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September 11, 2016 – STEELSMITH ENGINEERING Graded Scratch – Coghills Creek, 63 km

September 11, 2016 – STEELSMITH ENGINEERING Graded Scratch – Coghills Creek, 63 km

Aggregate Race Heats Up – 11 September 2016 

Graded Scratch Races

Coghills Creek – 63 km

Learmonth was bathed in warm Spring sunshine, with a mere zephyr of a northwesterly gently caressing the fields of vivid yellow canola.  The day was heaven sent for riding.  Strange thing was, no one showed up!  Fields were depleted by injury, VVCC time trial champs, charity rides on the coast and other assorted miserable excuses. Regardless and undaunted, ten hopefuls in TWO grades did pin on numbers.

A Grade


Italian Stallion back in form

Six riders arrived at the start line on time.  The seventh, Dean Wells, was off in his own little world, hello trees, hello flowers, bugger off magpies!  Rookie mistake, meant he actually missed the race start!  So, he turns around and rides in the opposite direction, to “head em off at the pass” with the blessing of the race referee who was momentarily vehicularly challenged.  All of a sudden, Dean’s nickname “The Phantom” makes a lot of sense!

Rob Phillips decide that B grade was not for a man of his standing and promoted himself to A Grade.  Rob perhaps underestimated the difference a holiday makes to solid race form.  Peter Kiel up for a dog fight as usual and the “Sunshine Kid” Brendan Schiemer and Tony Mirabella had both shown up for a “recovery ride” after long 100 km plus rides on Saturday.  Rick “Sudso” Calvert is living proof that if you train despite the weather you actually improve and Grant “Roy” Rogers (visiting rider from Geelong & Surf Coast CC and winner of two interclub races this season) was the last of the magnificent 7.

Wells rolled up on a surprised B Grade who were sure they hadn’t seen anything behind them up the 5km back straight, he explained that he had taken a shortcut – which still baffled B grade, “shortcut”? isn’t that just cheating?  Once through Coghills Creek, he pulled over and waited for A Grade.  Obviously Dean’s race had just become a hard training ride which meant the rest of A Grade didn’t have to sit looking at each other as to who was going to go to the front – they had Dean for that!

Tony was trying to stamp his authority on the race to see if he could dislodge a few by surging out in front.  The sharp accelerations certainly causing some unease at the back of the bunch.  He did succeed in dislodging Rogers on the second lap.
The Sunshine Kid Schiemer rolled off the front a few times, taunting the others to chase and usually it was a watchful Kiely that chased him down.
Sudso Calvert was present at the front a lot – still learning the A Grade ropes – and probably working a bit too hard for a scratch race.

Phillips was the next to fall off the back of the bunch and this effectively left just four to contest the outcome (with Wells only present as a windbreak and for nuisance value).?  For his troubles, Phillips was rewarded by the local magpie and swooped time and time again.

Last lap and the surges from Mirabella and Schiemer were both less in number and intensity.  The attacks still caused Calvert, Kiel and Wells to scramble and weariness was beginning to show on every rider.
Nearing the sharp left turn for the final time, both Mirabella and Schiemer made attacks into the wind.  The bunch was barely together as they rounded the corner and felt the ever increasing wind at their backs.  ?Wells had the pace up near 50 kph as they raced towards the chicane before Schiemer launched an attack just 100 metres before the turn.  He opened a 30 to 40 metre gap as the other riders tucked in behind Wells for the usual lead out train down Donovans Road.

Over the rise in Donovans Road and Schiemer is still tantalisingly close.  With two kilometres remaining, Wells reminds the others that he isn’t there to close down gaps.  Immediately Mirabella surges forward and quickly crosses to Schiemer.  Both Kiel and Calvert were able to cross with him, but the pace slowed again as the combatants started playing games.
Wells rolls back to the front and the others tuck in for what looked to be a sprint finish.?  Nearing the line and Calvert opens his sprint first.  He quickly has a space, but Mirabella is able to get to his wheel.  Schiemer’s legs have finally given up and Kiel just can’t close the gap.
Calvert is putting his all in, but Mirabella is able to catch his breath before striking out for the line and winning.

1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Rick Calvert
3rd – Peter Kiel

B Grade


Fifi makes move on Aggregate 

Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis was promoted to honorary, proxy, deputy, padawan handicapper for the day, and failed the first law of handicapping – don’t win.
Just three riders amicably rolled away for a 63 kilometre race on the Coghills Creek circuit, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Fifi, Mark O’Callaghan, and Danny “Fidel” Whelan.

The first lap was completed at a nonchalant pace which didn’t disturb the slightly apprehensive Danny Whelan much.  In fact he was emboldened, into the second lap and Danny assumes the front position, for what reason only the God’s might know.  He then proceeds to lead the other two  for the full length of the back straight into the wind.
Eventually Mark twigs that a tiring Fidel might be easy to pick off, and just before the top corner after Coghills Ck he unmercifully attacks, Fifi saw it all coming and tagged along but Danny was immediately gapped as Mark surged away downhill, downwind.

But…Fidel wasn’t done for just yet, he chased, and with the unmentionable assistance of a dropped A Grade rider found himself once more on the back of Fifi and Mark.
Mark, showing some definite race craft immediately attacks again.  This time Fidel is gone for all money and instead of turning left at the end of the home straight in pursuit, he turned right and rolled back to the club rooms to collapse next to his car.

Mark continues at a fair clip past the quarry and up the rise, burning heaps of matches, then the inevitable, O’Callaghan blows!  Fifi contemplates his future, still 15 km to go and a long slog into the wind, should he wait and burn Mark slowly and jump him in a sprint, or go for a long solo.

“Use the force Luke”.  Decision quickly made, and figuring everyone else is riding solo why shouldn’t he…  Fifi switches off his range finder, takes a deep breath and ploughs onwards.  At the top mark he had about a minute advantage and holds it downwind to take victory.

1st – Peter Livitsanis
2nd – Mark O’Callaghan

August 28, 2016 – Team Time Trial handicap – Waubra out and back, 43 km – EUROPA CAFE W.A.R.S. round 7

August 28, 2016 – Team Time Trial handicap – Waubra out and back, 43 km – EUROPA CAFE W.A.R.S. round 7

Europa Café

W.A.R.S. – round 7

Team Time Trial handicap – 28 August 2016

Waubra out and back, 43 km


W.A.R.S. 2016 round 7

We can get together!

*Round 3 of the Europa Café 2016 W.A.R.S. was cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions.
With the reduction in total races for the series from 7 to 6,
the aggregate will now be decided using the best SIX race results of each rider.
In the event of a tie, placings will be determined using a count back system.

Spring arrived in Learmonth on black and white wings with sharp beaks and claws (yep that darn magpie is back!).  To celebrate its return (ok it was still actually winter…but it felt like spring) the 12 cyclists assembled under the very residence (the big finish line tree) of the most obnoxious, cantankerous mascot of a second rate footy team (that’s harsh!) that ever existed.
Helmets were given a beating by winged furies with eyes black as coal and talons of steel.  However, apart from spontaneous gesticulation and swearing, rider’s spirits were high because today was Team Time Trial day – a much awaited phenomena that no one understands but everyone enjoys.

For those unfamiliar with this form of racing please refer to the perfectly simple explanation written by Terry Collie (see bottom of this report…after the bit about the W.A.R.S. sponsor – Europa Café) which may cause your brains to explode as you try to comprehend the (tongue in cheek) explanation.

The TTT was also the last race in the W.A.R.S.  Whilst the race had no bearing on the eventual aggregate winner, the minor placings did come down to today – including one of the corner marshals – yes “Sparky” Rushton stood on a corner and earned a single point for his participation…that put him equal third in the aggregate (fourth on a count back).

Team Scratch/A Grade

(Thanks to Dean for the storyline – and because they won A Grade get the longest write up!)
The Scratch Team consisted of Tony Mirabella, Dean Wells and newbie Rick Calvert.  Rick is still coming to terms with being elevated to Scratch.  Like many before him, Rick sees his promotion as a short term solution until more capable riders return to racing.
At the start line, all three riders discussed and agreed upon the race plan.  The outward leg would have a lot of head wind on the road to Addington and crosswinds would be battled on the journey to the turnaround point at Black Bottom Rd.
The plan was simple.  Ride an even race on the way out, gradually build up pace in the crosswind.  Try and come home harder.

Bill counted the start down and away they went.  Tony straight to the front and within 100 metres the pace is already over 40 kph.  Longer turns as each rider got a feel for the wind.  Tony leading up the first climb towards the Avenue Rd intersection.  Dean gradually ramps the pace up as they close in on the Edmonston Rd turn.  Right turn and whack!  The wind is being funnelled by the hedges straight down the road.  Shorter turns and the pace is in the mid 20s.

Nearing the top of the climb the team start to pick up the pace again, but the downhill to Addington doesn’t help as the headwind is quite strong.  Through the left turn and the climb out of Addington sees the team close together and maintaining a good pace.  Over the crest and some distant figures can be seen way ahead.  It does’t look like the Scratch team has taken any time (3 minute gap from the start) out of the Morley, Livitsanis, O’Callaghan team.
At the sharp rise near the Waubra Rd intersection, Rick eases back to help Dean who struggled.  Dean then rolls through to the front and leads the trio all the way to the highpoint.

Tony and Rick swap turns after cresting the climb and the pace is up above 50 kph.  Occasionally one of the other teams is spotted far ahead.  Tony leads on the steeper downhill section and finally other teams – that have already turned around – are spotted as they pass by.
A little bit of a shambles at the turnaround, the team quickly regroups and Tony sets the pace for the steeper part of the climb.
Onto the straight section and the other teams pop into view at intervals as they ride over higher sections of road.

The Scratch team is closing rapidly on the other teams and they can see that the Morley team is already overtaking others.  Even rotations from Scratch see them pass the Parker, Jonasson, Ritchie team, then they are quickly upon the Collie, McMillan, Ayres team.  The Morley team has already crested the hill and have a few hundred metres over Team Scratch.

The long drag back towards Addington sees Scratch gradually close the gap to the Morley team, them a small rise in the road allows the catch to happen quickly.  Clear road ahead!
The Scratch team race down to the Addington turn and surge out of it.  Barely a chance to catch their breath as they charge back up the Edmonston Rd climb.  Easy on the steeper section, but Rick and Tony are bounding upwards as though it doesn’t exist.
Dean back into the lead for the final few hundred metres to the crest.  The tailwind aides a terrific pace that is over 45 kph.  Tony takes over for the whole run down to the left turn.  The wind is literally throwing the Scratch team towards that corner.

Safely through the sharp left turn and the team quickly regroups and start driving towards the finish.  Each rider pushing to his maximum as the line nears.  The last few hundred metres hurt and then finally the line.  Braking, patting each other on the back, gasping and looking around to see how much gap they have opened.
Back to the finish line to watch the other teams roll in, then an easy tailwind assisted ride back to the clubrooms.  Everyone exuberant after having completed their Team Time Trial.

Team B Grade/Morley

Captain Bob Muncher Morley issued his complicated instructions to Mark O’Callaghan and Peter Fifi Livitsanis, they weren’t listening all that intently and all they heard was ‘….go hard when you’re on the front….’.  The countdown by Bill Goldfinch…and ‘away you go’.

Muncher peeled off the start line at a million miles an hour and between sharp intakes of air Mark commented that ‘Muncher wasn’t kidding was he…’, Fifi didn’t comment because to open his mouth would have meant letting go of the handlebars that were securely lodged between his teeth.
Morley was certainly on a mission, probably because as handicapper he knew the slim handicap advantage this bunch was trying to defend.

They slogged their way into Addington and Fifi pushed the tempo up Misery, Mark felt the sharp bits a bit more severely than Fifi and Bob but was a huge advantage on the long straights and downhills.  Approaching the turnaround and the two teams ahead had not come into view on their return journeys yet – all good signs they were closing in.
Sure enough over the last brow of a hill and there were the C and D grade teams just making a start on the return climb.
Bob rounded the cone and pressed forward, Mark and Fifi made a bit of a mess of the turnaround and dropped a few seconds.  Soon enough they were into the hill, and the field started to collapse.  They were gaining quickly on C and D Grade and A grade were nipping at their heels.

The catch was almost simultaneous, B grade passed C and D and A grade were quick to follow.  A Grade eventually claimed B grade not far from Addington.    Now like everyone else it was a matter of committing to limiting gaps if they had any chance (except A Grade who were trying to make as big a gap as possible and beat the “secret” handicap marks).
The final analysis it was a determined sprint for the line that brought second place glory by mere seconds.

Team C Grade/Collie

With the advice of the self-appointed captain, Terry Collie ringing in their ears ‘don’t go until you blow up’, the power in this group trio came from Matt Ayres. Although he was to be conservative to avoid popping his stitches – one man’s conservative is another’s world of pain.
Optimism ruled the day early as both Terry and Roger McMillan settled in and started working turns, however by the time the trio reached the monument on the way OUT reality had set in…and it became a case of Matt in control.  The other two doing what they could to help out and give Matt what assistance they could.
The front group of Jude, Graeme and the lightly raced Matt Ritchie were caught not long after the turnaround point near Black Bottom Road and then back on the Waubra Road the two chasing groups (B and A grade teams) caught and passed in quick succession.  Both the A and B grade teams appeared to be evenly matched and were making good progress.
It was then a case of doing the best possible to the finish.  Roger was digging deep and admitted post race that under normal conditions he would have dropped off but that is the beauty of teams racing – you find something you perhaps thought was not there – love the Team Time Trial!

Team D Grade

The alpine lass with the Nordic temperament, Jude Jonasson was accompanied by Colonel Graeme Parker and the newly returned prodigal son Matt Ritchie, who was in search of his “summer beach body”.  Matt’s returns always seem to coincide with a race on Misery, not the greatest course if you’re looking for a soft start to your cycling season.
The three kept things together with Jude leading the way up the hills and tagging on the back going down them, Graeme and Matt cursing gravity on the way up and celebrating on the way down.  Gravity is the universe’s weakest force, however it still seems to conquer cyclists (so perhaps cyclists are the universe’s weakest force) – well may the force be with you.

They made the turnaround at Blackbottom Road without being caught – a great effort seeing they only had a 4 min head start on C Grade.
The long climb back up Misery started to take its toll as one by one the three teams behind whistled past.  Now it was just a slog for the line to limit the damage and hopefully maintain their handicap advantage.
They arrived together and while finishing fourth they were only a few minutes off the winning time.

1st – A Grade (Rick Calvert, Tony Mirabella, Dean Wells)
2nd – B Grade (Bob Morley, Peter Livitsanis, Mark O’Callaghan)
3rd – C Grade (Matt Ayres, Terry Collie, Roger McMillan)
4th – D Grade (Jude Jonasson, Graeme Parker, Matt Ritchie)


2016 Winter Aggregate Race Series – proudly sponsored by Europa Café.
And what of the W.A.R.S.?
The winner of the aggregate, (who takes home a $100 Europa Café voucher)
and immense glory was Damien Kierl, with a handicap race and two scratch race wins from just three starts in the series.
Second place was Bob Morley, third Peter Livitsanis and fourth was Andrew Rushton.
All place getters received a bottle of sparkly wine courtesy of Dean Wells.
Special mention to Bob Morley and Mark O’Callaghan for being the only two riders to participate on each of the six days
(round 3 was cancelled due to inclement weather).
Special thanks to Dean and Europa Café for bringing the series together and their support.

And so, yes the W.A.R.S. have come to an end for 2016, but that also means that winter is over!
What better place to celebrate the return of spring than Europa Café where you can enjoy the hospitality every day from 7:00am for breakfast.

Europa Café is located in the Ballarat CBD at 411 Sturt Street.

Breakfasts, lunches, coffee and cake…maybe even a nice glass of wine,
the spacious, inexpensive family style café, offers a range of tasty treats, hearty meals and scrumptious snacks.

We thank Kathryn and Jason for their ongoing support of our club and the Winter Aggregate Race Series.

The winners of EVERY race in the 2016 W.A.R.S. receive a Europa Café voucher.

Europa Cafe logo s

August 21, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Mt. Misery 46 km – EUROPA CAFE W.A.R.S. round 6

August 21, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Mt. Misery 46 km – EUROPA CAFE W.A.R.S. round 6

Europa Café

W.A.R.S. – round 6

Graded Scratch – 21 August 2016

Mt. Misery, 46 km

W.A.R.S. 2016 round 6

Wet, wet, wet

*Round 3 of the Europa Café 2016 W.A.R.S. was cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions.
With the reduction in total races for the series from 7 to 6,
the aggregate will now be decided using the best SIX race results of each rider.
In the event of a tie, placings will be determined using a count back system.

Clear skies with a warm sun would have greeted riders somewhere in Australia today.  At Learmonth there was light rain and plenty of ground water from the downfalls we have had during the week.  A small contingent of <insert disparaging comment> arrived out at the club rooms.  Many were hoping for a cancellation…but really the weather wasn’t that bad.  Strong winds would have been another story!

A Grade:

A warm welcome to Rick Calvert who graduated to A Grade today and rode a very controlled race.  Rick was even still in with a show when the final sprint started.
Tony was up and about today, leading from the front and spending a few kilometres up the road.  This wasn’t by design though.  Back in the field one rider was having a few body issues and the rest of the group eased up to check him out.

A surge out of Addington didn’t unhitch anyone, but the next hills did, with both Dean Wells and Matt Bowman off the back.  A concerted chase by Wells (with Bowman dangling off the back) resulted in a regrouping by the highpoint on the circuit.
Bowman then launched off the front of the bunch and held the chasers for 20 kilometres.  For most people this would be a pretty good achievement…for Matt…we sort of expect nothing less.  Wells was dropped during the groupo chase of Bowman who was eventually caught by the remnants of the bunch and went straight out the back.  Job done for Matt…in what was a final time trial effort before heading over to Perth for the 2016 Gran Fondo World Championships in early September.

The Bowman catch saw a flurry of attacks from Keirl and Mirabella.  Andrew Rushton was the next to unhitch, leaving Damien Keirl, Mirabella and Calvert to take it to the line.  Rushton was bemused by Bowman’s continuing time trial antics as they continued to the line.  Matt in front, Matt behind, Matt a long way back, Matt surging past again, Matt dropping back again, etc.

In the race to the line Calvert felt the pinch first and it was left to Mirabella and Keirl to go head to head.  Keirl winning the sprint with ease.

1st – Damien Keirl
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Rick Calvert

B Grade:

Noel Said (Northern) ventured up from Melbourne for another hit out with Eureka.  He was surprised at the rain because up until Gordon the roads had been dry.  A little bit of mirth before the start for Mark O’Callaghan actually making it to the start line on time (the previous day he was over 5 minutes late for a race with his running club)!
This interesting bunch rolled turns for the first half of the race before O’Callaghan attacked.  Scott Denno realised this was a train he needed to catch and quickly scrambled aboard.  So quick was the attack that Said, Dan Whelan and Bob Morley were completely caught out.
Chase as they might, this one wasn’t coming back – the trio chasing would sprint for 3rd place only.

Into the straight and over the final rise, the two new friends (having only met at the club rooms prior to the race) would now become foe.
Denno was “stuffed” and just about to sit up (to let O’Callaghan take the glory for his decisive move), when O’Callaghan shouts out ‘You go for it’.
Game face back on, Denno cleared away to take the prize in a “one up” sprint.  O’Callaghan took second place after his courageous attack early in the race.
The chasing trio sprinted for the final podium place with Morley the best of the rest in the run home.

1st – Scott Denno
2nd – Mark O’Callaghan
3rd – Bob Morley


Mano e mano.  On this last day of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, it was only right that at least one contest should be fought out in a style befitting the occasion.

Ed. – Actually there is more drama in the following write up than ought be, because let’s face it, one on one means a lot of pain for both riders if they attack each other from the “get-go”.

Terry Collie and James Gretton were like dogs turned wild as they surged from the starting gate.  Over the first rise and the first of many attacks is launched.  Quickly countered, the warriors then set about systematically destroying each other.

Proceedings eased down Black Bottom Road as the pair were passed by the larger A and B grade races.   It seemed the combatants were even enjoying their time…  (Ed. – this is in fact how the whole “race” was played out until the final sprint)

Over the Weatherboard hill and the race has resumed its earnest battle to the death.  Shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, maybe even a few head buts thrown in…but at the line the younger Gretton has prevailed over Collie.  Maybe it happened like that?

C Grade:
1st – James Gretton
2nd – Terry Collie

The W.A.R.S. might be coming to an end next week, but you can enjoy the hospitality of Europa Café anytime.

Europa Café is located in the Ballarat CBD at 411 Sturt Street.  The cafe is open every day from 7:00am for breakfast and lunch.

The spacious, inexpensive family style café, offers a range of tasty treats, hearty meals and scrumptious snacks.

We thank Kathryn and Jason for their ongoing support of our club and the Winter Aggregate Race Series.

The winners of EVERY race in the 2016 W.A.R.S. receive a Europa Café voucher.

Europa Cafe logo s

August 14, 2016 – FORTY WINKS Eureka Interclub – Windmill, 52.5 km

August 14, 2016 – FORTY WINKS Eureka Interclub – Windmill, 52.5 km

Eureka Interclub

14 August 2016

Eureka VCC, Colac VCC, Geelong SCC

Windmill circuit, 52.5 km

EVCC Interclub 2016 - poster


Typical Ballarat sunny skies greeted the 42 riders who converged for the Eureka Interclub race.
Colac and Geelong riders joined Eureka in a 52.5 km handicap on the Windmill circuit which had a north westerly breeze blowing across it.

The 4 minute group rode a smart race to fill four of the top five places.  They were the largest bunch on the day and caught the 8 minute group by the end of the second lap.  The large combined bunch soon had their sights on the leaders and members of the 4 minute group assumed responsibility for the chase.
A concerted effort saw them catch the leaders by the crest of Crick’s Hill.  This left just eight kilometres to try and shake all the passengers they had picked up along the way.

At times the 30 strong bunch were spread out in single file as the pace continued to increase.  Riders from the out-marker groups started to drop off the back as the stronger riders kept applying pressure in the wind, however some very fast finishers from the 8 and 12 minute groups were getting a tow to the finish.
Into Donovans Road and over the rise for the final time the field was again stretched out as riders started jockeying for position to ensure they wouldn’t be dropped.
Inside the final two kilometres an adventurous attack by one rider saw him open a small twenty metre gap which was soon reeled in.

A bunch finish was going to decide the outcome as over twenty riders hurtled towards the finish.  Grant Rogers started his sprint early and opened a small gap on Brett Dedman, the two drew away from the chasers with Rogers winning by two bike lengths.  A tight group of seven riders crossing the line a further two lengths behind Dedman.

Watching the race from behind was the remnants of the combined bunch of Scratch and the 1 minute group.  Each group had lost manpower on the first lap and whilst they continued to take ground off the supersized lead bunch, they were never going to catch them.
In the end Gary Wearmouth and Tony Luppino fought out a sprint for Fastest Time.  A dead heat was declared.

In other news… Grant Dawson (1 minute) had a fall just before the turn into Donovans Road for the last time.  Grant had dropped off the back of the combined Scratch and 1 minute bunch.  An entanglement with Carl Judd saw Grant hit the deck and suffer a broken collarbone and much road rash.  Grant insisted on shooting the wind with fellow riders at the post race feed, before finally being coaxed off to hospital.  We wish Grant a fast recovery, along with all the other Eureka Vets who are sidelined post crashes, illness and operations.

Thank you to everyone who made the trip out to Learmonth today – the riders, spectators, marshals and officials and of course our marvellous kitchen volunteers.

1st – Grant Rogers (Geelong, 4 minutes)
2nd – Brett Dedman (Eureka, 4 minutes)
3rd – Ralph Iselt (Colac, 4 minutes)
4th – Scott Denno (Eureka, 8 minutes)
5th – Craig VanDort (Geelong, 4 minutes)
6th – Vic Mason (Geelong, 8 minutes)
7th – Amanda Hosking (Geelong, 12 minutes)
8th – Paul Bird (Geelong, 12 minutes)
Fastest Time (deadheat) – Gary Wearmouth (Geelong), Tony Luppino (Colac) in 1h 19m 45s

Photo L-R: Brett Dedman (2nd), Grant Rogers (1st), Ralph Iselt (3rd).



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