Fine, sunny weather on the Long Swamp course brought riders out in force again on Saturday to contest Round 17 of ACC’s Road Racer competition in a 30K handicap race. Armidale welcomed new rider Terry Welsh and farewelled Holly Harris who was racing with us for the last time this month as she heads off to Northern Europe to compete in the World Mountain Bike Championships – Good Luck Holly!
Terry slotted into the Go group in the company of Jo Wauch and Bob Murison who were followed by groups of 4 or 5 riders at 5, 7, 9 and 11 minutes. Mitch Carrington, also visiting for the day, cleaned up the pack with fellow-Paradice rider Harrison Munday at 12 minutes.
Out on the road, Jo had shown a clean pair of heels to her mates and at the half-way mark was over 2m:30s ahead of them, and just under 3 minutes clear of the chasing 5-minute group (Clint, Wilf, Wilko and Alex) which had remained intact and still had a minute on the 7-minute group (Lachie, Brendon, Bourkey, Keglegs and PC) who had also stayed together. Hot on their heels however were the remnants of the 9-minute group who were now down to three riders – the deadly Johnny-Holly duo which had cleaned up on this course a month earlier, and the wild-card Pom (yours truly). Col Maciver was only 15 seconds behind this group and still 1m:15s ahead of the now combined 7-strong block and scratch group. It looked like it would surely all come together somewhere on the final leg.
The Johnny-Holly-Hale trio caught the 5 riders ahead mid-leg, and the group stayed and worked together for around 6km. This gave the trio a bit of respite thanks to energetic turns being pulled by Brendon Cole in particular. As the final turn approached, Jo still had a decent lead of perhaps 1 minute but the big scratch-block group had started to erode their own gap on the wind-assisted run out, meaning sights were set on getting over Imbota before the imminent catch.
It takes longer to slow down, turn and regroup in a big bunch and sensing there was still an outside chance of staying away, the JHH trio said goodbye to their travelling companions and hit Imbota hard. Maybe the scratch-block boys could see the group just ahead and figured there was no rush to take them, not realising the trio had jumped off the front, or maybe they were just being kind, but by now the outside chance had become a real possibility. The trio were giving it everything and when Holly checked and yelled out that there were “100 metres” between them and the snarling bunch with around 1km to go, it was all action. Having worked together for so long, the hope was the 3 could stay ahead, but the sight of the closing pack signalled it was do or die time. In the end Holly just got caught on the line by Ben Harris but Johnny and The Pom stayed away to snatch victory and (more importantly) keep Big San Remo out of the points at the top of the league. Mitch Carrington grabbed fastest time, shading just over the magic 40kph for the 31.3km course – nice work Mitch.
At the top of the RROTY league, Johnny has rocketed from 10th to 3rd courtesy of his 9 points today, but Jo still has a comfortable lead of 15 points in 2nd place and San Remo has a further 15 points on her in top spot.
Thanks to Jeff Flatt for running the race and doing the signs and to Sam Munday for the timekeeping and camera work. We’re taking a break from RROTY for a while now as next week is the start of the Interclub Tri-Series and Armidale is hosting the first round. So lets turn up in numbers and get the series off to a flying start.
|Rider||Pos||Handicap||Start||Clock Lap1||Lap 1||Finish||Lap 2||Elapsed||Avg Sp|
|CARRINGTON Mitch||6||12:00||14:57:19||15:20:41||23:22||15:44:12||23:31||46:53 FT||40.06|
|WELSH Terry||DNF||00:00||14:45:19||15:17:48||32:29||No Data||No Data||No Data||No Data|