August 12, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 7 – handicap, Mount Misery

 EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
12th August 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 7
Handicap

Mount Misery – 55 km

EVCC 2018 WARS August poster

Lee stakes a claim

“A warrior seeks to act, rather than talk.”
-Carlos Castenada

Round 7 of the 2018 EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. saw fifteen riders head out onto the Mount Misery course for a fast and furious 45 kilometre handicap.  Sunshine bathed Lake Learmonth, however Bill Goldfinch remembered to flick the “wind” switch before leaving the club rooms.  The strong westerly had kicked in by the time the riders were warming up along Weatherboard Road.  So strong, the magpie darn’t swoop the lycra warriors.
The wind was quickly evaporating the puddles out on course left from the overnight rain, actually, maybe it was just blowing the water away.

Graeme Parker rode off in Limit in a solo capacity at 23 minutes.  This has become a familiar sight throughout 2018.  Graeme’s regular partners have raced less frequently.  We should never underestimate just how tough it is to ride an Individual Time Trial nearly every week.  It is only a matter of time before a windless race day arrives.  We won’t see Graeme until post race on that day!

The Handicapper has paid close attention to Roger McMillan ever since he won bronze in the Division 2 Club Criterium Championship.  That kind of form does not go unnoticed, even if it was four and half months ago.  Brought back in to 12 minutes, McMillan also rode off alone, with an ever watchful eye towards the road behind, in anticipation of the inevitable catch.

The largest group of the day rode off at 8 minutes.  The middle bunch were five strong and fielded some big engines.
Michael Veal was racing – moved out a whopping 6 minutes since his last race – with ample support to be provided by Mark O’Callaghan, Bob Morley, Jeremy Humber and Peter Livitsanis.  A good day in the making for Livitsanis, with plenty of lycra to shelter behind!

Second Scratch rode off at 2 minutes and saw the return of Rob “Big MiG” Phillips.  The inform Andrew Rushton was out for more success.
Dean Wells and the ever improving Jason Hendry just there to make up numbers.  Could the quartet keep Scratch at bay for a third race in a row?

Scratch was Shark free (no Tim Canny) again, however that didn’t mean an easy ride was in store.  Lindsay Burgoyne is in sparkling form as his trip to Italy and the UCI Grand Fondo World Championships looms.  He was all the more eager to strike a winning blow today after an untimely location error cost him dearly at Paraparap the week before.  Tony Mirabella was keen to atone for his mechanical incident the previous week, but would he be fit enough to match the young guns?
Jason Birch and Craig Lee planned to hit the tarmac hard today.  Game plan = Rip as much time as possible out of the leaders into the headwind, then smash it home with the tail!

With few bunches out on the roads, it was difficult to work out how the race was panning out.  The westerly provided a tough head wind all the way from Addington to Black Bottom Road.  The groups battled to hold their numbers intact.  The solo riders just battled.

Passing Waubra the 2 minute group could sense Scratch closing on them fast.  The catch was made just 17 kilometres into the race and added more firepower to the flying Scratch riders.
Up the road, McMillan had joined ranks with the 8 minute group.  Parker was still out in front.

Sweeping onto Black Bottom Road brought a new challenge with the right to left cross wind.  On the narrow sections their was barely enough tarmac for more than four riders to echelon across.  This proved especially dire for the combined Scratch bunch.  Phillips went out the back and Rushton followed soon after – particularly cruel after having just done a turn on the front.
Scratch motored on with Lee ramping the pace up each time he hit the front.  Burgoyne was strong in his bouncy way.  Birch was more grounded and just as strong. Mirabella managed his pace, wary that Lee’s speed might blow the bunch apart.  Wells did the odd turn.  Hendry was glad just to hang on.

Nearing the Ercildoune Road intersection, Scratch could see the 8 minute bunch ahead.  It was only a matter of time now.

Onto Ercildoune Road and Lee put the afterburners on with Burgoyne.  Birch and Mirabella swapped turns and the pace stayed high.
Ahead and Morley put the call out to the bunch that Scratch were coming.  The pace went out of the bunch, maybe too much.  Humber eased off the back to give himself room to latch on.
Whoosh and Scratch were through.  The 8 minute bunch all jumped aboard.

Straightening up on Ercildoune Road and some big efforts from the Scratch men saw the screws tighten just a fraction too much and the 8 minute riders started popping off the back.  Humber, his eyes on the overall W.A.R.S. title, held fast.  His former mates all left in the wake.

At the front of the race Parker knew they would be coming for him.  If he could just make it up the hill to Weatherboard, well, maybe he would have a chance.
Ten kilometres to go…

Scratch were still plying on the pressure – at least those who thought there was another bunch up ahead were.  Lee and Birch were happy to let those other guys do the bulk of the work, they knew Parker was the only rider up the road.
With 6 kilometres remaining, Scratch caught and passed Parker.  Wells was on the front and took the bunch up the hill towards Weatherboard.
Eventually the whole group was made aware they were at the head of the race.  Wells powered on – knowing he’d blown it again – the rest of the bunch more than happy to sit on for the free ride to the finish line.
Past the Avenue, down the dip.  The race was going to finish in a sprint.
Hendry launched very early, not sure how long his sprint would last, or exactly where he needed to go from – rookie mistake.
Lee and Co. just followed his wheel then sprinted when the time was right.  Burgoyne, Mirabella and Humber threatened for the barest instance before Lee and Birch got their gap.
The drag race was on, but Lee had the lead by a bike length and held his upper hand to the line for a deserved First and Fastest.

Post race and Lee drew his own raffle ticket to claim the ultimate trifecta.  O’Callaghan won another bag of spuds…

Results:
1st – Craig Lee (Scratch)
2nd – Jason Birch (Scratch)
3rd – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
4th – Lindsay Burgoyne (Scratch)
5th – Jeremy Humber (8 mins)
Fastest Time – Craig Lee (Scratch) in 1h 10m 45s, ave. 37.8 Kmh

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