Kieran Modra headed over to Rio for what would be his last Olympic Games – so he says. He has a pretty bad track record for retiring. What he does have a good track record for, is working his guts out to give his best performance. There was however a glitch, which was to impact on the performance of the entire Australian Olympic Cycling Team. The athletes were sent to the games hopelessly overtrained. Kieran recounts that he has never reached competition so tired. Kieran is the last person to point fingers, but the length and breadth of the cycling team spoke volumes in their combined lack of performance and medals. Kieran is the current World Champion for his pet event – the 4km pursuit, and yet he failed to qualify. As Kieran always does though, he decided to dig deep and pull out a very unexpected wildcard performance. Kieran and his pilot powered their way to a bronze medal in the road time trial, a thrilling consolation prize for one of Australia’s most impressive para-athletes.
Australian Track Nationals
With golden girl Madeleine Steele cheering them on, Kieran Murphy and his pilot Lachlan Glasspool powered through to a National Gold Medal in the 1km time trial.
Race Report by Kieran Murphy
It was two weeks out from the 2016 National Paracycling Track Championships and I lay in bed sick as a dog. This had been the story of my year; sickness upon sickness, interrupted training blocks and very little cycling. Post-Road Nationals in February 2016 I was quite sick and couldn’t get any real training in. After a long few months and countless visits to the doctors, I was slowly getting on top of my health. I took a 3-week holiday in August and went to Cairns to relax for a bit before returning to Adelaide and giving myself 16 weeks of training before Track Nationals.
As I lay there in bed I started to question if I should even go to Nationals. I had done everything I could to get myself in the best shape given the circumstances and lack of training. However, I wondered if it had been too little, too late. Just the week before I had done a time trial and went 5 seconds slower than planned. Still, it’s a team effort on the tandem and I didn’t want to let my pilot down, so I never mentioned these thoughts to anyone and made my way over to Melbourne believing that I could ride a PB.
BEEP! That’s the signal for 10 seconds to go. The bike is in the starting gate and I’m about to ride my first race – the 1000m Time Trial. I’m quite relaxed at this point and as the signal sounds for us to start our effort and I take those first few pedal strokes. I always know how I’m feeling in this race by the end of the first lap. This time I feel good………really good! My legs start to burn late in the race and I know this is due to my lack of fitness, but it feels like a fast ride. And so it is; a 1.5 second PB in-fact! I was so excited with this result but know my big race is tomorrow – the 4000m Pursuit.
My 2XU compression garments are a stock-standard recovery tool for me. As I lay in bed visualizing the race for the next day, and reflecting on my time trial from today I told myself, “I am strong, I am motivated and I have done everything possible to be in the best form I can be.”
It was the morning of the 4km Pursuit and I started the day with oats, strawberries and some nuts. This is the standard breakfast for me now; quite different from the Up ‘N’ Go I would often have as a swimmer. The first thing I do when I get to the track is find a program. I like to know everything! What time I’m racing, how many events before me, how many heats in the event before me, how long each heat in the event before me should take, when I should start my warm up, and when to put my race suit on. My pre-race warm-up is meticulously planned and everything is done to a schedule. Some things however can’t be planned. The schedule was changed and races were swapped around, taking about 10 minutes off my calculated race time and I have to adapt my plans accordingly.
After more than 10 years as a national level athlete I am accustomed to unplanned changes and can adapt quickly. I made some small changes to this routine and started to prepare myself for the race ahead. It was the race where I felt the most expectation so I was a little nervous; nervous as to whether I have done enough training to last 16 laps. Physically I knew I wasn’t in the best shape so I had to dig deep mentally. I put myself in the ‘box’ – 16 laps of completely burying myself. I got to the end of the race; seeing stars and feeling completely shattered. After about two laps I stopped seeing stars and looked at the scoreboard – it was a 2 second PB.
I couldn’t really believe it; two PB’s in two races. All things considered and given the year I’d had with illness, I was stoked with these results. So where to now? There are National Road Championships in Warnambool at the end of April, then hopefully onto the Road World Championships in South Africa in August.
Jessye and Tristan’s Epic Ride
Earlier in the year, Jessye Campbell and her pilot Tristan Fergusson embarked on an ambitious ride to raise money for Camp Quality. One thousand kilometers later and the pair triumphantly crossed the finish line in Glenelg. In honour of this incredible effort through often inclement weather conditions, fatigue and discomfort from so many hours in the saddle, Jessye was awarded the Lions Children of Courage Award by the SA Governor at Government House. Well done Jessye!
Bill Cotton Memorial Handicap
Steve Hampton (tandem pilot) and Simon Wong (vision impaired stoker) competed in the VLCC Bill Cotton Memorial handicap race at Outer Harbour on Sunday 27th November. A race distance of 54km and a total of 31 competitors in the field stood before the sole tandem.
Simon and Steve started in “chopping block”, meaning the group to start second last before the fastest ‘scratch’ riders began their campaign. The group consisted of 7 competitors with a 2 minutes head start on the scratch group. The group worked well together in ideal weather conditions until the 30km mark when the scratch group caught them. The pace went up by several km/ph for a few kilometers before settling down again. With about 10km to go, Michael Davies and Simon Little forged a break and got an 80m gap on the main bunch. When the pace slowed briefly, Simon and Steve saw the opportunity and pressed hard to quickly go across to the leading pair. Shortly after, Alan Hincks also joined this break-away group. On the final lap the newly formed group caught the front markers, but before long, Michael Davies attacked again and Mark Holland, from the front markers group, went with him. In the final phase of the race, Steve and Simon didn’t catch the two leaders but did manage to out sprint Alan Hincks and Simon Little for third place.
Masters National Road Race Championships
Christina Teniswood, who has arguably the most frightening power-to-weight ratio of the MBAB team, headed over to contest the Masters National Road Race Championships for 2016. For those not in the know, Masters is NOT code for older recreational riders who like to have a race now and then. The ranks are saturated with riders listed currently on the National Road Series teams’ lists. Unfortunately, the road race distance did not reflect this calibre with a disappointing 51km race set for the women’s 1 & 2 categories. The distance was particularly paltry for Christina, who generally warms up nicely after the first 50km of a race. Possibly, as a result of the underwhelming challenge on offer, a small bunch of nine riders were on the start line. The course comprised 3 laps of a 17km loop of rough, dead roads, lots of wind and a short climb to the finish that again, had more windy sections. Christina’s race was decided on the first lap when two Masters 2 women broke away. With a tiny field and an even split between Masters 1 and Masters 2 women left behind, the fire-power and motivation wasn’t there to bring the riders back. Rather than get bored in a nullified field, Christina turned her ride into a worthy personal challenge, chasing by herself for two laps to clinch third place.
The time trial was an 18km circuit that used part of the road race course. Again, lots of wind, bumpy dead roads and tough conditions for all – at least it didn’t rain as it had poured the night before. There was a headwind for the majority of the way out and tail wind mostly for the way home. Christina used her small surface area to good advantage and powered home into third place.
Australian University Games
Race Report by Madeleine Steele
Today’s road race at the Australian University Games made me nervous. I went in as defending champion and if that wasn’t enough pressure, instead of the flat course from last year, I was faced with some frequent kicking climbs that would burn through my sprinters legs over the four laps. At the start of the race, I had my eye on a few girls who I thought would excel on the course and made a deal with myself to go with them for as long as I could and hope for the best. There was no way I could race within myself today, I had to chase because there was no doubt the race would break up.
Halfway through the first lap, Ella from University of Sydney and the Roxolt NRS team attacked up a long drag and I went. No one else was able to jump on and we had a decent gap very quickly. All of a sudden I was faced with a daunting prospect – swapping off in a break for 60km up and down hills. After a discussion with Ella, we decided to work together as best we could. I was by far the weaker climber and to Ella’s credit, she offered for me to pace on the climbs once we were confident in our lead.
I made sure I kept hydrating, eating and focusing on my breathing as I kept pedalling along with my heart rate between 178 and 188 for most of the next few laps. Suffer a little on the climbs, push over the crest and recover as much as possible on the descents. Coming into the last half lap, I knew my time with Ella was limited. She attacked on the same long drag and as hard as I tried, my legs could not take it to the next level. It soon hit me as I suffered from the effort I’d just put out, that my race was not done. There were no time gaps given so I knew I had to push all the way to the line or risk getting caught. I looked at my Garmin and figured Silver was worth 4km of max effort, and so that’s what I gave. I came across the line with a huge smile on my face realising I had just achieved something I’ve almost never done in a bicycle race – survive in a break – and I was going to get a pretty sweet reward for it. I’m a happy girl tonight, grateful to have my first race of the week under my belt and looking forward to the (flat) ITT tomorrow and the Criterium on Friday. Here’s to a good week of racing and celebrating what we achieve week-in and week-out as student athletes.
Maddie went on to win the time trial, and all-but had the criterium in the bag when a tyre blow out in the down-hill finishing straight rained on her parade. Maddie was philosophical, albeit justifiable annoyed and slightly heartbroken, “that’s racing”…….couldn’t put it better ourselves!
Australian National Paracycling Track Championships
The pictures say it all – the exhilaration of a National gold medal hard won, followed by total exhaustion. Meg Lemon competed at the 2016 National Paracycling Track championships after her stunning debut at the 2016 Road Championships earlier in the year. Meg has been working hard with her SASI coach Loz Shaw, and has also been doing some training on the tandems with the MBAB team to help resolve some pedal action issues. Meg’s success at the event was however, largely down to her incredible work ethic and focus – terribly ironic for someone with fractionated focus issues since a car hit her in 2014. Meg powered to victory in both the 500m and 3km pursuit. She will turn her focus back to what will hopefully be another successful Road Championships in 2017.
Some Old Chick in a Vets Race
This race snippet isn’t all that important, other than geriatric, old-goat Victoria finally breaking through to win the Adelaide Hills Masters Cycling Club Christmas Handicap, a race where she has nabbed 2nd place outright for the past four years.
Race Report by Sarah Rawlinson
The final AHMCC race for 2016 was a secret handicap. This type of event sees a mass start where all grades are combined. Right from the get go the faster riders try and demoralise the riders from lower grades with sheer speed. Tenacious slower riders cling to the wheels of their rivals in an attempt to “hang on” just that little bit longer.
None of the riders know their allocated handicap before the race. Everyone just has to try and do their best time whether they are from a high or low grade. There’s nowhere to hide and the pace must be maintained throughout the 60km race.
Jason Langbein impressed as he managed to match it with the gun riders on the flatter section of the course before Callington. However, when the climbs started he soon found out that the energy he’d expended to keep up had taken a toll. His was a lonely ride through the hills to the finish. The all-girl group of Alissa Byron, Sarah Rawlinson and Suzie Gray pushed hard to record a good time. They were temporarily helped by Graham Phillips who was busy outshining others from his Grade. Having achieved their aim of dropping the lower graded riders the race was on for the gun riders. Over the hills of Dawesley and onto Nairne, hearts were pumping. A small breakaway group of Victoria Veitch, Graeme Orchard, Cliff Grant and Mike Hoile established a small lead on the first climb over Simon Veitch, Dave Cullen, Dean Bevelander and Craig Bedome who chased hard and clawed back a bit of the gap on the next few climbs into Nairne. The gap morphed into a large gap when the 4 chasers were stopped at the Nairne Railway crossing. Two minutes were spent contemplating their Christmas shopping lists before they could resume the chase.
Meanwhile Orchard, Grant and Hoile focused on how they could beat the diminutive Veitch and keep their manhood intact. Veitch, one of the state’s leading female cyclists is about to take part in SA’s Tour Down Under and the National Championships at Ballarat in January. She is in top form and the boys knew it. What had slipped their minds was her tactical brilliance. On the short sharp climbs along Paech Road to the finish she had them gasping and as they approached the chequered flag she unleashed a lightning sprint to claim the glory.
The club celebrated the end of the year with the presentation of the Consistency Award won be Suzie Gray, Tony Simes and Sarah Rawlinson, Most Improved won by Matt Hawthorn, Best Club Person was Tony Simes and the Wipeout Award winner was Avis Pearce. Many thanks to the Adelaide Hills Masters Cycling Club and our fellow competitors for a fun year of racing.