The Akuna –West Head race on Sunday took place in perfect conditions and forecast reports from weather sites not associated with Weatherzone were predicting a few showers, but on race morning it was blue skies, zero winds and plenty of riders ready to get aboard the pain train. The Central Coast Flying Carrots had sent down their best in all grades and by the end of it, they were kings of their veggie patch.
It seems that while the world focuses on the past abuses of some of the worlds most famous cyclists, it seems that those cyclists aren’t the only ones coming up with excuses and denials. A number of riders need to use this watershed moment in cycling, to take a look at themselves in the mirror and realise that they have been given a talent and that it is time to step up to A Grade. Every sign on, we see riders milling around sign on, waiting for their moment to suddenly pounce in and quickly and quietly sign in for B grade even though they have the ability to be riding up a grade. It is almost embarrassing watching these riders, squirm when the question is raised – what grade? To his credit Steffan North stepped up this month, although I must admit that I was a little bemused that he thought B Grade was his appropriate grading considering his recent 10 finishes in the State and National Masters races. Sure enough – he gets himself in the breakaway and ends up with fifth place in A.
While everyone enjoys a good hard race, the number of actual B Graders who were absolutely in the hurt box from the very first climb, shows that a number of riders will be advised at the next race they will be in A, although on typical form those riders will now not show up for a month or two. Racing isn’t meant to be a comfortable training ride before you have to try hard for one kilometre – put yourself up a grade and work for the entire race as opposed to sandbagging.
Back to the actual racing, the A Grade start line had a number of the young Skoda-St George Development Team ready to get some team training in against the more experienced NSCC riders of Tom Patton and James Swadling who were using the hit out amongst the hills as some training for the Grafton. An early break of five riders got away early in the first lap containing Nick Yallouris, Tom Patton, James Swadling, Steffan North and other riders I don’t remember. Nick Yallouris wanted to show everyone how proud he was to be wearing some free kit, because he just sat on the front and drilled the pace. By the end of the first lap, the race was pretty much over with the gap out to a few minutes and the rest of the gruppetto was just rolling along and happy to sit behind CCCC Justin Millington. In the end it was a worthy winner in Nick Yallouris (St George) ahead of Tom Patton (NSCC) and James Swadling (NSCC). We will notch that one up as a CCCC victory, even though Nick has recently defected to St George as part of the team requirements.
The B Grade was so large it was split into two groups, with the first B Grade setting a frenzied pace up the climb – one rider described it as like being in a State Open event, there was no talking just everyone burying themselves in the first 4 kilometres of a race that spans 50km. A few riders saw their race end in that opening 4km while the others continued to charge along and put a few minutes into the other B Grade race behind. Father and son Peter and Henry Baird, pulled the pin early on the first lap with Henry citing the HSC studies as his reason for non finishing, but he was happy to wait around and collect his Junior MWCC Champions Jersey, his father just acknowledged that he was crap and should be in C grade. In the end it was a sprint finish with Ed Dockerill of Randwick Botany taking the victory of Andy ‘Hellman’ Hillmich CCCC and Andy Duggan of Easts. All three riders can hopefully read and thus may take this opportunity to reread the first three paragraphs of this report. Carrots collect a second.
The second B Grade bunch was riding a similar tempo and big Evan Snow has recently stepped up from C and he was soon melting away from the bunch, as he stood around in the carpark, I thought I saw tears in his eyes as he described how hard he was trying and how much faster everyone was going. The group was pushing it along and it looked like Chris “Hipster” Miller may again find himself on the podium, but realising that yet another podium may force his promotion, he jammed on his brakes close to line to ensure that he finished fourth. In the end it was a Dulwich Hill domination with Chris Hageman sprinting clear and having time to sit up and raise the hands in a victory salute, with second place John Nguyen DHBC about a bike length and a half behind. Rounding out the podium was another Dulwich Hill rider – Bill Bolton. These guys had been taking some notes from the Lance dossier, with all riders in non club kit and therefore having the benefits of some sneaky team work. Dulwich Hill 1,2,3
Another full C grade saw the two grades split. Stelvio Pappas of Lidcombe Auburn turned up for his first race, fresh from a successful season at RAW track, so while he can sprint and turn left, the hills aren’t his speciality. This is where he walked into the perfectly laid trap of Stephen Short from Caravello who assured him he would be fine and that he should race C in stead of his original D grade sign in. Stelvio took the kind of advice of Stephen and switched over. End result Stelvio got lost on one of the hills and Stephen collected the victory – Stelvio you got punked! Winner Stephen Short (Caravello), second Justin Halliwell (Peloton) and third was the little carrot – Jack Morgan (CCCC). Club Champion Greg ‘the boss’ Reynolds again failed to fire and as a result again found himself floundering in C for the second month in a row – if anyone has found his mojo, please contact Greg. Carrots now 1,2,3
The second C bunch had 17 riders and nine MWCC riders, so it looked like we should be able to at least salvage something here, with so far 12 podiums and not a single MWCC rider amongst them. Talk out being disrespected in your own neighbourhood! While the bunch worked well together and stuck together until the end, again it was a flying carrot who timed his sprint perfectly and when you know the pedigree of the Yallouris family, you know that these guys can time a sprint and so young Alex Yallouris (CCCC)found himself taking the victory. The next two riders were finally some Manly riders with Lucas Laxale (MWCC) trying to get as low on his bike as possible as he crossed the finish line, as if there was some sort of imaginary limbo stick on the finish line, maybe next time he should just keep pedalling and he’ll win. Mitch Dixon (MWCC) must have been visiting Dr Ferrari as he has been returning from injury in great shape and while he may have thought victory was in his sights, he faded when he saw the clipboards at the finish line when he assumed they were WADA testers. Carrots take top spot again 1,1,2,3
The best race to watch is often the D Grade race, if you like watching Tommy Voeckler on a solo breakaway and the faces that he pulls – just wait till you watch this bunch roll over the hills. The battlers of the bunch were putting in a solid effort today – with a few riders elevated up to C grade, it certainly meant that we would see some new faces on the podium and I know secretly Craig Bryant wished it was him. However Craig will have to wait another month, because Duke Millington (CCCC) mustn’t of got the memo that has him racing in C because this Carrot once again collected a pay cheque that is well above the minimum wage for someone of his age. To show how good this course is, Stephen Powis from Cessnock CC travelled in for the days race and his second place will almost cover about a quarter of his petrol money. Stephen looked like he was in trouble early on heading out of Akuna but he was actually just letting all the other riders do all the work before they would peel off the back and he would move up. The stand out performance of the day though had to go to Lynne Clarke who all day stayed close to the front before putting in a sprint and taking third place on the podium, which sets her well on the way towards her goal of racing C grade in a few months time. Well done Lynne and I am glad that we could count on you to represent Manly on the podium – don’t spend all your prize money at once, try and ration it over at least two coffees. Final result Carrots 1,1,1,2,3.
Well done to all riders on the day and thanks to all of those who hung around for the presentations and also saw the crowning of the MWCC Club Champions for the year and saw them celebrate in style. The next club race is November 11. The November race will have free entry for any female rider who has a gold 2012/2013 racing licence. Alternatively if they would like to race but don’t have a racing licence, they will only have to purchase the $30 one day licence.
Final thanks go to Antoni and James for commissairing, Gabriel, Sheepy and Michelle for marshalling.
Next Race 11 November.
- Nick Yallouris (St George – Skoda)
- Tom Patton (GPM Wilson – NSCC)
- James Swadling (NSCC)
- Ed Dockerill (RBCC)
- Andy Hillmich (CCCC)
- Andy Duggan (Easts)
- Chris Hageman (DHBC)
- John Nguyen (DHBC)
- Bill Bolton (DHBC)
- Stephen Short (Caravello)
- Justin Halliwell (Peloton)
- Jack Morgan (CCCC)
- Alex Yallouris (CCCC)
- Lucas Laxale (MWCC)
- Mitch Dixon (MWCC)
1. Duke Millington (CCCC)
2. Stephen Powis (Cessnock CC)
3. Lynne Clarke (MWCC)