up and it was an outright struggle to hang onto his wheel. Over the top a quick check showed that we'd just shattered our own bunch, only 3 riders remained, while a 4th managed to get back on down the descent.

Into the main climb of the day, there was a large bunch ahead who semed to be within reach of a strong effort, I felt good so set about making it happen. I misjudged slightly and didn't quite have enough to drive past and ensure they couldn't latch on, meaning we now had a bunch of 15 odd people. Round the back of the course the bunch rolled turns, a group of 2-3 going round constantly, with a further 3-4 rolling coming through less frequently. Occasionally we'd pass one or two riders, but seemingly not enough to account for everyone who'd started the race.

I was anxious about not going fast enough to catch riders up the road, so while we waited for some oncoming cars at the final turn back to the in/out road, we asked the corner marshal.

"You're the first bunch"

Wait.... what does that mean? Are there solo riders up the road? With only a few km to go I figured we weren't going to catch anyone else. I hadn't seen anyone on the previous straight roads, which meant they would have had a big gap.

As we rolled down the in/out road I could feel the bunch start to get edgy. Turns stopped happening and a few km to go a rider shot off the front. a few people pushed the pace up enough to limit the gap, but I knew we only had 1 short sharp pinch, a hundred or so meters of flat, then a downhill sprint. I rolled over just before the pinch and smacked it out of the saddle, eating up the solo rider with surprising ease. As we crested onto the flat a couple of guys rolled off my wheel and onto the front, I took it as a good chance to bring my heart rate down a couple of beats before the sprint. Mere moments later we approached what I hoped would be the last corner (I really should reccy finishes), a rider hit it up the right side of the road, I went to across and tried to latch onto his wheel. I got on and realised that the line was now only 100m away it was now or never, so I went again off his wheel and put everything into my legs. Arms flopping wildly I got a wheel in front, then a bike then the line whizzed by, I glanced around and I was clear!!

Final result was fastest time and 1st overall. There was no prizes, but for $5 entry I was just happy to get some good strong efforts in.

D: nfi
A: nfi

PMPW: 91kg

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