Footscray Cycling Club Bicycle Buyer Winter Classic @ Kirksbridge, 31 July 2016.
Over 90 riders, friends and family converged on Little River on a stunning Sunday morning for the last day of July, greeted by clear skies and a light breeze to contest the Footscray Cycling Club’s inaugural Bicycle Buyer Winter Classic; the large fields setting off at 7 minute intervals in 6 bunches of roughly even ability, ranging from Limit, the first bunch to set off, through to Scratch, the gun riders in the last bunch to set off 32 minutes later, in earnest chase of all those ‘up the road’.
On Lap 1 of the notoriously exposed and difficult Kirksbridge circuit it was every bunch who were impressive, all bunches settling in to hammer along at great pace in the most improbably perfect conditions. Scratch lamenting the lack of a decent bit of wind, knowing that it played into the hands of Limit, and Limit losing a few too many riders to take advantage of the light conditions. So the scene was set for a gruelling few laps with each rider just ‘working on the chain gang’ in the hope of it all coming together at the end.
Eventual winner of Male – Fastest Time, Dom Dudkiewicz felt the lack of a good, strong headwind was a nail in Scratch’s coffin. “The weather was just too nice, when I saw there was no wind I thought we were in a spot of bother. We averaged 45kph for the first 2 laps and then eased off a touch for the third lap, but it was the attacks on the last lap which put the brakes on the bunch.” “A small bunch of us got away and were rolling through but only half committed as there were still attacks so I chased a few of those attacks in the last few kilometres, but stayed protected as it was too far out. I was torn between the fact that the Wattbomb guys were coming at us at speed and the fact that we were slowing, so I waited as long as I dared and then went hard and dropped the guys on my wheel” which allowed Dudkiewicz to stay clear of the other guys from Scratch and take Fastest Time.
Meanwhile, eventual winner, 62 year old Warrnambool Painter Des Lane and Mark Reynolds had escaped from 2nd Limit and were looking very strong. Lane rode competitively in his youth, had many years off the bike and only got back to riding at the start of this year. Lane was in 2nd Limit with Mark Reynolds. “We were on the first lap when we rode away from our bunch, and when we caught Limit I thought we would get a few others to help us, but we didn’t, and when we hit one of the rises at the back of the circuit we left them behind and were at the front of the race! So we were on our own and got to work. When we turned the last corner, I could see a bunch coming. I said to Mark that we were going to get home, but it would be close and we would have to really bury ourselves, so Mark put his head down and really pushed hard and with considerable difficulty I just held his wheel, and with about 300 meters to go I could see they were getting closer and closer, so I had to go. I got to the line but Mark got caught and held on for 4th.” In behind, 3rd Limit were hammering in, hoping to overrun the two breakaways at the line; Lane held on for the win, with Matt Arthur taking second place and 15 year old Melbourne Girl’s Grammar student and talented junior Sarah Gigante clinching the Fastest Female prize as well as 3rd overall. “It was pretty tough but I felt really good in the last few kilometres. We could see the two guys in front for the last half a lap and they were doing a great job in staying away. Everyone on 3rd Limit worked hard to catch them right to the finish line.” Mark Reynolds managed to hold on to fourth place after his daring breakaway, with Ross Liley taking fifth place just ahead of Grace Phang.
When the tired riders returned to the Clubhouse, they were greeted by a huge amount of delicious pizza from townandcountrypizza.com.au so everyone went home with a fully belly and a great day’s racing under their belts! Well done Footscray CC and well done to the officials, marshals and helpers.
1st Des Lane @ 2:17:03, 2nd Matt Arthur, 3rd Sarah Gigante, 4th Mark Reynolds, 5th Ross Liley, 6th Grace Phang, 7th Jamie Dwyer, 8th Michele Hyde, 9th Michio Mizuochi, 10th George Goodrope.
Male – Fastest Time: Dominik Dudkiewicz @ 1:47:05 (Adjusted)
Female – Fastest Time: Sarah Gigante @ 2:06:03 (Adjusted)