Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Melbourne Gravel Grinders #4 - Winds of Pain

A more appropriate moniker could not have been devised... 

Duggan, joined by Soawyer (HK), had decided that the criterium racing (and some cheeky singletrack on the MTB in the afternoon) was not enough for one weekend, took the plunge and headed out to Williamstown for the fourth installment of the Melbourne Gravel Grinder collective.

130 km day. A significant proportion of that into severe headwinds, over roads that would have made Fred Flintstone write an angry letter to his local council.

Good day out with good crew...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Preston Points Score - Race Report

A tale of two trains... 

27/08/2011 - National Boulevard - 1 hour points race (sprints every 15 minutes)

Preston Points Score: Race report

The first race of the spring campaign for TDR riders was met with sunshine and light winds. With a slew of promotions TDR, joining forces with the Hell Krew and a few Fixed.org ring-ins, hatched a plan to take out the C grade Preston points score. In a somewhat bizzare decision, TDR nominated their climber/roueler D'Alfonso as leader with their sprinter, Duggan, assuming road captain status for the day. 

The first sprint saw D'Alfonso (TDR) and Soawyer (HK) attack on the back climb, dashing clear. Leading the peloton down the back straight, D'Alfonso and Sowyer entered the final straight with a handy lead, however as the freight train that was MUCyc built up some good speed as they lead out thier sprinter, passing D'Alfonso and taking out the first sprint. 

As the bunch regroupped, on Duggan's advice, Mills (HK) and Hogan (Fixed.org-TDR) attacked. D'Alfonso and Duggan sitting on the front of the pack rode false tempo letting the two escapees enjoy a strong break. An astute Michael Sparke (BWK) along with Michael Holder (MUCyc) bridged across to the escapees acknowledging the false chase of Duggan and D'Alfonso. As the bell rang for the second sprint, the peloton reacted angrily to D'Alfonso and Duggan's false tempo, tearing down the back straight to catch the escapees. Soawyer pulled the TDR-HK train around the ultimate corner, peeling off to release Duggan with Kent (HK) on his wheel, reluctantly reeling in the escapees just 250 m shy of the line.

With little time for recovery, the next sprint was on. The TDR-HK megateam, having to this stage controlled the majority race (as MUCyc was content to let the peloton sort itself out), were caught out recovering and failed to take a minor placing.

This served to sting the TDR-HK train into action. As the bell rang for the penultimate lap, the TDR-HK train set itself up. Duggan leading Soawyer around the first corner, D'Alfonso calls in Kent setting up a formidable train. As Duggan peels off at the crest of the rise, Soawyer take control, riding tempo and stringing out the bunch along the back straight. Peeling off and letting Kent lead out D'Alfonso around the final corner up the back straight. A perfect lead out by Kent saw D'Alfonso stay clear to take the final sprint. D'Alfonso finished 2nd overall, ruing the stuffed up third sprint. Bonus points for the last sprint would have sealed it...

Some good lessons learnt as the lead-out efforts consistently got better with each sprint...

TDR-HK - A force to be reckoned with  
D'Alfonso - 2nd 
$60 spent at the pub on two jugs and sweet potato wedges after the race - Awesome

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Race Report - St.Kilda Cycling Club Trophy Race

So close, yet so far..

13/08/2011 - Newham circuit - 2 laps* - 60 km
*TDR later informed the race was only two laps to aid SKCC riders to feature in the results

TDR made their way out to Newham on a cold, but still morning to partake in the SKCC Trophy Race. Hare 'n Hound "plan" in place, the lads were heartened (Duggan) and disheartened (D'Alfonso) to find the finish line moved down to the foot of the climb which typically sorted out the bunch with a hill-top finish. The revised slight-uphill sprint finish didn't change the plan for Duggan (aka "The Hare"), who was planning on attacking on the last corner with 750 m to go; but D'Alfonso was now more sacrificial lamb than "Hound", and would get no free ride to the base of the hill after feigning a chase allowing Duggan extra metres.

Rolling out.

Steady pace early on with some half-baked attacks off the front to test the legs and resolve of the peloton. In typical C-grade fashion everyone was willing to chase pretty much everything down which made it difficult for any move to stay away. Once again Nick Smith, Michael Sparke and the TDR lads were among the protagonists, with some Richmond Cyclery riders also mixing it up.

With the first lap completed and primarily uneventful other than Duggan copping an earful about how "PRO" he was for throwing his empty bidon to Watson who was on marshaling duty, the peloton ascended the usual finishing climb for the second time. This time up, a Brunswick rider took charge of the pacing and put a bit of pressure on the peloton. The pace caught a few napping, and the Brunswick rider along with some comrades including D'Alfonso continued the pressure with no response from those who had been doing the bulk of the pace making. Duggan along with about four others who had been working on the front swapped momentary glances confirming they weren't willing to chase, and the five continued to set pace.

The five man break worked well together for some kilometres before others in the bunch sensed that the riders at the head of the peloton were riding tempo. A rally, primarily organised by Jeff Provan, and aided by a Sukie rider among others, started to work at the front and eventually reeled the group in.

With everything getting chased down, the smart among the peloton realised that preserving matches 15km from the final fling at the finish line was probably the best bet to keep SKCC riders off the podium. The even more intelligent realised that this was a perfect time to attack and stay away.

Chris Hellman, having already been off the front during the day, flew off the front with a comrade and settled in to a nice pace. The patrons of the peloton looked at each other and started indicating that the other should perhaps "pull a fucking turn". The inevitable results of such stand-offs are attacks from the wily. Responses to these attacks repeatedly surged the group toward Hellman who was on his own, still about 600 m off front after dropping his partner in crime. Rounding the penultimate corner and ascending the final rise before the uphill sprint finish, it became clear that unless an organised chase happened, Chris was going to get away for the win.

D'Alfonso moves to the front. Settles in. Smashes it out.  

Great 2km chase from D'Alfonso results in the gap to Hellman coming down to about 250 m heading into the final corner. Duggan has 4th wheel behind Nick Smith and a RideWiser rider. Around the corner, D'Alfonso pulls to the left spent, the RideWiser rider runs very, very wide taking Smith with him, allowing Duggan to get up the inside and kick as hard as he can for as long as he can in 53-12. Duggan with Smith in tow on his wheel round up Hellman after 700 m of sprinting and about 20 m to go. Smith making light work of the heavier Duggan on the uphill finish coming around for the win. Hellman hangs on for third after a great ride, with a small gap to the chasing peloton.

1st Nick Smith (SUN)        
2nd Duggan (BWK)
3rd Hellman (SKCC)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


220 km. Great ride with FOA lads. Sun/Wind/Rain/Shine/Cupcakes. It had it all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On the improve...

The weather that is...

Entries going in for the Tour of Bright, Shipwreck Coast Classic and the Stratfield-Dargo Classic. Lots of training and racing to be done prior.

Looking forward to it!