Bendigo Open – Eureka Vets

Bendigo in the 30’s

Both kph and degrees C 

From 16:00

Depart 0700 from Terry’s (Ray, Richard, Darren, Shaun and me). Extra ice in the little esky to keep the biddons cool. Up the Calder and we arrive in plenty of time so check the program.  Eureka has 15 starters, that’s good, a quarter of the club is here.  Maz, Lisa and Ray have 35:00 and eight in their bunch.  Everything is quite normal – the start is delayed while they sit on the start line waiting for the ambulance.  It is somewhere in the general area on a dirt road and on the phone.

All is resolved in due course and we are away. On 16:00 mins we are chasing four and a half minutes to Allan Barnett, Tony Lloyd and the 20:30 group with Graeme Parker on 26:00.  We are unlikely to catch the group in front and Matt Ritchie and Mal rock are only two and half minutes behind.

Early on, here is Graeme Lockwood and another bloke, dropped, but the rest cannot be seen.  On schedule the 13:30 group catch us at Newbridge – no wonder as riders who are not working will not talk and let us know they are not coming through so you end up chasing a length just to get the wheel back – very frustrating. Matt is here but slides back on the first of the hills and yo yo,s  for a while before taking a break to regroup and get the next bunch.

Maz appears on the uphill through Tarnagulla, limit must be getting a wriggle on. The race settles into the familiar, just keep going, check up the road – nothing – and Bill announces clear behind.  It is not until approaching the sharp right at Newbridge that there are riders up the road but right on the turn a big bunch is swarming past.  Say a quick word to Richard who seems to be going Ok and there is Shaun. So that’s everybody back to the 7:30 bunch which was their bunch.  Can’t see Bob but there are riders all over the place.  Here is Graeme at last but still no Ray – game over, come back another day.  Just as slip off  the back as Scratch motors by Tony, check, Andrew Rushton check (cannot miss him in the club uniform), Darren check. Didn’t actually see Phil but he was there too.

Ray’s legs explode when he gets out of the saddle a few km from the finish and then the lights go out – so near yet so far.  The race just a few km too far.  Lisa has struck a tough day for her first open but has aquitted herself brilliantly and has averaged just a tick under 30kph – well done.

Richard relates how he suffered severe leg lock 200 metres from the finish – first time he has suffered cramps  – a rather brutal day all round.

Darren does not have kind words for his bunch. John Creek it seems hung in there but the day was certainly not Ballarat cool.

Can somebody else give us the view from a bit further back to complete the picture.

This will take a few days to recover and it will be hot until Wednesday then cooler for next week at Warrnambool.  The way I feel at the moment some rain would be nice.

Another view from back in the bunch

Richard Taylor, John Creek and I (Shaun Terry) set off in the 7.30 minute bunch. A solid pace was set from the beginning with each member of the bunch coming through doing their fair share of work. Not too far into the race and a couple of guys started to sit on and due to a lack of talking gaps started to appear within the bunch. From that point on there was no real consistency within the bunch and doing turns sometimes meant that you had to pass three riders to reach the guy who was currently doing a turn and then roll over the top of him. Big John Creek who was unfairly handicapped bombed through when he could and Richard Taylor pulled strong turns most of the race. Shaun Terry was all over the shop trying to find some sort of rhythm with the wheels he followed. The 7.30 bunch maintained a good average speed and even though it wasn’t fluent it started to catch bunches ahead. As a result a big bunch developed and it was full speed ahead in an attempt to catch the remaining bunches or riders out front.  I said a quick hello to Terry Collie who was in the 16 minute bunch and spotted Bob Morely sitting comfortably on someone’s wheel. After turning the sharp right hander and having 10 km to go I could see scratch, including my brother, Darren a short distance behind. Not long after this saw scratch hit the front as the last surving rider, the never say die, Ray Hodgson was caught. Richard Taylor still looked very strong with 5 km to go, and was positioned well. John Creek and Terry Collie must’ve fallen off the back. Bob Morely was still there looking like he was ready to pounce. Getting closer to the finish and all of a sudden Andrew Rushton launched himself down the outside only to surrender shortly after. Phil Cartledge and Tony Mirabella were in a good spot to make a go of the finish. The pace heated up for a sprint. I missed the kick which wouln’t have mattered, because no way do I have the legs to match those scratch riders. Richard cramped up and couldn’t continue his sprint. I was able to muster an effort that saw me finish not too far behind the last of the more fancied riders. All I can remember was that that final 200m seemed like an eternity. In summing up, Richard Taylor rode a very solid race, John Creek did the best he could after being unfairly handicapped, and I can be happy with my result after being over worked early and still being there at the end. Great Race!!!

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