This weekend saw the KMD racing team head down to Goulburn to represent the MWCC in the road racing and Criterium State Cycling championships.
Team captain, Danny Wright was joined by Ryan O’Neill, Alex Gardner and Buzz. The road trip started on Saturday morning with a great coffee and filling brecky from a secret location in Manly. The weather was super chilly and we could only imagine what Goulburn was going to serve up to us when we got there.
The Fixed Wheel van was packed solid with 3 trusty steeds and 3 excited bodies. Alex made his own way down as he had to depart Saturday night after the road race for family duties with his daughter celebrating her birthday on Sunday. He laughs began very early with bait thrown out to KMD member and name sake Kable Mitchell. We knew Mitch was busting to be coming with us, but in the middle of his shoulder rehab and family duties he couldn’t manage to get time off with the team. We certainly didn’t make him feel any better about after giving him heaps over the phone, to the point where he actually hung up on us……..so rude
Ryan was well out of his comfort zone in a car that really only fits the driver and one passenger along the bench seat. But with me squeezed in the middle changing gears and my leg constantly touching Ryan’s he was getting edgy. We managed to calm him enough to get some laughs out of it and enjoying the trip down.
We arrived in Goulburn to a freezing and I mean freezing cold welcome, the poor women standing in the cold handing out our race numbers need a medal as it was 4degrees and felt like 1degree. I for one was thinking how am I going to ride in this and stay warm? We proceeded to bolt back to the van, close the doors, turn the heater on full and sit there looking at each other. Finally we got out, got changed and greeted Alex as he had made his into town. He was pumped like the rest of us to have a big race. Ryan and Alex were to be the protected riders today with Danny and Ryan to be in break aways if they could. I was there for numbers and I managed to get piped about 15km into the race when a few riders at the front turned the screws chasing Danny down after he had launched a solo break at about 9km into the race. When we turned into a block headwind the race went ferrel as Danny had disappeared out of site. With the bunch strung out the elastic was sure to break somewhere. The poor bloke in front of me popped and I was on the rivet following, I didn’t have the legs to get around him and found myself out on my ear. While I groveled for the 10km to catch a small chase group of 3 and one on my wheel the main men in the team were well placed and beginning to impose themselves on The 104km road race.
Danny’s bold break into a solid headwind and very low temps (even with a stretch of hail) was doing it’s job and softening the bunch. They managed to reel him in after 35km at which point the bunch settled for a bit only to hit again and again by Danny until he was off the front solo again. Ryan and Alex were doing their job and sitting in with Ryan disrupting the chase where he could to the dismay of the bunch. At about the 50km mark the turn for home came and with Al sitting comfortably in the bunch, Ryan had just said to him “I’m siting in now for the end”. Only to then bolt off the front on a “Pete Cummins” style solo bridge. He made it across to Danny after a 10km chase and with 2 strong riders working together the race was looking solid for KMD.
Ryan was pulling through so strong that he tore the legs off Danny who in the end told him to smash it away on his own. if only he dialed back a little and allowed Danny to recover the two may well have cleaned the race up. Ryan was on the march and looking solid with most of the steep stuff to come it was a going to be a tough 25km smash home into the wind. With Manly off the front for just about all the race we needed a result.
With Danny needing to recover he cruised till the bunch caught him. Alex was sitting in having a chuckle as the group that had dwindled to about 15 and all those guys were wondering what this little man was going to do next!!!!! A steep hill came and 6 riders hit it hard (Alex included) Danny was sitting second wheel but decided to drop back and let Alex sit for the ride home. Would they catch Ryan? Alex sat on the back of the main chase group while Danny flurted with the second chase group copping some slack from the opposition for getting in the way and doing nothing. Gareth (Ryans long time lover, working partner and other northern European) was sitting with Danny but had lost his legs. Ryan didn’t quite manage to get home and was caught at 4km to go by the 6 riders with Alex in that mix. Had the bunch been softened up enough for Alex to hit them in the sprint?
The tension went up in the small bunch as the line grew close, Ryan had the lead out with another rider sitting behind him and Alex sitting pretty. The nerves got the better of Al and he jumped too early. He felt like he had it only to start to fade in the last 50 and got rolled by two well timed riders. Danny rolled over a few hundred meters behind with a group that sprinted for 7th? Why Gareth Why? With the race dominated by KMD we missed the top spot which was a tough pill to swallow but a podium finish in the State titles none the less. Buzz managed to roll over the finish line before dark and just in time for dinner. Well done boys for a great race and one that had plenty of people talking about the boys in blue. We saw Alex off and headed for the hotel and dinner. With stomachs full and war stories told it was time for a warm hotel room and a chance for Danny to cause Ryan and Buzz some grief with his rear end discharges…….dam those gels
Day 2 saw a late start for the boys and a big brecky at the green grocer cafe in downtown Goulburn. Race tactics for the crit were discussed and some eaves dropping on disgruntled riders about the KMD cycling team tactics and how they controlled the race so well on the previous day. All fun stuff
The weather was decidedly better but still very chilly, we weren’t to race until 2.50pm so we had some time to kill. The 3 of us made our way up the Goulburn War memorial where we had a great view of the town and looked at some amazing photos of the wars Australia fought in. It was certainly humbling seeing these photos and we could only imagine what they went through, certainly they were very tough customers with a will to survive and work and die for the mates that stood next to them.
It was time to hit the road and make our way to the race. We had a 30 min drive to Marulan and a great little circuit and facility for racing. After taking a look at the track and some preceding races it was time to kit up and go for a warm up ride. If Danny hadn’t locked the keys in the Fixed Wheel Van. Good work D!ck H3ad!!!!!!
He managed to get the door jimmy’d with Ryan doing sweet Fuk all to help, he just knew he didn’t need to panic!!!!!
Kitted up and warm up done on the great country roads it was a wait on the start line for the Masters 3 to finish. Everyone seemed pretty relaxed on the start line only to erupt into an absolute drag race for the start bell. Danny was in the small ring and spinning at 146RPM trying to get into the big ring as fast as he could. He found himself in a bad spot near the back and needing to get near the front in a hurry, no easy feat when the gas was on full. He sprinted past the bunch up the finish straight and slotted in beautifully and regathered. I was on the rivet as usual lately but hung on to see almost half the field out of the race within 15mins. It settled until Danny got up to his usual tricks. There were a few others riders joining in on the attacks and when Danny and Ryan found themselves up front in a group of about I took the opportunity to roll out the back and help cut some others away. There was now a split and I continued to roll around with 2 others just in case they all sat up. They did and I took the bait to try to get back on. I got within 10 m when my mate Danny decided to hit the group, they reacted and I was gone. Time to swap off with 3 of us to the end. Meanwhile Ryan was riding a great race with Danny constantly hitting the group, over and over they had to chase with the commentator having a laugh and saying here goes Danny Wright again. With the bunch in damage control and another rider asking Danny how many more of those he had in him while gagging on his own spit, Danny replied “as many as it takes”.
Last lap, group was down to 8 riders, Danny hit them again on the straight so that Ryan had the perfect sit in 3rd wheel. Danny was trying to get into 4th to make it hard to get around. The other races had been won from 3rd or 4th wheel all day so it was perfect………… Until some peanut decided in desperation that on the last hairpin before the sprint he would try to get underneath the riders in front. H lost his front wheel and took down another rider who hit Ryno’s back wheel. Ryan managed to keep it upright but ended up riding up the embankment. RACE OVER Danny managed to get around the mess but was to far back to bother with the sprint. We missed out on the tittle that we were after but “I suppose that’s racing”
A weekend of solid racing and what I would call domination by KMD while missing the top step is tough to take but a great weekend of racing with some of the team in super form coming into the Hunter Classic. We look forward to more team members joining in next weekend and a solid race ahead.
Well done to Alex for snagging 3rd on Sat and Danny and Ryan riding like men possessed all weekend, great to be a part of it. Another fun road trip