Friday, December 9, 2011

Two Dollar Shots - Bright Photos

Mills took at $2 disposable camera with him on the weekend. Any lens blur is probably a gel from his jersey pocket!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feeling Bright - Dingus Dave

Stage 1. Tawonga

Neutral Zone. 30km/hr (now this is an appropriate neutral zone speed – are you taking notes Mr. Shipwreck Classic?). I’m sitting just behind and to the left of Gene, mid-pack. He turns around briefly. At the same moment the guy in front of him brakes. Gene turns back to the front. Fuck……. Slams his brakes on, locks up the back wheel, mad skid, touches wheels with the guy in front, holds it, recovers. Crisis averted, and trust me - he really didn’t want to test out that wicked helmet he was rocking.

After the hell of Shipwreck, it was absolute bliss to sit in the middle of the 100-strong peloton and fly along at 45km/hr with barely any effort. 

At 35km, Adrian: “is my back tire flat?” I glance down. The guy behind shouts “your rear is flat!” Adrian slows to the side of the road. I have fleeting thoughts of stopping to help pace him back on – isn’t that what you do for your teammates, and he’s a serious threat for GC, but by the time I consider it it’s too late. I roll on, convincing myself that it’s alright, Adrian is strong, he’ll get back on. I mention this to Gene when I get alongside a few minutes later. “Nah, he’s riding tubs.” Oh, fuck.

We hit the climb at Rosewhite Gap after 50km. 4.5km at 4%. I expect the guys at the front to smack it up here and split things up, but it all feels pretty cruisey. It actually feels good to get the heart rate going a little. I make up a bunch of spots on the descent, which kinda surprises me because I generally descend like a Grandma. I probably get a little too aggressive near the bottom, when I overtake a guy on my left but get squeezed by two guys on my right and rub shoulders at 60+km/hr. For some reason I’m not scared. Must be the adrenaline. TDR’s good buddy James Kent, of Hell Krew fame, comes screaming past as we latch onto the front group of 30 riders. Feels good man.

The final climb up Tawonga to the finish comes at 85km. But the 10km leading up to that are all uphill and my legs start to feel it as the pace picks up slightly. We hit the climb reasonably hard, with Gene, James and me all sitting mid pack.

I try to settle into a rythym but can’t. The three of us fall into a group of about 8 or so, while the top 30-40 riders pull away. I spend the first 10 minutes in the red zone. Man, it shouldn’t be this hard. Gene goes to the front of the group. James is just behind me. I still can’t get a rythym. This gear, that gear. No this gear. Why is my heart rate so high? And why can’t I get my cadence up, it’s too low. Fuck it’s hot. When did it get so hot? Why am I wearing all black? Gene is pulling away, taking the other guys with him. 

Fuck. But go Gene!

Halfway through 7.6km climb. It’s steeper than I remember. I can’t keep this pace up, or I’m gonna die before the top. I watch as the group I was with, including Gene, pull away. James is still not far behind, but I know he’s saving himself for the climb up Hotham. My butt hurts. I get out of the saddle. My heart rate jumps. It hurts. I sit back down and grimace. I’m in trouble here.

2.5km to go. Gene is falling back. I can reel him in. I turn around, James is dropping off slightly.

I pass Gene. I push to the line with 1km to go. Spectators are scattered along the roadside. “Go Malvern Star.” I continue to stare at the road, but give a little thumbs up.

I cross the line. Gene is right behind me. James not much further back.

Later, just as we get back to the house, my wife texts me: 47th. Awesome. Only 6 minutes behind the C Grade winner. 47th. The goal is to finish the tour in the top half. 110 starters, so I’ll take 47th. But wow, we lost 6 minutes on that 7.5km climb.

We stand in the icy cold river and let the water wrap around our muscles. Adrian arrives, and we find out that because he didn’t finish Stage 1 he’s not allowed to start the next two stages. Well that’s shit.

Stage 2. Time Trial.

A few hours after finishing Stage 1, I roll up onto the start for the time trial, 15.7km out and back course. The clock ticks down. The starter counts out, 5, 4, 3…. I’m staring at the numbers, silently mouthing each one as it appears.

I roll off the start.

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

How far have I gone? 500 metres!?!?! Oh man.

13 minutes of hurt later, and I’ve made the turn to come home. I pass a guy. And another guy. Feels good man. Then I hear behind me what sounds like a helicopter going in slow motion; whoosh whoosh whoosh, and a dude on a time trial bike, tear drop helmet and rear disc comes roaring past me like I’m standing still. “Oh fuck!” I cry out. A minute later he’s out of site.

The course back to the finish is slightly downhill, and I’m feeling surprisingly comfy in the TT bars and smashing it at 50km/hr. This time trial business isn’t so bad. I cross the line and roll back to the house. Call my wife and get the results.

Stage 3 – Mount Hotham. 

One stage left. 4 seconds between me and James, with Gene only 30 seconds back. It’s on!

At the start we’re told it’s -2 degrees at the finish line with an icy gale wind blowing across the top of the mountain. For our own safety, the stage will be cut short. It’s a little disappointing we won’t be facing the full challenge, but at the same time my legs are kinda pleased.

Even so, after the first 25km of heading up the valley to Harrietville, we’re still faced with a 10km climb at something like 7%, before a 10km false flat section to the finish.

We roll off, and I happily find a wheel mid-pack and sit in. Twenty minutes later I notice James and Gene have moved up through the pack. I turn around, and there are only two guys behind me. How the hell did that happen? There’s an intermediate sprint, and as the peloton strings out I take the opportunity to move up and re-join Gene and James.

Harrietville comes along, and then we start climbing. Straight into 11%. My legs spin nice and fast, and I start passing big guys gasping for breath.

The front 30 guys are gone. We started too far back to even have a chance. But I’m feeling a million times better than the climb yesterday. So is Gene by the looks of it, as he moves up ahead of me, head bobbing in his usual style. James is not far behind.

The field has split up completely. It’s all two’s and three’s on the road; Gene about 30m ahead, James 15m behind. Racing bikes. Feels good man.

Gene pulls further ahead. He must have 20 seconds on me now. As I pass each turn I glance back, and see James ever so slightly further back. Shit, Gene might get this.

I try to forget about the overall and concentrate on my cadence. Gene has disappeared now anyway. After 4km we hit The Meg. It’s meant to be 300m at 12%. I glance behind. A group of 3, including James, are on my tail. My garmin reads 14%. The guy next to me gets out of the saddle. I stay seated, and slowly pull away. I’m smashing it. I look at the Garmin, I’m doing 11km/hr. 

As the gradient settles back down to 7%, I get out of the saddle and punch a few strokes out. I look back. I can’t see James. 

Why didn’t I feel this good yesterday?

I see Gene up ahead, riding with one other guy. I’m gonna catch ‘em.

I pull alongside: “James has popped.”

Gene: “YES!”

Four or so other guys appear. Did we catch them? Did they catch us? I’m not even sure. I’m just trying to concentrate. There mustn’t be much climbing left before the false flat. I click up a gear and ride off the front of the group.

Another guy bridges across. Good. I’ll need someone to work with on the false flat. The gradient dies down to 2% and all of a sudden we’re doing 35km/hr.

We round a corner. The trees have thinned a little, and we’re smashed by a headwind. But we catch another guy, then another. They latch onto our wheels but are too tired to do any work, and it’s just two of us pulling turns into the wind.

How far are we riding today? I’m not sure.
My buddy fills me in; “I think there’s 6-7km to go”.

A minute later we see a sign; 2km to go. Well, that’s a pleasant surprise.

I glance back, I can’t see Gene or James.

Head down. Smash to the line. I can’t get out of the seat to sprint. 

I finish, clip my feet out and fall over the bike. My chest is heaving. I turn my head back towards the line, and see James come across with a group of around ten. Gene follows thirty seconds later.

What an awesome race.

I don’t find out the results until I talk to my wife back at the house. But I’m pretty darn stoked when she tells me.

A cracking weekend all round. An impressive effort by Matt to finish 6th, backing up from his top ten finish last year. Disappointment for Adrian to get a DNF, but he took it all astonishingly well. As for me, James and Gene; it was hella fun to race together and be so close in each stage, and I think we’re all pretty happy to finish in the top half. But mostly, it was just awesome hanging out, racing bikes.

Feeling Bright - Gene Mills

“Racing bikes, racing bikes, racing bikes, around the world” to quote James Kent of Hell Krew fame that was pretty much how the Tour of Bright went.

So the weekend’s done and we’re all packed in to the cars and on our way home,
Of the 8 of us that signed up together 4 months ago, only 5 were able to make it out to bright to race. And then only 4 finished.

Friday, I got up at 5 and smashed 8 hours of work out the way, Matt Gray rolled into my drive way around 4.30, James and myself added our bags and bikes to the now overflowing station wagon and hit the road before 5, making it out in time to beat the traffic. Well the early start mustn’t of done my head much good, by the time we’d got to bright I’d already left my shoe’s (casual shoe’s not road shoes) at a pub which we’d stopped for a toilet break, it didn’t bode well for the weekend.

Saturday, after getting settled in to the house we had for the weekend the night before, along with organising a mass pasta and getting our bikes ready (matt’s was ban spanking new, he hadn’t even ridden it yet).
We woke early-ish and got kitted up, it was at this time about an hour till the race started that I realized I’d forgotten something else, my helmet…

The bike shop was closed.

Matt’s mate in Mt. Beauty had already left, so him bringing his spare was out of the question. After making some phone calls around to some locals in town, I finally secured a helmet, “Flash” was definitely not a word  I would use to describe it, but it had the necessary AUS standards sticker, so off came the visor and on went the helmet.

Stage 1. Bright – Rose White – Tawonga Gap.

Neutral @ 20kmph for about 5 km, with over 100 starters it was a bit messy, and once the car pulled over not a lot changed, except for the pace that is. Until the first climb at Rose White the bunch sat quite happily around 42kmph avg.

The 5 of us sat quite happily in the bunch, Matt moved up to the front 15 with Adrian not far behind while myself, James and Dave spent most of our time sitting in the middle/back half of the pack. Rose White hit, and while its not the steepest of climbs the fact that there were KOM points up for grab made the last km hurt that little bit more as I tried not to get dropped from the main bunch in the sprint.

It was just before Rose White that Adrian punctured, its was really hard to watch, knowing that he was a real contender to be up around the top 10 for GC, but that was it, race over.

After nearly loosing the bunch on the last climb I made an effort to move up the bunch a bit more knowing I would need a good start at Tawonga, so far I felt I was climbing the worst out of the four of us (and really our personal competition within the group is the only one I cared about), before Tawonga came around nothing of any real consequence happened, the second and last sprint of the stage came and went, and with Steve “sprint dog” Duggan having to pull out from bright on Thursday due to illness we had no one to work for here, so they went by all weekend with out much fuss.

Tawonga was upon us, I don’t personally like to look at maps with gradients and distances on them before a race, an over all distance with a rough idea of what’s to come is enough for me. So all I knew when the climb started was that I had a bit of a gap on Dave and James, and was pretty much dead centre of the pack with 8km to go.

It was a bit of a mess to say the least as Tawonga started, people were all over the road forming in to small pack’s of 3’s and 4’s, but once you worked through the first km getting passed by those faster than you and passing those that we’re slower on the climb, I got set into a steady rhythm.

A small group of about 6 riders had formed and we’re all riding together with a steady pace, Dave and James were both with me now, and we as a 3 lost the bigger bunch with about 3km to go.
1km to go Dave was clear of me by about 40m with James only just behind me.

500m to go I flicked it down a gear, gave an effort and tried and shake James, he followed me.

200m to go, he broke not committing to the chase and wanting to save some for the rest of the tour, I’d shaken James, but Dave was still off the front and I had another rider coming up behind me.

In the last 80m the new chaser went for it, I countered, he attacked again and I followed suit, in the last 20m he threw another gear down and stupidly I followed suit, we’re both out of the saddle pushing but the last gear was to big for me, he rolled over the line about 5m in front of me.

Dave had just finished and I got about 10 seconds on James, I was happy with my result, but wrecked, I’d dug deep to try and hold off James all day and sprinting for the finish with someone I didn’t know definitely didn’t help with my ITT prep.

Stage 1 Results:

Matt Gray -7th
Dave Hogan -47th
Gene Mills -49th
James Kent -50th
Adrian Del’fonso -Dnf (mechanical)
Steve Duggan –Dns (illness)
William Watson –Dns (work commitments)
Jeremy Soawyer -Dns (work commitments)

I’d done it, I’d finished the first race and I wasn’t dead (or dead last!), It felt great! Well except for the fact I couldn’t stand with out leaning on my bike and every moment I felt like I was seconds away from vomiting.
We gathered into a group congratulated each other, especially Matt when we found out he was in the top ten, collect our wits, refilled the bidons and held off the vomit.

It was time to roll down back to Bright and rest up for stage 2.

When we got back to the house we got changed and headed straight down to the river, it was freezing cold, but having a dip and refreshing the legs as well as doing a few stretches felt amazing. Off to the bakery and we smashed roll down, that plus a protein shake, a coke some chocolate and a muesli bar felt like it would be enough, last thing I wanted to do right now was over eat.

Back at the house we sorted out the clip on TT bars, and made the final bike check (or in my case didn’t). Not wanting to be late for our start time we rolled out in 1’s and 2’s giving our selves a good 20 min to roll around and warm up near the start.

Stage 2. Individual Time Trial

I was on the starting block and the counter was counting down and damn I felt tired. Not a good start. Stupidly while I new I was having minor issues with my rear derailleur towards the end of stage 1 and hadn’t check it out and thought I would leave it till later that night, unfortunately that was not my first mistake of the weekend as you know, but it was probably the biggest for this race.

15.7km story short, going too deep in the 1st stage and not tightening a loose rear derailleur means a horrible time trial and the loss of a 40 seconds, giving James a 25second lead on me. I’d like to say I was emotionally shattered by this fact but I think I was just way to tired to care.

Off home I rolled in such a daze that twice I thought I was lost (I wasn’t). Down to the river again as group, food, a whole lot of inane chatter and bed, day 1 was done, it was just and easy breezy 58km tomorrow…

Stage 2 Results

Matt Gray 7th - 23.30.51
James Kent 41st - 24.53.33
Dave Hogan 43rd - 25.05.82
Gene Mills 59th – 25.33. 30

Sunday, another early-ish start, breakfast, shower, put on kit. There was a quite excitement in the house, not the easygoing chat that was about the day before.I felt surprisingly fresh, I checked my bidons made sure I had enough food, packed the $2 dollar disposable camera we’d picked up the day before in to my jersey pocket and it was time. Hotham was waiting…

Stage 3. Hotham

Much like the house earlier in the morning the bunch had nervous energy to it, with a much shorter neutral section the race was on its way and while the pace felt the same as the day before you could tell people were a bit more tired today, there was more quite focus and people seemed a little more jumpy within the bunch.

I’d set myself a list of objectives to complete before we hit Hotham and the main one was to make sure I got up towards the front of the bunch, I knew if I wanted to get time back on Dave and James, as well as even have a hope of finishing Hotham in a respectable place I needed a good start, and getting stuck behind a bunch of dead weight when the climb started like yesterday was not what I wanted.

While this sounds like an easy enough goal, the fact that the race had been shortened due to heavy winds at the top of the climb meant people were a lot more willing to fight for position and push harder early on as they didn’t have to save reserves for the CBR and Razor Back climbs.

I eventually worked my way to up to the front half of the bunch about 30 riders deep. With the final sprint having kicked and the bigger lads rolling off to the back of the bunch the climb started, and much like the day before the effect of the incline was instantaneous.

Groups of 3’s and 4’s breaking off all over the place, I immediately got stuck behind a few riders who were sitting on a slower pace than I’d liked and spent much of the first km trying to find room to set my own pace.
For much of the first part of the climb there was a small group in front of me I was trying to catch, urging other riders around to work with me, knowing I had to be with a solid group of riders when we hit the false flat other wise all the work I’d done to get time on the boys would be lost in the heavy winds.

Pushing up towards the Meg I saw a “1km to go” sign for the KOM points, and this is where my dislike of looking at maps in detail failed me, not realising that the false flat was still I good 2.5km past the KOM point I pushed hard and settled in to a higher pace trying to catch the group in front of me, by what I thought would be the top of the climb.

I hit the Meg with about 20 seconds on James but I could see Dave coming around the bends not to long after me slowly closing, I slowed my pace and tried to get another gel into me (most of it ended up on my Cannondale), let Dave come along side and then we rode together along with 3 others who were just behind him.

With just under a km to the actual false flat, Dave broke off with 1 other. The false flat came and I instantly started rolling turns with the 2 gents I was riding with, using my track experience, I just set my head down and hit the gears, but the winds were high and with only the 3 of us it wasn’t long till another larger group of about 10 came up behind us.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t shattered this time when I saw James was sitting in with them, I’d gone to early and I was very nearly burnt out. We joined in the larger train, and I stuffed my face with some lollies and water, I knew my only hope now was to out sprint James.

Or a break! 2 lads went off the front with about a km to go, I chased to go with them, but it was too much to early.

150m to go and the pace line collected me again.

80m, the final sprint from the remaining 10 went, I was solidly deposited out the back of the group and watched James roll over the line in front of me.

Now it sounds like I’m disappointed but trust me I was not, I was euphoric. I’d just finished to Tour of Bright, I’d managed to ride the whole race competing with 2 close friends and riders I would normally consider better than me and I’d had a bloody great time doing it.

Stage 3 Results

Matt Gray – 8th
Dave Hogan – 31st
James Kent – 37th
Gene Mills – 46th

We rolled down back down Hotham with Adrian who had ascended before the race to watch A grade and us finish (only to get another flat on the way down!). We talked crap and laughed as well rolled along, I pulled out the camera and took some shots of the view and the boys descending (I put it away just before the false flat finished for the real descent), but I must have been having far too much fun because I wasn’t focusing.

As I came down the Meg I hit the brakes far to late and hard, the back wheel came all the way out to the side and I only just managed to straighten it back out, sliding the bike into the dirt shoulder I some how managed to unclip, park the bike up against the metal safety railing and then, without the bike I fell over the side of Hotham…

I stood up I had leaves down one side of my jersey, gave my self a brush off and got back over the barrier, just in time for Adrian to roll around the corner and think I’d stoped to give him my pump for his slow leaking tyre. Amazingly I was fine, my bike was fine and no one even saw it! Lets just say the rest of the descent was taken very slowly indeed.

Back at the house we cleaned up and packed our bags, headed down to the pub and had a counter meal, said our good bye’s and jumped back in the car, it was only around 2pm and none of us were in the money, and yes while it might not be proper, we’re all damn tired so we decided to skip the presentations and hit the road early.

Bright was done; I spent the weekend riding around mountains with a rad bunch of friends, and made an awesome time of it. Cant really ask much more of a weekend on the bike than that.

GC Results

Matt Gray – 6th
Dave Hogan – 38th
James Kent – 42nd
Gene Mills – 45th  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hawthorn Crits - 23/11/2011

Words by Dingus Dave


I really like the Hawthorn crit circuit. Granted, this is much easier to say after getting a win there, but sprinting up that short hill every lap certainly makes things more interesting than rolling round on the flat and getting smashed by 90kg+ monsters at St. Kilda.

I’d never really been able to put things together at Hawthorn though. First round, I attacked too early (1.5 laps to go) and got reeled in before the final bend. Another week I was in the wrong gear as I started the final sprint from 5th wheel (which was probably too far back anyway), skipped my chain trying to gear down and that was it. Last week I managed a third after just missing the winner’s kick on the back straight.

But this week  everything came up TDR. The legs felt a little heavy before the race, after a big weekend and a hard night at the track on Tuesday, but once we got going they sparked up. Feeling better than expected, I attacked off the front about half way through the race. I got a small break, and dangled out there for a couple of laps making sure I didn’t push too hard and blow up. I didn’t care if I got brought back; I was racing more as training, to push myself before Bright, rather than riding a tactical race to conserve energy. The group caught me, and I slotted back into third wheel.

Two laps later I attacked again going up the climb, this time taking one of the Blackburn kids with me. Once again we got a small break, but the little guy wasn’t giving me much shelter into the head wind up the back straight, and after a lap or two we were reeled in.

Suddenly there were only three laps left, but the pace stayed reasonably steady. As we crested the climb with one lap to go, the Blackburn kid attacked again. Last week’s winner McDougall (BWK) kicked to chase him down, and I worked hard to get his wheel as we flew around the sweeping left hander into the back straight. I had to get his wheel before we hit the head wind and thankfully managed to get great shelter and recover slightly leading into the final corner.

Once around the final bend, it was a just the kick to the line to win it. For once I had the right gear, and managed to overhaul McDougall in the final 20m to win by a half wheel.

Hell yeah!

Also, D’Alfonso was extremely unlucky in B Grade last night. Having attacked solo late in the race, he got himself a decent break and was in a perfect position to take the win. But he was getting close to the back of D Grade who were about to start their bell lap and the commisaire, who was rightfully concerned about the two grades getting mixed up during a sprint, called him to ease off and let D Grade go. Unlucky!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Does this qualify as 'Epic'?

Words by Dingus Dave

A TDR crew of Mills, Watson, D’Alfonso and Hogan hit the slopes of Mount Donna Buang on the weekend in a ride that turned out a little wetter than expected.

Leaving Preston in a drizzle of rain, the boys drove out to Seville, about 25km from the base of Mount Donna Buang. During the drive, the rain turned from drizzle to torrential. A quick check of the BOM radar eased fears, as it looked as though the rain was sliding south. And sure enough, at Seville as kit was donned and final preparations done on the bikes the sun was shining and the sky was clear.

It was a rolling 25km to Warburton at the base of the climb; the beautiful scenery balanced out by the narrow shoulder on the road and cars zipping past constantly. But the final few km into Warburton, following the banks of the Yarra, were worth sharing the road for.

The boys turned off the highway towards the summit, and the road kicked up immediately. 17km to go, at an average of 6.4%, great training for scaling Mount Hotham in the Tour of Bright in two weeks time. The road quickly entered the forest of the National Park, and with the canopy cover above came the drizzling rain. Watson, who has had to pull out of the Tour of Bright due to work commitments, was happy to tap out an easy tempo and drifted off the back, leaving the other three to push hard in preparation for the beast that will be Hotham.

By the half way mark the rain was steady. But in the last 7km, the rain turned into a downpour. Hogan could barely see through his glasses due to the fog, so they came off and went into the back pocket. He fell behind D’Alfonso and Mills, who was climbing well in his usual big-gear style. With the eyesight of a mole, Hogan relied on Mills’ flashing red light up ahead to guide him.

Through the wide open car park with 3km to go, the water was gushing down over the road. “Good weather for ducks”, suggested a fellow cyclist as the TDR crew went past.

Watson continued his steady pace, grinning like a fool in the downpour.

The final few km of the climb are perhaps the hardest, as the road kicks up to 8% and then 9% for the final 1km. Mills paid for his early efforts, being reeled in by Hogan, while D’Alfonso powered on ahead, reaching the top just outside the hour mark, with Hogan and Mills not far behind. The boys waited for Watson, rolling some laps of the carpark to try to keep warm.

A quick regroup at the top, and it was time for a nerve-wracking descent. Numb fingers and toes were the order of the day, as Watson, D’Alfonso and Hogan took it very easy on the way down, while Mills was his usual fearless self and disappeared out of sight after just a couple of turns. Watson wore through a couple of months worth of brake pads, while Hogan’s arms were shaking like Popeye’s Olive Oil.

Pies and donuts were inhaled at the bottom at the Warburton bakery, although Hogan was shivering so much he could barely get the food into his mouth without smearing it across his face. The rain was still bucketing down as they started the final 25km back to Seville, but the lads were thankful to be able to warm back up on the ride to Seville. 86km down, and around 1400m of climbing. Training done.

Not satisfied with this for the weekend, Mills backed up the next day for the Victorian State Omnium Champs at DISC (we should hit up Gene for a report), while Hogan ventured south of the river to try his luck amongst the bling at the St Kilda crits, picking up a solid fourth in D Grade.

A good weekend all round.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


What can we say about Mills? A stalwart of Melbourne's cycling scene.

Actually, scratch that.

How about a stalwart of Melbourne's scene full stop?

My best prose will not convey the quality of this mans character. Pics instead.


Suffer. Recover. Repeat

HCC Crits - 16/11/11

Report by Dingus Dave

3rd place for Hogan in D Grade at the HCC Crit. Plenty of time on the front and felt comfortable throughout, but just missed the kick on the back straight by the winner. Caught the next wheel, but couldn't quite get over him in the sprint. 

Happy to finally contest a sprint on that course, but still plenty of work on sprinting skills needed for the rest of the crit season. Not a bad hitout with the Tour of Bright little more than two weeks away.

Busy Busy Busy Busy...

Words by Mills.

So first things first, an apology is in order, since the Shipwreck Classic we’ve been a bit lazy... lazy at updating the blog that is!

But don’t worry because the less time we spend here means the more time we spend out there on the bike, and with Bright just over two weeks away it doesn’t feel like its going to let up any time soon. The Shipwreck Classic has come and gone, and it certainly tested out mettle. It even gave a few of us second thoughts about following through with Bright, but it didn’t stop us and it hardly slowed us down.

Since getting back from Warrnambool its been go go go, with racing Track at Brunswick and Northcote, regular sessions down at both Hawthorn and Coburg Crits, long day’s out to the dandies’ for a few climbs, a cyclocross adventure out on some of Victoria’s best rail trails and even a 90km ITT thrown in there... you can see why the blogs been stale for a week or two, we’ve hardly had time to breathe!

But not long now one more week of hard training, a week to taper and rest up then Bright will be upon us and it will be time to put all these efforts to work. Then rest!

(Don’t mention training for the Christmas track carnivals! erg)

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 Shipwreck Coast Classic - Race Report

30/10/2011 - Warnambool - Our first open road race

Words by Dingus Dave

The author after the race. Shattered. 

I wasn’t really sure what I was in for. Hell, I’d only ridden a handful of club road races over the past 6 months, and here I was lining up at an Open event; 116km along Victoria’s South West coast with vicious cross winds. Not only that, it was a mass start with all grades, so I was lined up next to the lads from Genesis Wealth Advisors and Team Budget Fork Lifts.

We had a neutral zone for the first few kilometres through the streets of Warrnambool. Neutral is a relative term though – we were smashing it at 40km an hour. I knew I was in trouble when my heart rate nearly maxed out before the race proper had even started. I was amongst the guys strung out at the back, Gene was next to me, and Steve and Adrian just up ahead, when a shout came from behind me; “Fuck off Genesis Pros, we’ve paid our sixty bucks too!”

The pace eased a little, and I looked around. Nathan Hass was next to me. Shit, I’ve gotta get in front of him so I can say that I was leading him at some point. No luck, he weaved around a couple of riders and got ahead of me. I needn’t have worried though. We reached the base of a hill, 6% for 1km, and the flag dropped. Fuck. The A Graders at the front smashed it, I made it over feeling ok, but as we crested the hill the cross winds hit, and the field split up dramatically. Haas had already called it quits by this stage – caught at the back of the pack in these cross winds was not the place to be. All of a sudden it was a battle to find a wheel, any wheel. We got some shelter from the support cars, but before I knew it I was at the back working with Mills just to hang on. I could see Duggan about 50m ahead riding with two or three others, battling like us in the brutal winds.

We picked up a couple of other guys and worked to stay in some kind of touch. After 10km or so, we caught the group with Duggan and D’Alfonso, and formed a solid bunch of 13 or so. For the next hour-and-a-half we worked together in the cross winds, and I got a crash course in echelon riding. It took a huge mental and physical effort just to hold a wheel. I put my head down, legs burning, gasping for breath, I glanced at my speedo – we were doing 28km/hr. Hard yakka.

After 40km I was hurting, my back was in pain and I was mentally starting to fade. I lost touch with the group. But the thought of riding the best part of 80km in these winds on my own scared the hell out of me, and I put in an effort to get back on. Phew.

We reached the Great Ocean Road proper, and followed the rollers past the rugged rocky outcrops. But the views were tempered by the wind screaming off the water. I counted heads – Mills was gone, dropped just a few km earlier. As we reached Peterborough, about 60km into the race, we rounded a bend and the pace kicked up. I couldn’t go. My head dropped and my legs stopped. I gave up. I look back in hindsight and say I could have held on, I should have worked harder, Don’t we always. But at the time I was cooked.

The group disappeared up the road. I felt embarrassed coming out of Peterborough, as the Police escort had stopped the traffic at a major intersection for the race; cars were backed up waiting as I rolled through on my own at 25km/hr. I didn’t see another cyclist for the rest of the race, pushing the last 55km on my own. I forgot about my speed and just tried to turn my legs over and stretch my back. The intense racing of the first hour-and-a-half had given way to a gentle solo training ride around the back roads of South West Victoria.

I kept an eye out for Mills behind me, but never saw him. With 12km to go I was joined by a motorcycle escort, who motorpaced me for a few kms before dropping behind and protecting me from passing traffic. I was happy to have some company.

I crossed the line on my own in 64th place, almost an hour behind the A Grade winner. Mills followed about 5 minutes later. I was stoked to hear that Duggan and D’Alfonso had stayed with the bunch, with the two of them leading the sprint over the line.

Hogan (C) - 15th +44:33
Mills (C) - 16th +48:42
Duggan (C) - 6th +17:46
D'Alfonso (C) - 7th +17:46

Post-race Burgers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BCC Track Open - Report

Great night! Selected results from TDR and FOA riders:

Senior D Grade 10 Lap Scratch
1. Roland Cox
2. Mel Humphreys-Grey
3. P. Beasley

Senior D Grade 12 Lap Points
1. Mel Humphreys-Grey 6pt
2. Damian Breed 5pt
3. Roland Cox 5pt

Senior D Grade 25 Lap Motorpace
1. Roland Cox
2. Damian Breed
3. Mel Humphreys-Grey

Senior C Grade 12 Lap Scratch
1. Aidan Bowe
2. C. Kenneth
3. Jared Otto

Senior C Grade 15 Lap Points
1. Imogen Jelbart 9pt
2. Jared Otto 8pt
3. Hannah Bush 6pt

Senior C Grade 35 Lap Motorpace
1. B. MacKenzie
2. Gene Mills
3. Hannah Bush

Senior B Grade 12 Lap Scratch
1. Steve Duggan
2. Sean Anderton
3. Michael Thomas

Senior B Grade Keirin Heat 2
1. Aidan Bowe
2. Steve Duggan
3. Imogen Jelbart

Senior B Grade Keirin Final
1. Steve Duggan
2. Michael Thomas
3. Imogen Jelbart

Senior B Grade 80 Lap Motorpace
1. Aidan Bowe
2. Steve Duggan
3. Chris Pescott

Full results here.

Selected images from Britt!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Brunswick Track Open - THIS SATURDAY NIGHT - DISC

Get on it!!!

Some more images of TDR racing over the last few weeks... Thanks Dingus Dave...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday HCC Crits - 19/10/2011

Words by Dingus Dave

Panache Cash...

Wednesday's Hawthorn crits are now in full swing, and the warm weather for the third week of the season drew a big crowd of racers. TDR had a full compliment of riders, covering all the Grades. Mills, Watson and Hogan propped up D Grade, Duggan eased back into things in C Grade following his crash on the weekend, D'Alfonso was in B Grade, and new signing Gray rocked up to sign-on late to earn a place in A Grade.

The pace in D Grade was solid without being exceptional. A few gingerly attacks (Ed: Hah... ginger...) were made early, with none getting away as the TDR boys sat comfortably in the pack. Fixed dot org's Paulser made his presence known in his first crit, joinging fellow FOA-er McKenzie up the front to push the pace half way though the race. Hogan sat in around 6th-10th wheel, with Watson and Mills not far behind. With three laps to go it was McKenzie on the front and Hogan in 4th wheel. The pace hadn't exploded yet, with people reluctant to push too early. 

Hogan got impatient, and with 1.5 laps to go attacked solo down the back straight. He passed the B Grade bunch as he crested the finish line with 1 lap to go, and hoped their presence may help slow the chasers, but his legs ran out on the back straight as a group of 5 chased him down. Fighting to hold a wheel around the final hairpin bend, his efforts to get amongst the final sprint were no good as the legs had had enough. 6th place.

Duggan was joined in C Grade on the day by HellKrew's Kent. Despite coming back from a nasty crash on Saturday, Duggan was his usual bullish self, and attacked off the front early in the race. After a few laps Kent brigded across bringing one other guy along, and the three then worked hard to consolidate their break. They were eventually brought back, but not before inflicting serious damage on the rest of the bunch. Kent and Duggan back in the fold of the bunch, recovered and rode out a fairly uneventful last half of the race. Duggan launched an attack on the back straight purely to enter the final corner safely, continuing up the hill to the line take third overall. 

D'Alfonso was feeling good in the B Grade race until he was cannoned into on the back straight by another rider. Forced to unclip to stay upright, he lost contact with the bunch and pulled out with just a few laps to go. Disappointed, but relieved as it could have been much worse had he come off on the cheesegrater bitumen.

Gray, much like Duggan a little earlier, exhibited his usual penchant for self inflicted pain. There was an early breakaway of two riders in A Grade, who were soon joined by Gray as he worked hard to bridge the gap on his own. Mat rode well for the remainder of the race to finish with the bunch which included some big names like Drapac and Lovelock. Well done Mat.

Random visuals from last weeks race pinched from Digital Formula

Mat Gray getting some training in before the European season
D'Alfonso looking comfortable in the B grade pack

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Brunswick CC Tuesday Track Night – 11/10/2011

Race report – Brunswick CC Tuesday Track Night – 5/10/2011



Mills (C grade) - 3rd Points
Duggan (A grade) - 4th Scratch/3rd 60 lap combined A/B motorpace

Full results here

Selected images from Dingus Dave.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brunswick CC Tuesday Track Night – 5/10/2011

Race report – Brunswick CC Tuesday Track Night – 5/10/2011

TDR Rock the Casbar - words by Mills

Well it was a busy night, and TDR were back in force ready to take the track back.

The first race of the night for the TDR boys, the C grade Scratch race, saw Hogan, Mills and Watson take to the track for ten laps in quite a big field of 15+ riders.

Hogan and Mills took position together at the back of the pack, loosing sight of Watson who was quite a few riders further up in the line. The whistle blew and the boys rolled out, and it didn’t take long after 2 and half laps the pace kicked.

From the back of the bunch Hogan and Mills saw the field of 15 stretch out along way in front, after getting a tip from track mentor Bailey earlier in the night about racing in a field this big Mills knew he had to get to the front of the pack and quick. Hogan in the same mind kicked, the pair tagging on to fast wheel as they hopped up out of the sprinters lane and started making there way up the line.

6 laps to go and the pack had split. 

Hogan, Miils, Watson and friend of TDR, FOA’s own Mackenzie were all sitting in the front half. With another sharp kick, Mackenzie smashed off the front and again everyone found them selves on the chase. 4 laps to go and it was fast. 2 laps left Mackenzie rolled up and Mills not willing to be stuck on the front rolled up with him to let Watson through to do the remainder of the work, quickly snapping back down on his wheel for 2nd place in the line. Watson seeing his chance picked up the pace with Mills and the rest of the boys in the line had to chase hard.

Watson lead into the last corner, Mills got out of the saddle and had to work for it coming out of the line and going over the top of Watson to pip him in the last 3 meters….

1st Mills
2nd Watson
3rd Mazzarella

A fast and fun first race of the night, dominated by TDR with the final results putting 3 riders in the top 5, taking out first and second. It was a good omen for the TDR boys and they raced hard the rest of the night.

Duggan, team captain, lead in style taking a first in a heavily contested B grade Scratch race as well as dominating the Motorpace, leading out off the back of the bike with 4 to go “making them f#*king work for it”. I’d be putting some good money that Duggan takes on A grade next week.  

The rest of the night in C grade went well with a fast and tough points, Mackenzie took out 2nd place, and in a motorpace that had everyone spinning, Hogan continuing his last few weeks of success by putting another win on the board.

TDR’s own development program (other wise know as FOA) also put a number of names in the results, with Cox and Pausler taking commanding control over D grade, together with Mahoney showing the E graders how to sprint with a win in the points.

[Ed: Opinions expressed by contributors are not wholly endorsed by management or associated sponsors :)]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday Track - 27/09/2011

Words by Dingus Dave...

Brunswick CC's Tuesday Track - 27th September 2011

Duggan (B Grade 1st Scratch / 1st Progressive Points / 3rd Motorpace), Hogan (C Grade 7th Scratch / 1st Progressive Points / 1st Motorpace) and Mills (C Grade) were back at the track for TDR.

C Grade scratch saw Hogan caught at last wheel of 12 when Bryce McKenzie (FOA) did his usual trick of attacking with 5 laps to go. The field strung out, with Hogan and Mills pushing hard to the line mid pack.

Duggan brought some solid form into this week, and continued his good run with a strong performance in the scratch, driving a breakaway of four early in the race. With a healthy lead, the four started foxing on the second last lap as the pace slowed dramatically. The chase bunch was stirred into action and it was all back together as the sprint started with one to go. But Duggan put the head down and went for home, leading out for another win.

Progressive points were next up, The C Grade pace was high throughout, with Hogan sitting 4th wheel for the first few laps. An attack on Lap 6 gave him the points for laps 6 and 7, before dropping back to fourth wheel to rest. With good legs, Hogan attacked again on lap 10 to take another 10 points, and was straining to hold off a fast finishing Mills on lap 11. They hit the line locked together, with neither sure who got the points, Hogan sat up while Mills pushed on to try and get the final 12 points. But it was a fruitless pursuit, as Hogan was awarded the points on lap 11 to give him a 34 point total and the overall win.

Duggan continued his scorching form in the Progressive Points, doing enough to take 30 points for another impressive win.

C Grade motorpace was 35 laps, and faster than the snooze fest the week before. Having recovered from the effort in the points race, Hogan attacked from 4th wheel with 1.5 laps to go, trying hard not to spin out on a relatively low 86 gear inches. He was swamped by McKenzie and one other right on the line, with the three wheels hitting the line together. Once again, Hogan had some good friends on the desk, and was given the win.

B Grade on this night featured a Malaysian national team sandbagger, Ang, who was racing with female dynamo and Phillipino Apryl Eppinger. Duggan sat on Ang's wheel for the B Grade motorpace thinking it the smart move, but Ang blew up when Eppinger attacked. Duggan was caught out as Eppinger and another got away with a lap to go, but he launched a thunderous chase down the back straight on the last lap. He closed quickly, but ran out of track crossing the line 3rd to finish off a solid night for the boys.

Good effort too from FOA's Rolly Cox, who finally stepped up to D Grade and showed it was well overdue with two solid second places in the scratch and motorpace, and a huge chase effort in the Progressive Points that deserved some points but went unrewarded.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The TDR Junior Development Program

TDR have an extensive junior development program (JDP) up and running to bring through the new talent. The program currently features young Charlie, an enthusiastic track rider from the northern suburbs. Currently focusing on sub 11 second flying 200s and match sprinting, Charlie is looking forward to the Metro champs later in November. 

If you think you have what it takes to join Charlie and the TDR JDP, send through a CV and complete palmares to

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday Track - 20/09/2011

Words and spelling by Mills...

Race report – Brunswick CC Tuesday Track Night 

With Duggan, D’alfonso and Watson all out due to work responsibilities it fell to Hogan (TDR) and Mills (H.Krew/TDR) to up hold TDR’s name, along with the rest of Hell Krew and newly emerging FOA* boys. There was a nice turn out and a bit of friendly trash talk and a whole lot of general shenanigans going on as people prepped there bikes and warmed up for the nights events, Bailey, Brunswick’s gun A grader was also making a return to the track for the first time in 6 months after a long bout of illness.

With only 10 laps to test the mettle of the C graders racing tonight and a decent turn out of spectator’s Mills thought he’d give them something interesting to watch, after 4 and a half laps of the usual rolling of turns and friendliness, mills got out of the saddle a kicked from 4th wheel to off the front in a matter of seconds on the back straight with 5 and a ½ laps to go no one reacted and let him go, it was only when T. Higginbottom(FOA) and R. Gillieland(H.Krew) bridged the gap that the chase began, caught 3 laps out Mills and Gillieland kept the pace up rolling quick turns and staying at the front of the pack, with a small break on the bell Gillieland and McKenzie (FOA) ended up with 1st and 2nd , with Mills just getting pipped on the line for 3rd by Greg Walker to take 4th.

5 laps with 3 sprints @ 10, 5 & 0 meant this would be fast with little time for recovery, 2 laps in and McKenzie breaks, the chase is on with Gillieland on 2nd wheel and mills taking 3rd, on the final corner gillieland goes over the top to get 5 points leaving McKenzie and Mills to take 2nd and 3rd respectively, the pace drops dramatically and people are looking around waiting for some one to go, 2 laps to go and mills finds himself with nice momentum and breaks over the top of the group, the chase kicks up and Mills takes second with Gillieland and Hogan on his wheel.
With a few tired faces around Hogan draws on his endurance after a season on of road racing and training and goes for the last set of points with a 2 lap attack he takes the final 5 points up on offer with Mills grabbing 2 for a 3rd and Gillieland just scraping a point in he final sprint.

Final Results -
1 Romain Mathis on 8 
2 Ryan Gilleland on 8 
3 Dave Hogan on 7

Motor Pace
The last few weeks had seen some short and fast Motor Pace’s with only 30 laps and Mills feeling like he’d been under geared for the last few weeks a quick change of the rear sprocket and a few extra gear inch’s were his. But a less than usually paced Motor Pace meant the higher gearing only loaded up the legs and did no good, Gillieland being ill positioned (2nd last wheel) when we went to pounce lead him into wall of riders all the way the up the boards doing the same thing blocking his attack. A well-timed sprint over the top saw McKenzie and Hogan both in with a shot, but with a large sprint bunch it was to close to tell at the time.

Final Results -
1 Ray Box 
2 Bryce McKenzie 
3 N. Aolum

Worthy of a mention:
  • Bailey (Brunswick) won all three A grade races coming in on ill form and out of practice
  • T. Higginbottom on his second night at the track put up a strong perfomance ic a C grade scratch and took out first in both the D grade points and Motor Pace
  • B. Cooper (FOA) also on his second track outing took away a  2nd and a third in the E grade Motor Pace and Scratch

For full results click here

*FOA= Melbourne based user’s of, a forum based around Australian fixed gear bikes and riding  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Race Report - Sunbury CC Trophy Race


Race Report - Sunbury CC Trophy Race - Kyneton/Pastoria - C grade

TDR lads Watson, Hogan and Duggan along with sole Hell Krew representative Kent, rolled up to Kyneton on a cracking morning for racing. Sunny with a little wind which built throughout the day making for interesting racing. 3 laps of the Pastoria circuit. A day for the climbers surely?

Roll out.

Leisurely pace initially before Paddy Mc (SBY) decided to stretch the legs and go off the front. With a long way to go the reaction from the bunch was not immediate, allowing Paddy to remain out front. When Col Bell (SBY) went across the gap up one of the short sharp climbs, those willing to work  came forward and some turns were swapped. The chasers included TDR's very own Hogan, who was showing good form early in the race along with Kent. Watson had a focused look on his face, preparing himself for the inevitable onslaught of the Bald Hill climb. 

Eventually reeled in, Paddy became immediately itchy in the face of the dramatically reduce pace of the peloton and attacked once again. Again willing to give him a bit of distance before starting the chase in earnest, the peloton set the cruise control and kept the lone rider in sight.

On the first ascent of the notorious Bald Hill, several riders pushed the pace presumably in an effort to test the legs and the resolve of those just swinging around the back. As the heavy breathing would attest, the pace testing everyone. Duggan, Hogan and Kent went over the top with the front bunch, with Watson only a few metres off the back, soon to get back on. 

The pressure was continued on the downhill to make it difficult for shelled riders to get back on right the way down to the sharp left-hander go restart the loop. The pace slowed and Duggan and Hogan were just having a chat about how the pace always slows at this point and it being a pretty good time to feed. 

Pulls Winners Bar out. Loud *Click* *Clack* *Click*. Lads on the front smack it. 
"Oh you smft..." *Stuffs unopened bar in mouth and puts head down* 

With building cross-winds, the back straight turned into a bit of a gutter-fest with several of the big diesels testing the smaller guys on the undulating course. Watson, Hogan and Kent were caught out by the accelerations and dropped off the back just at the end of the back straight, continuing a hard chase keeping the peloton in sight for the remainder of the lap.

Duggan managing to hang on moved to the front after finally consuming the slobbery bar he had shoved in his mouth to endure the cross-wind pain. Second ascent of the major climb saw Michael Read (Preston) go clear with a gradual but well timed attack up the hill. With few pure climbers left, the remainder of the bunch looked around and was resolved to pace each other up the hill.

Cresting the climb, the chase was on in earnest with Read holding a 500 m advantage. Flying down the front straight, and over the start-finish line which was moved a considerable way down the descent from the usual location, the chase was on in earnest with several of the 10 or so remaining riders contributing. 

Staying away for the remainder of the race was always going to be a tall task for Read, and he was eventually reeled in. Despite a few attacks and efforts to form a larger break, the pace typically settled in as everyone recognised that the final climb, and indeed descent, would be telling. 

As the final ascent commenced, Read intelligently set a high pace and pulled away from the chasing group of heavier riders. The group was whittled down to about 6 by the top of the climb and the chase for Read and the win began in earnest. With one of the strongest in the bunch leading the way down the hill, the fight was on for the following wheel.

With Read still 100 m in front, the strong rider recognising that leading the chase was not the place to be, and only 500 m to go (?), Duggan had to go. Attacking up the inside and going full-noise across the gap to Read, Duggan got out of the saddle and wound it up as much as he could past Read to minimise the chance of him getting a wheel. 

Rounding the final corner.... wait... this isn't the final corner? Sh#t... 

Duggan deep in the hurt box looked back once to see a freight-train coming down the hill after him. Keep going... 

Duggan looked back once more to see a Kings Men rider coming across the gap only 25 m behind. Get out of the saddle to kick to try to break his resolve. It works. He sits up. Relief.  

1st Duggan
2nd Peter Markey
3rd Cam McKimm     
Great day with Sunbury CC. Not to mention the bubbly! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday Track - is back!

... well for Duggan anyway...

BCC Tuesday Track Racing - 13/09/2011


Mills (C) - Rode strong all night in a strong grade
Hogan (C) - Picked up a solid 2nd in the Points race.
Watson (C) - picked up a solid second in the motorpace
Duggan (B) - 2nd Scratch/1st Motorpace/1st Points. Happy after 2 months off the boards.

Good racing with good crew. Selected pictures courtesy of Liam Coghlan. More here.