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.