A crisp bright and breezy morning greeted riders arriving at the sign on for the Armidale Cycling Clubs annual Invergowrie Road Race. An excellent turnout of 34 riders were on hand to take on the tough parcours, with great support from Tamworth, Inverell, and Coffs Harbour cycling clubs.
With the handicaps in place and riders briefed, including an unplanned 1.2k dirt section to introduce a taste of the classics, it was time for the riders to hit the start line. The GO riders were Armidale’s Olive Tutt and John “Ziggy” Hiscox, with a healthy 10 minutes start ahead of the next group. Unfortunately, an early mechanical on the Pinnacle climb knocked Ziggy out of the race, and left Olive with a tough solo effort ahead. The 10 minute group of 6 riders were already on the back foot from the gun as Armidale’s Wilf Kellers extended warmup saw him miss the start, and despite a hard chase he was unable to regain contact and was left to forge a lone path for the rest of the race.
A strong group of 8 riders was next off at 17mins, with an inter-club mix of Coffs, Tamworth, Inverell and Armidale riders joining forces with every chance of making an impression on the race. They were followed by a trio of Armidale riders at 21mins, before a sizeable Block group of 10 riders rolled off at 26mins, with a red-hot scratch quintet hot on their heels at 30mins.
As the groups settled into a rhythm, and time gaps slowly dwindled, it was Olive who was still setting a strong pace at the front of the race, and as she pushed steadily up the multiple climbs on Thunderbolts Rd, the chasing groups still had it all to do. And it was on these uphill sections of the course that the gradients took their toll, as groups started to splinter, and the strongest riders pushed on hunting down those up ahead. And it was on the final climb up to Rocky River that saw the race come together as Block caught the 21min trio, and in the same instant the scratch duo of Inverell’s Dylan & Zac Sunderland blew past with only Tamworth’s Luke Deasey able to jump on the Scratch Express.
Up ahead Inverell’s Codie Miller and Coffs Scott Walcott were working well together, and the finally took up the front of the race from Olive as they emerged into Rocky River and made the left turn for the fast run home. As the scratch-block trio motored through the remnants of the riders ahead, it was just a question of whether they would be able to reel in the lead duo before they ran out of road.
And it was with a mere 10km to go that the catch was made, and while the top 5 places were now locked in, the race was on to see who would be on the top step of the podium. The pace was high along Pinegrove Rd with the lead car recording a tempo of 50 to 60 km/hr, and it was here that a surge by Dylan broke the group, and although he was chased hard by brother Zac who almost got onto his wheel, he was able to get clear air at the front of the race and savour the victory as he rolled across the line in the fastest time of the day 1:43:39 at an amazing average speed of 41.68km/h. Zac was next across the line to take out 2nd place, with an impressive 3rd place for Scott, 4th for Codie, and Luke rounding out the podium in 5th.
As the rest of the riders rolled in, the tough racing was evident on the pained expressions, and all racers should be commended for their outstanding efforts on such a tough assignment. It only remains to congratulate our winners, and pass on our thanks to the organisers for putting together a great days racing. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.
ps. Good luck to all G2I riders for next weekend!
|Dylan Sunderland||1||Inverell||0:30:00||2:13:39||1:43:39 FT||72||41.67872648|
|Scott Wallcott||3||Coffs Harbour||0:17:00||2:14:48||1:57:48||72||36.67232598|
|Joel Barker||20||Coffs Harbour||0:17:00||2:23:45||2:06:45||72||34.08284024|
|Paul Grant||Coffs Harbour||0:17:00||*||*||72||*|
|Oliver Marshall||St Marys||0:30:00||*||*||72||*|