Tough conditions test riders

Tough conditions test riders

The Mount Gambier Cycling Club continued its Brew Coffee Bar Summer Series, with race seven incorporating a 36km handicap.

After race six was abandoned last week due to low entry numbers caused by a combination of a long weekend and the forecast high temperatures, 13 riders signed on for the race.

It was also fantastic to see young Miles from Adelaide, who joined us for the race after taking part in the HPV Super Series at Mac Park the day before.

The Summer Series race certainly lived up to its moniker as riders were greeted by temperatures in the high 20s, along with an easterly wind that would provide a headwind or crosswind for all bar the final 4km of the race along Caves Rd towards the border and back to Yahl.

The first riders away were Jen Buckland, Michael Dethmore and Troy Mustey, given a six minute head start over Spek Peake, Mike Bakker and Ethan McKenny.

Elmer Buckland, Miles Latty and Craig Andrae waited a further two minutes before being given their orders to chase, followed another five minutes later by Niel van Niekerk who was back on the road after his success at the Track National Championships earlier in the month and Tim Koopman.

Finally, after a seemingly long four minute wait, the final pairing of Jami Buckley and Scott Waters were given their leave to depart, 17 minutes after the first riders had departed.

As the riders headed down on their first leg towards the border Miles, Elmer and Craig quickly had the group ahead of them in their sight, and were able to make the catch within 8km.

Soon after this, however, Elmer was forced to abandon the race with his recurring chest issue, leaving Miles, Craig, and Spek – who had joined them as they surged past – to continue their chase of those ahead of them.

The turn onto Border Road, as well as after the turnaround allowed the riders the chance to see how quickly they were eating into the gap ahead of them.

Jen, Michael and Troy were working strongly in front, but the gap was quickly dropping from those behind them, and it was looking like it was going to be a tight finish.

Once the riders began their ride back towards Yahl, and at the turn back onto Caroline Road for the final 16km, it was becoming clear that Craig and Miles, after Spek was not able to hold their speed, were in position to catch the riders ahead, but would they be able to hold off the riders behind them?

Niel and Tim continued to ride strongly, keeping the chasing duo of Jami and Scott at arm’s length, only able to pick up a quarter of the gap in the first half of the race.

With about 8km to the finish line, Craig and Miles powered past the erstwhile leading group of Troy, Jen and Michael, and while Troy tried to hold their wheel as they passed, he quickly realised they were too strong and eased back to work with his group.

Miles was able to outsprint Craig coming toward the finish line and had enough time to look back and celebrate his victory as he crossed the line, with Craig following across 14 seconds later.

With the finish line in sight, Michael and Troy were daring to dream, only to have to contend with Niel flying past them to take third place, about two minutes after Craig and Miles had finished.

Niel was followed seven seconds later by Troy, then Michael, then Tim and Jen.

Jami and Scott sprinted to the line for fastest time honours, with Jami outlasting Scott, followed by Spek, then Mike and Ethan.

After a quick podium photo, some riders and supporters returned to Brew Coffee Bar to continue the post-mortem of the race, and to thank them for their sponsorship.

The next race on the calendar, on March 24, is a 20km race along the Overland Track followed by a 2km climb up the eastern side of Range Hill to the finish.

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