A punter’s view of a West Head Road Race

By Chris Miller

Well I’ve been threatening to do it for years, in fact if I was honest, this was a well overdue race debut. Sure I have done loads of sportive style events, organised club rides and a handful of cycling “challenge” events, all of which have been either timed or have accounted for where each rider has finished, but this was to be my first official Road Race.

The race itself is organised by Many Cycling Club (of which I am now a member…even though I live in Balmain) and included two laps of a undulating West Head course. Now before I quickly re cap the race I should mention that the MWCC guys were great, this hadn’t been my first attempt at joining a club, in fact I had tried 2 clubs in Dublin and 1 in Sydney, all of which were very unwelcoming. MWCC however were lovely, really inclusive which breaded a great atmosphere at the start line.

It also made a big difference joining with 3 other newbies; Tim, Grahame and Pete who I had been riding the last 6 months with since coming back to Sydney. Being first timers then we turned up waaaaaaaaaay to early, we clearly underestimated how easy the sign in process was going to be. Speaking of signing in, we jumped into C-Grade (not the first timers D-Grade we thought we would be in).

I could waste your time and talk about the first lap, but let’s be honest, nothing happened, it might as well have been a coffee shop spin. It was a nice chance to chat to some of the other club members, who again surprisingly … were good blokes! It wasn’t then towards the end of the first lap that things started kicking off and the banter amongst the riders disappeared.

The first real break away (which included Newbie 1 Tim) got 50-60m clear before myself (newbie 2) and Pete (Newbie 3) helped chase it down, on bridging the gap we were shouted at and told to ease up (being newbies, we did what we were told).

The routine of small breaks coming and going continued, and even “the wall” (a steep 500m section just before you turn to come back the way you came) couldn’t separate the group.

Personally, I had been feeling rubbish for all of the race so far, it wasn’t until this second trip up “the wall” the my legs started responding … At which point I knew I had to stay in contention.

The trip back remained uneventful, with Grahame (newbie 4) having a small go off the front before being dragged back. It would then come down to the final up-down-up-down at the McCarrs Creek Rd end. The first ‘up’ burnt off some good riders and the descent (and 180 degree corner) lost a few more, before the final ‘up’ which saw a group of 6 (inc. Grahame) scale in front of me.

I managed to stay only 10m back and quickly got on the gas over the crest. In hindsight I think it was this willingness to get the power down quickly which eventually gave me the momentum to pass out 4 riders on the 600m sprint to the line.

I couldn’t quite catch the winner (who was probably the strongest rider throughout the 2 laps) and rolled over the line second, with Grahame (newbie 4) racking up a top 5 spot. Pete (newbie 3) had a great last lap finishing in the top 10, with Tim (newbie 1) rolling in not long after.

Obviously not having anything to compare it to makes it difficult, but it felt as though the standard of the ride was high, with guys really committing to breakaways just as much as the chasers were to bringing them back, something I had never experienced before.

After a small prize giving ceremony (which would result in the coffee’s being on me back in Seaforth) everyone shook hands and went their separate ways, a great end to a great Sunday morning.

The course itself and my stats can be seen here


1 Comment

  1. Mark

    Nice one Chris. Great result. Like to think Ireland helped set you up for this kind of performance! Bring on the B’s!

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