The squad spent 12 very focused weeks preparing for the Nationals and our preparations were not without their ups and downs. We were privileged to have the support of so many fabulous pilots who were pitching in to make sure our vision impaired (VI) riders were on the road between three and four times per week. Our pilot support base is the most significant key to our success, and we are extremely grateful to have them helping us.
We also had our most significant training accident since the beginning of the program. One of our VI athletes fractured a cheek bone and eye socket and underwent two reconstructive surgeries following a training crash. Unfortunately the accident brought an end to his Nationals campaign.
We couldn’t have hoped for better results at the Nationals. The team looked truly amazing. Our kit in high numbers made a significant impact, with some people amazed to see our squad having expanded from the previous year. We continue to be the only para team run as a private enterprise.
The girls led the way, with Elizabeth D’sylva Clark and pilot Victoria Veitch taking out the bronze medal in the Time Trial. They backed up on the second day to take the silver medal in the 85km road race. It was a lesson in fortitude for Elizabeth, who was vomiting during the second of four laps. She held herself together and kept focusing on her technique as the two girls kept the pace on to hold off the bronze medallists.
The major excitement was the prestigious men’s 105km road race. The defending champions had not been beaten on home soil for five years, and have world cup titles and world records to their credit. But the Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide team have changed the landscape of tandem racing. The pairings of Kieran Modra/David Parsons and Damien Williams/Mike Hoile were able to control the race. An extraordinary lead out by Damien and Mike was finished off in a sprint to the line by Kieran and David who took gold over their rivals by half a bike length. Damien and Mike finished strong to claim bronze. Congratulations also go to our other participants Neil Massey with Mat Miller, Beau Wotton with Paul Murray, Keiran Murphy with Tristan Ferguson and Simon Wong with Simon Veitch.
World Para Cycling Track Championships 2014
Kieran Modra and his track pilot Jason Niblett travelled to Mexico for the World Para Cycling Track Championships. Kieran has again done his county proud by winning two silver medals – in the 1km Time Trial and the Sprint. Sounds like that sprint came in handy for the National road race!
By Simon Veitch
The Southern Vets host this 5 race series each year and it is named in honor of club member the late Ron Williams. Each race contains a King of the Mountain point and points are accumulated over the series to give an overall King of the Mountain in each grade.
I started the race a bit nervous about my form as my last two races have been very ordinary but with the feeling I was coming good. The race started in McLaren Flat and headed towards Kangarilla for a few k’s before turning right onto Wickhams Hills and our KOM point. The climb is 3.1 km long with an average 7 % gradient so it is a good test. I was feeling pretty good at the start so I decided to go with my usual subtle tactical approach to a climb, smack it right from the bottom and hope I don’t burn out before the top. Wickham’s starts with its steepest section at the bottom so I rode a fast tempo, out of the saddle for the first 400m, dropping about half the field. Dave Anderson then took over pacing duties and I sat in until the first hairpin. Here the gradient eases a bit and I put it in the big ring and attacked again for about 300m. When I looked around a gap had been opened and it was time to see if I could hold to the top. I was maintaining a good tempo at around 19km/hr and the gap held to the top.
I recovered a bit at the top and waited to see who would join me. Aaron Drogemuller was with me pretty soon and we started working together to stay away from the rest. We maintained a good tempo across The Range and up the Meadows road. We missed the turnoff unfortunately and had to turn around, losing about 30 seconds but we still couldn’t see any pursuers so seemed to be going well. We went across Peters Creek Rd and onto the road back to McLaren Vale. At this turn we could see about 6 chasing us and had a quick chat about whether to sit up or keep going. We decided to keep going, but not full beans, and see what happened. The group caught us as we went through town, comprising team mate Greg Chivers, Dave Cox, Richard Mc Kenzie, Paz Russo, Dave Anderson and Stan Bastiras, so we were 8. We turned onto the climb up Chapman’s Rd at a good pace. I sat in the wheel until about 2/3 way up and the pace started to drop so I accelerated to try to thin the group out. Got a bit of a gap but the others were all together so I waited.
We turned onto Mc Murties Road and I am sure it is the only time I have raced down this road and it not be a strong headwind. There was a series of attacks, first Aaron, then Greg, then Stan, all chased down particularly by Dave who was working hard as usual. As we got to the 750m mark to go we were all back together, the pace slowed and I was in third wheel. The attacks and chases had taken a lot of energy from the group and everyone seemed happy to get some recovery so I figured this was my time and I launched an attack with about 600m to go. Looked around and I had a good gap, really hadn’t expected that so it was head down and try to hang on. Turned onto Hunt Rd and about 300m to go and the gap was holding. I crossed the line about 100m in the lead, pretty pleased with my mornings work. Aaron came in second, well deserved after all his work in the breakaway and The Chiv in third, proving non sprinters can sprint!