It was a cold day with temperatures barely above freezing but the sun was shining, a light breeze and with dry roads conditions were good for racing. Richie had a bit of misfortune when warming up by breaking a spoke in his rear racing wheel, however with a spare set of wheels in the team bus Richie was quickly back on the road with a slightly less-than-perfect rear wheel. The 55km route was on rolling roads with a 5km climb just 15km into the race. Richie sat comfortably in the 90 man bunch until the main climb of the day. Numerous riders went out the back door on the climb as a 15 man group gaped what was left of the main field. Richie sat at the front of the main bunch, however a crash in the front 15 slowed them and the two groups came back together. Richie held his position very well towards the front of the group all day and was watchful of every potential move. There were a number of incidents during the race with riders hitting the tarmac; however Richie managed to stay safe. Unfortunately he got caught behind a crash in the last portion of the race and was gapped as about 15 riders moved clear. Richie worked extremely hard with a very small group and was closing in on the leaders but ran out of road, coming across the line in about 17th position, just 300 metres behind the winner. It was a great performance on a tough circuit and demonstrates how well Richie is developing.
Pat took to the line in the 57 strong field of A3 riders to take on the same 55km route but with two laps of a 15km circuit add at 45km to bring the race distance up to 85km. Dermot lined up with a 30 man field of A1 and A2 riders as they set off in chase of the A3s after a 4 minute handicap. Pat sat comfortably in the group and as they hit the main climb of the day the A3 group split in half, with Pat in the front half. Meanwhile, behind the A1/2s were riding cohesively as a group, eating into the handicap. The attacks started before the climb with Dermot getting into the mix but everything was back together at the base of the climb. The group rode steady for the first km of the climb but soon enough the attacks started flying off the front again. Eventually a 4 man group moved clear. Dermot was riding towards the front and once it became evident they were not coming back he made his move, bringing one other with him and together they moved across. The A3 split came into view on the climb. They passed these and made it across to the front split just in time as the leading 4 A1/2s started attacking off the front. Numerous attacks went off the front with Dermot either following or initiating them, but each of them was pulled back by a strong A3 group. Pat continued to sit in the bunch conserving energy. At 45km, turning onto the first lap of the 15km circuit Dermot was on the front for the sharp left hander and put a gap into the bunch on the corner. He pressed on with 3 other riders joining him and they put a good gap into the bunch. They continued but were pulled back in after 5km, where immediately another attack went. Dermot dug in and jumped across and another 8 man break was formed. This one did not last as long and after about 4km the bunch closed it down again. The attacks continued with Dermot not letting anything go.
At this point Pat had some misfortune and hit a discarded racing bottle. The handlebars jumped out of his hands and he came down, suffering a number of cuts and bruises, ending his race. We are happy to report Pat “only” suffered cuts and bruises and will be back on the bike in no time, hoping to race again next weekend. Back at the front of the race a rider went clear at the beginning of the second 15km circuit. Two more quickly joined him and once these joined Dermot decided to try his luck once more and went across to them, pulling two more with him. This time the 6 man break opened up a gap and got well clear of the field. The race for the places was between the six. With a huge amount of work done for the day, Dermot was feeling the effects. At 1km to go he decided to take a gamble and attacked the group but ran out of steam and got hauled back with 500 metres to the line. When the sprint opened up he got fourth place, giving the Tipp Wheelers their first placing of the 2013 season.