This week... first road race of 2018; next weekend at Buller; results from last weekend; yesterday's Gravel Grind and tonight's Dirt Crits.
Hot Boogie Nights for Mansfield Bike Racing
by Protra Pedina (guest Spanish cycling enthusiast from Club Rocacorba, Girona)
Thursday night Stump Hill Classic
Some may remember that I visited Mansfield last year and was impressed with the quality of riding. Well here we are in 2018 and as luck would have it I am back for another year and found myself on the roads as part of Mansfield Mount Buller Cycling Club Summer Road Racing Series.
Thursday 18 January event was supported by Jenny and Dick Forrest from “Stump Hill” on the Midland Highway. The race presented riders with several challenges even before starting. The handicapping, prepared each week by John Eisner, was based on a race length of 25km, but the Marshalls set a course closer to 22km in length. A difference of this amount can throw the handicapping out, and Mr Eisner was quoted as saying at the sign-on for riders “I’ve been a very naughty boy”. As he also was Commissaire for the day, and having ultimate control of the race, no one was willing to contradict him. In the end it was of little consequence and the efforts of setting the handicaps have been well judged throughout the season.
The bigger challenge for riders was the very hot conditions of the day with the temperature not quite reaching the maximum temperature before racing is cancelled. With the temperature hovering in the high 30’s at 6pm the conditions suited some riders, but most were just looking for shade until called to the start line. Ian Conrick was heard to comment “Geez its hot!”
Eighteen riders started from Limit rider Elise Empey, to Scratch riders of Dan Purcell and Kian Lerch-MacKinnon. Kian went on to post fastest time for the night, after showing no nerves on the start line and a morning that included strength work on the bike as part of his training regime for the national Mountain Bike Championships.
A group of Steve Flew, Nathan Pelling, Melanie Green and Alex Green rode well throughout, working well on the rolling terrain. At the turning point on the Benalla Road, Steve Flew started to flag before losing contact with the group on a sharp pinch. At a post race interview Mr. Flew’s only comment was “I didn’t see that coming.”
The group of Bruce Halket, Ross Hopkins, Dave Empey and Darren Bakker also rode consistently throughout, but with little luck in making contact with the leaders. They joined late in the race with Luke Olver and Mark McDowell to roll in together and conclude it really was too hot to have any chance at a win. When asked about when the group realised the chase was not going to work Bruce Halket responded “It’s not easy. In the last five kilometres I said to the guys, ‘It’s already done. It’s gone.’ After, guys are changing at the front after I tried to go in the breakaway, after Bakker tried to close… and after in the end it came for a slow roll to the finish. It’s unbelievable. Yeah!”
The business end of the race came from two groups of Ian Conrick, Jodie Batchelor, Judi Duke and Keiren Payne. Despite a strong and sustained effort Conrick and Batchelor could not chase down Kieren Payne for the win and Judi Duke for a well earned second. At the race presentations Keiren spoke about the thrill of his win. “Ah, it’s something special for sure. Yeah. It doesn’t change the world or anything but for me it’s something very nice. Yeah.”
Keiren went on to say ““I have to say thank you for Judi and her strong second and also some friends in the group – I have some friends still in the group, and I’m very happy for that.” When asked if he would consider the upcoming club ride from Swanpool to Tolmie that included sections of gravel he made his intentions clear by claiming “Road bikes are called ‘road’ bikes for a reason!” Mr. Payne and his family were seen celebrating late in to the evening with dinner at Delatite Hotel, a long term and great supporter of everything cycling in Mansfield.
As with the race last year I reported on a big thanks to all volunteer and marshall's, without their support the events could not happen. Margaretanne Hood again taking out Best on Ground for her work as the lead car, but it was a close run decision with Will MacDonald looking dangerous for 2018.
Next race 25 January 2018, a hill climb from Sawpit Gully Road to Spring Creek Road.
Volunteers still needed
Please... please... please... if you have some spare time this coming weekend we still need a few more marshals to help out at the VDHS on Buller.
Please contact Ben Annear on 0424 453 789 as soon as you get this to help us deliver one of the biggest events our club will host all year!
We need your help.
Congratulations to the Empeys, Elise, Matthew and Dave, who all got on the podium in each of their classes at Round 2 of the Victorian Enduro Tour at Mt Beauty on the weekend.
Elise came third in Under 15 Women, Matt got third in Under 17 Men and Dave finished second in Super Masters Men.
Congrats too to Kian Lerch-MacKinnon who won both Victorian MTB Series races he entered on the weekend: Saturday at Silvan and Sunday at Lysterfield Lake. Results can be found for each round through this link.
Come to where the flavour is... Marchfly Country
Sunday 21 January saw the first All Terrain Cycles/MMBCC gravel grind. Damian's idea was to ride from Swanpool to Mansfield, via Tolmie, with a bit over 20 km (of a total of around 80km) on gravel.
It's a great ride! The roads around Swanpool, Tatong and the Tolmie-Tatong Road were stupidly quiet - we probably saw two cars. The climb along side Hollands Creek was really lovely and shaded and even once it turned to dirt remained gradual and pleasant.
The only drawback was the march flies! If you didn't climb fast enough, it felt like you'd either be bitten to death or picked up and taken away.
But once we started descending again the flies couldn't keep up and the descent down from Tolmie was over before we knew it.
We'll do this ride again in Autumn, once the flies have disappeared. Don't miss it!
Dirt Crits Cancelled
Unfortunately, tonight's Dirt Crits have had to be cancelled. So racing will start next Monday 29 January at Riflebutts with an Irish Handicap.