The warmer weather, longer days and new Cycling Australia licence season brought 23 riders out in force yesterday for the 30K handicap race on Long Swamp. There was a bit of a glitch with the timekeeping which resulted in an extra 15s handicap for the groups following Go which didn’t have any bearing on the overall results, but did test the mental agility of the results processor more than usual.
Katherine Hosking was pushed back 6 minutes courtesy of her strong win last week and was followed by another solo rider, Dave Jenner at 9 minutes, ahead of bunches of 3, 7 and 7 riders, topped off by the scratch pairing of Sam and Dave Munday. By mid-race the lead trio were still together and over four minutes ahead of Katherine who was slowly reeling them in and maintaining her 3-minute advantage on those behind. The thirteen-minute group had caught the bunch ahead which now meant ten riders had taken up the chase and looked like they would hold off the seven-strong Block group who were still over two minutes behind them. Despite a valiant and rapid first leg, the Munday boys in Scratch had not made the catch and were now, inevitably starting to slip backwards, unable to compete against the bigger numbers ahead.
Captain Creagan was marooned between the two main bunches and set about reaching the top of Dump Hill and then Imbota before being swept up at three-quarter distance. He managed to latch on at the critical moment and enjoyed a rapid trip in business class until the final run up Imbota at which point Swanny and Jeff clicked their G2I legs into gear and the chase was on.
Despite well-organised efforts from both bunches, the leaders weren’t going to be caught and it was Emily Wooster who just beat Isabella Hosking for the win, the pair having dropped Simon Smith as their younger legs danced up Dump Hill. Almost two minutes back there was another hard battle for the line with more young legs prevailing – this time Hugh Munday and Katherine Hosking who closed off the top 5 with special mention to Phil Thomas who climbed well for 6th spot.
As is often the case on this course, the rest of the riders came in in dribs and drabs having spent their energies on the final climb. An unlikely exception to this came from Kirky who, having done nothing for the entire race, decided to empty his tanks on the run-in to the bottom of Dump Hill. He quickly had the big bunch strung out in a long line and managed to (briefly) hit some impressive speeds before imploding and limping home solo.
Congratulations to Emily and well done to all riders who competed well in what turned out to be a fast race – the bigger bunches meaning several riders managed an average speed of just under 40kph on the hilly course. There are now just three RROTY rounds left for the year with the trophy still within reach of fourteen riders.
Thanks to Haydo for putting the signs out and running the race, and for introducing an extra 15s handicap just to spice things up a little. With the Walcha road and mountain bike racing on next week we have a Criterium at the TEC before returning to Boorlong on 24th October.
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