5th April 2015
SDVLCC KOM Series Race One
The first race of the KOM Southern Vets Series saw an early KOM up Wickam’s Hill. Having two Veitches in the same grade means there is a race within the race. Simon Veitch has picked his form back up to the point where he has been re-promoted to Victoria’s grade – never any threat of team collusion when these two race! Rumour has it that Victoria has been generally insufferable in a year-long dominant streak over her poor husband. They know each other’s weaknesses. Simon is slower to warm up, while Victoria has been decidedly off key for a few weeks, seemingly at the mercy of a low grade virus – the perfect recipe for a Veitch blood bath.
The Veitches both featured at the front of the climb – Simon launching repeated attacks – Victoria nailing him, then setting a strong tempo. The ruffled feathers had somewhat settled by the end of the climb, much to the relief of the rest of the field. The pace of the race remained high across the top of the Range, and then disaster struck. A plastic chain guard had peeled off Simon’s bike and started to run through the chain – he had to stop to pull it out or risk an unsafe situation. The group was called to slow as it was expected that the situation would be a quick fix, however, one rider not having realised the situation and seeing two riders off the back then launched an attack. Victoria was genuinely torn as to what to do – wait for the husband and have both Euride riders out of the race, or follow the departing peloton and reassess from there. Victoria launched after the bunch and sat at the back, not contributing to the pace and keeping an eye out for pursuit.
Simon had a major advantage in that Mike Elleway was with him, so they had a fighting chance of crossing the gap, but the bunch were working hard to nullify the pursuit. Within a few minutes Victoria could see Simon and Mike slowly pulling the gap back. The virus must have melted Victoria’s brain – instead of digging in the knife and spurring the group into renewed action to drop the two riders, Victoria drifted off the back a full 100 metres, waited for Simon and Mike to catch up, and completed the final turn to bring the trio across the final gap to the group.
The rest of the race was relatively unremarkable. Simon launching his usual silly attacks prior to the print point, inevitably exhausting his ability to factor in the finish, while his enormously better looking, smarter and wilier other half sat in and prepared. Victoria maintained contact with the sprinters to finish within the bunch – ensuring a happy Veitch household with the husband safely installed off the back of the bunch. Happy days!
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!
Report by Simon Veitch
For today’s race the KOM point was the top of Wickhams Hill only about 6km into the race. The pace was sedate in the run to the turn onto the climb, which suited me fine as a chance to get into the ride as my warm up had felt a bit lethargic. In the run up to the climb I had considered my strategy and briefly thought about using a more conservative strategy for the climb but let’s face it subtlety is not my strong point so instead I attacked as soon as we turned onto Wickhams road and went as hard as I could for the whole climb. At the top I had a pretty good gap over two chasers with another guy just behind them, the other 3 in the field where not to be seen.
At the top I thought briefly about waiting for the chasers before putting my head down and making them chase me with the vain hope that they would not organise a chase and glory could be mine. Optimistic huh! Across the top of The Range and down Pottery Rd I could not see any pursuers and hope surged a bit. A couple of K’s along the road to Meadows I spotted a couple of guys chasing me and with a pretty stiff headwind I decided to back off and join them. Graeme King and Neil Thompson were the pursuers and we immediately got a good rhythm going with Neil hurting and skipping a few turns but doing what he could.
We stayed together across Peters Creek Rd and through McLaren Flat with Graeme showing real strength on the flat sections of the course. We turned up Chapmans Ave and I went as hard as I could to split the group up. Neil was dropped straight away but Graeme hung in until cracking about 50m from the top, not enough gap for me to go on with into the inevitable headwind along McMurtrie Rd to the finish. Graeme and I worked together to ensure Neil did not get back on and rolled turns until 200m from the finish where I started the sprint, hoping to catch Graeme napping. Not to be, he was on me and too quick for this skinny white man and I finished second.
This was a great race series and a fitting tribute to Ron Williams, a sorely missed member of the racing community. I won all 5 KOM points during the series and secured the valuable Gold medal. Of the races I got 4 seconds (Mat Miller, really need that sprint training buddy) and a third, all in sprint finishes.