Competing against The Day on the Green is never easy and unlike last year, the weather favoured those chosing to sit back in the sunshine with a cold drink listening to some pretty good live music. There were still 8 tough/strange/lonely characters who rocked up at Long Swamp for what was advertised as some 30k graded scratch racing. Given the low numbers, a range of options were rapidly discussed with helpful contributions and suggestions ensuring all possible options were explored. Favourites were a handicap race, scratch race or three-legged race and there were several votes for just rolling down to the Bowlo, but eventually riders settled on two graded scratch races of an undisclosed format with a single massed start. Still following this?
About 500m into the race, Harrison decided it wasn’t fast enough and went to the front for about a kilometre at a pretty good pace. Houlty, Kirky and Rob rolled turns with him but no one else seemed interested. At the top of Imbota it became apparent that it wasn’t so much that they weren’t interested, rather that they weren’t actually there. It also later transpired that Jeff had pulled out early on having concluded his science experiment, confirming that wearing all black in blazing sunshine makes you hot. So at this point we had two scratch races of 4 riders each. All good so far.
Harrison and Houlty continued to drive things along up front with Kirky and Rob chipping in now and again to make it look as though they were contributing. In the B-Grade race it was a bit more interesting as Johnny had gone off the front with Wilf deciding to hang on grimly and this pair had established a gap of around 50m on Captain Creagan and Keglegs.
On the long run in to Dump Hill at the end of lap 1, Rob’s gears stopped working and the three other lead riders sportingly stopped to confirm that he was stuffed and would have to continue in the 39 x 11. While all this was going on, the B-Grade riders had combined and caught A-Grade so the two races now came together for a steady climb up Dump Hill while Rob went tearing off ahead in order to keep his legs turning.
What happened in the second lap is a bit unknown. What was clear though is that Houlty’s 2-week off-the-bike ‘holiday’ has not diminished his strength, in fact if anything he’s now even stronger as demonstrated by his brutal attack on the final climb which saw him finish almost 30s clear of H and Kirky who rolled in together, followed by Johnny and then the trio of PC, Keglegs and Wilf.
Well done to Houlty and a big thank you to Rhys who ran the race and more importantly, was on hand with an esky full of cold drinks and ice at the end. Next week we’re back on Dangarsleigh for the first time in a very long time, hopefully with a few more riders and a bit less heat.
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