Team: Mark Glorie, Andrew Brown, Andrew Crack, Richard Williamson, Ben Blacklock, Peter Mills. Written by Mark Glorie.
Before getting started, I just want to personally thank any and all people involved with the operations of the Tour of Margaret River (ToMR). Even before the first crank had been turned there was no confusion about how things would happen or when, there was THAT much information available. Truly a top notch event, I would recommend anyone to attend if you are presented the opportunity in the future.
After meeting up with the rest of the team in Cowaramup (Cow Town) and getting the team registered, it was onto the important business of getting to the accommodation and deciding who got which bed. It was here we would meet our future team mascot, who not only shared a common colour scheme to ourselves but also shared our love for cheese and onion chips:
Our first taste of the courses we would see for the Friday/Saturday short races was a group warmup. The course was very picturesque in scenery, challenging in technical corners, and a little lumpy to boot.
Since this tour is categorized by the performance in the TTT, it poses a curious question – do you go hard to earn a place in a higher category, and possibly limit your chances of wins in the later stages? Or do you back off a bit (dare I say, sandbag?) and decimate others you have no business in racing? I like to think that we went with a middle ground, a serious effort (25km, 39 mins, 38km/h) which put us in the middle category out of 5 total.
First stage of the Saturday was a leisurely 30km road race. With a pack of 60 riders – if you get caught at the back of the pack there is little opportunity to move up, unless you cross the white line. Whilst the Commissaires were kept busy pinging many riders who would attempt to jump the entire field on the wrong side of the road, we chose to move up a place or two when we could. I think this hurt our chances of finishing higher, we needed a different plan for the kermesse later that day.
Another 30km made up the kermesse for the afternoon session, and from the gun I was off the front in an effort to string out the field. Ben was able to grab 4th in the Prime, but the field was strong and yielded nothing in the final sprint. Time to rest up, and hide the cheese and onion chips from the peacock.
If you’ve been to Margaret River before then you’ll likely know of Caves Road, now imagine that on a cool spring morning, with a tailwind behind you. We had 70km of bliss in front of us, just a small hill to follow, not worth mentioning really. I could go on for paragraphs about the insignificance of this hill, but I’ll let the elevation chart show you:
It didn’t take long for Pete to have a small break out the front, and it wouldn’t be the first either. But each time he was brought back again, it seems Augusta Golf Club would be where the final selection would be made. The pace was high approaching the final climb and Richard was able to keep pace with the front runners for 15th. Overall our placings were middle-bunch in individual and team rankings. Considering it was our first time riding together as a team, and first time riding this event, we’re pretty happy with our performance. Regardless of the result we all had a really good time, competition will surely be high for a place in the 2014 team!
Event photos can be viewed at Tony Lendrum Photography.
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