September 23, 2018 – Weatherboard Hcp, 50 Km

Club race + Victoria Teachers Games – 23 September 2018

Weatherboard Hcp

Weatherboard circuit, 50 km

BANDIT STEALS THE DAY

It is widely acknowledged in the sport of cycling that the role of the Handicapper is a thankless job.  Their every decision is scrutinised both before and after the event by the primadonnas in pixie shoes.  The spandex clad are only ever happy with their mark if they win.  Lose…well, the first person to blame is the Handicapper.  With all that said, you would think that the Handicapper would try to do a better job of their craft!

Comical scenes at the start line as riders milled before their turn to launch.  The common theme was that “Bob has done us in today!”

Unbeknownst to anyone until post race, a transcription error had led to the race being over before it started…
The Limit group was already away.  They had what would prove to be an insurmountable lead, thanks to a bonus five minutes being added to their mark.  Those riders standing at the start line were gobsmacked at the mark.  This kind of thing hadn’t happened since at least April, when the same bunch was gifted a trophy race.  But, let’s go back to the start of the story…

Just a dozen riders signed on for the 50 kilometre handicap race on the Weatherboard circuit.  Numbers down for multiple reasons such as holidays and illness.  The circuit also demanded four corner marshals – which takes a toll on the number of riders available.
Dry, cool and overcast conditions, with a fair south wind made choosing what layers to wear difficult.  Rain never came, however it seemed likely nearly all day long.  Terry Collie didn’t make it to the start line today.  He ran out of time to get prepared and then couldn’t muster the speed into the headwind to make it to the start line on time.

So, the 13 minute group somehow became the 18 minute group and were sent off instead.  Bob Morley (stand in Handicapper and subject of our mirth) went out as Road Captain with Dan Whelan, Roger McMillan and a rare visitor in Richard Kennedy.  McMillan played the tiniest of cameos before bidding adieu.  The other three rolled on with Kennedy assuming the lead and the other two hanging on.

Fourteen long minutes later, the second scratch group rode away.  Just the three – Dean Wells, Grant Dawson and Jeremy Humber.  Their four minute gap to the Scratch group seemed tiny…  Wells immediately into time trial mode – how often do we race up the Avenue with a tailwind?  Dawson almost dropped and Humber immediately into survival mode.

Greg Ley commanded Scratch today, with Rob Ellis, Craig Lee and Jason Hendry as his faithful lieutenants.  They rolled out from the start at the same time as Limit came through on their first lap.  It is fair to say that Bob knew immediately that there had been a problem!  Scratch went straight into swapping turns.  They couldn’t win, but they could at least catch the bunch ahead.
For their part, the 4 minute group had Dawson and Wells swapping turns.  Humber was still hurting from his race the day before and he was out by the end of the first lap.  The other two were evenly matched today and worked well right around the circuit.

The leaders were miles ahead, literally.  Morley was wondering what apt nickname he could annoint the super strong Kennedy with.  Whelan was itching to have a go on the front, however he couldn’t get past Kennedy, so the status quo remained and the trio only lost metres to the chasers, rather than minutes.

Back in Scratch and they could see the four minute group ahead.  Slowly they chipped away at the gap.  Hendry impressing his newfound Scratch cohorts!  They swept up McMillan who was audacious enough to even do a turn!
Scratch eventually caught Dawson and Wells with just twelve kilometres remaining.  The two quickly joined in the rotations and enjoyed another round of “Bob has done us in today!”

Out of the Avenue for the final time and Hendry lost a wheel and was lost to the bunch as the gap quickly grew.
Way up ahead the leader was still towing Morley and Whelan around.  They swung onto Hendersons Road and lined up the hill for the final time.  Kennedy took a brief moment to run his eyes over the two guys who had been tailing him, thinking to himself “I’ve got the old bloke who looks like Fidel Castro covered”, “Reckon I might have a gravity advantage on the other bloke”.
That is exactly as it played out.  Kennedy ramped the pace up before they even got to the hill, then half way up he just rode away leaving Whelan and Morley to fight over the scraps.  In no surprise, Morley collected the second placing.

The chase group was still fighting the wind as they crested Weatherboard for the final time.  Down to the chicane and RED flag at the last moment, then whoosh!  The vehicle was flying and caught the marshal unawares.  Lee was on the brakes in time and calamity was avoided, but damn that was close!

The run to the finish saw Ellis, Ley and Lee rotating.  Wells and Dawson both sitting back knowing that fourth and fifth placings were up for grabs.  Hendersons Road and Ley tried to get away.  Ellis closed it down, with the rest on his wheel.
To the hill and Wells attacked just before halfway up, he had a few lengths gap over the top.  Ellis responded, but his legs didn’t.  Lee was always going to be the danger and he was also racing for Fastest Time.  He loomed up, sprinted and turned off before hitting the line.

Riding back to the club rooms and Morley drew alongside to explain that “It wasn’t my fault!”
He also had his nickname for Kennedy – The Bandit.

Results:
1st – Richard Kennedy (18 minutes)
2nd – Bob Morley (18 minutes)
3rd – Dan Whelan (18 minutes)
4th – Craig Lee (Scratch)
5th – Dean Wells (4 minutes)
Fastest Time – Craig Lee in 1h 22 mins, ave. 37.3 Kph
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Thank you to the club members and friends who volunteered their time in the afternoon to help the club host the cycling events for the 2018 Victoria Teachers Games.  Twenty four riders over five categories raced on the Weatherboard circuit.
The wind made for difficult conditions, however every rider completed their race.  Local teaching identities Ash Burke and Andrew Read collected silver and bronze medals respectively in the Male 35-49 category.  The Female 20-34 race saw Malory Cain and Tamaryn Stevens both collect medals for the second year running.

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