Race Report – Victorian Metro Road Champs
Roster: Will, Mark
Chilly temperatures and pouring rain did not bode well for the day’s racing as Mark “Peacock” Guirguis and I migrated Westward to the apple orchards of Harcourt for the Vic Metro Road Champs. Despite the temptation to make party at one of the regions many Cideries, we pressed on to the race start where the weather duly cleared and racing soon got underway. The Elite mens peleton rolled out 41 strong, including some strong contenders for the title such as last years podium finishers Luke Fetch (Search To Retain) and Stuart Grimsey (Drapac) and current danger man Nathan Elliot (Charter Mason). The bunch was barely out of the gates when Adam Murchie (Bike Bug) and Steven Waite (African Wildlife Safaris) went up the road, and with the rest of the pelo still trying to warm up, we were happy to let them go. Guirgs soon decided to extend his long tailfeathers and sally forth and, joined by another rider, formed a two man chase group.
On Lap 2, two bad crashes in the peloton formed another split. A strategy of staying near the front ensured I avoided the carnage, as did most of the main contenders. With a teammate up the road, I was able to sit on and save some energy, but when Guirgs and his fellow chaser came back to the bunch we started working in earnest and the advantage of the two men at the front of the race started to diminish. A solid average of 41km/h over a lumpy parcours eventually bore fruit as we finally caught sight of the two escapees. Their bid for freedom was brought to a close with barely a kilometre left to race – with the race coming together over the rolling climbs that signaled the end of the last lap and beginning of the fast downhill run in to the finish. The bunch began to split again over the tough gradient and Guirgs and I both lost contact with the front group but I somehow managed to get back on terms on the descent and recover sufficiently to manage 8th in the bunch kick. Guirgs was not far behind in 14th spot with Nathan Elliot continuing his run of good form to clinch the win.
A great day of racing out in Apple Country – thanks go to Castlemaine Cycling Club for putting on a great event and all the riders that made the effort to attend in questionable weather and make it a tough and exciting race.
Sunday’s training ride: Three Sides Loop
Neil has some pretty incredible bike handling skills. No handed track stands, reading the local leader while riding….no problemo.