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February 14, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

February 14, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

Long way to the Top – 14 Feb 2016 

Handicap
Mt. Misery Circuit – 46 km

Age no barrier for Long

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Geelong & Surf Coast CC rider Brian Long made a triumphant return to Learmonth on Sunday 14th February, taking the win in a 46 km handicap around Mt. Misery.  With a palmares as impressive as Brian’s, a lowly handicap win on a windswept course around a faux mountain shouldn’t rate high…but when you’re 83 years old it’s pretty impressive…and popular!

An invitation went out to GSCCC early in the week as they were unable to stage their own race due to bureaucratic red tape (no permits).  In a complete surprise, a handful of riders from a variety of vets clubs showed up for the day, some even bringing their own cheer squad (Carl Judd came along with Brian Long for a day out).
In total we had 30 riders roll up to the start line.

On a sunny yet windswept course, Long was sent out first with Eureka handicapper Bob Morley – who was nursing a broken rib – for company.  Essentially this would prove to be a time trial effort for Long, as Morley was only there to guide him around the course and try and maintain his own fitness in preparation for the upcoming Ron Rivette Classic (28th Feb).

A long 13 minutes later, the next group (at 16:00 min) consisting of Graeme Parker, Brad Eppingstall and Mandy Rudwick set out in pursuit of glory.
Losing Brad on the long climb to the top of Edmonston Rd, Graeme and Mandy then set about maintaining a consistent rhythm as they rode through Addington and into the westerly headwind.

The 9:00 min group looked strong on paper – if everyone was at the top of their game – however still being early in the season meant there were a few under-done riders.
Led by Barry Robinson and Terry Collie, the group was quickly under pressure as Geelong rider John Long (Brian’s son) was soon dropped on the way up to the first turn.  John’s day done, he rode the whole way home alone, not quite being able to latch onto any of the chasing groups.
Alan Barnett (Goulburn) adapted quickly to the relentless speed of a Eureka Vets race and was able to do his fair share. However it was Roger McMillan and Scott Denno whom would prove the powerhouses in the bunch.
Roger would ultimately pay for his youthful enthusiasm (being dropped by the halfway point), but Denno reminded us that there is a big engine hidden inside and kept driving the pace when others missed a turn or faltered.

The 6:00 min group proved be a mixed bag of talent and fitness.
Led by Steven Kennedy and John Creek, the group also contained Matt Ritchie (entering his second year of  returning to match fitness ) and Rob Parker whose long training miles weren t suited to the speed of a short whirl around Mt. Misery.
Joining the Eureka riders were two unknown quantities – Ian Flannery (Central) and Noel Said (Northern) – both fine tuning their preparations for the Ron Rivette Classic.  Both Ian and Noel had interesting days to say the least…Noel’s chain jumped off in the first few kilometres, leaving him in no man’s land by Addington (and about to hit the head wind alone).  Noel ended up riding the rest of the way home – alone.
Ian lost contact with the group halfway around the course and then got a helping hand from a Eureka rider, back to the club rooms…more on that later…

The 3:00 min group was full of firepower, strength, skill and tenacity…which made Pete Livitsanis wonder what he’d done to the Handicapper to find himself in this bunch.
Fifi is nowhere near the supreme fitness level that he normally has in the early part of the season, his time will come during winter when everyone else is struggling!  As it was, Livitsanis found himself off the back before reaching Addington.
Dan Whelan also found the early pace too tough and he was off the back even earlier than Livitsanis.
Both Whelan and Livitsanis would use their race smarts to latch onto the Scratch bunch and enjoy some assistance around the course.
New rider Peter Canny found himself left with a mate from his cafe bunch (Rick Calvert) and two Bacchus Marsh boys (Richard Taylor and Grant Dawson) who were both very strong.
After the early hiccups, the lads finally found their mojo and worked out that by sharing the workload they could actually go faster.  The only problem was that they started picking up the remnants of other groups.  Would this slow them down?  Could they hold Scratch off?

Scratch consisted of a veritable who’s who of Strava.  From the Pyrenees region came none other than Club Champion, Phil Cartledge; from the Gorge region came that ball of muscle and hair, Matt Bowman; from the quaint village of Buninyong came Mr Orange himself (Strava orange), Brendan Schiemer; then throw in a few local Ballarat hopes such as Lindsay Burgoyne, Dean Griffin and Tony Mirabella…what a line up.
Could anything stand in their way?  Well apparently yes.  As it turns out, in order to win a bike race you need to ride fast…who knew?
The general consensus post race was that Scratch just didn’t ride fast enough into the headwind.
Losing powerhouse Griffin didn’t help their cause.  Dean blew up out on the course – his supremacy on the criterium circuit not yet translating to the road. Yet!  Dean would guide visiting rider Ian Flannery home…the wrong way.  Both riders earning a DNF for their efforts (or was it a DKW, Didn t Know the Way?).

At the head of the race, Long still maintained a five kilometre advantage over his nearest rivals passing the halfway mark.  The following bunches were being torn apart by the wind whilst Long – with the occasional update from spectators – started to believe he could hang on.
Forever chasing, the 3:00 min bunch had dropped most of their passengers as they closed in on Weatherboard.
Calvert sensing victory attacked off the front of the group with 7 kilometres remaining…too bad that he didn’t sense Long and Morley up the road.
Rick’s attack only served to encourage Taylor to launch his own attack up Weatherboard.  Canny followed at a distance whilst Dawson, Calvert and Kennedy scrambled for wheels and tried to bridge the gap.
Taylor was time trialling to the finish with Canny gradually closing the distance.

Up ahead, Long was sailing away to the win, whilst Morley was slowing down due to the effort.  Scratch finally made their way over Weatherboard, dropping Bowman for a short while before he latched onto Mirabella and was brought back.

At the finish, Long won by a big margin over Canny who caught Taylor in the shadows of the big tree.
Calvert just got in over Kennedy, with Morley and Dawson following.
The race for Fastest Time was ignited by Bowman coming out of the dip.  His massive effort being enough to hold the other Scratch men at bay.

Results:
1st – Brian Long (Geelong SCCC)
2nd – Peter Canny
3rd – Richard Taylor
4th – Rick Calvert
5th – Stephen Kennedy
Fastest Time – Matt Bowman,  in 1h 11m 5s

For Long it was a homecoming of sorts.
Born in Ballarat in the 1930’s, Long commenced bicycle racing with the Sebastopol Amateur Cycling Club in 1949.
He has proven to be rather handy at it, winning many track and road events during his 66 years of racing.  Long won the inaugural Victorian Veterans Road Championship race in 1977 on a circuit around Learmonth.

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Brian kitted out in his Sebastopol Amateur Cycling Club jersey, circa 1950.

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Allan Barnett gives Brian Long a hand up.  Ian Nunn is a bit worried it might all go pear shaped, and Scott Denno is simply marvelling at it all.

Photo at top of page – Brian Long leading Bob Morley down Black Bottom Road.

A Ride for Ray – Saturday 20th Feb

A Ride for Ray – Saturday 20th Feb

John Faulkner and Terry Collie will be leading a ride from Bacchus Marsh this coming Saturday – 20th February.

The ride will leave at 8am from the carpark opposite the McDonalds in Bacchus Marsh.

Everyone is welcome to come along for an easy ride of about 20 kilometres out to “the gorge” and back.

Morning tea will follow at a local cafe, as well as a yarn or two about our friend Ray and all things cycling.

EVCC - A Ride for Ray

February 7, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

February 7, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Sunny day criteriums – 7 Feb 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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Dean Griffin reminded everyone why he is a force to be reckoned with at the first criterium for 2016.

From the start it was Dean “Phantom” Wells setting an early yet restrained pace.
Only a few laps in and Brendan “Sheems” Schiemer decided to stretch his legs out.  Fresh off a 130 km ride the day before, Sheems legs were quick to protest.
Lindsay “Hillbilly” Burgoyne, watchful as ever, latched on to this and every surge throughout the race.  Never committing himself, but ensuring that he wasn’t dropped.
Less than ten minutes in and Dean “Pepe” Griffin started putting a few short surges in up the west straight.  Fresh off a placing at the BSCC (B Grade) crit on Wednesday night – which is no easy feat – Dean set about dominating the pack from early in the race.  Not enough to rattle the cages of the real contenders, but certainly enough to start testing Matt “Uluru” Ayres in his first A Grade ride with the club.
Phil “Farky” Cartledge was quick to shut down any surge and then throw his own effort in on the next lap.  Rounding out the group, Tony “Itallian Stallion” Mirabella was also playing the ever watchful game and keeping himself well positioned.

At one point the crit must have resembled a track session.  Dean W on the front, Lindsay second wheel and the others all tucked in.  Eventually Sheems had had enough of the solo time trial effort up front and so he started the surging again.
Keen to join in the funny business, Phil, Dean G and Tony started throwing their weight around as well…all the while, Lindsay staying in touch as only those experienced fellas know how.
Mid race and it was clear that none of the contenders were game enough to try and attack the others, the surging had whittled the field down to five – although Matt and Dean W were always within 100 metres. 

And so it continued, lap after lap, one of the main contenders would throw in a surge down the west straight.  The speed would then back off after passing the start/finish line.  Matt continued to dangle off the back of the bunch and Dean W was like the elastic man, fifty metres off the back, then catching the group (when they slowed) and taking on the lead for a few laps.
Getting close to the end of the race and the pace really started to drop off after the surges, so much so that Dean W was able to get back onto the bunch (Matt having stopped to assist Bob Morley after he kissed the deck) and then perform the lead out duties.

With the pressure off the main contenders as to who would sacrifice their chances, they started jockeying for position and selecting which wheel they wanted.  Dean Griffin’s wheel being the one they all wanted…
Big Deano launched just before the final turn and had the others scrambling.  Lindsay was soon out of contention, Tony didn’t quite have enough fire power, Phil (who had been flat all day) did well to almost challenge and Sheems was able to get close (legs still protesting).
Ultimately it was Deano’s strength and smarts proving too good a combination for the chasers on this day…but will the tides of fortune change next time?

Results:
1st – Dean Griffin
2nd – Brendan Schiemer
3rd – Phil Cartledge

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B Grade

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With last week’s winner promoted to A Grade, it was Rob Phillips who claimed early favouritism, and he didn’t disappoint the punters.  A strong and cagey ride with an aggressive sprint finish saw him take the chocolates from Brett Dedman, yet another Bacchus Marsh new recruit with promise and strong legs.

The biggest B grade criterium field in club history (13) assembled on the line, so many riders in fact that the hard of hearing needed to be up the front to hear Bill’s race brief, and those that chose a soft start at the back were still rounding the first corner when Fifi creaked through the second.
Early bursts of enthusiasm saw Brett, Greg Ley and Danny Whelan all take prominent positions at the pointy end of the race, however with a field this big there was always someone to counter and going off the front early would have been an exercise in futility.
Rick “Suds” Calvert raced keenly, determined to keep things together he countered any attempt to move off the front. But by mid race it was evident there were probably two fields in this one race as Jason Haire, Matt Ritchie, Rob Parker, John Creek successively yo-yo’ed then let go off the back.
Lurking mid-pack, unseen by all, were the mysterious three, Bob Morley, Peter Canny and Steve Kennedy, never sighted on the front, never closing down an attack and all riding well.  Old hands at this racing game they deduced early that this would be a field sprint and they hid away and were waiting, waiting (well actually Steve was just praying, praying to hang on).

The pace of the race stepped up at mid race, Brett, Danny, Greg, and Rob stringing the bunch out on numerous occasions, but it all stayed together.
The final lap saw an inevitable slowing and drawing of breath – who would light the blue touch paper?
Rob and Brett lead it out just before the last corner with Rick and Peter C on their wheel, Bob sitting pretty, ready to pounce from 5th wheel, but OH NO!! calamity…
Muncher Corner claimed another victim – well, actually the same victim!  One would reckon, if one had ridden through a corner 30 times during a race, one would know how to ride through it on the 31st!
Not so our daredevil Bob Spongebob Morley, who sped into the corner at a good clip, found the riders in front had closed out the road, leaving him on the gravel, he hit a pothole, with no time to react he went headfirst over the handlebars into the dirt, his bike spinning in the air behind him.
*He regained consciousness, put his hat back on and, with concussion and a broken rib, got back on his bike and finished the race – we wish the tough old bugger a speedy recovery.

Oblivious to the carnage behind Rob held a huge dominant sprint to the line to claim his first crit victory in living memory, Brett on his shoulder for second in a great first up showing.  Peter Canny showed true grit to get over a dazzling Rick Calvert for third.

Results:
1st – Rob Phillips
2nd – Brett Dedman
3rd – Peter Canny

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C Grade

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A solid and well matched field of 6 starters contested the C grade crit, including new rider Michael Lynch and the return of Madame Sue Parker – legend of the Alps.
Graeme Colonel Parker was so impressed to see Sue on the start line that he decided to race under his wife’s name (well actually we couldn’t find his name tag for the board so we used Elaine’s).

The first few laps were convivial, with laughter and plenty of smiles, but when Stay Away Ray Hodgson and the evergreen Barry Robinson decided to get down to business the tempo went up and Lynchie went out the back.
Roger McMillan, fresh off a strong first up appearance the week before, again demonstrated that it won’t be long before he progresses to higher grades with a dominant performance.
It was the Colonel “Elaine” Parker’s first race of the season and he raced handily, but used the opportunity to blow the cobwebs out and tune up for the bigger races ahead.

As with the other two grades, the evenly matched combatants were cautious about do-or-die attacks, preferring to test each other out but leave a bit in the tank for a counter attack.
So it continued, the stronger sprinters seeing an inevitable sprint finish looming and the lesser sprinters trying to keep the pace up to take something out of the sprinters legs.

Round the home turn and Roger opened up the can of whoop ass, his back wheel squealing with delight as he revved up to full attack speed.  The rest of the field reacted as quickly as they could however the damage was done, the gap was opened and Roger held to the line for his first victory with EVCC.  Barry in pursuit held off a storming Ray for second.

Results:
1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – Barry Robinson
3rd – Ray Hodgson

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January 31, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill, 53 km

January 31, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill, 53 km

Season Opener – 31 Jan 2016 

Graded Scratch Races
Windmill Circuit – 53 km

The best way to end a hot dry Summer? – Start a bike race season.

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On a day that would have had Noah looking for a hammer, 14 fearless road warriors celebrated the start of a new season by getting very wet, revelling in the efficiency of a solid race and a recovery ice-bath all at the same time.
We also baptised three new riders to the club, Matt Ayres, Roger McMillan and Greg Ley (it was Greg’s first actual real race).
Welcome to Eureka, and don’t worry it’s not always that wet, most of the time it’s just really cold and windy.

A Grade

The Phoenix Rises

The Handicapper noted that a disproportionate number of A Graders were absent as light rain literally put a dampener on the day’s proceedings.  Colonel Parker visited the change rooms to ask Dean Wells to step up to A Grade to help out with the “numbers”.  Naturally Phantom agreed to resume his pseudo A Grade role.  He then instantly regretted having made fun of Andrew Rushton’s comically long shorts…or were they comically short pants?  Dean also wondered if the weight of the timing chip would affect his performance on the day…before revealing a latex fetish and donning red rubber shoe covers, which strangely attracted Bob Morley’s interest…

A Grade was the last bunch to start the three lap race around the Windmill circuit.  As the rain continued to fall, Aussie Phil (Farky), Sparky Rushton and Phantom Wells eagerly awaited for the go signal.  In a silent gentleman’s agreement, the trio quickly formed up and rode at a Goldilocks pace, not too harsh, yet not too light.
The “race” would best be described as a solid hit out, each rider equally sharing the load, with turns on the front lasting between 500 and 2000 metres.  No attacks, just a simple solid training ride and getting practice for the upcoming handicaps when cohesive teamwork will be required to chase down the out markers.

So regimental was the riding, that the only excitement for the whole race was Dean putting on his now customary long lead out along Donovans Road – in an attempt to set up Phil and Andrew for a sprint finish.  The pace was raised to 55 kph (albeit with a tailwind) with Andrew in second wheel and Phil holding the prime position – sitting last.
Nearing the finish line, Phil jumped on the inside and with a few quick turns of the 53/11, opened an unassailable gap.  Andrew content to sit on Dean’s wheel and watch the Club Champion finish the race off.

All is well in the World – the reign of the new Champion has begun.

Results:
1st – Phil Cartledge
2nd – Dean Wells
3rd – Andrew Rushton

B Grade

Matt’s Maiden

B Grade assembled en masse, with a magnificent 7 surging into the tempest in a quest for early season glory.  It became evident from some early (yet modest) race sparring, that the combatants were evenly matched, no one strong enough to get away today (or mad enough to try).  A sprint finish became inevitable.

From the land that time forgot and home to other Eureka legends like Monsieur le President, Riff Raff, Robocop and Stay Away Ray, came two new racers, Matt Ayres and Greg Ley, both showing plenty.
Matt’s turn of speed and Greg’s strength and daring particularly impressive (nicknames to follow!).
All bone, sinew and gristle, Danny Whelan, without his trademark blue coat and channelling his inner Pantani, was as honest as ever, driving on the front and keeping the pace up to ensure that this wouldn’t just be a roll out to a sprint finish.
Rick “Rinso” Calvert, rode his backside off in his return race, even had foamy suds coming out of his knicks (too much OMO), always on the pace and covering moves, he even had a dig or two himself.
Who would have thought that with his advancing years Rob Phillips would learn new tricks?  Rob is in tip-top knick and seemed to roll along with the nonchalance and ease of a pro-rider, toying with the other mere mortals.  He also rode a very tactical race, only being drawn out when he had to, and sitting back to wait for others to counter moves.
Following Rob’s wheel everywhere it went, was the smartest guy in the race – Spongebob Morley isn’t stripped down to racing weight yet but he was never out of position, hardly ever on the front, and has enough power to lay down in a sprint to challenge.

So, it all came down to the last lap.  The pace was set high by Matt and Rob up to the quarry which discouraged any attacks on the steeper pinch.  All together up the back straight and round the Coghills Ck corner.  But the mood changed with the turn into Donovans, Matt and Rob stormed out of the corner and stretched the race out, with neither of them getting clear and Rick and Bob closing them down they settled again and the rest of the field rejoined.

Perfect time for a counter attack, and it was Greg – in his first race – that launched 2 km from home, he opened up 40 metres and was holding it as the rest of the field eyed each other waiting for someone else to sacrifice their race to close him down.
Fifi loves to chase stuff, so off he went, dragging the rest along with him.  250 metres to go and they were on Greg’s back wheel when Matt opened the sprint, immediately ripping 20 metres out of everyone else.  Rob got on his wheel but didn’t have the power to go over him.  Spongebob and Rinso duked it out for third a couple of bike lengths back.

A great first-up win by Matt, who we will no doubt be seeing more from.

Results:
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Rob Phillips
3rd – Bob Morley

C Grade

Popeye Sails Home

C grade were given the privilege of opening the season and rolled off the line into an uncertain three laps of Windmill with some foolish souls thinking it was summer and not bringing any winter gear.  Certainly putting the can of Coke into the fridge Saturday night started to seem like a bit of overkill (particularly since Terry Collie had not even fitted a bidden cage to the bike)!

After a short pause to turn on a tail light, the group became organised and, although no contracts were signed, settled down work together.  There seemed to be an unspoken consensus that there was not much point in spreading the race over half the course and riding alone in the drizzle.  It took about half a lap before the water started to trickle down into the shoes but thankfully it was not too cold, although wipers on the glasses would have come in handy at times.

New rider Roger McMillan (another from down Bacchus Marsh) was more than holding his own and looking fluent so it was hard to gauge how he was actually feeling.
The same can be said for Popeye – Kevin Lee was not looking in any trouble.
Jude Jonasson began to feel it a bit on some of the uphill sections but could not be written off and kept rolling through after a little recovery.  Underneath that quiet exterior resides a tough and determined lady.

And so it came to pass that  groupo intacto the four turned into Donovans Road and on the run up to the crest of the hill before the run to the finish.  Kevin upped the ante with Terry briefly catching the wheel – until the rear Vittoria began to soften.
The race had split and Popeye was away and gone – working hard to avoid a sprint.  Roger recovered to pass Terry and consolidate his hold on second and Jude fought on to finish third.
The showers were hot – lovely.

Results:
1st – Kevin Lee
2nd – Roger McMillan
3rd – Jude Jonasson
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