Race in Sydney
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Waratah Masters Cycling Club
The premier cycling club in New South Wales
Founded in 1994 on a long history of cycling, the Waratah Masters Cycling Club has grown to become one of the largest cycling clubs in New South Wales and hosts competitive road, time trial and track racing for club members and visiting clubs almost every week of the year. Find out more >
- Sun Oct 27th | Lansdowne
- Criterium Race
- Sign on from 06:45:00
- Start 7:45am C/F-9:00am A/A2/B
Open to riders from all clubs – women aged 19+ and men aged 30+ who hold a current race licence from Cycling Australia.
Latest News from the Waratah Masters CC
Three Waratahs went to Adelaide last weekend for the Australian masters road titles.
Denis Fahey came back with a bag full of trophies, taking first place in the M10 division in the road race and criterium, and second in the time trial. Denis also won the champion of champions jersey for the best overall results in his division.
Harry Rourke, in M9, also did well, with a second in the criterium, fourth in the time trial and fifth in the road race. Marcus Judge, in M7, took 9th in the road race and sixth in the criterium.
We talked to Denis after his road race win. He had a great story to tell. The race looked to have many of the classic ingredients – wise old heads from 4 states, a very tough course, with a steep 3k climb, and a rectangular route that meant the steady wind could have an influence. On top of that, it was a beautiful day in the McLaren Vale, looking Irish green after the winter rain, not that the riders would notice that when they were chewing the stem.
When Denis saw the profile, he was pretty concerned about the Penny’s Hill climb. It needed to be overcome twice, including on the final run to the finish, just a few hundred metres from the crest. At 2.7k with a 7.4% average, Penny’s looks hard enough on paper, but it’s harder still in a race, especially with several steeper sections which peak at 13%.
Since he thought of himself as a sprinter, Denis wasn’t too sure how he’d go. He expected attacks, not that he was going to volunteer to make them. Our two grand masters were going to be racing together, with the M8, 9 and 10 riders grouped into one race, with separate places to be awarded for each division.
This is where Harry comes in. The gents were talking about the race after their time trial the previous day. In fact, they both had the hill on their minds – Harry wasn’t sure it suited him either. He asked Denis what gearing he was planning to use, and when he heard, he thought he could at least do something to improve Denis’ chances. Harry can be pretty straightforward when he needs to, and he told Denis his easy gear wasn’t easy enough, but he could do something about it. In a generous display of club spirit, Harry set Denis up with a spare cassette with a 32 cog.
We spoke to Harry about his tactics before the race. He too was concerned that he’d struggle on the climb, but he had an idea. He was going to attack. He wanted to try to get away, or at least, to work the climbers over, if he had a chance. When we asked him where, he just said “anywhere”! All would be revealed on the road.
So Friday morning came. It was cool and quiet up on top of the range. The riders gathered at the line, the commissaire gave her briefing, and then the moto set off, the riders clicked in and the race began.
The bunch rolled along the undulating ridge, trying to get a gauge on each other, checking the coloured helmet covers that denoted the different divisions, making sure to keep good position in the group. After 7k, there is a small rise which seems to lead into the sky – there is no sign of the road ahead. That’s because, on the other side of the rise, it plummets 3k to the valley. Wickham’s Hill is a steep descent with twisting turns and several switchbacks, and is followed immediately by another 3k of more gentle descending, then just 3k before you have to get started on Penny’s Hill.
It’s a bit spooky knowing there’s a big drop coming but not having line of sight, especially if you haven’t ridden it before. Riders who have done so at least know what to expect, but what they don’t know is how it’s going to play out.
That is, unless they had decided beforehand that they would be the ones to set the agenda.
The plot for the next chapter became apparent very soon after they reached that crest. Our man Harry took the initiative and bombed down that hill. Harry is very hard to stop when he puts his mind to it, and he wasn’t in a mind for stopping or indeed, for slowing down much at all.
What was going through everyone’s head at this point we don’t know, but Denis didn’t mind. Downhill speed is fine by him, but he was a bit concerned about his carbon rims. Denis said later, the race started to sort itself out at this point. In his words, “Harry blew up the race”. Denis himself was passed by two competitors and “I had to TT back to them”.
Jumping forward, the times from the finish hint at how the story unfolded, with the winners of the two younger divisions, and 3 others, finishing fairly close together. The rest of the riders in those divisions were quite spread out.
In Denis’ race, they let the younger blokes get away and concentrated on their own contest. It was close fought, with the top 3 separated by only 3 seconds. We’ll let Denis take up the story.
“I was amazed that they didn’t attack me on the hill”, Denis said later. “I was expecting they would, but they didn’t, and I managed to keep up with Harry’s climbing cassette on the bike. I knew if I could just get up the hill the second time, I could beat them in a sprint.”
And that’s in fact just what did happen. As the crest arrived, Denis found himself where he had hoped, but not expected, to be. Harry’s cassette and attacking tactics had worked to his advantage, as had the way the race evolved, and he didn’t hesitate. He turned it up over the top and hit the line 1 second ahead of Phil Stevenson of Northern Vets (Tasmania) and 3 seconds ahead of Hugh Brown of Illawarra.
For Denis, it had turned out to be a very good day indeed. He was relieved and a bit surprised to have had his opportunity, and he was quick, in the interview afterwards, to express his appreciation for Harry’s part in getting him to the point where he could unleash his winning sprint.
(Story by Marcus Judge, who survived the hill once and endured it twice more.)
Some more quotes from Denis:
On how he got into cycling: “When I was 35, a mate started a cycling club and he got me into it. I had buggered my knee playing league and I thought I’d give cycling a go.”
On training: “I do about 9,000k pa indoors on an 89” fixed gear as well as riding outdoors. It’s all at a steady pace and I ride solo – I don’t do intervals.”
On Harry: “Harry’s an amazing clubman. Make sure you say that Harry was a big part of the result.”
On staying fit: “Good eating – no rubbish. I just eat veggies, fish and water. I don’t drink Gatorade.”
On why other Waratahs should come to the state and national titles: “You’ve gotta give it a go.”
It’s with much sadness that we report the passing of Col Perry.
Col was a Waratah member from 1995 to 2007 and was a regular attendee at our race meetings. In more recent years we’d always catch up with him at our annual Christmas functions where he’d be sure to amuse us with one of his many jokes. He’ll be missed.
Col’s funeral service will be held at Rookwood, South Chapel, Friday 11 October at 1.30 pm.
The new jerserys have arrived. In Jacko’s absence I will bring them along to racing on Sunday 15 Sept.
Hi to the Waratahs,
I’ve just competed in the Hartbergerland World Cycling Week held in various towns and locations in and around Hartberg in eastern Austria. It’s a week of racing and training rides, with a tour of 6 stages held over 5 days. I was surprised to see quite a number of Aussies participating, but one reason could be that some, like myself, are moving on to the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Poland at the end of August.
You have to be over 40 years to enter in the Masters categories in this event, so I was in the Masters VI group, that also included two other riders from Australia, John Horsburgh from Peleton Sports and Colin Kneale from Sutherland Shire Cycling Club. These are riders I regularly compete against in my age group (Masters 9) at home. Considering the races all had very steep hill climbs, with the exception of the time trial (which we know is not my strong point anyway), I was pleased with my results. The Europeans just have so much more practice and racing experience on steep climbs than we get in our parts of Australia. Most of the road races were a combined field of Masters V-VIII. I came 5th overall in my age group in the tour and John came 4th overall.
Stage 1 A Prologue over 1.5km through Hartberg, finishing in the town square. The start was downhill during which I reached speeds of over 65km/hr, followed by the last 600m being an uphill climb over cobbles. I finished 2nd, missing the yellow jersey by a few seconds.
Stage 2 A road race over 38km with 550m of climbing. I got dropped on the steep climb and chased back to come 5th.
Stage 3 Also a road race over 55km with 750m of climbing. This time I managed stay with the top climbers until close to the top. I joined a small group of 6 and we chased to the end. I managed to win the bunch sprint to get 5th place.
Stage 4 The Hill Climb over 4km. It is just a full on sprint trying to hold position. Placing 5th was the best I could do.
Stage 5 The TT over 17km on a flat course. Not my specialty but I finished 8th and held on 5th place overall.
Stage 6 The last stage and the one feared by all. It’s only 23km long but the last 6km is a 500m climb with sections of 12%. I got dropped on an early climb and managed to rejoin at the base of the last climb with 6km to go. I had 5th place overall in hand, so I got into my cadence and rode to the summit, resulting in 6th place on the day.
Considering the top four place getters are some of the best climbers in my age group, I was very happy with my result of 5th overall, gaining two trophies for my efforts. The weather has been glorious, the scenery stunning and we have had the most fantastic time here. The people are all so friendly and helpful, and the organising committee have done an exceptional job in organising both the racing and the social events associated with the cycling week. After each race there was a prize presentation in the town associated with the race, as an acknowledgement of the towns’ support. It was usually held in the main square, or another picturesque location in town and often had a traditional music band playing. Prizes for placegetters, as well as trophies or medals, included locally produced goods.
I am feeling really well after my experience, my climbing ability has improved and I’ve lost 5 kilos in weight! I’m looking forward to flying the Waratah and Australian colours in Poland.
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