For race photos, visit Canberra Pictorial
17 riders with the spirit of fun and adventure lined up for the start of the first Vikings Strade Bianche race held near Uriarra on Sunday under clear blue skies and a faint breath of Northerly wind.
There was a palpable sense of excitement and nerves at the start line for the rider’s briefing. For some it was their first road race, for others it was the thought of riding their road bikes on some unpaved sections, and for some they were just happy to be out riding their bikes in the sun! the 10 A,B and C grade riders were sent off together to experience the 66km course which included 4 unpaved sectors totaling around 22km.
The riders headed south on Uriarra road from the Homestead and didn’t have to wait long to get to the ‘rough stuff’ turning onto Mountain Creek Road after only 1.4km before making a run for the border. The start of D and E grade was held back a little as Andrew Thaller arrived just as they were about to head off. His excuse was that the traffic along Uriarra road was traveling slowly because of all the ‘bike race ahead’ signage. Congrats to Matt Larkin who was marshaling at the top of Uriarra Crossing! D and E grade rolled away with E riding the ‘sportif’ course of only 1 lap.
After getting turned around by Alex Cooke on ‘Border Patrol’ and heading back to Uriarra Road the riders made a left turn and went down the hill for the customary hot dog at the top of Uriarra Crossing. By the time they came back past the Homestead there were 5 riders in the lead bunch ready to hit the dirt again on Bullock Paddock Road for the second sector of gravel.
By the time they headed down to Condor Creek Simon Niemeyer realised he was over geared for the course and knew he had to hit them now and tire them out before things heated up at the end of the second lap. By the time they came back past the Homestead he had a 40 second break.
The D grade bunch was staying together nicely and the sportif riders were riding well together not far behind being aided by that Andrew Thaller fellow again who was giving them a help up the false flat. When they passed the homestead they couldn’t hold the pace and he blasted off in hot pursuit.
The Race Directors and spectators where then treated to a superb sprint between the two sportif riders with Oliver Thearle just pipped by Steve ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan.
Simon Niemeyer was still in front heading back up past the Homestead and by this time had built his lead to over 1 minute and 10 seconds. Chris Geclan and Lachlan Paton (in his first road bike race) were working together in chase and had broken away from the others.
Simon managed to make it to the bottom of Condor still in front but mentioned to the marshal Daryl Cram that he was cooked. Then the crackle came over the radio 20 seconds later “704 has rounded Condor Creek … and flying!” Lachlan had broken away from Chris and had Simon in his sights. 2/3 of the way up the Condor Climb he passed Simon “Like I was standing still” and he had a whiff of victory. He crossed the line with arms raised 40 seconds ahead for a well deserved win.
The competitors had various ways of tackling the course, not really knowing what sort of ‘off roading’ they would be doing. There were cyclocross bikes, alloy bikes, road bikes with fatter tyres, people’s training bikes, standard road bikes and some people even took out their carbon race bikes with carbon wheels and standard road tyres! There were a few punctures but no falls or other mechanicals and the most common question I received while we were packing up was “when is the next one?” Judging by the number of smiles when everyone was done, I don’t reckon we’ll have too long to wait.
Place Number Name Grade Time
1 704 Lachlan Paton C 1:53:48
2 91 Simon Niemeyer C 1:54:19
3 374 Chris Geclan C 1:56:28
4 Andrew Thaller C 2:05:45
5 175 Andy Yates C 2:06:13
6 781 Ben Long C 2:06:56
7 723 Josh Maher C 2:06:57
8 84 Allan Bontjer C 2:17:10
9 709 Jeff Dow DNF
10 282 Brad Drew DNF
11 706 Liam O’Neil DNF
1 402 Lewis Lee D 2:13:13
2 722 Troy Delbridge D 2:14:06
3 116 Dwaine McMaugh D 2:15:59
4 246 Chris Kinezevic D 2:19:59
1 666 Steve Callahan Sportif
2 726 Oliver Thearle Sportif