Yet again, despite being in the grip of winter, Armidale Cycling Club members were out in force for Saturday racing and this week 26 riders fronted up for a 30K handicap event over the rolling undulations of Dangarsleigh Road. A 32kph SouthWesterly signaled headwinds on the way out and no doubt a few fireworks on the rapid return.
Alex Thomas was off Go along with Jo Wauch followed by a 5-strong 3-minute group, then smaller groups of two or three riders at 5, 7 and 8 minutes before the 5-strong block and 6-strong scratch groups at 10 and 11 minutes respectively. The headwind made itself known on the way out and although the front-runners stayed ahead, the middle of the field came together towards the turn with just the scratch group behind.
At the turn it looked like scratch were only around 30s behind but the 10 minute mob was working hard and continued to focus on picking off the riders ahead. Greg Manttan, Johnny and Kirky in particular were riding strongly and the prospect of a catch started to fade as the pace cranked up.
On the long Monument Hill drag, Kirky went to the front and pulled a monster 2K turn at speed which split the bunch over the top and left 9 survivors all still chasing the next group of Dave Jenner, Clint Bourke and Wilf Keller which were only just coming into sight at that point. Unbeknownst to the big bunch, there was still a lone rider 2 minutes ahead of them – Alex Thomas who was charging along solo.
Based on Mick Harris’s Strava record, the scratch group averaged 40.1kph up the 1.9K 3% gradient of Monument Hill so they weren’t hanging around. In fact they averaged 46.2kph for the 15K return leg as a whole, but by now they’d lost one of their number and couldn’t pull back the deficit against the bigger bunch ahead. It was the same story for the riders in front of them. Despite charging flat out on the final run-in, when Johnny crossed the line for 5th on the day he was still 45 seconds behind the 3-minute trio of Dave Jenner, Clint Bourke and Wilf Keller who took 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. The major spoils went to Alex Thomas with a massive margin of nearly 2 minutes – almost worth a bonus RROTY point!
In terms of the RROTY League, the top 3 are still unchanged but Wilf and Dave Jenner are now just 3 points behind Billy in 4th and 5th place and Clint Bourke has crashed into the Top 10 in 8th spot courtesy of his 3rd place finish.
Thanks to Richard Wilko for running the race, doing the signs and capturing the results. Congratulations to Alex on a fine victory in tough conditions and to Dave Jenner, Clint and Wilf who did battle in style for the remaining places. Special mention to Brendon Cole who was snaffled up by the block group on the outward leg but gamely hung on over the Monument to finish in the bunch and to Dave Munday who just pipped Harrison for fastest time.
Next week there’s a Junior 2-Day event in Tamworth and ACC RROTY is back again in Armidale, this time on Long Swamp for another 30K handicap.
|Rider||Place||Handicap||Finish Time||Race Time||Avg Sped|
|MUNDAY Dave||14||11:00||0:57:53||0:46:53 FT||38.39 FT|