Photo Courtesy of Antony Mulhall
Well the Division 3 race wasn’t quite as successful for the club as the Division 2 race but I thought I would write a quick report to maybe inspire a few more guys to sign up for next year.
Lane Cove Tunnel, M2 & M7 – getting to this race is nearly as expensive as the entry fee. I noted on the race program there were about six or so MWCC riders down for Division 3, however on the start line I didn’t see any familiar faces or baby blue kits. The race started and the guys from Northern Sydney went to the front and rode a solid pace for the first couple of kms. I was up towards the front but had to change wheels ASAP – the guy in front of me was severely breaching Euro pro cyclist rule # 16 – “Kits must always be freshly washed, and one shall ALWAYS have applied a subtle quantity of eau de toilette (or “cologne”).”
Up and over the first climb without too much trouble but looking around it seemed about half the bunch had been dropped. Again, the guys from Northern Sydney looking resplendent in their new club kit, went to the front and drove a solid pace along the Blaxland ridgeline. Northern Sydney seemed content to drive the pace and I sat in comfortably working out when to have a go on the second lap.
Onto the final lap and rain squalls blew in as we descended down to the bottom of the climb. With a KOM prize available a few guys kicked away towards the top. This time the climb hurt and a few more guys seemed to drop off along the way. Over the top and about 150 m behind a small group we got ourselves organised and chased back. Once back together Turramuura went to the front and the pace dramatically slowed – maybe they were waiting for one of their guys to rejoin after the climb? One or two guys jumped off the front but they didn’t get far with strong cross winds blowing and were quickly reeled back in. At about this time Paul Fowler introduced himself to me and said he was with MWCC but didn’t have a kit – he got over the climb in third wheel and said he felt pretty good.
With about 10 km to go there was a sharp left hand corner at the top of a rise – I went to the front and into the corner in about third wheel. Coming out of the corner I upped the speed hoping to open a gap on those cautiously rounding due to the rain, but I would need another three or four guys to come with me. No one came through – as quickly as it had opened my opportunity was shut and I sat up. I should have just gone for it.
We raced towards the finish – the pace wasn’t that high and it was obvious people were saving themselves for the sprint. Under the flamme rouge I was still well placed in about 5th position and feeling good. With about 500 meters to go few guys then jumped out to the other side of the road to get to the front with oncoming traffic bearing down! Crazy stuff. I was now back in about 10th position and with any chance of a podium place gone I sat up, rolling across the finish in 17th place. Paul finished 12th – great effort for his first race. Another MWCC rider sans club kit, Nick Egan, came in a few minutes later in 43rd.
A disappointing end to the race due to the lost opportunities. I would rather finish a race exhausted a few minutes off the back having given it a go rather than roll across the finish with the bunch. Norths and Turramurra rode well and had seven guys in the top ten. Like the guys in Division 2 this is a race we should target as a club and aim to win abiding by Euro pro cyclist rule # 43 in the process – “While soloing in for a victory, one shall ensure that one’s jersey is FULLY ZIPPED and ALIGNED so that all title sponsors are clearly visible. One shall then smile and flex one’s arms while pointing sky-wards.”