Yesterday, Armidale Cycling Club took to the Boorolong 30km course for the first time this year with the biggest turnout on the tough, undulating course since records began*. Despite storms on the horizon, some tired legs and an even more tired GoPro it was a great day of racing.
Jacqui King and a returning Jo Wauch got the action underway, followed by another welcome returning stranger, Ben Livings. Having put the margaritas to one side Ben was being expertly guided by the impressive trio of Emily Wooster and Katherine and Isabella Hosking six minutes later. The next trio of Dave Jenner, PC and Carl Hooton exploded before the top of Blacks Hill, Carl then stretched his legs over the top before the combination of several smaller groups formed into a serious looking bunch that got down to business.
Way back down the road, starting with a 1 minute handicap on Block and a chunky 13m:30s on the leaders, Hugh Munday, David Cook and Mick Harris were underway and clearly looking to latch onto the five riders ahead. Impressively they achieved this by the top of Blacks Hill, and sat on the back of Block for a couple of kilometres to recover. Mick Harris and David Cook then picked up the pace once more over the railway and onto the long drag up to Claremont Rd. They quickly caught the 11-minute group who encouraged each other to latch onto the back of the rocket ship, but only Paul Williams was able to make contact and remain.
Up ahead, Katherine, Emily and Ben had gone well and were about to be caught by that serious-looking bunch as they closed in on the turn. Still with a lead of over 60s on the now hard-charging Scratch/Block group behind, they turned fast and got to work on the last, predominantly downhill 15km. With a reasonable tail-wind they had a good chance of staying away if they could combine effectively.
Behind them, there were plenty of bursting lungs and sore legs as the first Boorolong handicap of the season really started to test all riders who were now strung out along the road in efforts to bridge gaps and stay in contention for the all-important rapid race home.
Mick Harris once again drove matters hard on the front and Hugh was gapped on the punchy ascent of the Twisties but showed impressive grit to get back on as they exited the turn with Wilko also managing to tag onto the back of the same Scratch/Block group. As the 8-strong bunch took off with serious intent, they were just 60s behind the mid-race gaggle but almost four minutes in arrears of Jo and Jacqui at the head of the race. Could they make the catch?
It was a flat-out effort most of the way home with five of the eight, pulling solid turns until Dumaresq Road when Mick again went hard off the front, Cookie then attacking the group briefly. Order was restored over the top, and realising there was plenty of chasing to be done, they once again picked up a good collective rhythm and steadily reeled in the bunch ahead.
The first catch was made with just 4km to go however those being caught didn’t want to miss out and it was a messy process to let the faster riders re-establish themselves at the front. Holly was one of those unable to roll through cleanly and after being blocked for too long, channeled her frustration with a monstrous charge off the front, stringing the bunch out as they entered the long straight before the final turn. This brought the group up to the two lone leaders Jo and Jacqui who almost had the finish line in sight when the Holly Express came through.
A bit of cat and mouse on the last bend was quickly ended when Mick Harris sacrificed his own chances of victory with a long, long lead-out that took riders to within 50m of the line. Hugh had been waiting patiently and took his moment well, sprinting clear to win by several bike lengths from Cookie and Houlty who tussled well for second place.
Sadly the GoPro battery didn’t manage to stay the course, but fortuitously, Peter Hosking had been out on the course with his lenses. Thanks to his photography with timestamps of the start and finish, we could determine the top 20 places as well as provide a time-check just before the turn on the ascent of the Twisties. Sorry to those who missed out and many thanks Peter for your help and fantastic images. Also, big thanks to Dave and Sam Munday who ran a safe and exciting race and hopefully also dodged the rain bringing in the signs.
Congratulations to winner on the day, Hugh Munday who also claimed fastest time with an impressive 39+kph average on the hilly course. It was also great to see so many women and younger riders racing with us once again. Good luck to those racing at Oceania Championships next week on the Road (in the ACT) and on the MTB track (in QLD) plus the final round of Junior MTB Nationals. For those still in Armidale, don’t forget the unmissable Dangarsleigh Bianche next Saturday at 3pm, more details soon on bike preparation and special handicapping rules for that one.
*Records began quite recently… Since January 2014 and possibly a bit before that too.
|Rider||Place||Handicap||Start Time||Twisties||Finish Time||Elapsed||Avg|
|MUNDAY Hugh||01||0:13:30||15:21:40||15:46:21||16:07:46||0:46:06||39.44 FT|