A group of the usual suspects traveled to Inverell on Saturday June 14 for the Ashford Road Race. We pretty soon discovered that the flyer advertising the event was right: the terrain was indeed challenging (think a series of Rockvale like hills joined by long false flats). But that wasn’t the only challenge: there was also a headwind of at least 80kmh on the return leg (at least that’s what it seemed like), added to which those Inverell riders are really good!
Karly McMillian, Cody Burton and Reece O’Hara competed in the 30km junior race, and all found the going tough. Karly got a new appreciation for Rockvale training rides, while Cody finished 6th and Reece 4th. All good efforts under the circumstances.
Bruce Buxton, Billy O’Mara, Bob Murison, Nick Myhill, Ole Mikkelsen and I competed in the 90km handicap race. Bruce, Bob and I started at the 20 minute mark, and Billy and Nick at 25 minutes. Ole rode off “block”, and soon discovered it wasn’t going to be his day.
The rest of us had a good ride on the way out, assisted by the strong tailwind, and in the 2 km before the turn there was a great downhill section. Of course all good things come to an end, and we turned around to suffer back up that @#$%&^ hill to discover the gale force winds at the top.
Nevertheless, riding in small groups of 2 or 3 we started to overhaul the front markers, eventually getting close to the pointy end of the race. Unfortunately the wind effectively compressed the handicap, and we were swallowed up by a larger group of mainly Inverell riders about 10km from the finish.
A couple of us managed to hang on for a while until the last big hill, when the Inverell guys took off faster than Dave Munday’s tail light on a Rockvale training ride (where were you when we needed you Dave?). So from there we were out of contention and cruised into the finish.
Still, it wasn’t a bad effort with Nick, Billy and me finishing just out of the top 10, and Bruce and Bob coming in soon after. Despite the tough conditions we all enjoyed the race (except maybe for Ole) and decided we’d definitely go back next time (except maybe for Ole).
Congratulations to the winners – too good on the day – and to the Inverell Club who put on a great event and showed up in force as usual.