Race Recap: Mt Gambier Classic

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Michael Devitt

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There was racing at Mt Gambier at the weekend with the 100 mile/ 100 km Classic and State Kermesse Championships. Both Jazz Martin and Lachlan McRae were there for their team Gravier Cycle Collective.

Jazz had this to say about her epic ride:
"The Morelands Holdings Women’s Classic was held on Saturday the 19th of May in Mount Gambier. The exact race distance was not specified but I knew it was going to be over 100km going into it. There was light rain and fog for the entire weekend so I was grateful to have borrowed Russel’s base layer; I would have frozen otherwise! Thanks Russ!

The women’s race had a total of five entries, a total of three more than last year. Not ideal numbers, however I am grateful to Mount Gambier CC for holding an individual women’s race regardless. The prize money was impressive for both the men and women and given my current financial situation I was keen to give this one a good shot.

The pre-race pamphlet didn’t specify the Women’s race route and gave a rough start time of 11:00am. Anyone who knows me well knows that this had the potential to go badly.
I rocked up to the start line at 10:50am to find out the women’s race had already departed. I asked a commissaire for the direction they had headed, to which he responded “I don’t know, actually.” So, I began my race heading off into the wrong direction. This was somewhat stressful.

About five minutes in, I stopped to ask two more people on the sidelines which way to go before finally getting some clarity that “I actually needed to ride back to where I started and turn right.”

Finally my race had begun, and I felt like I could get started with a bit more confidence and that warm feeling, knowing I had just given myself an approximate handicap of 10 minutes to the group I was meant to start with, meaning the gap to the limit rider was close to 50 minutes.

I began my 110km chase and caught the first rider at about 60km, the second at about 80km, the third at about 90km and the limit marker at 100km. I rolled over the line surprised to see no-one else behind me.

It is safe to say this was my hardest race to date and I didn’t expect to get any result whatsoever. Surprises are good however, and sometimes you get lucky. I am very grateful to represent AUCC and get my first win representing Gravier CC as a newly recruited team member."

As did Lachlan:
"This was my first time racing the Mount Gambier 100 Mile Classic and State Kermesse Championship races. The weather was typical of the southeast in winter - cold, damp, and blustery. Saturday threatened to be a long, unrelenting, and potentially unrewarding swap-off for every group other than scratch, but this thankfully was not the case. The first 140km was good fun and everyone got along well enough to work together until some gutter action started to precipitate as we approached Port MacDonnell.

The wind was blowing across the road for Mount Gambier-Port MacDonell out-and-back sector of the race. As it became clear that the catch was going to take place within the final 20km, the cracks started to appear in our group and the mood turned from excitement to anxiety. People jostled for position once the group had made the long u-turn at Port MacDonnell as the gap between our group and scratch evaporated. I made the split and spent the next few minutes madly trying to find protection from the wind and ward off the sights of the cramp sniper, which was lurking over the next berg. From kilometre 140 to kilometre 150 the elastic was stretched and the group was strung out gutter to gutter. Somehow I was the last wheel in a group of 15 and began to believe that I wouldn't have to ride the last 10km of the race by myself.

Once the road turned northeast and the crosswind became a tailwind, the attacks came quickly from the favourites and the cramp sniper too. All I could do was ride at 99% of my cramp threshold from that point until the line, and this was good enough to guarantee 14th place. I wouldn't have believed this to be a possibility one or two years ago, so I am happy with this result and positive about my progress as a bike rider. The kermesse on Sunday was a lot of fun, but not nearly as memorable as the previous day. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and encourage everyone who missed out this year to pencil it in for next season. It is one of the best race weekends we have here in South Australia and a rare opportunity to race a hard race in a quality field over a challenging distance."

We're super proud of the results the two achieved and look forward to seeing them racing in sterling form for the rest of the season.

The photo is from ABC South East SA.