Roll out in sunny conditions for the “under control race”. This year they threw in a hot-dog style prologue to be negotiated at 50km p/hour. A couple of crashes happen as riders are all trying to get to the front of the bunch.
Race finally begins at 7km. The only way you know is that the speed temporarily drops below 50. The race has a sprint in 1.5km ie 1500m into the official race with 150 riders (of complete amateur to complete pro abilities) in the field.
Fight to stay in the first 20 wheels with the help of Michael Hartman (Preston). The speed is 30 to 60km depending on the wind direction.
KOM one 56.6km.
I move to the front around the corner immediately prior. This gives me enough time to tempo up the climb. At the top I have worked my way back ward through the bunch, and am still in contact with the 80 odd lead group (I think there is a dozen or so off the front by now).
KOM two 76.2km.
Andrew Ward comes past two km out and yells get on. He tows me to the base of the climb, but this time I am about 30th wheel. I stick with the tempo plan and reach the top about 80th wheel, and out the back. Luckily the Walker brothers are chasing to get back on and I hitch a ride, they want me to do turns, but I figure they are the A graders and it is their race to loose. The plan works and they get me back on.
Feed One Inverleigh 101km
Coming into the first feed at Inverleigh, I am happy to be in this big bunch. The bunch is strung out single file as we all search out our helpers. Only problem is my feeder of seven years is not there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I panick and consider turning around and looking for him. It is only 101.4km into the race. I have no water at all and the temp is already high. I decide to keep riding and see if I can score some water. Brendon Sharratt (Coburg) kindly gives me one of his biddons. Another Carnegie guy gives me a biddon and says I can share it with the guy next to me who has no feed either, I give the biddon to this guy as he has a mobile phone and is ringing up for a biddon. I put my order in, do not know where/how we are going to get it though.
First “severe crosswinds” 110km
Just as I am working my way back through the bunch to search for more water the attacks start and we are riding in the gutter single file. I get shelled, but the writing was on the wall as it is 130km to the next feed, and I have one water bottle and a couple of gels.
I see Chris Hitchens (Sunbury helper) waiting on the side of the road and plead for water. He gives me a bottle of coke, which I figure will get me another 50km. He also tells me my brother is about 5 minutes behind, so I decide to wait. Some guy on the side of the road takes my picture and says he will send it to me. I say post it as it will beat me home at this rate. I let a dozen or so rider catch and pass me, after again they put me in the gutter. I am running out of water, reach down for the coke, but is is gone???? Still do not know how I dropped it.
Eventually Tom (my brother) and Michael Hartman’s bunch catch me and I let go with the abuse (which I am saving for my helper). They are shocked by my spray as it had nothing to do with them.
This bunch is going nowhere. They are doing 28km/hr and four of us are working, with about 10 sitting on. My brother and I threaten to put the bunch in the gutter. About 140km mark and my feeder is standing on the corner. I tell him in my best French to get me a drink. He drives past the bunch and does not offer one. I think I hope I get a cyclist friendly judge when I murder this guy. Eventually he stops and gives my brother a biddon.
130km to 200km
It is tail wind time now, and I have a bit of water on board, thanks to my brother. The bunch stops for a piss at about the 150km mark. We are half way home. We begin picking up some other riders and the bunch grows to about 25. 180km down. I have no water and no food. I ask riders for water, but no one has any to spare. I turn into smeigel (Lord of the Rings) and think the dirty little hobbitses are lying and they have the precious. I am now starting to sing Kylie Minogue songs in my head??
is usually a bit of a celebration as only 100km to go. Our water scavenge hunt has morphed into asking passing cars, trucks, the police, Bracksie, and any one else who will not listen. I am about the vomit, not sure if it is nerves or de- hydration. The weather has cooled a bit and clouds overcast.
The dirty hobitses are all still drinking. One guy has see through biddons so he is safe from my water-jihad. The others are all filthy liars as they are still carrying biddons. Sanity later told me the hobitses were not drinking from their biddons because they probably did not have any water. In fact I cannot remember anyone drinking from about 200km to 230km.
f@#$ still another 10km to go without water. I tell my brother if I get dropped send some back to pick me up as I will wait on the side of the road. Last KOM of the day is immediately before the feed. I again try to stay near the front, and hold about 5th wheel to the top. I hammer on the descent, to find Bill (my feeder actually there). I stop and grab two biddons and a red bull and some food. John Marcan and I are well in front of the rest of our bunch (who has unknown to me called a truce and all stopped at the feed). I think we have been dropped, but John assures me we are in front.
The bunch all got their Astana musettes, because the race is on now. 70 odd km to go and we are doing 40+km/hr. I now know I can make it to the finish. The faster pace = less riding time. The final feed is at Garvock, about 30km out (it might as well be at a pub in Warrnambool at this stage of the day). Bill is geed now and offers me two biddons and three powerbars, I see a red bull and grab that instead. I need a piss but the bunch are not in any mood to slow down.
20km to go sign and I pop a nodoze. Still need a piss, but think I can hold on. 15km to go. I cannot hold it in. I go to the back of the bunch and piss off the bike, covering myself in urine. I do not care, as I just want the ride to be over. If I stopped and lost the bunch that 15km could have taken over an hour.
10km to go.
I get my brother to sit about 5th wheel and make him stay there. The pace slackens over McDonald’s hill (about 1km to go). I tell him to move me up, but he thinks I said attack and he attacks. He has a small gap and another D grader bridges to him they clip wheels. We have a small gap and I have to continue. I get about 5th in the sprint. The race is over. 8 ½ hours ride time.
The guy who clipped wheels comes over to seek compensation for the two spokes that he broke in the collision. I figure it is a good time to practice some more French, but instead tell him it is a bike race mate, get over it. Bill approaches to apologise for my being at the feed. The day is done and he is an unpaid volunteer who has helped me through seven Warny’s now. No point going off at him now. Steve Pilson (Coburg) managed 9th outright. That lifts the spirits. As does Bills 14 year old nephew eating a “pounder” from McDonalds. The joys of youth.
It is a great race the Warny. It has a long proud history. The locals come out and cheer you on. It takes mental and physical toughness to get through (and probably a bit of stupidity). Would love to know how someone has the determination to win the race.
It would be great if the organiser could alter the locations of the feed stations. We were all struggling out there. Big thanks to all who help put on the race, police, corner marshals, commissaries and Bill