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March 19, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 59 km Graded Scratch racing

March 19, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 59 km Graded Scratch racing

Friendly faces everywhere – 19 March 2017

Graded Scratch

Coghills Creek circuit – 59 km

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Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.
- Desmond Tutu

A Grade

Tony Mirabella sprinted clear to win what was literally a recovery ride for this legend of Eureka.  Having raced the Collier, and placing in the top 10 the day before, Tony was content to sit in for the first two laps before dropping the hammer, on a make-shift A grade field.

A Grade? – Well, not really.  A couple of B Graders stepped up to pad out the field a bit and ensure that whoever took third place would get some cash.
Tony Mirabella was the only legitimate A Grader, or was he?  Richard Robocop Taylor proved yet again the dark horse of the field, the only other rider to test Tony in the finale, even had a crack at him late in Donovan’s Rd.  Obviously riding well at the moment he deserved his second place.
Rob “Big Mig” Phillips, Bob “Muncher” Morley and Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis rode along, the Big Mig to ensure a solid tempo, Muncher to close down Robocop and Fifi to make up the numbers.

B Grade probably went quicker for the first lap, everyone playing “nice” while Tony warmed up and so Fifi could feel like he was part of the race for a while.
Into the second lap, riding past the church, Fifi is panting when Bob nonchalantly asks “when is the this race going to start?” – Muncher is in sparkling form at the moment, Fifi as relevant in this race as a cat flap in an elephant house.  Tony must have heard this chit chat, coming out of the sharp left hand corner he attacks, Fifi missed that one and just as Big Mig’s tail light went out, so too did Fifi’s lights – all of them.

Muncher, Big Mig and Robocop go clear with Tony.  They settle and consolidate before Tony and Robocop go again, this time shelling Muncher, then Big Mig.
With Tony and Robocop going clear passed the quarry on the last lap, Muncher whistles Big Mig back, rather than chase as individuals.  Together they share the futile chase, and to duke it out for third.

Into Donovans and, undaunted by the fearsome reputation of his opponent, Robocop digs the spurs in and surprises Tony with his aggression.  Suddenly Tony realises he’ll have to race for the win today and engages top gear.  The pair are only separated by Tony’s kick for the line.Results:

1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Richard Taylor
3rd – Rob Phillips

B Grade

A grade might have slept in, or had a better offer, but B Grade were amassed in big numbers.  Nine riders on the whiteboard, including a newish rider Jeremy Humber – welcome Jeremy (p.s. not a bad start to your racing year at Eureka!).
Another race decided in the last 5 kms today.
The tip of a whip travels faster than the speed of sound, as does the fast finishing Paul Crack, with a sprint tuned-up at mid week crits, the sonic boom of his victorious sprint frightened dogs in Wendouree.  Easily eclipsing his remaining rivals for his maiden win at Eureka and write his name into the book of honour.
The newly retired, Craig Lightfoot has time on his hands to train and travel (more of the later recently and less of the other), however today this grey nomad went walkabout late in the race to seek enlightenment at a nearby ashram.
Mark “Mocha” O’Callaghan still displays the residual benefits of a summer triathlon campaign and his overly active adrenal gland ensures an animated race. Just when you think you’ve got him in the hurt locker, he’ll look up, smile and give you a cheer.
The McMillan clan coat of arms features a rampant black lion, brave and ferocious, the clan crest brandishes a two handed sword and a motto Miseris Succurrere Disco which translates to “I endeavour to care for the distressed” obviously “care” and “slaughter” meant the same thing in the 10th century. Roger “the Rampant” McMillan is no stranger to “distressing” other riders and then taking good “care” of them.
James “Mac” Knipe used Saturday’s Collier as a warm up for a big enough weekend of punishment, his old broken bones holding up to this very special fitness test.
James Gretton was looking pretty drawn after the race, partly due to the trials of racing a higher grade and partly due to his recent “slimming”.  James has stepped up in class this season, was only shelled late along with Mac and Lightie.
Jeremy Humber sampled Eureka racing last season, but just realised he’s a vet now and doesn’t have to race with mad teenagers anymore.  With a good result today we hope to see more of him.
The tireless Brian Lee – guaranteed to have a go from a long way out – especially with a field laced with such prodigious sprinting talents, the rest of the bunch needed to stay calm and absorb the inevitable but gradual acceleration.  A pleasing day out for Brian, finishing in the top 5.
The irrepressible Danny Fidel Whelan rounded out the field.  Fidel can only count to two, as that’s how many gears he uses in a race, and they are both huge, he forgot what the small ring is for years ago.  His tenacious racing spirit puts him at the front of the field when no one else would dare.

The pinch point in the race came on the rise in Donovans Rd with Mocha dialling up the pain, Paul, Jeremy, Brian and Roger responded, the rest were gapped.
The remaining five settled for a sprint, what did they have left?  The pace increased to flat out sprint, then Paul found the hyperspace button and in two pedal strokes disappeared into tomorrow.  With eyes popping out of his head, Jeremy held off Mocha.

Results:
1st – Paul Crack
2nd – Jeremy Humber
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan

C Grade

With a bus load of extended family members cheering from the side of the road, Jude Jonasson waited for the last rise up Donovan’s Road to pull out the broad sword and leave devastation in her wake.  The other two combatants Rob Young and Garry “Lance” Armstrong watched as Jude simply rode them out of her wheel and sail to a solid win.

60 km is a long race when there’s just three in the field, and small numbers usually mean that the winning break is late, if not a sprint finish.
Such it was today, the trio exchanging smiles and pleasantries on the start line but simmering just below the surface was the steely conviction of Spartans.  The first two laps were completed as a dress rehearsal for the main event, then it came time to win a bike race.
Faces turned grim, bigger gears were selected and plans were made…

Into Donovan’s Road for the last time and Jude sprung her cunning plan, launching on the rise and turning herself inside out to hold for the three kilometres to the line.  Garry, a seasoned campaigner was re-acquainted with his old friend “suffering” as he tried in vain to hold Jude’s wheel.  Rob was popped on the hill and try as he might the gap was a bridge too far.
Jude sailing into harbour clear for an impressive win, Garry then Rob rounding out the placings

Results:
1st – Jude Jobnasson
2nd – Garry Armstrong
3rd – Robert Young

March 5, 2017 – Windmill / Mt Beckworth, 55 km Handicap

March 5, 2017 – Windmill / Mt Beckworth, 55 km Handicap

Hear Them Roar – 5 March 2017

Club Handicap

Windmill / Mt. Beckworth circuit – 55 km

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A tale of two lions – Tim and Tone Turn It On

On the start line the Scratch pairing of Tim Canny and Tony Mirabella weren’t given much of a chance in their chase, however the dynamic duo stepped up with a powerful display to capture the front of the race within the last km and sprint for victory.  Tim took out the sprint with his eyes closed and had to ask where he had finished.

The end result was a feather in the handicapper’s hat; 24 starters dispersed between six groups, with riders from Scratch, Limit, Second Scratch, and middle marks in the final five.  Mind you the “middle marker” was the handicapper.

First away was Graeme Parker (28 min) closely followed by Rob Young (27 min).  They quickly combined and with a tail wind on the uphill sections and some good solid riding, they preserved their lead almost to the line.  The headwind home and a storming ride from Scratch snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Eureka welcomed Garry Armstrong back to Vets racing and along with the Viking Princess Jude Jonasson they left the start line with 20 min in the pocket.  The pair parted ways just after mid race as Jude looked to push a bit harder to stay clear of a large pack of chasing riders looming behind.  While Jude didn’t quite catch limit she stayed clear until the final 3 km and worked home finishing in the top ten.

The 11 minute bunch was a unique collection, welcome back to Louis Nuspan and James Burzacott, and great to see James “Mac” Knipe back – broken back and all.  They joined the current VVCC aggregate leader Roger McMillan – as well as Brian Lee and Danny “Fidel” Whelan – to make a bunch of strong riders…but were they a strong bunch?
They rode well, even Fidel keeping his enthusiasms in check (well at least until they were caught), and kept their 2 minute advantage over the next bunch for a lap and a half.  Caught on Cricks Hill they all stayed in touch with the combined bunch until the climb up to the turn around.

Bob “Muncher” Morley thought 9 minutes was about right for his bunch of magnificent 7.
This bunch also welcomed a new rider to Eureka, Paul Crack, yet another tall rider for Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis to hide behind.  In fact with Duncan “Psycho” Bates, Mark O’Callaghan, Stephen Biram, and James Gretton, Fifi was in the land of giants and had to be careful not to get stepped on.
Morley’s marauders thought they had the race pretty much stitched up when they rounded the final corner into Donovan’s road, however their rear vision was myopic…Scratch plus Dean Wells hit them on the small rise and sent riders skittering in all directions.  Morley bellowed “Go” but most of the bunch didn’t have much “Go” left in them.
Muncher got a back wheel, Fidel and Fifi also just made it but couldn’t hang on when the next attack came.  Steve fought on picking up the dropped Fifi and Jude to roll home 9th.

The plight of Second Scratch was a Greek tragedy.  Five evenly matched riders – on paper and when race fit…set off with a 2 minute advantage over the scratch pair.  Their hopes increasing with every kilometre they rode without being caught.  If only they could make the turnaround their numbers would count into the wind on the run home.
Dean Wells reluctantly took the push out to Second Scratch with a grin.  Eureka welcomed Stuart Brien with a hard race, and Richard Robocop Taylor was rumoured to be racing A Grade crits in town.  Grant “Smokey” Dawson and Rob Phillips are tough as they come but perhaps a little more match fitness required.
Grant popped early reducing second scratch’s numerical advantage by one, with Rob Phillips starting to struggle a bit – which in all honesty is still enough to blow most people away!  Then the “Tim and Tone” show blew into town just after the church (about 30 kilometres into the race).

Tim – expressionless, majestic.  Tony – not so, and looking for some relief he was showing the signs of a guy who’d had a hard race the day before.  The combined group worked well on the run towards Mt. Beckworth.  At the base of the hill Rob was dropped…then Richard…then Stu, all abandoned to ride solo to the end, into a head wind – oh the joy of bike racing!
Dean turned himself inside out not to get dropped as Scratch pursued the front of the race.  But Dean wasn’t the only one suffering – groans and sighs were heard emanating from Tony, must have been the vindaloo.
As they caught the middle markers they could see the red jerseys of Graeme and Rob way up ahead…along way ahead.  The pace increased, the Morley bunch was caught and shelled (well, everyone but Bob).  They caught Graeme and Rob over the crest.  1000 metres left to race.

Tim, oblivious to the fact they had the lead, or perhaps very confident in his sprint, takes the lead.  Tony and Bob are too smart to get on the front!  Dean goes to the back and winds it up and lets fly with a Hail Mary play way out from the line.  Tim is easily onto Dean’s wheel…counted to three then whoosh…he is away, race over – first and fastest to the Dandelion.  Tony flies past to easily claim second.  Bob also surges past the failing wheels of Wells for a brilliant third.

Race Results:
1st – Tim Canny (Scratch)
2nd – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
3rd – Bob Morley (9 min)
4th – Dean Wells (2 min)
5th – Rob Young (27 min)

Fastest Time – Tim Canny in 1h 22m 20s, ave. 40.2 kph

February 26, 2017 – Ron Rivette Classic, 57 km VVCC Open Handicap

February 26, 2017 – Ron Rivette Classic, 57 km VVCC Open Handicap

Eureka OPEN race – 26 February 2017

RON RIVETTE CLASSIC

Mt. Misery – 57 km

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Edmonds WINS!  Laffy FASTEST!

 

Brilliant sunshine greeted 105 riders as they arrived at the EUREKA Cycling club rooms on the foreshore of Lake Learmonth.  Barely a breath of breeze early in the morning, however a fierce northerly wind had blown up by race start time at 10:00 AM.

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The Limit group (34:00 min) was blown apart by the wind in the first 20 kilometres.

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Sue Parker (Eureka) had ridden away from her 27:00 min group and was fast closing on the strung out Limit riders.
(Post race Brian Long commented ‘I was dropped by those girls in the same place again!’)

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The 19:30 min group had already caught the 22:00 min group as the now “super sized bunch” raced along the long straight Beaufort-Waubra Rd.

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The following (17:30 min, 15:30 min and 13:30 min) groups had all lost riders (who now dotted the road in ones and twos) and it was only as the 11:30 min group came through that order seemed restored in the chaotic wind.

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The 8:30 min group was a tight knit bunch as they surged up the short rises near the Waubra Rd intersection.

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Second Scratch was all business as they charged up the hills with Eureka’s Matt Bowman controlling the pace. Shouts of ‘hang on’ and ‘hold up’ could be heard as riders near the rear of the bunch looked after their cohorts.  Wanting to preserve every second of their 5:30 min handicap, these riders knew the all important downwind section would be telling in their ultimate fortunes on the day.

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Scratch had lost Mat Grealy (Central Vets) before The Avenue.  Already at a disadvantage – and with a crook Darren Roberts (Northern) in their midst – theirs would be a day of management as they chased on the tough Mt. Misery course.

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Up ahead, Sue Parker had ridden through to the lead and opened a gap on the remnants of the Limit group (Northern riders Stacey Hatton and Jo Read).  An ever increasing bunch was swallowing the ground up behind Hatton and Read.  With 13 kilometres remaining, Parker was just a few hundred metres ahead.
She would go on to hold that lead all the way down to the pig farm before being engulfed in a colourful sea of lycra.

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Rounding the left turn into the home straight, the large lead bunch was smacked in the face by the strong north wind roaring down the road.  Into the final kilometre and 23 riders were still vying for the win.

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Mark O’Callaghan (Eureka Cycling) surged to the lead with 100 metres to go, big Jason Haire (Eureka Cycling) jumped off O’Callaghan’s wheel and let it rip – BUT misfortune as his gears started skipping…
Closing to the line and Grant Edmonds (Geelong & Surf Coast) finds a clear line and surges to he lead with mere metres remaining.
Just a wheel in it as Edmonds takes another Open victory.

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45 seconds back, the next super sized bunch on the road contains the remaining five Scratch riders.
Matt Bowman leads into the headwind trying to set up a fast finish for the Scratch lads who are all jostling for position near the head of the bunch.
Neville Laffy (Goulburn Valley) gets the jump on his rivals.  Darren Roberts (Northern) challenges, but Laffy holds on in the Scratch drag race to the finish line.

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2017 RON RIVETTE CLASSIC
Results:
1st Place: Grant Edmonds (Geelong & Surf Coast), 13:30 min
2nd: Jason Haire (Eureka Cycling), 19:30 min
3rd: Mark O’Callaghan (Eureka Cycling), 17:30 min
4th: Roger McMillan (Eureka Cycling), 19:30 min
5th: John Short (Northern), 15:30 min
6th: John Hasouras (Northern), 13:30 min
7th: Bob Morley (Eureka Cycling), 17:30 min
8th: Nick Nomikos (Northern), 22:00 min
9th: *Amanda Hosking (Geelong & Surf Coast), 15:30 min
10th: Peter Parnaby (Grampians), 17:30 min
Fastest Time: Neville Laffy (Goulburn Valley), Scratch in 1h 21m 53s ave. 42.1 kph

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February 5, 2017 – Mt Misery, 50.5 km Handicap

February 5, 2017 – Mt Misery, 50.5 km Handicap

First handicap race for 2017 – 5 February 2017

Mt Misery Handicap

Mt Misery (extended) circuit – 50.5 km

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Welcome to the Jungle

There is a new rival for king of the jungle at Eureka,
Tim “Dandelion” Canny backed up from his A Grade Scratch race win last weekend,
with a handsome victory in the first handicap race of the season.

Tim led a powerful scratch bunch – which averaged in excess of 40 kph – over a testing course.  The race was their’s for the taking 10 km from home.  The pride of lions roared off the starting line, with Tony Mirabella savaging the bunch on the first climb just 200 metres into the race.  Dean Wells made it back on, as did Greg Ley with Matt Bowman clinging onto Dean’s wheel, well, until the climb out of Addington that is…
Matt has been training with the cheetahs, his pursuit technique is coming along great, but long chases up hills are not his thing at the moment.
Scratch settled and found a good rhythm which relied on Tim doing double length efforts on the front.  The older, wiser lions were happy with this arrangement and Tim thought the chase was progressing with relative ease.

The eternal enemies unite…
Second Scratch bunch of hyenas were caught by the 25 km mark.  Keen to follow the lions around to pick on any tasty morsels left on the carcass of the race and perhaps pinch a top 5 finish.  They were barely tolerated by the scratch lions and contributed as little as possible to the chase.
Pete Canny pulled himself inside out just to get on the lion’s tails – after having just done a turn on the front before scratch caught him.  Richard Robocop Taylor comfortably found a spot with the combined scratch bunch,, as did Pete Kiel.
Darren Terry and Matt Ayres found the going tough and were dropped later in the race.  A big welcome back to one of the legends of the club – Adam Smith – who stayed with the combined bunch to Ercildoune Road…a good first hit out.

Bob Morley’s 8 minute group of wildebeest had left the waterhole minus Danny Fidel Whelan who had strayed from the herd and was left to chase by himself.  His was an eventful ride, being swept up by the hyenas and then the lions, but was shelled before they caught up with Bob’s wildebeests.
Craig Lightfoot made his first appearance for the year and while he struggled up the hills, he switched the gravitron on going down and accelerated the bunch to break neck speed.  The geographically challenged Noel Said was trying out the course as a prelude to the Eureka Open in a few weeks time.  Said spent much of the race gambling and frolicking around the bunch and trying as hard as possible to go the wrong way.
Mark O’Callaghan put in another solid ride and is building towards something big (Geelong 70.3 Ironman) while Bob was keen to keep the herd together.
They worked hard to get off the Misery hill without being caught and rounded the corner into Ercildoune Road oblivious to the impending doom stalking them.  Two kilometres down the road, Lightfoot turned around and spies the lurking lions and hyenas a mere 100 metres back.  He bellowed a warning to the others to prepare.  As the lions and hyenas descended upon them, Lightfoot wished everyone good luck and retired out the back.

All gnashing teeth and slashing claws, such was the ferocity of the attack that the wildebeest had no chance and the herd was decimated, reassembling a little while later to limp home.  The lions were in full cry, Tim and Tony still doing bulk of work, Dean, Brendan and Greg taking longer spells back in the bunch wondering when the pain might stop.  Richard and Pete Canny doing the odd turn and Kielly just hanging on for dear life.  Ever onward the pride coursed in search of the succulent front markers.

Off 15 min was Terry Collie and a pair of elegant, fleet-footed gazelles in Jude Jonasson and Sue Parker.  Jude and Sue were in stellar form and with limit in sight they soon left Terry.  However, something startled them… Losing sight of the Limit markers, they also lost concentration and went “off reservation”, not realising their mistake until they were almost road kill on the Western Freeway.  An unfortunate end to their event as they were obviously the “form” riders in the front of the race.

The next bunch on the road was a troop of cheeky monkeys, swinging from trees and teasing the approaching lions.  Rob Parker assumed the role of president Ape-raham Lincoln to govern the monkey business.  Brian Lee and Duncan Bates worked hard while James Gretton and Roger McMillan were particularly valuable in the crosswinds.
Confidence was high as they hooped and hollered their way around the course, gathering up Terry and then the front of the race was just ahead…

Limit consisted of the old stagers of the Learmonth Serengeti – John Faulkner and Graeme Parker.  They had began well, with both riders sharing the work to set a challenge for the rest of the race.  Whilst they were successful in evading the gazelles (Jonasson and Sue Parker), their 22 minute handicap would ultimately prove insufficient.
Rob Parker and company collected the Limit riders with under 15 kilometres remaining.  The combined bunch powered on with an air of confidence that was about to be shattered.

A large shadow loomed behind the race lead…
The rampant lions and opportunistic hyenas closed on the pack at speed…for a moment the chase stalled as vehicles were encountered…then in one fell swoop…
The startled monkeys went bananas and all semblance of control lost as they scattered in all directions to avoid being picked off by the pack behind.

The game was over though and the lions now had the race at their mercy.

Down to Hendersons Rd everyone was expecting it to go nuts, but they had already dealt with the monkeys, so a more calculated race plan unfolded, sort of.  Tim surged halfway up the Hendersons Rd hill and caused an immediate split.  Dean pulled it back – or perhaps Tim was playing with them, like a cat does with a mouse.
From then on the pace was easy (fast…but easy) and steady to the pig farm.
Into the home straight and Mr Bronze Brendan and Tim were left on the front.  Both desperate to back away from the block headwind which continually slowed the pace, but the wiser lions and hyenas would have none of it…and they too slowed to maintain the status quo.
Until, a suicide raid by Dean who went for glory one kilometre out.  His attack lasted about 400 metres before the headwind took its toll and he he was caught by the pride.  The attack and subsequent chase shelled Greg and Kielly…but the pride now sat on Wells’s wheel awaiting the final showdown…the moment everyone had been waiting for…
Would Tim prove worthy, or would Tony remain King of the jungle?

Tim and Tony opened the final sprint very late, but it was Tim who proved swifter “Dan de Lion”, winning by maybe a bike length.
Close between Mr Bronze and Robocop for 3rd, but when it comes to taking bronze, Brendan always prevails.  Pete Canny a respectable 5th.

Back to the den for the glorious lions to bask in the sun, sleep off a purrfect meal of victory and lick themselves clean.

Race Results:
1st – Tim Canny
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Brendan Schiemer
4th – Richard Taylor
5th – Peter Canny
Fastest Time – Tim Canny, in 1h 14m 10s (ave. 40.8 kph)

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