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.

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