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2011 National Masters Championships – finally an update!

El Presidente's picture

By El Presidente - Posted on 23 November 2011

The National Masters Road Championships for 2011 was held in Ballarat in early October from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th.

Stephen Horn (MMAS5), Daniel Daly (MMAS2), Kor Sietsma (MMAS3) and Neil Matthews (MMAS6) were entered into some or all of the Time Trial (20kms), the Criterium (approx. 35kms) and the Road Race (80kms or 96kms).

Their results have been previously shown on the NSCC website, but the lads were asked to give us their own thoughts on the events. Big congratulations must again be mentioned for Stephen and Kor who got amongst the medals in some very stiff competition.

Stephen Horn ... MMAS2 National Road Champion

Report by Steve

Grey, misty and cool around the picture perfect Lake Learmonth. 8:30 start so warming up at 7:30. Sensations good with 150 psi in a pair of fast wheels borrowed off Mike Blewitt. Gentle first couple of K's after all this is master's racing, then the speculative attacks came thick and fast.

Nothing really sticking until a determined effort by a local Victorian rider. I decided to jump across on the semi-climb/false flat pimple, quickly joined and settled down to work. Next thing we are red flagged by an overzealous official mixing us up with the remnants of MMAS2. In the confusion the bunch rejoined.

More attacks until finally a serious group of 5 gained approximately 20 secs with 25 k remaining. Mild panic when somebody told me that the New ITT champ was in the break. Next thing about 10 of us are swapping off Coluzzi style and it's all back together with 10 to go.

Butterflies as I reached down to tighten the shoes for the bunch gallop. The trouble with old guys racing is they have all have learnt to use their brains as their legs have softened, or that’s what I thought! There was still enough crazy guys launching sprints from 800 out to keep the pace high and enough panic to ensure somebody else would chase it down. I had identified a big pine tree about 200 out and said I want to be 'Full Gas' at that point.

Of course I was Full Gas about a 100m prior to this point caught up in the excitement and had to do the last part of the sprint using mostly my arms and pulling faces like I was having a stroke. I was convinced I was going to get swamped but rolled across first!

I put my success down to my racing programme leading up to the race. Dropped by A grade in my previous 2 Beauie's and dropped in the Goulburn.

Non finishing is the key!

Kor Sietsma ... 2nd Place MMAS3 Road Champs

The Masters 3 Criterium

The course was a 2k loop with a slight rise to the start/finish around a park. While I was warming up I heard the announcer say that a break hadn’t been able to survive in any of the races yet. MMAS3 being one of the last that didn’t bode well for me.
I was in luck though. On the first lap two riders went surprising everyone including me. I tried to bridge but ended up with the whole bunch on my wheel. So I sat up and let them go planning to bridge later.

Around a lap or so later a few started attacking. One got a decent gap so I bridged across. Shortly after that two more joined us. After some encouragement we got swapping off nicely. With about ten minutes to go of the 50 mins plus 2 lap’s format we caught the original break of Damien Mason and Trent Butler.

During the last lap or two I tried to get away a few times but they were too determined. I tried to go just before the last corner but Ciaran Jones spotted the move and jumped up the inside pushing me wide through the left hander. I probably should have sat up and got on a wheel at that point but decided to see if I could hold them off. Unfortunately we had towed around a good sprinter - Richard Allen. He did a great job of foxing and rolled us all on the line. I ended up fifth out of six in the break. Not very happy about that!

The Masters 3 Road Race

My wife Lei and I had driven out the afternoon before my race to watch MMAS2. It was great weather for MMAS2 and ended in a bunch kick with a tailwind. We could see them coming round the lake at what must have been at least 50 kph. Definitely not my type of race. The weather forecast was for a southerly to come through overnight bringing wind and showers. I was keeping my fingers crossed it was right.

Well the forecast was correct. The weather was miserable but great for me. On the first lap I found myself sitting a bit far back with a few attacks making things tough. I almost got blown off my bike on the back section of the course. Coming towards the finish I started moving up and bridged to one break that came back. About a kilometre into the second lap on a false flat up the highway I put in a tentative dig and looked around to see I had a big gap. Looked again and Damien Mason was bridging up to me.

At that point I thought we basically had the race wrapped up. I couldn’t believe after I did the same thing, although solo for longer at first, in 2008 they would let me do it again.

The organisation was excellent. We had a car and bike riding up and down giving us gaps every half lap. After half a lap we had around a minute. After a lap around two and a half. We kept it there for the rest of the race.

There's always plenty of hindsight in racing and in this case I probably should have attacked way earlier. At the end of the day Damien was stronger and rode a great race. We attacked each other for the last three k's with Damien leading out the sprint and out powering me. That’s the great thing about cycling. Always a new goal to motivate!

I think the hardest part of the race was waiting around for the presentation. It was so cold and windy!
Thanks to some great organisation and good riding by all the competitors I had a great weekend of racing.

Daniel Daly ... 12th in both the Criterium and Road Race

Masters 2 Criterium

Danny arrived late to Ballarat by train… I think he had been socialising in Melbourne town! He got sorted and rolled to Victoria Park for the Crit. Masters 2 was the largest bunch in the entire event with more than 50 riders starting on what looked like a fast, narrow and (at time) rough track.

The bunch rolled quickly into full pace and position was everything. He had to work hard to stay at the front. The road was corrugated in places and handling was important. A very fast finish with a 12th place in a big sprint with the talent on show is a great hit out.

Masters 2 Road Race

Another big pack signs on the for the Masters 2 road race under dark skies and rolling hills. Did an early lap with Neil to stretch the legs before the race and returned to see a very happy Steve Horn with a bright shiny medal hanging around his neck … well done mate!

The race got going like many other but like the Criterium set a cracking pace with averages around 38-40kph. Six laps including the 3 inclines to the top of the course was sorting riders out. Each lap survived to the top of the course was followed by a quick downhill at 70kph, a left turn and then a wind assisted run to the finish line.

The sixth (and final) lap was on, and Dan found himself sitting 4th wheel before someone from his left cut him off and upset the run to the line. Still finished 12th in a very strong pack …job done, happy looking for a refresher!

Neil Matthews; 7th in TT, 11th in the Criterium and … the Road Race ... just don’t ask him!

I had decided to enter the National Masters early in 2011 believing that setting a target and hard training would get me there ... and it did. I don’t have many riding years in my legs but came away from Ballarat very satisfied with results and also having learnt a hard lesson.

The Masters 6 Time Trial

I think there are 2 types of people ... those that love TT’s and those that don’t! I am in the first group. The TT course appeared to be fairly straight forward without any nasty hills like Calga and at the bottom marker after 10kms; I had an average of 46kms. The bike was going beautifully and I had enjoyed a slight tail wind. Then at the turn the combination of 0.5% false flat upwards and now head wind changed my head space.

The second 10kms was spent in the hurt locker. But I overtook the guy in front of me, but I too was caught by one of the podium winners. Was glad to see the finish with an average of around 41kph, finishing 7th. I’ll take that!

The Criterium around Victoria Park Ballarat

I had spent time the previous day doing some reconnaissance of the circuit and believe that the race would be quick although the road surface was rough in paces. We had a good sized bunch of 35 riders and racing started and remained quick. Fearing that a breakaway might occur I decided to keep near the front but it seemed that we were all closely matched and no breakaway eventuated.

By about the third last lap, the bunch seemed to become very edgy and I had a real hunch that a spill might occur. Doing what any enduro rider does in a Criterium, I retreated to the back of the bunch to just watch who was doing what!
On the last lap and at the fast left corner about 300m from the finish line, 10 riders overshot the corner and went off road. Having stayed away from the confusion, I has hit the apex of the curve at full bottle and rounded up other riders to end the Criterium 11th in a bunch finish of 12 where we all received the same time.
I was very happy with that as Criterium racing is not my “cup of tea” and having gone with my hunch that trouble was about. I think sprinters are basically crazy people!

The Road Race

Danny and I had gone out early to the road circuit about 18kms north of Ballarat. The Masters 2 and 6 races were scheduled at the same time so we did a lap of the16km circuit. It was right in the middle of magpie season and one aggressive Maggie did not care if it was the Nationals. He was going to have fun!

At the start, the word had gone out on the form of the big lad from Brunswick Cycling Club as the one to watch, and yes he did win but not before dishing out some pain. The circuit has 3 slight rises which would not ordinarily mean much, but over 80kms at an average of about 39kph, it was becoming tough. AT the start of the fifth lap, the bunch took off and traversed the next 8 kms at an average of 44kph and riders were dropping ... including me!

I had prepared poorly on the prior day having driven to Melbourne for a work matter, and did not eat and hydrate after the Criterium!

2 Lessons learnt ... Eat and hydrate properly and never let work get in the way of cycling, cause life is to short.

Arch's picture

I was getting race butterflies just reading this. Well done


kimA's picture

Thanks guys for transporting us into the bunch. Great read - I too, felt the adrenalin moments!

scottknscc's picture

great reports guys, thanks. they make it real. for a smallish club we have a deep pool of talent.

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