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June 5, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Mt. Misery reverse, 46 km – EUROPA CAFE W.A.R.S. round 1

Europa Café

W.A.R.S. – round 1

Graded Scratch racing – 5 June 2016

Mt. Misery reverse, 46 km

W.A.R.S. 2016 round 1

Round 1 of the W.A.R.S. and it was a no holds barred, knock ‘em over, drag ‘em out affair.
Two new riders were not given any quarter…and willing racing was the order of the day around a familiar, yet different course.  The Mt Misery course is a different beast in reverse, requiring a review of race tactics.  A good field of 18 racers in three grades tested their mettle.

Special thanks to out generous sponsor of the series, Kathryn and Jason Haire at Europa Café.
The winners of each race receiving a $30 voucher to enjoy in the café and the winner of the overall series will receive honour, glory and a $100 voucher.
Thanks also to the Phantom for the contribution to the A Grade report.

There is a buzz around the club at the moment – partly due to new riders and their successes – and partly due to an ever increasing number of competitive A Grade riders and their changeroom trash talk.

A Grade

A new race circuit requires a whole new range of tactics.
The Ballarat based riders train around the circuit in the clockwise direction – so did they have an advantage?
Matt Ayres was completely lost on the new circuit and would require tips from the others throughout the race so that he knew what to expect…would he even be a factor at the finish?

From the start the A Grade bunch was haphazard at best, however Phil Cartledge ignited the pace over the Weatherboard crest and raced down the hill towards the right hander with gay abandon.  Through the turn he quickly opened a 100 metre gap, such was his speed.  The bunch sat up to allow a gap, then Dean Griffin organised the bunch into rolling turns.  After a few kilometres they reeled Phil back in – the bunch noting how well he was riding even with the perennial bug he seems to be lumbered with.
Along Ercildoune Road a few riders attempted some quick darts off the front, none attracting anyone interested in pressing the matter and they were all easily covered by Griffin and Peter Canny.

Andrew Rushton went off the front for a short while, but he too was soon brought back into the fold.  Dean Wells took over the pace making as they entered the narrow section of road – he had the field weaving all over the tarmac in an effort to discourage attacks – however Phil came through before the turn onto Black Bottom Road and stretched the bunch out as he swept through the corner.  The move caught Wells out and he was happy to receive a tow back to the bunch from Matt Ayres.
The bunch regrouped only for Rushton to again roll off the front and open a small gap.  Tony Mirabella sensed an opportunity and crossed to Andrew.  The pair were able to eke out a margin of around 100 metres, but under the road captaincy of Griffin, the bunch rolled turns and kept the duo within stones throw.
Rushton’s efforts off the front were more to gauge his own fitness level than try a long range assault, he eventually eased off and left Tony to his own devices.  The bunch managed the gap behind Tony as the race turned eastward and climbed to the high point of the course along Waubra-Ercildoune Road.  Rushton’s fitness finally gave out and he eased off the back.

After cresting the peak the bunch worked quickly together and caught Tony – a high pace ensued as they raced towards Addington.  Riders scrambled for position as they closed in on the sharp right turn, Phil again winning out and he opened a gap as he powered out of the turn.  Matt responded and quickly closed the gap.  Canny then assumed the pace making up Edmonston Road, with the two Deans sitting outside him to block the narrow path and stop any sneaky attacks.  Nearing the top of the final climb Wells made an attack that was negated by Phil.  Griffin dragged the rest of the bunch across and again it was gruppo compacto.

Canny took over the pace making again as they charged down towards the final turn and started to close in on the B Grade race.  Phil kamakazied through to get the lead before the left turn – he ended up overshooting the tarmac and found himself in the gravel, but kept upright and was soon back in the mix.
Matt asked where the finish line was as the the bunch regrouped not far behind B Grade.  This could pose a big problem…would both bunches be sprinting at the same time?
‘This isn’t a fast enough lead out for you boys to sprint’ Wells quipped to Phil before taking off in pursuit of B Grade.  The boys quickly fell in behind and they roared down the gully, passing B Grade at the bottom.

It was full speed ahead as they cleared the rise – until Wells’ run ended over 700 metres from the finish line.  Canny found himself on the wrong wheel and started looking for options, Griffin was already jockeying for a new position and Phil was trying to work out where everyone was.  Tony out wide at the back started to wind up for a long range sprint, but had to check as the Tail Car squeezed past on the outside.  Time seemed to slow as the bunch spread across the road – but really it was just the speed dropping even further as everyone tried to keep their powder dry.
Tony again found his gear and went from nearly 400 metres out – was it too far?
A short moment of hesitation by the others allowed a small gap to open and it looked like Tony might yet win the day.  Phil, Canny and Griffin all started their sprints and Matt started to wind up.
150 metres to go and Tony still has the smallest gap over Phil and Griffin, but here comes Matt.  He sweeps through with only Tony ahead, catches him inside the final 50 metres and takes the win with a clear margin.  Welcome to Scratch!

Results:
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Phil Cartledge

B Grade

A gallant platoon of 7 prepared to battle the first race of the W.A.R.S. in B Grade – their mission…to race the aptly named Mt Misery circuit and survive.
The field greeted a new recruit, Mark O’Callaghan, a rangey fellow who although somewhat apprehensive looked comfortable and acquitted himself with honour and bravery, and is therefore mentioned in dispatches.
Brian and Kevin Lee also found themselves with the daunting prospect of a challenging parcour and impetuous company, the heat of battle tested Kevin’s resolve and once the race reached the cima coppi, you could stick a fork in him – he was done.  Meanwhile Brian soldiered on, undeterred and huffing and puffing his way up the climb, he could not be shelled.
Duncan Psycho Bates was in rare form, obviously been training and dropped some weight he animated the race with several sorties and digs down the Ercildoune Rd when everyone else was looking for cover.  His race plan was obviously a war of attrition, trying to wear down the sprinters and climbers.
You couldn’t miss Michael “Mr. Giro” Veal, either his fluorescent pink overshoes pulled your eyeballs out of your head or his antics on the shoulder of the road questioned his sanity.  Mr Giro road a strong race, riding tempo up the climb to deter a salvo from the smaller riders and stretching their puny legs on the flat.
Bob “Spongebob” Morley is an enigma, every week he is in the contest, riding smart and riding hard, how he can be that competitive with the modicum of training is one of life’s mysteries.  Bob hardly ever comes to the front in a scratch race, too smart for that, but today he decided at times that he would be the hammer and insisted that the rest chase him for a change.

After testing eachother along Ercildoune Rd, and up Black Bottom Rd, the compact field turned left and began the climb up Mt Misery.  The lonely giant windmills were the cue for Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis who had been waiting his turn, as soon as the road went up he went to the front, via the gravel on the side of the road.
Fifi and Mr Giro exchanged turns on the front gradually winding up the tempo, trying to split the field.  Popeye was gone but somehow the rest made the top.  The next test would be after the descent and the left turn at Addington, a series of small rollers with a couple of pinch points that Fifi, Mr Giro and Pyscho tried to exploit, the field was strung out but the elastic was still in tack as they turned for home.

The corner was a lot tighter than anticipated which slowed progress and with everyone settling for a final sprint the field came back together.
Not an easy sprint to judge, you can see the line a long way out and one final little rise usually knocks the stuffing out of those that go too early.
Mr Giro slowed things to a crawl, inviting an early attack.  Pyscho obliged and took off at the cemetery corner, Fifi grabbed his wheel, knowing full well that this attack would end in tears.  Spongebob had laid his money on Mr Giro and was waiting patiently on his wheel.
As the steam started to come out of Pyscho, Mark O’Callaghan countered, Fifi saw this one as far more dangerous and swapped wheels and the two separated from the rest.  Bob saw he had made the wrong bet and jumped off the cramping Mr Giro and took off in pursuit.  Fifi got to his spot on the road and launched his sprint, despite Spongebob closing Fifi held to the line to take the win, Spongebob in second and a great second effort saw Mark hold on for third.

Results:
1st – Peter Livitsanis
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan

C Grade

Another new rider to Eureka and another standout performance from Steve Linnane who stood up to win his first ever bike race.
Steve was in great company for his first race, the Amazing Mandy Rudwick, and the seasoned veterans John Faulkner and Neil Braszell, all provided excellent race coaching.  So good in fact was their instruction that not only did Steve hang on, but he sprinted clear to win the race, grinning from ear to ear.
Mandy continues to impress and worked hard all race ensuring the race was a test of endurance, the climb favouring her above all others, she powered along and in the process shelling a couple.  Rather than the big attack and a solo ride to the finish as it is quite often the case, it was a different race plan around a slightly unfamiliar course – keep the watts up but don’t go into the red.
Neil Braszell’s return to racing continues, each race his improvement is obvious and he’s come a long way since the early season crits on production drive.  Similarly, John Faulkner is gently easing his way back into racing, a difficult guy to chase down when he is on song, the backmarkers all fear a return to form from this gutsy competitor.

Results:
1st – Steve Linnane
2nd – Mandy Rudwick
3rd – John Faulkner

Europa Cafe logo s

The Eureka Vets CC are excited to announce that Europa Café are continuing as sponsor of the Winter Aggregate Race Series.

Jason is on his comeback trail after a nasty fall during the 2016 Cec Cripps open race at Maryborough on Easter Monday.
Just like the exciting new meals on the menu at Europa Café, the W.A.R.S. are also bigger and better in 2016.

Seven rounds of racing will decide the ultimate winter cyclist.  In between racing, visit Europa Café which is located right in the centre of Ballarat at 411 Sturt Street.  Just a block and 1/2 “up” from the Town Hall, Europa Café is perfectly situated close to the Central Square shopping precinct.

Europa Café is a spacious, inexpensive family style café, where the coffee is great and the buzz is lively.
The lunch/dinner menu is seasonal and ranges from Italian to venturesome and imaginative Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.
The wine list is extensive and admirable with many by the glass.
All day breakfast at Europa Café has become something of an institution.
If you are visiting from out of town you should have at least one breakfast during your stay…
if you are a local Kathryn, Jason and the team look forward to seeing you again and again and again…

Open everyday from 7:00am for breakfast and lunch.

www.europacafe.com.au

May 22, 2016 – Handicap – Coghills Creek, 59 km

May 22, 2016 – Handicap – Coghills Creek, 59 km

The Bovine Blockade Affair – 22 May 2016

Coghills Creek Handicap 59 km

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Mirabella Blows Them Away

bovine

noun
1. an animal of the cattle group

blockade

verb 
1. seal off (a place) to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving

Tony Mirabella combined with cattle and wind then scattered the field like autumn leaves to score an impressive victory on a day made for hard men and women.Tony has struck an impressive vein of form and is mining it for all it is worth…

A constant 50 kmh northerly that gusted above 70kmh during the race was a challenge for the modest field assembled.  This was not a day for the front markers with most abandoning, however both Scott Denno and James Gretton persevered long after their races were lost.  Both men riding out the race solo, a brutal effort of self-flagellation that quietly impressed.

In a war of attrition it was the two larger groups that won the day.  The back of the race boasted five riders in Second Scratch and five riders in Scratch, with 4 minutes separating them.
Bob Morley ensured a day of pain for himself.  He self-selected for a Second Scratch that included very strong riders in Grant Dawson, Rick Calvert and Rob Phillips.  Sharing Bob’s pain was Andrew Rushton, who is still working his way back to race fitness.  Andy also found himself in this illustrious company for a day of leg breaking.
First lap over the Donavan’s Road pinch, the Rob “Big Mig” Phillips lifted it and Bob and Rick “Rinso” Calvert were off the back.  Rinso thought it would be not be prudent to drop the handicapper so called the Mig back, and they both got back on.  Phillips and Rinso then did some huge turns down wind.
Bob was on a compact and just stayed on the back and only just.  He found it more comfortable with the side and head wind and did not miss a turn.
Sparky Rushton was sledging Bob for the length of his turns, but they got longer as the race went on…
The 4 minute crew successfully held their ground, losing only a minute or so on the first lap.  It was going to be a close run thing if they were to hold off Scratch, however the local dairy farmer had something to say about that.  Mid race he decided to go a-droving, sending 100 head of Friesians down Donovan’s Rd.
Held up and effectively helping the farmer to move his cows along, the 4 minute crew quickly lost whatever advantage they had (over Scratch) going into the final lap.

The Scratch boys were rolling well in very trying conditions.  With the weather the way it was the strongest riders and largest groups were favoured, and if they worked together then it was a day for Scratch.
Dean Griffin played the Road Captain role and kept them well organised.  Working with the precision of a reasonably priced Japanese watch they took short 15 – 20 second track turns except when Mr Griffin and the other Dean (Dean Wells) sacrificed a few matches on a few longer turns when power was required…usually uphill or into the wind.
Brendan Schiemer went looking for Strava glory and put the afterburners on the first time down Donovans Rd and had the rest all struggling to keep in touch.
Phil Cartledge never missed a beat (even after embarking on an epic mountain climbing ride the day before) and Tony (backing up from a solid win at Ballarat-Sebastopol CC the previous day) enforced strong climbing up the Quarry Hill.
In the final analysis Scratch could see that their chase was going to be successful, so confident were they (particularly post cow incident) that that they left Second Scratch dangling 20 seconds in front for about 6 kilometres before making the catch.  During that time the last lone rider (James Gretton) was caught just before the Quarry Hill climb.

Into the wind and Scratch just kept rolling turns and gradually wore down the gap to Second Scratch.  It was gruppo compacto on Cricks Hill, but not for long…
Deano Griffin put the race into the gutter after Cricks Hill on the run to the church and Bob Morley popped just before the turn – a huge ride in that company!??Rick Calvert took off just after turning down Creswick-Addington Rd and opened a small gap.  Brendan and Tony followed but took quite a while to reel him in.  The rest were struggling in the crosswind.  Rob Phillips and Andy Rushton were working with Dean Griffin; Grant Dawson was in no man’s land just behind them and Phil was locked on Dean Wells wheel.

Tony, Sheems and Rick had a good margin turning into Donovans Road…enough that it was unlikely they would be caught unless someone “blew up”.
Deano dropped off from Andy and Rob; Phil launched around Wells to try and cross to that group, and Grant had dropped off the back.

Tony and Sheems worked Rick over up the short rise and cleared out in front.  Rick battled away and was still at least 100 metres in front of Rob and Andy.
Phil passed Deano too quickly for him to latch on, then caught and dropped Rob and Andy – but downwind and downhill is a bad combination for closing gaps and the Club Champ would remain in fourth position to the line.

Closing to the last rise and Tony had scooted clear of Sheems and the rest of the field were strung out over a kilometre.  Rick, Phil, Rob, Andrew, Dean, Deano, Grant…etc., etc….all time trialling with the gale force tail wind and not really closing any gaps, but each having to move out of the way of club affiliated vehicles that wanted to also race to the finish line.

Tony crossing first not even bothering to get out of the chair.  Brendan screaming home for a great second and the aggressive Rick Calvert hung on for third despite nearly being killed by the Directeur Sportif in the blue ute and the Tail Car both deciding to pass him just fifty metres from the line.

Race Results:
1st – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
2nd – Brendan Schiemer (Scratch)
3rd – Rick Calvert (4 min)
4th – Phil Cartledge (Scratch)
5th – Rob Phillips (4 min)
Fastest Time: Tony Mirabella in 1:36:04

The Second Scratch bunch (4 minutes) just before heading out into the wind.
Were they ultimately robbed of a handicap win by a bovine blockade?

DSCN0439 (1)

May 15, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

May 15, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Criteriums – 15 May 2016

Graded Scratch Races
Production Drive Circuit, Alfredton

A return to racing.

Club racing returned to Production drive with 16 riders clipping in for graded crits.
The Eurovision semi finals were over, but someone had left the wind machine on…of course this discouraged the ambitious long range raids so common in these races, however there was plenty of cut-and-thrust sort sharp attacks to sort racers in order of their VO2 max.

A Grade

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Tony Mirabella returned to the winners circle in a small field utilising his strong surging attacks and a trademark sprint to maximum advantage.
A leisurely start for the five riders in A Grade, which included newly promoted Greg Ley and Matt Ayres as a “reward” of their good form and good results, especially in crit racing.
The relatively comfortable start was to their liking, so much in fact that Greg couldn’t resist leading them around for a few laps.  However the pace of the race picked up in the final ten minutes as A grade were about to suffer the indignity of being caught by B grade.  Brendan, Phil and Tony upping the ante with successive attacks.
While the trio were fearlessly exchanging attacks, Greg and Matt lost contact with the back.

With two laps to go it was just a question of the order for the podium, Tony was first into the last corner and launched his sprint, gapping the other two and while Phil and Brendan were able to hold the margin they didn’t have the firepower today to get over Tony.

Results:
1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Phil Cartledge
3rd – Brendan Schiemer

B Grade

dedman_EN

Unlike Dami Im, Brett Dedman lead all day and did take the win.
A very impressive, strong ride from Brett who almost single-handedly reeled in A grade at one point.
The pace of the race was up and with such a solid tempo on the front set by Brett, no-one really had much more left to attempt to  get off the front.  When the usually animated Peter Livitsanis punctured, the race resolved into a team pursuit – Brett out the front, Andrew Rushton pretending to whip him from second wheel stagecoach-style.
The hurt locker was starting to fill up fast with first Danny Whelan feeling the pinch and then Duncan Bates yo-yoing.  Brett’s race strategy became clear – ride everyone off his wheel and into the dirt.

Two laps to go and Bob Morley had picked the right wheel this time (sitting on Brett) betting that Brett may have burnt too many matches for a sprint finish.
Andrew and Duncan hanging on but not appearing to be quite up to a final dash for the cash.  Brett was first into the last corner, engaged the sprinting gear, stood up and took off – Bob had a crack but the gap to Brett just kept growing.
Brett winning clear, Bob second and a dogged Duncan in third.

Results:
1st – Brett Dedman
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Duncan Bates

 

C Grade

mcmillan-coat-of-arms

The old bull and the young bull, Graeme Parker and Scott Denno are both strong attacking riders, but neither had been on the bike in anger in the last few weeks.
And so, the playing field was pretty level, perhaps even for a win from the likes of Roger McMillan or Terry Collie who have been in good knick most of the season.
Great to see Neil Braszell back on his bike and back in the race, his experience clearly on display, never out of place, always on the right wheel, in the end only the strength of Graeme and Scott shook him and Terry Collie loose.

The race settled into routine of riding for time before the inevitable sprint, some might have had their money on Scott, but Roger sprinted clear of Scott for the win.  Scott taking second and Graeme third.

Results:

1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – Scott Denno
3rd – Graeme Parker

April 24, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

April 24, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

Marvellous Mandy’s Misery Maiden – 24 April 2016

Mt Misery Handicap 46 km

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You Can Make It If You Try

A return to racing and an outstanding performance from down home girl Mandy Rudwick proved that if you train hard enough and persevere long enough you can eventually win a bike race.

Not confident on the start line following an unorthodox preparation for a race that would do Keith Richards proud (well, face it he’s outlived David Bowie and Prince, can’t be all bad), it was certain Mandy’s head hurt more than her legs.
However at the business end of affairs with time on her side, Mandy broke away from her fellow limit riders and charged down Route 66 alone for ultimate Satisfaction.  She smiled sweetly.
What a difference a week makes. It’s been good times, bad times for James Gretton this season.
The long suffering limit man found himself with company and a big chance, and although shelled within five kilometres of the line, he and his companions had put themselves in a winning position.  James hanging on for the final podium spot.
Along with Mandy, the lightly raced Rob Young was in good form.  He made it onto the lower slopes of the Weatherboard hill and although he couldn’t go with the aggressive attack from Mandy, he dashed down the road apiece for second.

Chasing an 11 minute gap in another land was the sweet black angel Brian Lee, salt of the earth Kevin Lee and Roger McMillan who was happy to ride on baby.  The trio were all down the line and I don’t know why they got caught perhaps they needed to try a little harder.
However they did have nine riders chasing, hey, it’s only rock and roll.  On the start line the dear doctor Michael Veal was concerned that John Creek’s bike had white bits on it ‘you should paint it black’.  But Creekie needed more than black paint…Bob Morley wasn’t waiting and had little sympathy for the devil on the main climb ‘we’re wasting time, you gotta move’ he cried as Creekie was dismissed from the six minute bunch…ruthless, but time waits for no one.
Peter Livitsanis sprang up the hills like a turd on the run but when it came to the dead Ercildoune road he ain’t too proud to beg, ‘please give me shelter’.
Steven Kennedy was on fire, riding like wild horses, he obviously had too much brown sugar.
They got off the hill and were in Ercildoune Rd when second scratch arrived – in a hurry.  Leading the pack was last week’s little red rooster Rob Phillips, he had settled into the race well however had been surprised with the early pace of his bunch.
Grant Dawson was determined to rip this joint and together with street fighting man Richard Taylor they had erased most of the 3 min between them and the bunch in front by the top of Misery.
New rider Ben Ryan was proving more than capable in this company, he had no real expectations but was keen for the chase.  They caught Creekie and towed him back up to his bunch.  For some reason he did a turn and got shelled again, left high and dry on Ercildoune Rd.

With nine riders, some working, some not, things were getting complicated, and with the Lee’s and McMillan still up the road it was time to try a little harder, ‘shake your hips, we’re wasting time’ Robocop steamed.
Little by little they pegged them back and the bunch settled for a sprint for 4th place.
First a little surge up Weatherboard road to shack off a few, then Kennedy puts in half an attack to stretch the bunch out.  However it was Ben Ryan who had the tumbling dice and let it loose from a long way out, somethings just stick in your mind, and Ben’s ability to hold his sprint to the line and fend off a fast finishing Phillips was a very promising start to this rider’s season at EVCC.
The rest of the combined bunch was a bit take it or leave it in the sprint, really just pride sorting out things behind 4th and 5th , with several looking for sister morphine.

Never really in it today the silver train of Scratch men nevertheless committed to the chase.
Brendan Schiemer cool calm and collected, Matt Bowman torn and frayed, and Phil Cartledge just walking the dog, were at max heart rate most of the trip.  Dean Griffin redlined on the climb and never really recovered and what must have felt like 2000 light years from home, he was off the back with the stray cat blues. ‘I’d much rather be with the boys’ he lamented after the race.
The three remaining raced on for at least the honour of sorting out fastest time and in the last moonlight mile it was Jumpin Jack Flash Phil Cartledge that graced the line first.

Race Results:
1st – Mandy Rudwick (22 min)
2nd – Rob Young (22 min)
3rd – James Gretton (22 min)
4th – Ben Ryan (3 min)
5th – Rob Phillips (3 min)
Fastest Time: Brendan Schiemer

There are 50 Rolling Stone song titles in the race – how many can you find?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Race winning move: Mandy attacks on the Weatherboard climb.
Rob Young lost the wheel, but chased Mandy (for 4 kilometres) all the way to the line.

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