Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


25 September 2011

Damian McDonald Memorial Race.

 With a week to go until the Tour of Tasmania, both Taylor and I were keen to keep as much racing momentum as we could after Goulburn to Sydney.  Yesterday we fired up the Red Rocket and headed up through the Black Spur to Eildon for the Blackburn run Damian McDonald Memorial RR.  Having not been up that way in a very long time, I really enjoyed the drive and it was a great reminder just how stunning that area is. With a blue sky day I was amazed just how green things are up there at the moment and looking back wish I could have taken some pictures.  My only memories of Eildon are spending three MTB Nationals there that were complete dustbowls in the January heat!

The race started off in a very subdued fashion, with very little pace on for the first of two, 27km laps around the lake.  There were a couple of solo attacks and in the end Ashley Bains took up off the road solo and quickly gained a handful of minutes.  I think the bunch knew a lot more about the roads around the area than I did though, as the final 48km loop went straight up a solid 8.5km berg where the group just shattered to pieces.  Taylor did a super job setting the pace at the bottom of the climb and by the top we were whittled down to a group of four.  It was a mighty climb for sure with steep pitches and a couple of false flat sections near the top which had me thinking some recovery was sooner rather than later.  At the top of the berg we were able to pick up Ashley and we were all keen to keep the pace high and drive a gap as much was we could.  The descent off the Skyline Climb was a little nerve racking with a few corners that tightened up hard, but we all made it safe but were reduced down to just four at the bottom.  At this stage we had just under 30km to go and the four remaining were myself and Taylor, Ashely and Jason from Budget Forklifts.  It was a great position for me and Taylor to be in, but we both were happy to rotate and do our share in the break to make sure we stayed away until the finish.

With 15km to go the cat and mouse games began, as we took turns attacking the group trying out luck in using the numbers advantage we had.  It wasn't until the third attack that a split happened and I was able to slip away with Jason following who had been super strong all day.  At this moment we heard a nasty noise behind which turned out to be Taylor unfortunately hitting the deck.  Clear away it was a two man race and we rotated smoothly until 3km Jason attacked from behind up over the last rise of the day.  I was able to follow but the line was drawn in the sand and waited until inside the last 300m to launch by surprise out of the last roundabout and hold off for the sprint win.  So a nice end to the day and some good sensations before heading to Tassie at the end of the week.

On a side note it was definitely very humbling to be presented the trophy by Damian's young son Lachlan and also having members of his family at the finish line.  Damian was a highly accomplished cyclist including representing Australia at the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics and taking gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in the Team Time Trial.  He tragically died in 2007 in the Burnley Tunnel explosion.


Trent said... guys just killed me on that descent!

Chris Winn said...

Haha all good, she was a tricky one for sure. Next time man!