Hilltop Handicap – 2013 Eureka Vets

Hilltop Handicap – 2013 Eureka Vets

26 May 2013
Tony’s Triumph on the Roof of Learmonth

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Hilary’s epic achievement on Everest, Tony “Sherpa” Mirabella was first and fastest to the top of Col de Windfarm, dragging a desperate Phil “Sir Edmund” Cartledge to the peak.
A windy day and a course that required a fair degree of climbing, including the final challenge proved to be most advantageous to the strong riders in Scratch. Tony and Phil were teamed with Andrew Rushton and Darren Terry and this hard working quartet set about rounding up all those in front of them that were left after the wind and hills took their toll.
22kms into the race Scratch hit the 3 minute bunch hard, attacking on the rise in the Avenue. Rick Calvert, John Creek, Dave Peters and Shane Cody found what was necessary to cling to the back of the bunch as Tony went on the assault. Peter Livitsanis was shelled immediately and by the corner into Henderson’s Road was already 30m of the back. Consequently the rest of this report is not from a first hand account.
This was a pattern to be repeated as Tony and his band of Scratchmen caught then attacked each subsequent bunch, some were able to hang on, for a while, some were left to the wind to struggle to the finish alone, and some just gave up and went home.
The 10min bunch was the next on the block. The brothers Lee, Bob Morely and Mal Rock were struggling to find a rhythm when hit with force. Bob disappeared quickly, the Lee boys and Mal hung on for a while and were able to acquit themselves well and finish the race although off the pace.
The front of the race was having its own problems as the wind and the course soon saw a number of retirements. By the time Scratch rolled through on the last lap there was really only Ron Larkin and Greg Curnow left. Tony had taken the foot off the accelerator a bit up Weatherboard Road, the calm before the storm, this allowed Ron to latch on and those that remained to recover. Shane and Rick both appreciating the respite.
Things changed dramatically as the bunch strung out along the Addington Road, then the final left hander and the Hilltop finish. Phil had ambitions of perhaps knocking of the club champion and turned himself inside-out on the final ascent. Shane had also found a reserve of energy and was vying for a podium finish. The final anaylsis saw Tony take a comfortable but hardfought win ahead of Phil, and Shane with Darren Terry and Rick Calvert picking up the minor placings. Ride of the day goes to Rick who seems to have found form very quickly after his recent return to racing.
1st and Fastest    Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
2nd        Phil Cartledge (Scratch)
3rd        Shane Cody (3min)
4th        Darren Terry (Scratch)
5th         Rick Calvert (3min)

Lisa Ritchie Iron Maiden

Lisa’s Iron Maiden
To win a bike race you have to know how to suffer and in a 52km test of character, Lisa Ritchie dug deep into her suitcase of courage to hold off the field for her maiden race win at Eureka Vets. Her characteristic smile was broader than ever as she accepted the winner’s envelope and given her determined performance, it’s a safe bet there’s more to come from the undisputed Queen of Buninyong.

The classics in Belgium may be over, but the Belgian weather is migrating south. The 22 riders on the start line were greeted by a taste of the winter to come, single digit temperature, light drizzle, and a southwesterly wind. Couple these weather conditions with a newly resurfaced dead road and the riders steeled themselves for a day for pain. Front markers struggle to even finish on a day like that, let alone win, the backmarkers were super keen.

First away off 29min, was Maz Morley, with Lisa just 1 min behind. They weren’t exactly riding solo. John Rhook, riding with one good knee, accompanied them on the first lap and a bit, providing some words of advice and encouragement. Not used to having people of John’s calibre to ride with, Lisa appreciated the company. However she was left to ride the last lap solo, and not knowing how close the chasing field was, she really had to bite down hard on the handlebars as the headwind picked up and the legs started to tire. Winners don’t look around and Lisa buried herself in a final dash for the line, winning by a comfortable margin, it was over a minute before the chequered flag was raised again for the second place getter.

Graeme Parker and Brad Eppingstall off 15 minutes were teamed with an exceptionally svelt Scott Denno. Scott has dropped 20 kilos since last we saw him and has been quietly building himself up again. This trio were the pre-race favourites as everyone can remember what happens when you underestimate Scott. Despite Graeme losing touch late in the third lap the bunch performed very well to hold their advantage, Scott and Brad taking it down to a sprint for second and third. With no corners to negotiate, and no bunch ride the day before, you would have given Brad half a chance but Scott proved he still has some raw power in those legs and easily accounted for Brad. Welcome back not-so-big-guy Mr Denno.

Ron Larkin, Greg Curnow and Terry Constable set to the task some 3 min behind Graeme’s bunch and where working hard to pull them back. But it took quite an effort to keep Greg at heel so eager was last week’s winner for the chase. Despite the changes of pace the bunch held its ground with the bunch behind making no ground on them.

Bob Morley had spent most of the morning servicing the peloton of bikes that arrived on top of his team car. Obviously this affected his warm up and his 8 min group of Mal Rock and Matt Ritchie used the first lap to get the legs lubricated. Consequently they weren’t going anywhere fast and pretty soon they had company, good thing they were now warmed up and could go with them. Matt Ritchie rode very well, posting his fastest lap time on the Windmill circuit, not bad on a windy day.

Shane Cody had returned from a galaxy far far away to team up with Richard Robocop Taylor and John Creek in the 5 min bunch. These three held time against the chasing bunches and quickly eroded the 3 min gap to Bob’s merry men, within the first lap they had rounded them up and were in pursuit of Rotten Ronnie’s 12min bunch. Looking good for a victory, it was probably only that Jedi and Robocop lacked a bit of match fitness that prevented them riding away with the race.

Off 2.5 minutes Craig Lightfoot almost didn’t make the start as his front derailleur on his new Time bike was stuck, with the handicappers help he managed to secure it in the big ring  – good thing he doesn’t really need the little one (see, told you the French can’t make bikes, looks good though!).  Rick Calvert’s form is picking up with every race and together with Peter Livitsanis and Craig the group kept the tempo high, but it wasn’t long before they saw the bunch behind closing fast.

Off 30 seconds, Darren Terry was belting out his leg snapping, heavy metal pace with Andrew Rushton trying to stay dry in his plastic coat/bag/parachute which only made him sweat more. But the surprise was Tony Mirabella. Off scratch he had caught Darren and Andrew at the Coghills Creek corner on the first lap, this being Tony’s third race in four days made this accomplishment more remarkable. Together these three caught the 2.5 minute bunch inside 2 laps. The 2.5 min riders all hung on, well, hung in to be exact.

Into the last lap the combined backmarkers caught up with the middle markers on the uphill back straight. Tony and Darren immediately lifted the pace to shake off as many as they could. The effort succeeded largely, but several stronger riders found enough true grit to stay with them. Bob Morley, John Creek, Mal Rock, Richard Taylor and Shane Cody all had the legs, even Ron Larkin stayed in there for a while. Round into Donovan’s road and into the headwind the hammer came down ascending the small rise. First Tony attacked, then Darren, then Tony again and the group was reduced to 5. With the race won and Scott and Brad sailing away for 2nd and 3rd, these 5 remaining riders were now sprinting for 4th. Peter Livitsanis and Shane Cody were trying to recover at the back while Darren was smashing himself out front, Tony was on Darren’s wheel with Andrew Rushton third wheel. Shane backed off a length, dropped a gear and punched past Tony and Darren. Getting the jump on a surprised Tony, Shane was the more determined to take the minor prize and held Tony to the line.

1st    Lisa Ritchie (28 min)  1:48:40
2nd    Scott Denno (15 min)
3rd    Brad Eppingstall (15 min)
4th    Shane Cody (5 min)
5th & Fastest    Tony Mirabella (Scratch) 1:22:11

Eureka Veterans Cycling Club | Race Report 28th April | Windmill Circuit Handicap

Greg Grabs Gold

Greg Grabs Gold

Eureka’s likeable larrikin, Greg Curnow, tasted sweet victory after unleashing an aggressive attack on the final Henderson’s Road hill and holding on for all he was worth in the sprint to the line. His bunch struggled all day to keep the shackles on him and there was not holding Greg back when there was a sniff of victory in the air. He must have known he was going to podium today, he’d had a hair cut for the occasion.
It is certainly true that the bunch that stays together gets paid together, especially when the wind is a factor, and certainly the wind is almost always a factor on the Weatherboard circuit. With an increasing northerly making the Avenue a real grind there was safety in numbers and the well-matched 14 minute bunch of Graeme Parker, Greg Curnow, Ron Larkin, Terry Constable and Barry Robinson shared the load to stay clear of the field. Apart from Greg’s occasional ill-conceived foray off the front, the group combined exceptionally well. Terry relished a return to a double digit handicap, while Barry continues to go the other way with the handicapper keeping a close eye on his improving form. Captain Graeme ensured the bunch moved with precision and purpose, and Ron instilled a bit more ‘purpose’ than the rest of the bunch was always comfortable with.
First away was the punchy Liz Ritchie, riding solo with a big smile on her face, or perhaps that was a grimace. The wind made things difficult for the lone rider, and she was caught by the pursuing pair of last week’s winner Ray Hodgson and Tony Herbert off 22 minutes. When these three were wrapped up by the 14 minute bunch only Tony could carry on, Liz and Ray retired to fight another day at the end of the fourth lap.
Chasing them was a real mixed bag of 5 riders in the 6 minute bunch. Phil Cartledge was feeling a bit ordinary so the handicapper (Phil) took pity on him and gave him a lift. Despite operating on only 6 or 7 of his 8 cylinders Phil was a welcome addition and worked well with the other lesser riders.  Peter Livitsanis had benefited from some free mechanical advice on the start line from Stephen Brown and his bike was purring. Central Vets visitor Ross McDonald is a big unit and grinds a big gear, he’s also a good sit for the other diminutive riders in his bunch. Mal Rock and Kevin Lee rounded out the group and were probably surprised to be only one group in front of scratch, Rock crumbled and Popeye had gone without his spinach both were relegated to a training ride on lap 2. The remaining three riders chased hard, staying clear of scratch and getting to within 30 seconds of the winner.
The other bunch in the race was Scratch, and what a powerhouse it was. The return of Guy Falla, combined with the bottom-bracket destroying Darren Terry and the mercurial Tony Mirabella, supplemented by Andrew Rushton and Stephen Brown resulted in a very impressive fastest time (ave speed 38.35km/hr) and nearly getting Scratch up, finishing within a minute of the winners. The group played nicely together until Weatherboard road on the last lap when Guy opened up a huge drive that popped Stephen and Andrew, with Darren and Tony hanging on. They rounded the Henderson’s Road corner at full tilt and hit the last hill hard. Tony popped over the top, timed his run well and bounced away for fastest time, however this time Darren was right there and is getting close.
1st    Greg Curnow (14 min)  1:31:30
2nd    Ron Larkin (14 min)
3rd    Terry Constable (14 min)
4th     Barry Robinson (14 min)
5th    Graeme Parker (14 min)
Fastest Time    Tony Mirabella (Scratch) 1:18:15


Eureka Veterans Cycling Club
Race Report
21 April 2103
Weatherboard Handicap

All the Way with Stay-Away Ray

All the Way with Stay-Away Ray

Mt Misery “Out & Back” Handicap

Ray Hodgson ignored his red-lining heart-rate monitor and survived several late attacks to score a popular and well deserved win over the 44km “out and back” handicap over Mt Misery.

The unexpected sunny skies and light winds bolstered the starting list for Sunday’s handicap over what is always a challenging course. Ray and his fellow 22 minute rider Peter James took only 12 km to ride down the first away limit riders of Lisa Ritchie and Karen James. This quartet then combined extremely well to show the rest of the field a clean set of heels. While most of the race saw them riding as an orchestrated team things did get a little spicy late in the race. When Liz dropped her chain the other three waited, even though they knew the rest of the field must be gaining quickly, they believed that Liz’s contribution was vital to their survival (which proved true). However, once back on Lisa then took the initiative and attacked the bunch on more than one occasion, so much for gratitude. With less than a kilometre to go the scratch bunch was visible in the mirrors, Ray’s heart monitor was pinging faster than his cadence, but proving how big his heart actually is, he found something a little extra to stretch out the bunch and take a winning lead. The lightly raced Karen had saved something for the end and managed a great sprint for second, overcoming the impetuous Liz. Peter had served the bunch well all race and took a well deserved fourth.

The bunches behind the winners paired up fairly early in the race. The 9 minute bunch of Ron Larkin, Greg Curnow, Barry Robinson and Terry Collie, had ridden well to catch the 11 minute bunch of Mandy Rhook, Graeme Parker and Gary Blood by the 14km mark. Mandy and Graeme weren’t quite on song today while Ron and Greg were keen to press on. Consequently the combined bunch split about half way home. Riding strongly Ron, Greg and Terry survived to the Addington turn but were swept up late in the race.  Greg “Cadel” Curnow showing plenty to hang on to some of the backmarkers as they came through.

The 4 minute bunch of Brian Lee, Rick Calvert, Terry Constable, Richard Taylor broke in two very early. Brian and Rick riding forward to combine with the 6 minute bunch of Bob Morley, Kevin “Ice-man” Turley, Rob Parker, and Matt Ritchie. Fearing that they must have smelt bad, the abandoned  Terry and Richard waited for the chasing second scratch bunch of Peter Livitsanis, John Creek and Brad Fry –  Brad in particular was keeping the bunch striving to stay away from Scratch.

Scratch of Tony Mirabella, Phil Cartledge, Darren Terry and Rob Phillips had begun aggressively and at the turn were on the heels of the second scratch bunch. Rob Phillips struggled a bit but being the hard man that he is, he put turns in whenever he could. Darren Terry was riding really well and set about shedding riders and putting hangers-on into discomfort. Tony “Cipo” Mirabella rode with the flair you would expect from someone on a bright blue bike and the menacing Phil had his wheels purring. The combined scratch bunch charged into the combined 6 min and 4 min group uphill and at speed, the casualties were plenty and when the dust settled there were a few surprises, Rick Calvert had hung on to scratch, Rob Phillips had got caught in traffic and missed the jump, and in the ride of the day Kevin Turley managed to jump across and take Peter Livitsanis up to the scratch bunch.

So now Tony, Phil, Terry, Rick, Kevin and Peter took off to ride down the front of the race. Left behind, a small bunch of riders refused to raise the white flag, John Creek, Brian Lee and Brad Fry continued to fight on, they picked up Peter who had been shelled in an uphill surge, and the foursome rode out the race and maintained a healthy average speed.

The only questions left now were, would scratch get across to limit and who would win the sprint for fastest. Despite riding an exceptional race the scratch bunch ran out of road, the limit riders crossing the line well clear.  Down to the sprint, Tony managed to time it well enough, hit the gas and took the honours winding down. Phil was competitive and managed to cross the line on his wheel, with Kevin, Rick and Darren all still in the mix.

1st    Ray Hodgson
2nd    Karen James
3rd    Lisa Ritchie
4th    Peter James
5th & Fastest    Tony Mirabella

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