October 21, 2018 – The Goldfinch – handicap 55 Km

Southern Cross Business Machines – 21 October 2018

The Goldfinch

Ercildoune/Addington Loop– 55 km

 EVCC 2018 The Goldfinch - poster

Blue Wheel Trophy

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Handicapping genius, all 7 bunches represented in Top 12 riders

Blue sky could be seen through the clouds as riders arrived for the first instalment of a brand new trophy race.  By race start – thirty five riders had signed on for The Goldfinch.

Riders were racing to win the medal in honour of Lois and Bill Goldfinch whom are well known throughout the Victorian veteran cycling community. Also, the winner of the race would be the first inscribed on the Blue Wheel Trophy – the perpetual trophy for the event.
This trophy race will be renamed each year in honour of stalwarts of our club who ensure that we race each and every week. Their dedication to our members and club is part of the Eureka fabric which others aspire to.
What better way to start a new trophy race and acknowledge Lois and Bill who have been at the club since day one?  Thirty five riders!  Enough said!

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A most interesting Limit bunch set off with the healthy mark of 30 minutes.  Club President – John Faulkner – had found his mojo and his bike in the same corner of the garage.  Faulk’s day amounted to pretty much a solo time trial and somehow he missed riding up the big hill – oh well, next year!
James Knipe was back for his first race in ages.  He shouldn’t have been, but he was.  “Mack” has taken the term “drug program” to all new levels recently.  We’re happy to have him back!  Mack had a great time out, except for that darn hill.  It was pretty much the story of everyone’s day…
Trial rider Bill Dwyer was back for another race.  Bill enjoyed the climbing so much that he turned left after racing off Mount Ercildoune and headed towards Waubra…  Thankfully he realigned upon reaching the Sunraysia Hwy and found his way back to Learmonth.  Bill must be wondering if we ever race on a flat course…
The final rider in the quartet was Jakkii Dawson.  Jak had once again dragged her family up to Learmonth to watch her race.  In fact, this year Jak has been dragging them around everywhere for her racing this year.  Speaking of dragging, that is exactly what Jakkii did today with Limit.  Eventually the ropes were broken and she was left to fly free…after John told her ‘Don’t wait for me, get bloody going!’

Six riders rode off 17 minutes as the Second Limit group.  Handicapper – Peter Livitsanis – has steadily elevated himself out in the marks this year.  This isn’t so much to give himself a time advantage, as to ensure he is surrounded by big bodies.
Fellow shorty – Roger McMillan – was using this race as his final hit out for the Geelong Open next weekend.  Roll turns with the group and smash the hill to smithereens…was how Rog mentally prepared himself.  The reality may have been somewhat different, however he heads to Paraparap next week full of confidence.
Phil McLennan still does crazy running sports on Saturdays before coming out and racing on Sundays.  With the high early pace in the race, Phil’s day lasted longer than he originally expected.  Those final climbs were enough to finally unhitch him from his bunch.
James Gretton rode out of his skin today to win the sprint finish for about 30th place.  Usually our races approach the Harrison’s Road climb from the south and time and time again, “Ralph” somehow gets lost on the course and doesn’t make it to the big hill.  No fear this time, as Ralph did plenty of the power work for his group, before ultimately capitulating on the lower slopes of the Harrison’s Road climb.  Once over the top he found his rhythm again and was a force to be reckoned with on the home straight.
Rob Parker has been carefully selecting his events this year.  Back in the autumn he identified the parcours of the Ercildioune-Addington Loop as suiting his talents and spent winter preparing for his assault on the race.
New club member Cameron Farrington has already graced the criterium circuit this spring and shown that he has a pretty handy motor.  He will be happy in the knowledge that our circuits don’t get much tougher than this one…well they do…just don’t tell him.

There was a rort going on in the 13 minute group today.  Third Limit containing the likes of Mick Veal who normally rides off 9 minutes in Open events?!
Well we wouldn’t have believed it, but the doc must have worked some voodoo magic to get a place in this bunch.  None of his cohorts were complaining. In fact they liked the change up…Livitsanis OUT, Veal IN.
Danny Whelan was back after his version of tapering the previous weekend.  The Hill likes Dan and Dan likes the Hill.  Actually, Dan just likes inflicting pain.
Noel Said was satisfied that winter had finally broken in Ballarat.  After holidaying in sunny Europe during the colder Australian months, Noel was back and ready to rumble.  This sort of course suits his style of riding.  Unfortunately for everyone in Third Limit, Noel’s small physique provides the worst sit in Victorian veterans racing.
Bob Morley was looking trim and ready to rumble today.  Trading barbs at the start line, “Muncher” was also gathering his troops for the battle ahead.  Confident in his ability to hang on when the going gets tough, Muncher just needed to make sure the bunch didn’t implode too early.
The final member of the group was Greg Nunn.  Another rider who in a smaller field would find himself back a bunch.  Quiet confidence about Nunny today who was much less chatty than usual on the start line.  He was rating himself a big chance and so were we.

The middle bunch was the largest group of the day with eight riders all told and some pretty big hitters.  From here back to Scratch, the rider numbers would drop by two in each group.  Would the numerical advantage make all the difference?  Another factor that could have a say in the proceedings, was that half of the riders from the middle to Scratch had competed the previous day in a fast and furious race with Ballarat Sebastopol CC – on a short, but challenging circuit.
Ash Burke must have been wondering if he had offended the Handicapper to find himself in this bunch.  Ash’s plan was to hang on for as long as possible, then hang on some more.  He was honoured to be placed in this company, but dang it was going to be a fast ride!
Richard Taylor was up from Bacchus Marsh for a rare race.  Even when he isn’t race fit, Rich still puts in a huge effort.  There would be no sitting on by this bloke!
Brian Ure was pleased to find himself somewhat elevated in the rankings.  Eventually his ability to race hard was going to be noticed and this was that day.  His “Froome like frame” was deceptive as the hills were somewhat less to his liking.  Take him to a sprint finish at your peril.
Rick Calvert barely registered Harrison’s Road as a blip.  Climbing Mont Ventoux THREE times in the ONE day tends to give a rider a different perspective on climbing.  As long as he could hold pace with the bunch, he was more than ready to go ballistic on the Hill.
Jeremy Humber was happy with the large entries for the race.  The slight push out would certainly work in his favour.  Managing his effort on the climb would be the key to his race.
Grant Dawson has been getting a few races in recently.  With the larger group he would be able to take it a little bit easier today and not continually drive the bunch – happy with the mark and supremely confident in his ability to be strong in this group, the only hiccup for Dawson would be a mechanical…or some other crazy reason…
Jim Crumpler is breathing rare air in the outer groups of recent at both cycling clubs.  Still recovering from a nasty head crunching fall a few weeks earlier, those crazy long touring rides he did over winter are helping serve riders who normally wouldn’t get the privilege of seeing “Lever” in action.
Peter Canny was certainly happy to have Lever in his bunch.  Having sat on him for 8/9 of a 45 Km race the previous day, Canny was more than prepared to do it again in a longer race.

Third Scratch rode off at 5 minutes.  Five big bodied engines and one nimble climber made up this group.
Early stages and the group rolled turns.  Not always fluently, however it was more than efficient enough to steal some seconds off the groups ahead and open a gap on Second Scratch.  Losing Birch (flat tyre) before halfway did not help their chase.
Matt Ayres rode above and beyond today for the group’s glory.  Expecting to fail on the Hill, Ayres planned to do as much of the work as possible in the earlier stages before handing over to the climbers on the hills.  At every opportunity on the flat, he would power back to the front and provide another effort.
Jason Birch had a short ride due to the flat tyre which saw him out of the race.  Until then he was easily holding his own in the group.  We’ll never know if could have come second again…
Stuart Brien had raced the previous day, yet was comfortable when the rolling turns were smooth.  Somehow he hung on all the way to the turn onto Harrisons Road.  Off the bunch on the climb, he would perform some heroics on the few downhill sections for some glory on the day – see Strava.
Jason Hendry seems to be going comfortably one moment, then struggling the next.  Able to hang on when the roads turned upwards, Jason paced himself admirably and still had enough left in the tank for some late efforts.
Peter Kiel swapped turns with the big bodies on the flat sections, then accepted much of the pacing responsibility when the roads turned up.  Over the top of the Hill, Pete pushed hard and led many of the bigger riders (who had tagged on) downhill.
Dean Wells was another to have raced the previous day – like Brien and Birch.  Sore legs were forgotten as the roads turned up and some of the speed left the group.  This was his territory and he rarely relinquished the pace making duties as the group edged closer and closer to the bunches ahead.

Second Scratch were set one almighty task on this day!  Four riders chasing larger bunches and three of them had raced the previous day.  From the start they were a kilometre or two off the speed they needed to average.  Maybe they could join forces with Scratch?
Greg Ley had the freshest legs in the group.  When the inevitable catch was made by Scratch (albeit much earlier than any of them had expected), Greg quickly went to work and matched it with the big guns.
Craig Lee was carrying heavy legs and battled hard to maintain contact when they were caught.  He lasted a long time, before being unhitched just before his “not so favourite” part of cycling – hill climbing.
Tavis Baker struggled with the pace of the group after the catch was made.  Tavis will be better suited to longer races in the coming weeks.
Tony Mirabella made up the group of four and prepared himself as best he could for the onslaught that would be Scratch.  They arrived, but this day the pace was too fast.

Scratch had just two riders.  Club Champion – Tim Canny – was one rider, the other was a “trial” rider from Bacchus Marsh and boy weren’t the BM boys happy they had finally convinced this fellow to come up for a race?  Shortly after entries had closed, Tim was found in the change rooms googling the palmares of the “new bloke”.
Adrian McGregor had finally been coerced into venturing up to Learmonth to race with Eureka.  “Don’t worry, they have at least one guy who can match it with you” the BM boys had suggested to help persuade Adrian.
Canny and McGregor would prove to be a most superb weapon.  Two young guns ready to tear each others legs off in pursuit of the front of the race.
They had rounded up Second Scratch just a third of the way into the race.  The next bunch would prove harder to catch.  The climb up Harrisons Road gave them renewed vigor.  Sure, Ley was still along for the ride at this point of the race, but it was a two man show and McGregor was especially happy to surge on the climbs.

And so the race had made it’s way up Harrisons Road.  Jakkii Dawson had some seven minutes on the chasers – at this point the race was Jak’s to lose.

Most of the bunches had held together as they turned at Addington and started climbing towards the dreaded right hand turn.  Once on that climb, the four steps served to shred riders from each group.
Grant Dawson was in trouble early as he suffered a mechanical due to battery depletion – he was stuck in the big chain ring, but he still climbed that hill!
Calvert found his climbing legs first and put a little gap on some of his group as he crested the hill.

Racing across the Ercildoune skyline, rider after rider bridged the gap and a new chase bunch formed.
Through Addington the second time and the race was both coming both together and fracturing even further.

Jakkii was so far up the road that no one could see her.  Still she pressed on though.  It hurt and she combatted that by screwing her face even harder as she squeezed out every ounce of energy to clear the final climb up Edmonston Road.  Over the top, finally!  It’s virtually all downhill from here!

The moment of respite that the downhill and flat section had provided for Calvert, Canny, Humber, Taylor, Morley, Nunn, Said, Livitsanis and others was being eroded by Wells, Kiel and Hendry.  Then a new threat emerged as Canny, McGregor and Ley came flying past.
Hendry latched on, the others held for a moment until McGregor went to the front on the rise near Harrisons Road and kicked in the afterburners.

Scratch quickly closed on large group of chasers who were seemingly wallowing in comparison to the speed coming from behind.  Scratch roared past and there was pandemonium in the bunch as riders turned themselves inside out to find the slipstream.
Nunn was positioned well to latch onto the passing riders, Canny was not and he went off the tarmac to move up places and find Nunn’s wheel.  For a moment it looked as though most of them would hang onto Scratch – and they did – for a moment – then the Scratch train roared off – just Canny and McGregor – the rest had been cast off.

Over the final crest on Edmonston Road and Canny and McGregor could just see Jakkii ahead in the distance.  Down to the sharp left turn onto Weatherboard Road and what is this?!  A red flag!  A red flag!  A semi-trailer is slowly passing the intersection and Canny and McGregor’s charge is halted as they ease through the turn.
Jakkii had made it through well before the truck arrived.  The gap had opened again.  The chase group had even closed in on the two Scratch riders who once again opened the throttle and gave chase.
But ahead it is sweet glorious victory for Jakkii Dawson as she finds the finish line well clear of the chasers and takes a famous victory in front of a large crowd.
Fifteen seconds later and Canny wins the race for Fastest Time and second place.  McGregor was with him to the line.

The large bunch in pursuit of the scraps spread across the road.  Riders are eyeing each other off to see who would pull the trigger first.  As one they launch. Hendry taking fourth place ahead of Nunn and a blur of riders filling the positions back to about 13th.
After that the riders come in ones and twos…except Bill Dwyer who was way out west…

Back at the club rooms and the extended Goldfinch family had arrived (after providing much of the crowd at the finish line) to join in the celebration of The Goldfinch race.  The club rooms were quite full, the tables were loaded with food and the riders all shared similar stories about their race up the hills.

Capping a fine day off, Bill Goldfinch drew Jakkii’s raffle ticket and she won a $200 bike service voucher courtesy of Orr & Co. Cycles.  What a day for Jak!

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Results:
1st – Jakkii Dawson (30 min)
2nd – Tim Canny (Scratch)
3rd – Adrian McGregor (Scratch)
4th – Jason Hendry (5 min)
5th – Greg Nunn (13 min)
6th – Jeremy Humber (8 min)
7th – Peter Canny (8 min)
8th – Peter Livitsanis (17 min)
9th – Bob Morley (13 min)
10th – Rick Calvert (8 min)
Fastest Time – Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 22m, ave. 40.3 Kph

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EVCC The Goldfinch - slide

 

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