What a difference a winter storm makes to rider turnout. The previous week saw over 120 racers in the sunshine at Dog Hill. This week saw 25 riders brave the elements at Casuarina for the President’s Cup handicap on Saturday.
Instead of racing in a group graded by your ability. A handicap see all riders racing together, with your start time in based on your ability. The handicappers aim is for all riders to finish together. the riders aim is to work together in their group to catch and pass the groups in front of them, while staying away from the riders behind.
Calum Milne, the youngest rider in the race, started first and as the lone representative of D grade alone, just as the rain stopped. Milne was in for a tough day, he needed to ride alone for 53 kilometres in tough conditions to win or hold onto a group of faster as they passed and hopefully get dragged to the finish.
Rain tends to wash stone chips onto the road, resulting in more punctures in a wet race than a dry race. The group of seven behind Milne, lost one rider on second lap to a puncture, then two more on the third lap. Which was when Milne was caught and the rain started again.
The third group worked well as the group ahead and the two behind started losing riders, they kept together and managed to ride at the same speed as the riders behind.
On the fourth lap, just as heavens open and the rain starting pouring down. The third group caught the second group and gained reinforcements in the form of two of the stronger riders from that group.
Now the lead group of the road, they rode away from their chasers, who in theory were faster riders., The lead group lost a couple of riders on a flying final lap, but they were never going to get caught. In the sprint it was Jordan Dawson first, Shannon Sime second and Oliver Bleddyn third.
It was a tough day, congratulations to all 18 riders, including Calum Milne who finished the race in difficult and challenging conditions.