August 5, 2018 – Rocket Ascent Hcp – Geelong & Surf Coast CC – inter club event 62 Km

RUSHTON RULES THE ROCKET

Interclub race with Geelong & Surf Coast CC

Rocket Ascent
Handicap

Gum Flats Rd circuit – 62 km

Rocket Ascent flyer - 2018

GSCC – Rocket Ascent map

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23749460

Rocket Ascent flyer – 2018

Sunday 5th August brought strong winds which whipped through the middle of Victoria causing havoc and resulted in many sporting events being cancelled.  Most southern regions were spared from the wind and rejoiced in the warm sunshine which in fact reached all corners of the state.

Weather aside, the eyes of the sporting world all turned towards Paraparap for the fourth edition of the Rocket Ascent, sponsored by Rocket Tyres.
62 kilometres of rolling, tree lined, handicap fun, with two ascents of the infamous Gum Flats Road climb thrown in for good measure.
Geelong & Surf Coast invited Eureka Cycling to join in the fun and we duly obliged.  Fifteen Eureka members (and one potential member) entered for the day.  Unfortunately the strong winds around Ballarat discouraged a few riders from making the trip down to Paraparap and so only thirteen took their place in the field.

The Rocket Ascent is not your average “loop like” circuit, nor is it a “lap” circuit…
It’s more a “Head out that way mate, take your first left, keep riding until you reach the big tree, hang a u-ey and go back a bit, then take a lefty down the hill – not too fast but – then hang another u-ey and go back up the hill, take the left, head north…ish, then chuck a lefty at the T, then another lefty, head down to the crossroads and hang another u-ey, chuck a right at the next T, then another right and retrace your steps, back down and around, finish is at the top of the steep bit, she’ll be apples!”

A neat fifty riders signed on, then listened into the pre-race brief which explicitly stated that the down hill part of Gum Flats Road was neutral…on both laps!  Right?!
Team EUREKA was 13 strong, against the might of the 37 Geelong & Surf Coast riders.  One Eureka wag was heard to say that “…the odds sure are stacked against Geelong. I feel sorry for ‘em.”

Geelong and Surf Coast’s very own Ken Mansfield led off as the lone Scratch rider at 48 minutes.
It was a long twenty one minute wait until the 27 minute group headed off.  Eureka’s first rider was on the road – Jacqui Dawson.  Three GSCC riders accompanied Jac into the bush.

Another lengthy wait before the largest group (ten riders) of the day at 17 minutes.  Eureka fielded James Burzacott, Roger McMillan and Tim Tyler in this group.  GSCC’s Jamie Robinson provided a very familiar wheel for the Eureka riders to follow.
An interesting rider in this group was the “trial” rider from Ballarat and former triathlete star – Melissa Burgoyne.  One of the StoreIT team members, Melissa will soon be heading off to the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Varese, Italy with a bunch of crusty old men from StoreIT…but that’s another story.

The 13 minute group fielded Bob Morley from Eureka – who is still on somewhat of a statewide victory parade after recently winning a virtual race on Zwift.  Up against seven GSCC riders, Morley was keen not to get played by the old “one-two”, or even the “one-two-three-four…” you get the idea!  He would certainly be keeping a close on on the likes of John Parello, Gavin Gamble and of course Carl Judd – even if it was only for wind direction changes according to Juddy’s moustache.

The 9 minute 30 second group had some pretty well known names in it’s midst.  GSCC’s Marcus Coppock, Darren Williams and Chris Fenech, were just a few of the likely fellows to dish out some pain.
For Team Eureka we saw Andrew Rushton who was very aggressive in the previous week’s Charlie Braszell race.  There, he blew up up at the base of the climb to the finish line.  What would two ascents of a more difficult climb yield?
Team Eureka also had Rick Calvert returning to racing.  Nearly four months ago Calvert crashed on slippery roads and suffered an arm injury.  With a European trip looming – as well as a plan to climb some of the biggest Alps he could find – Calvert used indoor virtual training to get himself fit.  His preparation paid off and he thoroughly enjoyed riding up some massive mountains such as Mont Ventoux…three times…in one day…yes, that’s nuts!  It was fair to say that Gum Flats Road would present no issue for Calvert, but how would he go with the speed of a race?

Six riders set off at 7 minutes.  Like Morley, Eureka’s Lindsay Burgoyne was isolated amongst GSCC riders.  Daryl Suter, Nigel Pearson, Dave O’Neil, Dave Warren and Harvey Lang were all planning a big day out.

Another group of six for Second Scratch off at 4 minutes. GSCC stalwarts Rick Buckwell, Kane Airey, Nick Brown and Tony French riding with Team Eureka’s Tavis Baker and Dave Ogilvie.

A strong Scratch bunch led by GSCC’s Rob Southern, with Greg Hosking, Andrew Goodwin, Brad Haskett and David Newett in support.  Eureka adding Tony Mirabella and Craig Lee to the fold.

To the race proper and the front of the field was coming together quickly.  The 13 minute bunch had set off at a reasonable clip, however at the first turnaround (Grundy’s Road) they were red flagged – it cost them valuable time.  Once outbound, they could see the 9:30 bunch closing quickly.
For their part, the 9:30 group had worked well together up until the first ascent of the Gum Flat Road climb.  Three riders broke away early on the climb.  Rushton and a few others chased them down.  The bunch had been split though.  Over the top they had six riders in hot pursuit of the 13 minute bunch.  The round up occurred before the left turn at Larcombes Road.  The race was on with the 9:30 riders trying to drop the 13 minute riders.

Scratch had lost Mirabella inside the first 20 kilometres with a flat tyre.  The chase was just a bit more difficult now.
Rushton however, was a man on a mission and the enlarged group was desperately trying to stay away from the 7 minute group who were closing.  The group continued to swell as the bunch collected riders who had been dropped from the 17 and 27 minute groups.  Burgoyne hammering away on the front of the 7 minute bunch was a common sight.  At the Nobles Road turnaround the gap had decreased even further.
The 9:30 (plus hangers on group) caught the lone race leader heading south along Forest Road.  The 7 minute group were close enough to catch the sweat from the new race leaders.

Through the Grundy’s Road turnaround and the catch is finally made.  The lead bunch has over twenty riders in it as they head back towards Gum Flats Road.
Hey, there goes Scratch…we have them covered!
Rushton was still on the front giving it everything.  Down to the last two kilometres and John Parrello rushed off the front and took the left turn to the steep downhill well clear of the pack.  Local knowledge coming to the fore!  Riders jockeyed for position as they went down, down…in a controlled “neutral” roll…some positioned well, others were shuffled backwards.

Parello got around the turn first and Morley was next.  Rushton was third into the turn and came out of it on the 53 chainwheel ready to power up the hill.
Calvert came through the turn almost last.  Would the recent mountain training pay dividends?
Up ahead and Rushton has closed on Parello.  Here comes the 10% section.  The effort is more a grind than a sprint.
Rushton has the lead.  The gap is opening.
Pearson and O’Neil (both 7 minute group) are the next riders.
Calvert has passed rider after rider.  He can’t reach the three ahead, but he can finish high.
Behind Calvert the others are starting to pedal in squares.

Rushton is well clear at the line and wins by ten seconds over Pearson.  A few bike lengths back to O’Neil and the same to Calvert.

Many Eureka riders finished high in the order with Burgoyne 6th, Morley 8th and Melissa Burgoyne rode brilliantly for 10th, First Lady and KOM in her group.  Melissa relinquished all those honours because she was on a trial ride.  Tyler was officially in 10th place, with Burzacott not far behind.

Less than three minutes later the Scratch riders climbed for Fastest Time with Greg Hosking claiming the prize convincingly.

Post race and Rushton pulled off the perfect double when he claimed first prize in the raffle and received a whole bunch of goodies to go with his trophy, prize money and KOM for leading his group over the climb the first time around.

Results:
1st – Andrew Rushton (9m 30s), Eureka
2nd – Nigel Pearson (7 min), GSCC
3rd – Steve O’Neil (7 min), GSCC
4th – Rick Calvert (9m 30s), Eureka
5th – Peter Cone (13 min), GSCC
6th – Lindsay Burgoyne (7 min), Eureka
7th – Laurie Lynch (9m 30s), GSCC
8th – Bob Morley (13 min), Eureka
9th – Peter Hunt (9m 30s), GSCC
10th – Tim Tyler (13 min), Eureka
First Lady – Jenny Denouden (27 min), GSCC
Fastest Time – Greg Hosking (Scratch), GSCC in 1h 36m 50s, ave. 38.2 Kph
Group KOMs (first ascent of Gum Flats Road):
27 min – Darren Richards, GSCC
17 min – Jim Burzacott, Eureka
13 min – Peter Cone, GSCC
9m 30s – Andrew Rushton, Eureka
7 min – Harvey Lang, GSCC
4m 30s – Dave Ogilvie, Eureka
Scratch – Andrew Goodwin, GSCC

Rocket Ascent 2018 post race photo

GSCC Rocket Ascent - slide

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