Amy’s Otway Classic

Amy’s Otway Classic is a Women’s NRS race held in conjunction with the fantastic Amy’s Gran Fondo ride.  This year, SUVelo was well represented with a large group of riders and race team members participating across both events.

For the race team, the first event was a 1 hour criterium held in the centre of Lorne. The circuit was a hot dog lap, meaning a test of handling skills and lots of sprinting out of the U-turn.  The pace was snappy from the get go. This was a serious challenge for our riders, as our normal hunting grounds (race tracks) are rarely a hotdog formation.

Lauren Fitzgerald gave a spectacular performance, staying with the bunch for the duration of the race and finishing with the leader’s time.  Givanna Haryono and Abby Sneddon stayed with the bunch for the first portion of the race, but ended up off the back and integrated with a second bunch by the halfway mark.  Jo Meldgaard gave an aggressive and fearsome performance but crashed out of the race and had to withdraw from the entire weekend.  She’s recovering and in high spirits though and we know she’ll be back in fine form soon.  The girls went in to the second day of the weekend resolute to support and protect Lauren.

The route for stage 2 – Amy’s Otway Classic – is similar to the Gran Fondo, at 110km in length.  The race is one of the biggest, well attended races in the Women’s NRS Calendar, and our Race Team members were complimented by the incredible level of organisation, support and the professional appearance of the race.  We noted the incredible banners and barriers at the start and finish lines, and coupled with noticing the incredible talent that was competing for the title of winner, it really gave our riders a huge boost of confidence and commitment to this incredible sport.  Imagine standing at a start line similar to that which we see at the Tour De France!

Remembering key advice from our Race Team Leader Marissa Madden, our girls attempted to stay at the front of the bunch at the start, and keep their elbows out to defend their positions (and especially Lauren).  Lauren managed to stay in the first half of the bunch, weaving and defending her position with exceptional skill.  We noted the bumping and closeness of competing riders – what an experience!

The major climb of this race was testing for our riders, with Lauren and Abby staying with the lead bunch and Givanna conceding 17 minutes with the high pace and level of skill.  This was Givanna’s and Lauren’s first NRS races and they gave fantastic efforts.

Tour of the King Valley

The SUVelo Racing Men’s and Women’s race teams recently competed in the Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley, held on 21 – 23 August 2015. A part of the Subaru National Road Series, the tour consisted of four stages:

Stage 1 – Individual Time Trial (9km)
Stage 2 – Criterium (39km)
Stage 3 – Road Race (115km)
Stage 4 – Road Race (88km)

The Men’s team was comprised of Mark Keeffe, Ethan Dean Doughty, Rhys J. O’Shea, Shaun MacWilliam, Georg Bienert and a guest rider Daniel Paine. The Women’s team saw Gina Ricardo, Abby Sneddon, Josephine Meldgaard, and Georgia Catterick riding. SUVelo member Lisa Antill was also racing with the Boss Team.

The first stage of the Tour, while a short ITT at 9km, was fast. The average speeds of the winning riders were 47.7km/h and 40.8km/h for the men and women respectively. Mark Keeffe set the best time for the men’s squad, Josephine Meldgaard for the women’s.

Stage 2, the 39km criterium, was raced later the same day. The criterium was Georgia Catterick’s first, who recalls,

The pace was fast right from the gun. I found the first few laps the hardest but once I was used to the fast pace it was a lot of fun! I tried to move up with a few laps to go but in the end I lost a few seconds as I got caught behind a crash. I am pretty happy to get 19th for my first criterium.

Stage 3 was the Tour’s Queen stage. The course featured 15km of gravel road which included a punishing 6km climb. Of the men’s race, Ethan Dean Doughty said,

The gravel was the closest experience to racing Paris-Roubaix without going to France. The race was completely blown apart through these sections. For most of us, finishing felt like winning.

Concerns over the safety of the course saw the last two sections of gravel cut from the women’s race. The pace was fast with a mass sprint by riders eager to gain a good position ahead of each gravel section. Josephine Meldgaard rode well, finishing 11th on the difficult stage. Unfortunately Georgia Catterick crashed during the stage and retired from the race. She didn’t suffer any injuries though; good news ahead of her upcoming UCI Worlds racing.

Stage 4 would be cut short for the men just after the first intermediate sprint point. With the peloton averaging about 50km/h, a touch of wheels resulted in a massive crash. Lots of riders went down as did two motorbikes. The race was neutralised and the stage eventually abandoned.

The women’s race was thankfully less eventful, though Josephine Meldgaard did crash. She continued on to finish the stage.

Strong riding by Abby Sneddon saw her make the final selection. She finished in the bunch three seconds behind the stage winner and 20th in the overall GC classification.

Congratulations to all our riders who competed and a huge thank you to their support team. For more information about this year’s race, you can watch highlights of every stage on Cycling Australia’s YouTube channel and view all the results on the NRS website.

SUVelo’s Georgia Catterick chosen for NZ road team

Georgia CatterickGeorgia Catterick joined the SUVelo Women’s Racing Team this year to work with our NRS team in high-profile NRS races.  Announced in the last week, and as covered by New Zealand’s Marlborough Express, Georgia flies to Virginia in the United States with her countrymen to compete in the UCI Junior World Championships.  The upcoming Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley is one of Georgia’s last multi-stage races before the Worlds, and she joins Abby Sneddon, Steph Lord, Josephine Meldgaard and Gina Ricardo in the event.  Best of luck to the Women’s Race Team in the near future and Georgia at the Worlds!

On turning up to Ride Briefings

Ride captain badge

The times for club rides in the members’ newsletter are when we aim to leave the park. The briefing for the ride starts 2-3 minutes before departure. For those of you not making it to the briefing: we miss you.

The ride briefing is where the captain for the day gets to work out how many and fast the groups are, and to relay any messages (critical things, like where to meet for coffee). If everyone rolls into the park in the last 30 seconds, then we leave late. Worse – if we leave the park and collect 20 extra riders in the first kilometre, then the captain’s carefully planned groups go out of the window and we’ve missed the chance to offer more pace options for everyone.

5:45am, 5:55am, 6am, 7am… I know, it’s complicated. Life would be simpler if it was the same every day, but then we wouldn’t be able to have the same variety rides. Everyone has days when the morning routine goes out the window and you end up racing out of the house half-dressed to chase the back of the bunch as they head off. But if you’re making a regular habit of catching on halfway down Moore Park Road, then it’s time to lay the clothes out and pump the tyres before bed, move that alarm a few minutes earlier – and make the captains’ lives easier with a bright and early showing at the gates.

Thanks

Stu

SUVelo monthly race 16th August

Racing at Heffron

SUVelo Club criterium racing returns to Heffron on Sunday August 16th!

This race is not just limited to Sydney Uni Velo members. Everyone is welcome! So come along and have some fun!

Racing is only $10 for CA gold license members. Day license is available for CA silver license members.

We’ve got some great prizes courtesy of our club sponsors to entice you along:

Race time:

  • Sign on from 7AM
  • Women’s, C, and D Grades start at 7:30am
  • A and B Grades start at 8:30am.

Race format:

  • Women’s, C, and D grades: criterium with slight twist. Watch this space closer to the day for more information.
  • A and B grades: 55 mins – 1 hour criterium around heffron.

We are hoping for a huge turnout to challenge for an exclusive meal at our favourite restaurant – The Malaya.

See you there!