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April 10, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill / Mt. Beckworth, 54 km

April 10, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill / Mt. Beckworth, 54 km

Windy Willows – 10 April 2016 

Graded Scratch Races
Windmill / Mt. Beckworth Circuit – 54 km

The circuit which is synonymous with strong winds…

There were a few worried looks amongst the anxious riders assembled at the start line – a rumour was going around that the caravan at the side of the road was Doping Control.

‘How much coffee can I legally drink?’
‘Is a Berocca considered performance enhancing?’

They needn’t have worried, the “van” was just the Swiss Family Veal – set up like carnie folk on the side of the road – Mum and Dad obviously looking for some prize money to pay the rent.

A Grade

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The Phantom Menace

A few riders were backing up after racing the previous day – Phil Cartledge and Tony Mirabella (Eastern Open), also, Peter Canny and Dean Wells (Ballarat- Sebastopol).  The fresh riders on the scene were Rob Phillips, Dean Griffin and race favourite – Brendan Schiemer.

From the start, Wells had a bee in his bonnet and had the pace up to near 40 kph within moments – the acceleration catching a few riders by surprise.
Schiemer said to Canny ‘Wellsy takes his responsibility as pace setter far too seriously!’
A tail wind greeted riders at the first turn, which required some riders to put in a big effort early, just to catch the lead of the race.  No sooner had they regrouped than Mirabella started a flurry of surges each time there was a small rise in the road.  Past the quarry and the bunch finally started to rotate almost normally, before Cartledge surged on the small hill, causing a quick shut down from Wells and Griffin.
Onto Coghills Creek Rd and Phillips came through to the lead and settled everyone down.  Phillips would go on to provide much of the pacemaking throughout the whole race.?  Turning west at the church, the pace dropped below 30 kph as the bunch rode into a fair headwind.  The workload was shared well down into Donovans Rd and through the finish line for the first time, however Mirabella and Cartledge ramped the pace up as they neared the turn into Learmonth-Sulky Rd.  Catching the tailwind on the bend they quickly had everyone gasping as they opened a small gap.  Once caught the pace eased off again, only for Schiemer to start his own little surges, often with Mirabella in tow.
Griffin and Canny must have been wondering what was wrong with everyone, the race hadn’t even reached the halfway mark and there had already been a half dozen surges that had strung the field out each time. Phillips went to the front and led the bunch up the small hill at a fast pace to ensure no one tried an attack.

Rolling on towards Coghills Creek everyone was being very watchful.  Phillips often on the front with Canny sat in behind him.?Everyone was watching everyone, who would go next?
Club Champion – Phil “Farky” Cartledge was heard to comment ‘It’s an interesting race’.
Schiemer got in the action with a few rolls off the front, but every action was quickly shut down by Club Champion – Phil “Farky” Cartledge.   Griffin drove the pace on the way out through Coghills Creek with Schiemer and Cartledge.  Mirabella always loitering around the back of the pack waiting for an opportunity to put the hurt on.

The 3.5 km climb up to the turnaround point saw the bunch slow as they battled the wind coming from the 10 o’clock position.  Cartledge and Wells did the majority of the work up the climb only for Schiemer and Mirabella to pull off a fast acceleration just before the turnaround point.  The bunch almost came to a complete stop, with at least one rider taking his foot off the pedal to steady himself.  Meanwhile, Schiemer and Mirabella launched away from the turnaround with a partial tail wind and a downhill run.  This left Wells flatfooted and 50 metres off the back of the bunch as they flew down the hill.  Cartledge and Griffin both scrambled to get back on the leader’s wheels, each topping 60 kph in the chase.  Phillips and Canny just keeping contact in the most devastating attack so far.
A lull in the pace (after passing B Grade) saw Wells finally rejoin after a 3 km downhill/wind chase – averaging 50 kph.  The attacks didn’t let off with both Mirabella and Sheems then launching another flurry of attacks on the run back to Coghills Creek.  Often stretching the bunch out on the narrow road and putting everyone in the gutter.  Many times the crosswind almost brought about a touch of wheels, further adding to the stress of each attack and chase.

Phillips and Griffin finally brought some calmness to the bunch through Coghills Creek.  Assisted by Schiemer and Canny, they rolled towards the right hand turn (at the church) at a more sedate pace.  Mirabella and Cartledge both taking a moment to assess their rivals.
Turning at the church, Schiemer found himself stuck on the font of the bunch as they rolled down to the final turn into Donovans Rd.  No one would come through until just before the turn when Wells moved to the front.  Mirabella came through as they went up the rise, but no one wanted to do the lead out duties.
Wells again on the front as they straightened for the 3 km long run to the finish.  Oncoming vehicles caused the bunch to stretch out again, however a fair pace was held so that the bunch could regroup.  Canny came through to the front – which everyone was happy for him to do.

Nearing 2 kilometres to go, Wells launched from 3rd wheel when the bunch were partly sheltered from the crosswind.  The bunch didn’t respond immediately to the attack.  Griffin was caught in behind Canny and the others were all looking to see who would start the chase.
As Wells opened a space, Griffin looked around at the remaining bunch and said ‘Everything has been shut down today, but this is the one you want to chase fellas!’
Wells’s gap grew quickly and over the crest – 1500 metres to the line – he had a 100 metre advantage.  ?In the bunch, Griffin took the bull by the horns and committed to the chase.  Wells started to falter with 500 metres to go and the gap started closing.
With 300 metres remaining the bunch were only 20 metres from making the catch, but the chase lost impetus as they stretched out and lined up for the sprint.  Wells staying away for the win.
The sprint for the minor placings saw Griffin get overrun by Mirabella.  Phillips was a popular 3rd after his tireless work during the race.

Results:
1st – Dean Wells
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Rob Phillips


B Grade

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Up the Creek

First lesson in sprinting – you have to be at the finish to sprint.

John Creek held on for all he was worth, knowing that if it came to a sprint he’d have a shot.  But holding on was a challenge especially when Danny “Fidel” Whelan gets on the front.  Although he’d already flogged himself the day before at the Eastern Open, he was back on the front pulling 10km turns at an honest clip.
Fidel’s “strategy” is the complete opposite to Creek’s…grind everyone down so there is no one left to sprint.
Unfortunately for Fidel he didn’t have the legs to stay in front all race and by the turnaround on top of Beckworth he was resting up on the back and the tempo slowed considerably.
Bob Muncher Morley found the front on odd occasions, really just to slow the race, but spent the race contemplating which wheel for the final sprint – he got that one wrong, believing Fifi Livitsanis might have the legs today.
Michael “the Doc” Veal was late to the start line as he had just stepped out of his circus trailer with the clown shoes and grease paint still on and had to make a mad dash for the clubrooms for a quick change.  The Doc elected himself ringmaster and provided running commentary of affairs, another rider who favours the dash for cash at the end he was relatively untroubled and pressed he group when Fidel wasn’t.
The third six footer in the bunch was Duncan “Psycho” Bates and when he, Creekie and the Doc were on the front it, Muncher, Fidel and Fifi didn’t even have to pedal.

The steam went out of the race into Donovan’s Rd with no one ambitious enough to have a crack into the wind, the pace settled at a jolly speed and everyone shuffled around for position and placed their bets on wheels.  Fidel and Psycho ignored this and set off at a rising pace, Creekie and the Doc tucked in waiting.
With 100 metres to go the Doc launched (much to the delight of the Veal family cheer squad at the caravan) and Creekie grabbed his wheel instantaneously – everyone else was left scrambling.
Creekie gradually draws up to, then eclipses the Doc on the line, with a fast finishing Muncher rattling down the outside for third.

Results:
1st – John Creek
2nd – Michael Veal
3rd – Bob Morley

 

C Grade

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Popeye hoists spinnaker

Rob Parker was the meat in the Lee Brother’s scratch race sandwich, however despite the obvious numerical advantage the Lee’s didn’t have it all their own way.
Of course you would assume that Popeye and Brian would do the old “one-two” on Rob…but that would assume collusion and some sort of brotherhood.  The Lee’s don’t race like that!  There is always a bit of rivalry between Brian and Kevin.

The trio set of at a brisk pace, honest enough to keep them out in front of the larger B Grade race until Coghills Creek.
Playing relatively nicely the small field stayed together up to the turnaround and back through Coghills Creek again until the Donovan’s Rd run for home.

Brian was the first to attack, however this ignited the flame under Kevin’s stove and he counterattacked.
This is what Popeye does best!  When he took off from a long way out, he and just kept going.  Brian and Rob chasing but not reeling in that tantalising 30 metre gap.
With his brother safely up the road and bound for glory, Brian dug in and thought he’d opened a gap on Rob, but the cagey Parker sat in until the last moment then pinned the ears back and sprinted past Brian for second.

Results:
1st – Kevin Lee
2nd – Rob Parker
3rd – Brian Lee

 

D Grade

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Caravan rolls on

Journey-woman Jude Jonasson was a runaway winner of D Grade, leaving her competitors in her wake half way in and soloing to an impressive win – more bacon for the Veal household.

The children on the side of the road were cheering loudly for mum, as her winnings would mean one of them would get to wear shoes next week*.

On a windy day when none of the boys were up for it, Jude marshalled all her resources, threw caution to the wind and attacked a long way out.  16 kilometres out to be precise!

After sheltering behind Collie and Gretton as they laboured into the wind and up the rise towards the turnaround point, Jude unleashed her full fury on the downward/wind leg back towards Coghills Creek.
Jude’s break stuck through sheer tenacity and despite a desperate chase from Terry Collie and James Gretton the gap just kept increasing.
There comes a point in all great breaks when the chasers just give up and race for second, Jude found that point and the boys started looking at each other…once again, from a very long way out.

With Jude across the line and back in the caravan preparing the evening meal of weeds and road kill, James laid the power down to out sprint Terry for second – an event that Jude hardly noticed as she busied herself around the roadside camp*.

*Very much tongue in cheek!  The Veal caravan brought something unique to the race…we are all hoping it will be camped up on the “Wall” for next week’s race!

Results:
1st – Jude Jonasson
2nd – James Gretton
3rd – Terry Collie

April 3, 2016 – Handicap – Weatherboard, 60 km

April 3, 2016 – Handicap – Weatherboard, 60 km

The Power Of One – 3 Apr 2016 

Handicap
Weatherboard Circuit – 60 km

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Veni, Vidi, Vici

On a glorious sunny Autumn day, 18 riders watched Tony Mirabella ride past them and onto victory.
With the Ides of March behind him, Tony Mirabella had his lean and hungry look on today, and today he also had a plan, such men are dangerous. The stony-hearted Mirabella took full toll of an early lapse in speed in the scratch bunch, and let slip the dogs of war.  He mercilessly rode through the field only taking those that could endure pain with patience with him, until finally no one could take any more and he rode off the front alone to capture the chequered flag – first and fastest.

Tony’s pre-emptive strike early in the race took Brendan Schiemer and Matt Bowman by surprise, before they knew it Tony had bridged the 3 min to the strong second scratch bunch of Rick Calvert, Matt Ayres and Rob Phillips.  The die was caste, two chasing four was bad juju and from that point on Brendan and Matt were on a training ride.  The second scratch bunch of Rick, Rob and Matt are all in good knick and were able to work with Tony to chase down the rest of the field, Tony taking care not to shell anyone until he had ruthlessly drained everything out of them.

Up ahead the 7 minute bunch was travelling well, although they had lost Duncan “Pyscho” Bates to a puncture early, the four remaining riders were making big inroads into the front of the race.  The sinuous Danny “Fidel” Whelan was relatively well behaved and worked like a Trojan on the front, Bob “Muncher” Morley didn’t miss a beat and even had his climbing legs on.  The return of Michael “the Doctor” Veal provided extra firepower and Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis joined in for comedy relief.

Three laps in and the middle markers were starting to pick off the flotsam and jetsam shelled from the front of the race, Roger McMillan had been shelled by the 12 min bunch and sat up waiting, to his credit he joined in working turns, however the Henderson Hill proved his undoing.  A lap later and Bob’s 7 min crew caught the remnants of limit, Graeme “Colonel” Parker and Rob Young had persevered deep into the race but were now cooked.

The remaining three riders of the 12 min bunch, Terry Collie and the brothers Lee (Brian and Popeye) were rollicking along.  Terry is in great knick and despite not racing for a while the Lee boys were contributing as honestly as ever.  Morley and friends caught up with them in the Avenue with two laps to go.  Fidel wound it up to attack speed and burst passed Terry’s crew determined not to take any of them with him.  Those that could jumped on his wheel, by the end of the Avenue there were no prisoners.

However into Weatherboard Road, the Emperor of Eureka, Tony, with a panting entourage of Rob, Matt and Rick in tow, cruised past.  The Doctor, Fidel, Muncher and Fifi all climbed on-board the Mirabella express. Two laps of punishment then ensued as Tony tested the rest with gradual accelerations and more violent stuff.  Rick and Matt were shelled and the remaining five gritted their teeth.  Tony eventually finished toying with his quarry and with 5 km to go he sauntered off the front, everyone else was somewhat thankful for this small mercy and contented themselves with battling it out for second.

With Tony 50 metres up the road and free to fly to victory, the remaining four left it to the last hill to sort out the minors.  Fidel lead it to the foot of the hill and Rob launched from the bottom, Fifi jumped on his wheel and they put a gap into Muncher and Fidel.  However, Rob had burnt too many matches earlier and faded towards the top, Fifi slipped away and scampered for second. Muncher had put in a good climb and had enough left to launch a sprint and put Rob in his wake for third.
Despite this final furious flurry, Tony had already crossed the finish line, no need for the whip, a hands and heels effort was all that was required of this thoroughbred.

Race Results:
1st – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
2nd – Peter Livitsanis (7 Min)
3rd – Bob Morley (7 min)
4th – Rob Phillips (3 min)
5th – Danny Whelan (7 min)
Fastest Time – Tony Mirabella in 1 hr 36 min 36 sec

March 20, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

March 20, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Criteriums – 20 Mar 2016

Graded Scratch Races
Production Drive Circuit, Alfredton

What a difference a week makes.

The sun was out and so were our club members, 26 riders in all.  Some new, some old – some even older – but all with visions of glory.
The racing proved so hotly contested and eventful that a few of them were just seeing visions by the end.

A Grade

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The Man In Strava Orange

There was worry at the start line, for the word had passed around,
That Pepe Griffin was going for four crits straight,
And scared off half the others – he was fastest pound for pound,
So only a handful had gathered to test their fates.
A few tried and noted riders from towns near and far,
Had entered at the table with Old Bill,
For the try hards love fast racing – especially on smooth tar,
And the smart money tumbled in for Club Champ – Farky Phil.

There was Mirabella, whose name is on every cup,
He’ll launch without a second thought or glance,
And few can ride beside him when his blood is fairly up,
Tony attacks whenever he sniffs a winning chance.
And Sheems from Buninyong, also came to try his hand,
No fitter rider holds the bars,
For no challenger can keep the K-O-Ms where Strava segments stand,
He’ll only ride when it’s dry and safe – to dodge cars.

And Dean Wells was there, he lives out east,
He’s something of the librarian type,
With a touch of show pony – out of depth to say the least
He started the race like a rat up a drain pipe.
Wells raced fast and handy – just the sort that won’t give up,
There was courage in his lumbering ride,
But he betrayed his lack of tactics, did the youngest pup,
And he would end up – getting fried.

They went round and round the circuit – each minute felt like ten,
Fast down the back straight and up along the front,
Pepe keeping the pace high and making them bend,
No point in hiding – or you’re out of the hunt.
With Farky marking wheels, and often making fight,
Each lad rode boldly, none fearing the spill,
Yet no one could match Pepe in full flight,
But they could all push harder – without any hills.

More than once Tony rode away from them – racing on a whim,
Out front where the boldest take their place,
And he raced his Cervelo past them, and made the chain sing,
With a high cadence, opening up a space.
The others eased off a moment, while he made another forlorn dash,
Then they chased with renewed vigour – so impressive from so few,
And they rounded up Tony just like a lightning flash,
And some time later they saw the sign that said two.

When they reached the bell lap, Dean continued the grind,
The others all sitting in single file,
The speed never dropping – each straight so well timed,
The slightest touch of wheels would cause them to pile.
But the man from Moonambel was stuck to Pepe’s tail,
Nearing the home turn he up clicked a gear,
And following Pepe to the corner he knew he couldn’t fail,
Then Sheems took his chances, for the bridesmaid hath no fear.

Brendan’s pedals a blur, he opens a gap in a blink,
Leaving Farky stranded on the wrong wheel me reckons,
Behind Pepe who has nothing left for the sprint,
And Tony chases hard – but daylight is second.
Through the lactic threshold – The Man In Strava Orange rode,
Tears of pain, turn to joy as he closed to the flag,
And he never stopped pedalling until he crossed the painted road,
Sheems finally the bride, and it’s his time to brag.

Epilogue…

And down by Lake Learmonth, where the lake bed is dry,
The clubrooms stand on the foreshore east,
Where whispers of riders past, and their ghostly shadows roam,
Both before and after the post-race feast.
The gathered, you often hear them say,
Tales about hard men who rode with pride,
Like The Man In Strava Orange – a household name today,
And the veterans tell the story of his ride.

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

B Grade

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Matt Ayres ran down his Bacchus Marsh buddy Greg Ley late on the last lap to claim yet another win in his rookie year at Eureka.
The two of them the pulling off the perfect race plan and a Bacchus Marsh quinella.

The largest field of the day saw some animated evenly matched racing.  Both Matt and Greg gauged who had the legs with attack and counter-attack, while Danny “Fidel” Whelan was keen to keep everything on tempo for as long as he could to discourage an attack that would put him out the back.
Bob Morley managed to stay upright and despite not finishing in the places actually posted the fastest final sprint of the race – he was just too far back when he launched.
John Creek astride his new stealthy whip (well as stealthy as a farm gate can get I suppose) played a masterful hand, not the strongest in the race, he relied on his noodle to stay competitive, never on the front, but never out the back either and declining several invitations to close down an attack his was a well-crafted race.
Rick “Sudso” Calvert rode strongly and his attack on the last lap from a long way out put him on the podium.  However the day belonged to the two boys from Bacchus, Greg riding very aggressively and Matt with his supreme dominant finishing power.
With only a few laps to go, Greg went on the attack, opening a 20m gap, with the powerhouse Matt not keen to chase down his mate this gap grew to 40m, it was left to the others to try to close down Greg, knowing full well that if and when they did Matt would counter.  With one lap to go Greg was still clear when Rick decided to put it all on the line, and Matt was sitting on him all the way.  Around the last corner Rick hadn’t bridged across and was running out of puff, Matt took his queue and hammered home passing Greg 50m out and sprinting clear.

Results:
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Greg Ley
3rd – Rick Calvert

 

C Grade

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Brains over brawn, that wily old stager Terry Collie timed his sprint to perfection to nip Roger McMillan in the final sprint.
Great start to the year for Terry who is showing the benefit of hard race fitness acquired from racing Opens.
Shelled last crit here, this time James Gretton steps onto the podium, an encouraging result from an improving rider.  The pre-race favourite Roger looked the strongest rider of the day in the mounting yard and is looking pretty fit since last outing when he managed a win.  The fourth racer for the day was the Crit Monster himself, Brad Eppingstall, making a late start to the year he’s got a way to go to get back to his monstering best, but he managed to stay handy to the placegetters and was far from disgraced.

Results:

1st – Terry Collie
2nd – Roger McMillan
3rd – James Gretton

February 28 – Ron Rivette Classic – Mt. Misery, 57.2 km

February 28 – Ron Rivette Classic – Mt. Misery, 57.2 km

Hickey Triumphs – 28 Feb 2016

Ron Rivette Classic

proudly presented by
Shane Cook Homes

VVCC Open Handicap – 57.2 km

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Gerard Hickey (Colac Veterans Cycling Club) has taken the win in the 2016 Ron Rivette Classic on a windswept Mt. Misery circuit.
Hickey who finished second in the 2015 open race, was not going to be denied taking the win in 2016.  With fifteen kilometres remaining, Hickey broke away with Chris Shay (Geelong & Surf Coast Cycling Club) and Tamara Riddell (Northern Cycling) from the remnants of their 24 minute bunch and chased down the lone leader.
The chasing bunches could only watch on as the trio maintained their margin at the head of the field.
A strong tail wind in the home straight ensured the trio would not be caught.
Hickey and Shay fought out a sprint finish with Hickey prevailing by two bike lengths.  Riddell was a few seconds behind.

The first Eureka rider across the line was Scott Denno (21 min), leading home a bunch sprint for fourth place, 30 seconds behind the winner.

In the race for fastest time, Darren Roberts (Northern Cycling) proved too strong for the Scratch bunch, winning a very fast sprint finish.

This was the first time that the Eureka club has held their open race in the summer and it attracted a large field with over 120 entrants.  The field was handicapped into 12 groups of riders with a spread of 37 minutes.
Many riders struggled early in the race as the southerly wind and climbing took its toll.?  By mid race the climbing was almost done for the day, however riders were already being dropped from their groups as they battled the head wind.
Turning onto Ercildoune Road with 20 kilometres remaining, Limit riders Paula McGovern (Eastern VCC) and Diane Jane (Central Victorian VCC) still led the way holding a three minute lead over the chasing groups.  At the back of the race the Scratch bunch were making some headway and had started picking their way through the field.

Hickey, Shay and Riddell chased the leaders down in the final 10 kilometres and drove for home.  Behind them, the 19 and 21 minute groups had combined and had the trio in their sights, however they couldn’t close the gap and a bunch of 20 riders contested a sprint finish for the minor placings.

Spot prizes were awarded to Grant Dawson (Eureka) and Craig Harvey (Northern) for continually driving the pace for their (12 min 30 sec) group throughout the race.

Results:
1st – Gerard Hickey (Colac), 24 min
2nd – Chris Shay (Geelong), 24 min
3rd – Tamara Riddell (Northern), 24 min
4th – Scott Denno (Eureka), 21 min
5th – Daniel Monaghan (Grampians), 19 min
6th – Grant Rogers (Geelong), 21 min
7th – John Parello (Geelong), 21 min
8th – Robert Parker (Eureka), 19 min
9th – Paul Bird (Geelong), 19 min
10th – Noel Said (Northern), 19 min
Winner’s time 1 hr 43 min 04 sec
Fastest Time – Darren Roberts (Northern), Scratch in 1 hr 22 min 27 sec

P1019458

Gerard Hickey and Darren Roberts show off their sashes.

P1019077

Chris Shay leads Tamara Riddell and Gerard Hickey up a sharp rise.
The trio would ride away from their group and fill the first three placings.

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Hickey winning the sprint finish.

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Darren Roberts winning the sprint for Fastest Time ahead of Gary Wearmouth and Wayne Collins.

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016 teaser poster #2

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016 teaser poster #1

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