Last Saturday saw the Peel Districts Cycling Club race the North Dandulap Handicap. Where 90 riders race from North Dandulap, up Del Park Road to Dwellingup before turning around and riding back to North Dandulap to finish.
As a handicap, riders start at different times, with the fastest riders making up the last group to leave expected to cover the 48 kilometres and close to 1000m vertical gain in around 74 minutes. The challenge for the handicapper is to arrange the riders in groups according to their ability, so in theory all riders should finish together.
Unfortunately the challenge for the handicapper, is that Peel Districts races usually do not involve climbing, so it is difficult to assess newer riders, on form and climbing ability. Like Thomas Grantham, who only recently started racing with the club. Grantham has had a couple of good results in D grade, and was one of the last riders to be caught by the fast group at the President’s Cup handicap. .However, given his limited racing experience and the fact he is not built like your typical climber, Grantham started in the first group. Where on the 6 kilometre climb from the start he rode away from the group.
Kane Blackburn, was an even more unknown, started in the second group on the road, five minutes behind Grantham. He too, rode away from his group on the climb, caught and passed the first group and set off in pursuit in Grantham, who he caught at Dwellingup. The pair rode the return leg together, with Grantham winning the two up sprint, to take victory.
While most of the riders in the first group stayed together, the second, third and forth groups exploded on the climb. The stronger climbers managed to get together on the road and form a small group to chase the two leaders, they were unsuccessful. Joe Winfield was strongest at the end and finished third.
The handicapper did get the timing right as the first group to leave was caught by the last group in sight of the finish. With Steven Hall taking the honours of fastest time with 72 minutes and 15 seconds, a full minute faster than the course record.