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October 1, 2017 – OSCAR’S Hotel & Cafe spring CRITERIUM series, round 1

October 1, 2017 – OSCAR’S Hotel & Cafe spring CRITERIUM series, round 1

OSCAR’S Hotel & Cafe
Spring CRITERIUM Series 2017

Round 1 - October 1

Ballarat Criterium Circuit, Victoria Park

EVCC 2017 spring crits - poster

Eureka Cycling ventured to Victoria Park in Ballarat to race on the newly resurfaced criterium circuit.  Overcast and windy conditions could not dampen the enthusiasm of the riders who assembled for the first week of the 2017 Oscar’s Hotel & Cafe spring CRITERIUM series.  

A few familiar faces were missing from the line up and we had to go to the record books to see if these three had all been absent at the same time on any other occasion in the clubs’ history –
Tony Mirabella was racing the Red Rock Classic at Colac.
Bob Morley was revisiting his inner hippie at some far flung “blues” festival (probably not true…but we aren’t discounting the possibility…).
Pete Livitsanis was recovering from a morning SCARE (Sudden Cranial Anterior Realignment Event).

Even without the club stalwarts we had good numbers out to try the super smooth tarmac under race conditions. Four riders were out trialling with the club and the new surface received thumbs up all round.

Division 1

With nine riders present, the largest field of the day welcomed two trial riders into the fold for a 50 minute plus two laps race.

Shane Hayes and Sam Edwards provided an interesting dynamic to the lineup.  Both riders spent time leading the bunch.
Edwards was quick to perceive that everyone was happy for him to sit on the front and so he measured his efforts.  Hayes followed early then worked with the bunch when chasing down Matt Bowman who went off the front early in the race and stayed away for over ten minutes.
At times Bowman had close to 400 metres on the bunch.
Matthew Ayres wore a skin suit but unfortunately didn’t get the full benefit as he was an early casualty during the subsequent chase of Bowman.
Club Champion Greg Ley was looking for a 2000 metre climb somewhere on the circuit just to slow proceedings down and increase his chances.
Tim Canny somehow made it to the start line after cheering home his beloved Tigers the day before and possibly celebrating more than was commensurate to his effort in winning the flag.  Canny spent a lot of time leading the chase of Bowman before was finally bringing him back into the fold.

The race eased for a moment and Jason Birch used this as an opportunity to launch a series of attacks.  Brendan Schiemer and Dean Wells had situated themselves near the front of the bunch for just this reason and they were in prime position to chase Birch down each time.
Bowman went off the front again at the thirty minute mark.  The bunch let him dangle 50 metres up the road for a lap.  Then Canny rode off the front to join Bowman.
The bunch increased their pace and were at almost full sprint to try and bridge the gap – they didn’t make it and the dangerous Bowman/Canny pair were away.
Birch tried to get the bunch rotating in the chase, however most of them were struggling to just hold wheels let alone roll to the front.
After a concerted ten minute chase effort the bunch had almost closed the gap, then Birch flatted and the impetus fizzled.

Bowman and Canny slowly blew the gap out beyond 300 metres and when the bunch got the call for 2 laps they eased up and played cat and mouse for third place.
Up ahead and the lead pair kept powering along taking the bell and not easing the pressure.
Into the home straight and they were shoulder to shoulder before Canny finally edged away near the line for the win over the gallant Bowman.  The pair averaging 39.8 kph.
The bunch were racing for third and Wells couldn’t find a way off the front.  He ramped the pace up from 500 metres out and led to the shadows of the post before Edwards and Schiemer came through.  Hayes wasn’t far behind and Ley was close, but still looking for that elusive mountain.

1st – Tim Canny
2nd – Matthew Bowman
3rd – Sam Edwards

IMG_3471 IMG_3475 IMG_3513

Division 2

Seven riders started and animated the Division 2 race from the get go…Mark O’Callaghan quickly assumed the lead role, however most of the riders were keen to get amongst the action.
Roger McMillan spent some time off the front as did the regular agitator Steve Biram.  Brian Ure impressed yet again and James Knipe played the deft hand covering the dangerous moves.
Pete Canny was happy to watch proceedings and mark wheels, whilst training mate Rick Calvert tried to lure someone else off the front with him to attack.

To the finish and a protracted sprint saw Knipe just hold out a determined Canny – although it must be said that Knipe was extremely confident in sitting up just before the line.  Biram was third just ahead of Ure and McMillan.

1st – James Knipe
2nd – Peter Canny
3rd – Steve Biram

Division 3

Racing for forty minutes and two laps, the seven riders in Division 3 spent most of the race bunched tightly.
Barry Robinson was out racing after hibernating for much of the winter and quite often found himself leading the pack around.
Dan Crook was finding his racing legs again and Terry Collie was keeping a watchful eye over Kevin Lee who he expected to be the main contender on the day.
Monica Canny was trialling with the club and enjoying her first race on the circuit after missing the recent Saturday morning Ballarat Sebastopol CC criteriums.
Phil McLennan was back having his second trial race with Eureka and Steve Linane was hiding somewhere amongst the pack throughout the race.

Division 3 averaged over 34 kph and a bunch finish decided the race – however the stiff headwind up the straight made the finale more of a slug than a sprint.  A well timed effort saw Linane come from the middle of the pack win comfortably over McLennan with Lee in third place.

1st – Steve Linane
2nd – Phil McLennan
3rd – Kevin Lee



September 24, 2017 – Windmill, 53 km Graded Scratch & Victorian Teachers Games

September 24, 2017 – Windmill, 53 km Graded Scratch & Victorian Teachers Games

 Day of Days – 24 September 2017

Graded Scratch racing


Windmill circuit – 53 km

The wind blew throughout he morning and intensified in the afternoon.  A whole day of suffering in cycling on the infamous Windmall circuit…

Eureka Cycling staged graded scratch races on Sunday morning, then hosted the cycling events for the 2017 Victorian Teachers Games in the afternoon.
The Eureka riders fought hard in the wind which averaged 38 kph with gusts up to 50 kph…the teachers were plain smashed by winds averaging 50 kph with violent gust exceeding 70 kph.

Heavy rain and strong winds at sunrise surely discouraged many from venturing outside to race – but 16 hardy souls fronted at the club rooms for graded scratch racing.

A Grade

A Grade saw yet another “trial rider” appear.  Sam Smith is well known in the Ballarat Sebastopol CC ranks.  Smith was looking forward to getting some racing legs having spent the bulk of the winter cycling solo in his shed.
Also welcomed back into the fold was Matt Bowman.  “Riff Raff” Bowman has been MIA for much of the season and will now hopefully string a few races together.
Club Champion Greg Ley is wasting no time getting back into the racing scene.  The other members of the bunch – Jim Crumpler, Tony Mirabella and Dean Wells – were all backing up from Saturday morning criterium racing with BSCC on the newly resurfaced criterium track in Victoria Park.

With so many different faces, there was no group dynamic and fluid turns were fleeting in appearance.  A fast pace was maintained for much of the race.  Crumpler enjoyed ramping the pace up each time he was on the front.  Smith was prominent in his first outing with the club.
Bowman was having a torrid time with the wind and the short hills.  Often he would find himself off the back, then in true Riff Raff style he would roll straight through to the front and press the pace.  Bowman also provided the first attack of the day.
Having been dropped on the second lap, he time trialled his way back to the group before being dropped up the rise in Donovans Road.  The bunch roared along with the tailwind, but Bowman once again time trialled his way back.
He then attacked on quarry hill and opened a 150 metre lead.  Smith quickly rallied the troops into rolling turns.  The extra effort did not seem to bring the group any closer to Bowman who was now flying into the headwind past Blowhard.
The effort did take its toll on Ley and Wells who both started to labour.  Up towards Huckers Road and Bowman was weaving all over the road.  The catch was about to be made.  A slight easing of the pace allowed Wells to rejoin the group after almost being dropped.

The games started as the bunch neared the church corner. Ley found himself stuck on the front.  Finally Crumpler came through.  Wells allowed the gap to open so Mirabella and Smith both jumped across.
Into Addington Rd and Mirabella had them in the gutter as the bunch regrouped.  Crumpler goes onto the dirt to get a draft.
Smith attacked soon after – he doesn’t want to take Crumpler to a sprint finish!  Mirabella waits then tries to jump across but Smith has a decent gap.
Crumpler marks Mirabella, who launched again to try and cross to Smith.  Crumpler tows Wells and Ley back up to Mirabella and like Bowman his race is over after the multiple efforts.

Smith has a significant gap as he sweeps into Donovans Road.  Wells surges just before Donovans and Ley sticks fast to his wheel but they are only racing for second.
Mirabella takes the lead up the rise and has to ease to allow Wells and Ley back on.  They chase hard and swap turns however Smith has simply outclassed them.

Nearing the line and Wells has found himself on the front of the trio.  Only pride is at stake and he goes to his biggest gear and ramps up the pace before accelerating away to second.  Mirabella getting the better of Ley on the line.

1st – Sam Smith
2nd – Dean Wells
3rd – Tony Mirabella


B Grade

B Grade was the largest field of the day.  An early highlight was Steve Biram missing the start, then setting off to chase his bunch down – he didn’t make it, but his confidence at the start line when deciding he would “give it a crack” was inspiring…

The rest of the B grade field consisted of the usual suspects in Peter Livitsanis, Bob Morley and Mark “have bike will race” O’Callaghan.
James Knipe, Brian Ure and Kevin Lee all once again stepped up into the higher grade to test themselves.
The men also welcomed back Duncan Bates for a rare race.  We are sure that Dunc checks the weather forecast before venturing out to Learmonth.
If the forecast is for good weather he stays home, if it is for deplorable weather…well then it is time to race.

James “Mack” Knipe was the first to liven things up.  Making an early solo break off the front Mack soon found himself wallowing in the wind.  Eventually the others had tired of leaving Mack dangling out in front and he was brought back to the fold.

The next two or so laps was described by some of the participants as a knitting meeting – no attacks and O’Callaghan waffled on incessantly with mind numbing observations.  O’Callaghan’s talk was all part of the game and nearing the church corner (turn into Addington Road) he attacked the bunch and opened a gap.
Climbing the short rise before the turn he started to second guess his tactic as the task got immensely harder.  Once around the corner he was away and he daren’t look back.

The others were caught off guard by O’Callaghan’s attack and everyone started looking at each other to see who would lead the chase.  Ahead and O’Callaghan is increasing his gap out to 20 seconds.
The bunch started to close in just before Donovans Road, but once O’Callaghan had the wind at his back the gap blew out again as he powered over the short climb.
The chase group started to fragment and with each dropped rider O’Callaghan’s chances increased.  Screaming down towards the line and he is still clear of the chasers.
Knipe is racing into second position and Morley has third sown down ahead of Bates.  At the line and it is all O’Callaghan for a well earned win with a gap of some twenty seconds over his rivals.

1st – Mark O’Callaghan
2nd – James Knipe
3rd – Bob Morley


C Grade

C Grade was a mano a mano battle between septuagenarians Graeme Parker and Terry Collie. Round and round they rode.

Their fight was more with nature than each other and down to the line they could not be split – despite the new age technology that was filming the finish line – deadheating for first place.

1st – Terry Collie – deadheat
1st – Graeme Parker – deadheat


2017 Victoria Teachers Games – Road Cycling


IMG_0943 IMG_0958

As mentioned earlier the weather turned even worse in the afternoon as Eureka Cycling hosted the road cycling events for the 2017 VTG.
The participants should all be commended on their positive attitudes against such ferocious wind.  Various distance races were conducted on the Windmill circuit – some over two laps (35 km) and some over 3 laps (52.5 km).

Eureka rider Mark O’Callaghan backed up from the morning for another race and placed third in his age bracket.  Mark praised his fellow riders for their efforts in sticking together throughout the race and working solid turns. Kudos to Mark for racing 105 kilometres today in that wind!

Tremendous efforts were witnessed throughout the events as some bunches stuck together to combat the wind.  Other bunches were blown apart, but the riders showed great fortitude to battle on and finish their event.
Kudos also to Emma Govan who had raced a duathlon in the morning, then travelled to Learmonth to compete in a 52.5 km road race.  Emma was distanced by her bunch then battled leg cramps with just 9 kilometres remaining.  A short stop for afternoon tea – salt & vinegar chips, water and cramp tablets – then back on the bike to finish the race. Emma’s story was just one of many from todays event and Eureka congratulate all the riders and family and friends who braved the weather.

September 17, 2017 – Handicap – Weatherboard, 60 km

September 17, 2017 – Handicap – Weatherboard, 60 km

Find Every Race – 17 September 2017 Handicap

Weatherboard circuit – 60 km

2017 EVCC Bicycle Calendar Hcp - poster

Sunny skies greeted riders for the Handicap race on the Weatherboard circuit.  Start at Learmonth and head out through the chicane and over the Hendersons Road hill, then FIVE more laps of Weatherboard to reach 60 kilometres.
Riders travelled from afar to contest the race – Geelong & Surf Coast members Chris Fenech and Craig Van Dort joined Northern rider Noel Said in challenging the locals, but all the glory went to a “trial” rider.

The name McLennan is synonymous with Ballarat athletics, in particular cross country running.  Phil McLennan finally made his long awaited road cycling debut and he didn’t disappoint – leading from the gun to the flag for a warmly received victory.

Eureka also hosted the creator of – Jason Williams.
Cycling, like many sports has unsung heroes and volunteers who go the extra yard week in, week out, to ensure the event goes ahead.  Jason created the website so that ALL the Victorian road, track and cyclocross events would be easily accessible to cyclists throughout Australia.
It truly is a genius idea and gift to the Victorian cycling community.  No matter whether you are a veteran cyclist or a member of a Cycling Australia club, you can easily find all the races that are being run each day.
We applaud Jason for his initiative and it is our honour to help promote this FREE to use website.

As mentioned, Phil McLennan owned the day and led from start to finish.  Setting off from Limit, his early partner in crime was Terry Collie who coached McLennan so well throughout the race that he dropped Collie with about fifteen kilometres remaining and soloed to victory.
Collie meanwhile had a few confusing moments when passed by multiple groups.  With a whopping 30 minute handicap mark, Collie and McLennan didn’t see anyone else until they exited Avenue Road the first time.
Eventually Collie and McLennan were passed by the other bunches on the road…but they were still ten kilometres ahead.
Multiple passings led to great confusion for the leading pair.  After being dropped, Collie was going to pull out of the race and it took strong convincing from the corner marshal that Collie was still actually second on the road.? Inevitably Collie was swallowed up by the field with about six kilometres remaining.
All the while McLennan was racing away to an easy victory…

James Knipe and James “Ralph Jones” Gretton were the next away in the glorious sunshine.  They rotated turns well, however with a 17 minute gap to make up on the Limit pair and only a 3 minute advantage over the next group, they were literally sitting ducks.
Eventually they were caught by the chasing group and worked as well as they could.?Today was not their day.

The 10 minute group was missing two of its regular members who had been promoted.?  This left Dan Whelan, Bob Morley, Peter Livitsanis and Noel Said (Northern) to chase down James and Ralph Jones.  They achieved this however with Livitsanis and Said just battling to stay upright in the wind they lost too much ground to stay in the hunt for overall victory.
They stayed away from the chasers until late in the Avenue on the last trip into that horrendous headwind, their chances were quickly snuffed thereafter.

Five riders set off from 3 minutes in the Second Scratch group.  Rob Phillips led the way with Rick Calvert, Mark O’Callaghan and Chris Fenech (GSCC) providing ample support.
Unfortunately today was not a good day for Jeremy “The Jet” Humber who was like a single engine F35 Joint Strike Force fighter running with one engine down.  Dropped in the first 10 kilometres, Jeremy eventually linked up with the 10 minute group and used the day as training.
The remaining four worked cohesively and stayed away from Scratch until the second last time up the Avenue.
Scratch surged as they exited the Avenue with Phillips also pushing the pace.  Calvert and O’Callaghan were dropped, however Fenech was able to hang on.  Both Phillips and Fenech worked turns with Scratch and were present at the end.

Scratch welcomed back Club Champion Greg Ley in his first ride with the club in months.  Ley has been touring with the white phoenix on blue field “Champion” dossard – and who knew that riding over 300 kilometres a week (including some of the most famous mountain passes) would keep a rider fit?
Tony Mirabella was typically strong as was Brendan Schiemer.  Dean Wells was making up the numbers and the group also welcomed Craig Van Dort (GSCC) to the fold.
Unfortunately Van Dort’s day ended early with the Eureka riders a bit too keen in the first few kilometres with the tailwind.  The remaining four soon set about their schedule and lap after lap it was observed that certain riders would excel on certain sections of the circuit.
The increasing headwind in the Avenue helped the Scratch bunch reel in the other groups, however it also took its toll.
Phillips and Fenech were able to hang tight after being caught with 15 kilometres remaining.  Group Morley was the next to be caught just six kilometres from the finish.?  Collie was just ahead and he let everyone know that McLennan was up the road.?Scratch surged out of the Avenue and dropped Group Morley and Wells.
Not long after they realised they were racing for second place and Fastest Time.  Schiemer pressed the issue down towards the chicane the final time and Phillips responded.?  Regrouping with about four kilometres remaining the bunch of five would fight out the lesser placings on the final climb.
Mirabella proving far to dominant and took both 2nd and Fastest.  Phillips in third, then Ley, Schiemer and Fenech.

Once again we thank the corner marshals and officials for enduring the elements – it may have been sunny, but the cold north wind made for a less than pleasant day standing on a corner or at the finish line.

1st – Phil McLennan (30 min)
2nd – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
3rd – Rob Phillips (3 min)
4th – Greg Ley (Scratch)
5th – Brendan Schiemer (Scratch)
Fastest Time: Tony Mirabella (Scratch) in 1h 36m 40s, 37.1 kph


Picture (L-R) – Jason Williams, creator of the website and race winner Phil McLennan.


September 10, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 63 km Graded Scratch racing

September 10, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 63 km Graded Scratch racing

Welcome to the future – 10 September 2017

Graded Scratch

Coghills Creek circuit – 63 km


The arrival of disc brakes


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
- Arthur C. Clarke

Perfect spring weather greeted the handful of riders who assembled at Learmonth for Graded Scratch racing around the Coghills Creek circuit.  The day was cool with plenty of sunshine and a light breeze which meant that times would be fast on the relatively flat circuit.

A Grade

A Grade was ridden like a team time trial.  Just four riders lined up at the start with the silent gentleman’s agreement being that the race would be solid – but not stupid.
The first lap was quick, averaging over 37 kph with each rider doing his fair share.
The second lap was quicker and still each rider – Jason Birch, Rob Phillips, Brendan Schiemer and Dean Wells worked evenly.
A noticeable drop in intensity on the final lap yet no shenanigans until late in the race when Wells tried an attack with two kilometres remaining.  It was quickly covered and the quartet rode towards the line in anticipation of a sprint finish.

Schiemer was stuck on the front and tried to slow the pace, Wells went early as usual, Phillips missed his wheel but latched onto Birch who had sprinted and finally hit he race lead and held it to the line.

1st – Jason Birch
2nd – Rob Phillips
3rd – Brendan Schiemer

B Grade

B Grade sported the largest field with seven riders – including two visitors from Northern Cycling.
Dan Whelan kept the tempo steady throughout the race making sure that it wasn’t going to be too easy on the bunch.
Jeremy Humber rode well within himself.  At sign in time there was some debate about whether or not to step “The Jet” up to A Grade.
At the end of the day the point was moot because Jeremy suffered a flat tyre and didn’t make the finish anyway.
Kevin Lee acquitted himself well in B Grade and his rapid improvement is testament to the amount of training and racing he did during winter.
Pete Livitsanis and Bob Morley rounded out the Eureka riders in the group.  Both are adept at reading the race and they were wary of the Northern visitors playing a tactical race.  Noel Said is a quasi Eureka member having raced with us multiple times over the past year.  He was joined by Michael Hartman and together they presented a threat to how a normal scratch race should unfold.

The group stayed together until Donovans Road on the last lap.  Said attacked and opened a reasonable gap on the bunch.  They chased and chased hard.  Both Morley and Livitsanis well aware that Hartman seemed to be cruising and was ready to pounce.
Hartman launched in the last few hundred metres and bridged the gap to Said with 80 metres remaining.  Livitsanis tried to counter the move, but he didn’t quite have the speed to reel Hartman in.

1st – Michael Hartman (Northern Cycling)
2nd – Peter Livitsanis
3rd – Bob Morley

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