As mentioned previously, Col Maciver competed in the World Masters Games from 14 to 18 October, winning bronze medals in the road race and time trial. Here is his report on these races:
As I expected, the venues did not contain elements hard enough to challenge those who liked to follow wheels and it was difficult to break up the field in the road race and particularly in the criterium.
As for the Nationals, I competed in the Men’s Masters 8 Division (65 to 69 years of age). There were a lot of riders from overseas overall but not so many in my age group. The Russians particularly were impressive as were a few from the USA and UK. I had a few Canadians in my group as well as a good representation from right across Australia.
I contested the three road events – Individual Time Trial, Road Race and Criterium.
The ITT was run over two laps of the 9.5 Km circuit that involved the Eastern Creek motor racing circuit and the drag strip next door. The drag strip section included narrow technical sections, winding along service roads and through the carpark areas. A fair number of riders lost their way and recorded DNFs – not good. Conditions were dry but very windy. I rode reasonably well but not great as I found the gusty cross-winds quite hard to deal with to settle into a good ride. However, I still managed to ride well enough to win the bronze medal behind Denis Fahey from Sydney and Robert Taylor from Tasmania. On a better day I think I would have got the silver medal as my time was at least a minute slower than I was expecting judging from the efforts of Denis and other riders with similar times at the Nationals. Denis was well ahead and deserved the gold medal. In short, I rode poorly and most of the rest appeared to coped with the conditions better than I did. A similar thing happened to me a few years ago at the Nationals in Melbourne.
The next event, the road race was my targeted event as it was at Canberra. We raced over 51.4 km, comprising 5.5 laps of the 9.5 km circuit (started with a lap of Eastern Creek which is the second half of the full course). The bunch rode pretty steady for the first 1.5 laps. I intended to try to form a small breakaway as soon as I could to make it harder for the sprint specialists by the end so I rode fairly hard up the small hills and out of the sharp turns to prepare for an attempted breakaway later in the race. Two others were prepared to ride hard – Denis Fahey from Sydney and Geoff Marshall from Western Australia. On the second full lap on the motor racing circuit, I attacked over a couple of small hills towards the end of the lap and managed to get a group of 4 away. Geoff Marshall was there and was prepared to work with me so between the two of us, we established the break. Keith Oliver from Sydney was there marking us of course as expected along with Hugh Gray from Sydney. Hugh dropped backed to the pack quite quickly so it was left to the group of three to contest the remaining laps to the finish. The main rider that I needed to drop to have a chance of winning was Keith Oliver, so at the start of the last lap, I rode as hard as I could up the small hill to the drag strip area. The wrong rider lost ground – Geoff Marshall – so, as he had been working with me, I waited to let him get back into our group as I was still thinking that, with the two of us working one/two, we still had a chance of dropping Keith. This turned out to be a wrong move, as when I attacked a couple more times on the last lap hills, it was Geoff who towed Keith back up to me each time. I should have kept going when he was dropped and at least got the silver medal. As we were still all together coming towards the finish, I knew I had to make it a long sprint as I had no chance of beating Keith in a short sprint so that’s what I did, keeping over to the right of the track so that they had to come off my wheel into the wind. It nearly succeeded as they both just pipped me by about half a wheel on the line with Keith first and Geoff second. Close but not close enough. I wish I could sprint better!
The criterium finals were held in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Sunday morning dawned calm but wet. The first couple of races for the M9, M10, M11 and M12 went ahead on schedule but when my race was about to start (we were on the starting line), heavy rain started. End result was that racing was postponed for a couple of hours until the course dried and all the remaining races were cut to 20 minutes plus three laps. The course is a relatively flat hot-dog style course and pretty rough in critical locations. In my view a great location and back-drop but not a good criterium course. Anyway, I tried surging many times up the small rises and out of the sharp turns with no success in terms of getting a breakaway. No other riders would contribute so it came down to a bunch gallop for the finish and I got swamped by the sprinters, crossing the line in sixth place. A disappointing race.
That’ll do. Racing bike is away for a while now, just easy rides to try to minimise weight gain.