Adam, in blue and white, winning the up hill sprint
Sunday (am), Montville - 7.8 km Hill Climb
This was the stage I had planned to do my best and with a bit of luck get a win and a few seconds on the big boys. The stage was all set up, I felt light, legs were good and I had fixed my 303 for the climb. The one thing that had changed was that my friend Adam, also a HPRW rider, had the leaders jersey now and the right thing to do was to become his domestique and try to get him to the top ahead of everyone else.
It turned out to be a role that I really enjoyed playing and one of the most exciting races I have been in. We did the whole climb as a groupetto of 7 riders, having dropped the peloton as soon as we started the 6 km up hill. The race was for the leaders jersey and in between HPRW and Ipswich Cycling clubs, and as far as I know, we achieved our goal!
Adam digs in to finish in 2nd place keeping the Yellow
On empty by this point, I managed to hang on for 3rd
Time:18:50; AvSpeed:25 km/h; AvHR:162 bpm; MaxHr:176 bpm
Sunday (pm), North Arm - 30 km Road Race
That was the hardest race, partially because it was short with only a couple of short hills making it ideal for the sprinters but also because the riders from Ipswich didn't think the 5 of them was going to be enough against the two of us and started making deals with riders from different clubs. Perhaps that is the reason people were coming to me at the start to ask if I was ready to take the beating...
And a beating it was. The attacks commenced from the word GO! with one rider after another going up the road. And one after another we chased and caught. Adam was going super strong, not missing anything, defending that jersey like a pro. I lost count on how many times we had to jump but did see that they were getting tired as much as we were. It did settle for the second lap but we did miss a move by Craig Taylor (the strongest guy in their team) and another rider in the beginning of the third.
They kept a 30 sec gap on us for most of the last lap. I think Adam and I felt a bit tired and made the mistake of thinking that someone else in the bunch could be interested in winning a bike race. No, they were all sitting in, waiting for us to do the chase. A move by us would have been useless as we still had 6 or more of Craig's team on our wheels. It would have been a case of bridging the gap just to be counter attacked by them again. That is what they had planned, and worked.
I still had a shot at it with 1.5 kms to go in an attempt to shake off the sprinters, reduce the gap and get a third place. Adam was on my wheel but and we dragged two of them to the last corner. They had the advantage of coming off our wheels and launched the counter attack with one rider getting a gap and finishing 3rd. I still had a go chasing him but faded with 30 m to go and got swamped by the fast approaching bunch, almost getting knocked down by a rider sprinting for 7th.
The jersey was gone but we did put up a fight and managed to stay in 2nd spot on the GC. In a way, another victory for the two of us.
Monday (am), Eumundi - 74 km Road Race
Having to do 4 laps of a tough course like Eumundi, racing against a team of 7 or more was going to be a very, very hard task. To win the Tour was going to be an impossible task, we knew that and they knew that. I was more than happy to keep helping Adam for his second place on the GC but got a bit dishearted with the alliances that were formed before the start. In particular for one rider who offered his service in exchange for a stage win. Sad for him, it was so obvious that I chose to spoil and chase him and beat him in a couple of sprints. Yeah, I told him too!
Different jersey, same team and no shame in trying to push me off the road
It was another great race, fairly difficult, also, because of the terrain and moments of heavy rain. Attacks still happened but I think a lot of us were in survival mode. The hills were hurting and the sprinters were very anxious, a different atmosphere. To make things a little more exciting, I contested a couple of intermediate sprints and managed to take a win and a second (pictured above).
For the end, I was just hanging there and saving my legs in case Adam's 2nd place on the GC was put in danger by any rider willing to take some abuse from me. The riders from Ipswich felt the same and the finish was contested by a few sprinters and back markers.
And we finished the 2008 Sunshine Coast Tour like this:
1st - Craig Taylor (Ipswich), 5:16:31.3
2nd - Adam Harrison (HPRW), 5:16:53.5
3rd - Bill Ayers (Ipswch), 5:16:59.3
6th - Alberto M Rego (HPRW), 5:17:38.0
A few links:
Next: Jon Brooks Memorial