99th Melbourne to Warrnambool
With the Subaru National Road Series featuring multiple tours throughout the year, the one-day classics would see the 2014 season come to an end.
Leading into this year’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, I specifically targeted my training to prepare for this event, riding longer distances and ensuring the legs had enough time to recover before the long day in the saddle.
With a strong team representing Avanti Racing, we were confident of a result but you just never know what to expect in such a demanding race.
This year, the racing was significantly made easier by the lighter winds which restricted opportunity to split the field. Usually within the first 100km, the race is decided by a few smaller groups riding clear of the peloton, but this year was different and nearly all of the 189 Elite riders competing, still remained in the field after the first 200km.
The long distance requires a sustainable amount of nutrition and fluid, so with our Torq Nutrition energy drinks, bars and gels, we were able to keep up our consumption throughout the race.
Despite being easier and a little non-eventful, I needed to pick up my adrenaline, which has been a key to my success this year. Instead, I started to get lazy, riding towards the middle of the bunch being too relaxed, when I should have been in a better position to make the winning break at the front.
Approaching the finish, teammate Mark O’brien made the 6-man select group, which held off the charging peloton to the line and he finished a respectable 5th place. Geelong’s Ollie Kent-Spark took the win, ahead of Alex Edmondson and 2013 winner Sam Horgan.
The main bunch finished only 5 seconds behind, despite the team trying to catch the break and set me up for a sprint. Team Drapac & Budget saved their lead-out until the last minute and swamped us within the final two kilometers. I held on for 10th place and the warny was over in 7hours flat for another year. It may not have been the results we wanted, but that’s bike racing and its been a good year regardless.
I would have liked the race to be harder, mainly the weather conditions which could have made things different, so that my adrenaline and mental race focus were higher than what they were. I’ve definitely learnt from that mistake looking back on the Warny now, so I’ll understand my body better when in the same position again.
With one more NRS race to go, teammate Joe Cooper sits only 3 points clear of Team Budget’s Tim Roe, so it’s down to the wire and the individual NRS winner will be decided at the Grafton to Inverell one-day classic.
The end to the NRS Series will also see the Avanti Racing Team take out the Overall Team’s Classification win for a 5th year in a row. I will finish up 3rd in the Individual Rankings, something that I didn’t even picture at the start of 2014, but comes after what has been an impressive season. To have worn the leaders jersey during two tours during the year was a massive bonus, which couldn’t have been possible without a supportive team and selfless teammates.
Looking forward to my last race in the 2014 season, I’ll be hoping to ensure Avanti finishes off the season on a high.