Interview : Brett Ledger (Megabake)
Photography : Veloshotz
The third round of QRTS for 2015 headed to the South Burnett for what we anticipated would be one of the toughest rounds of the year. As it transpired, the parcours were brutal and the racing far harder then even we had anticipated.
We lost a large contingent of our squad who were coming off the tail end of NRS Battle on the Border to the nuptials of Rupert Leigh (Cobra9 rouleur/half wheeler/top shelf legend) and Amy. We also lost proper hard man Tim Barnett to the Japanese flu. With our resources tested, we put our faith in the depth of our squad bringing in Luke Stenner and Peter Spencer who both have a huge volume of experience and the minerals to suffer. Ian Blatchford also came into the team from our strong Masters A squad.
Both days were tough although Stage 1 proved to be the more dramatic of the two races. The undulating, technical and unrelenting course spat out rider after rider. Our lads held strong until the later stages of the race where all but Kurtis dropped off the pack. Hads was unlucky to be one of the last to miss the cut and was only a few metres from regaining the group. Cycling is a cruel sport.
Kurtis chased off the front of the bunch, got pulled back, then managed to hang in for 26th on the day. Brett interviewed him after the race.
Brett Megabake : We’ve got the Cobra9 champion of the day here, Kurtis. He’s just warming down. He tells me it was a bit harder than the boss told him it was going to be. The boss is currently at a wedding helping himself to a beer.
Kurtis Brent : Nice to hear he is at a wedding filling himself with beer. It wasn’t a pleasant day today at all (laughs).
BM : Apparently it was flat and just a little bit lumpy but a few people were getting piped (laughs)
KB : I don’t think there was any flatness in at all. It was either up and up, or rolling down and belting down. Oh hang on, there was the flat into the sprint.
BM: And the little flat turn before heading back into another lap?
KB : A nice..what do they call it, a corkscrew turn or whatever the f*ck that is. It was very hard indeed.
BM : It’s not the first we’ve heard complaints today but we’ve got him placed at 24th today (actual 26th). Outstanding effort today mate. Champion effort.
KB : Thanks mate, cheers.
Stage 2 was always going to end in a pit of suffering up Bunya Mountain. As a team we had decided to shadow our pure climber Kurtis again to the bottom of Bunya then let him loose. As it transpired, the pace in the bunch was a little more subdued with everyone waiting for the road to pitch upwards where the suffering would really kick off. Hads jumped into a few mid race moves hoping to get to the base of the mountain with a healthy cushion but these were brought back by the large peloton. Luke and Peter handled their domestique duties perfectly and looked after the needs of Kurtis and Hads perfectly.
When the climb kicked off, the steepness really struck home. A lot of riders were forced to weave their way to the top. Kurtis rode strongly despite not knowing the climb to finish 19th overall. Ian dug deep and surprised us all (and himself) with his 32nd placing. He was only a few seconds out of the points.
We caught up with Kurtis after the climb to see how it felt.
Cobra9 : How hard was today’s stage?
Kurtis Brent : It was hard. Legs and body felt crappy for first 20kms, but lucky it was flat. The bunch kept the tempo high and would not let the break get away, so position was everything. After 20ks I started to warm up. I rode just near the front from there and tried to follow one break when nearing Kumbia. I followed Jack (Anderson), but could not get across. I then sat in with the bunch to the start of climb where except for a few (10 riders) up the road was all together.
This stage with 25kms of steepness was bloody hard and it kept going up. I found I could pass people on the steep stuff, climbing out of seat. It was very hard stage in last 28kms, but Murgon (stage 1) was much harder for the entire race….
C9 : How does that climb compare to other climbs you’ve done?
KB : After 80 odd kms – Bunya was steep and hard. Harder then Mt Warning as it just kept going. Hard because of fatigue and because I had no idea when it would end…
C9 : Did you have anything left at the end?
KB : At 104km (5 km to go), I was out of food and in tempo preservation mode, totally sapped. I think all the training and long riding I’ve done was the only thing that let me keep peddling – not smashing it, but steady solid tempo. Nothing left at all at the end, except the want to get past Volkers who I could see up ahead… and to keep in front of a bunch of 8 odd who I could see just behind, swapping off…
C9: What was going through your mind up that climb?
KB : Ouch, how bloody far is it to the top. And I was thinking steady tempo as I was fading and did not want to get passed. I wanted the points…
C9 : Is it tough to climb a mountain like that when you haven’t climbed it before?
KB : Yes – it’s a tough climb when you do not know what is up front. You do not know if you can put all your effort in, or if you need to conserve for a massive inclination at the end…
C9 : What’s the plan for tomorrow?
KB : Plan for tomorrow? depends how my crippled immune system recovers.
So ends another round of Team Series. Thanks to our team who rode strongly all weekend and to our cracking support crew who kept the lads on the bikes and in good humour. Cheers Brett from Megabake, Steve from Wurkstand, Joe from the Spin Doc and Adrian our Team Manager and driver.
Thanks to our sponsors who put us there –