QRTS Round 1
It seems not long ago that the 2014 QRTS season wound up for Cobra9 Intebuild Racing with a firm criterium followed by a cracking end of season dinner and wine fest.
6 months on and with a few new faces and plenty of new sponsors, the first round was upon us again. With a more professional approach this year, the lead up was less chaotic thanks largely to the experience of Dugald and the willingness of Adrian.
New to the Cobra9 Intebuild Racing family this year are key sponsors Attaquer apparel, POC sports, The Spin Doc and Insurance Champions. They joined our ongoing support base of 4Shaw, Wurkstand, Megabake Nutrition, GC Bikefit, Land Partners, The Powerstation Cafe and our title sponsors Cobra9 and Intebuild Building Solutions.
So to Gatton we headed for what was round 4 last year. Two road races and an Individual Time Trial were on the menu.
Stage 1 ITT 15kms
The time trial course around the north of Gatton is always testing. Lots of rolling hills, rutted roads and crosswinds make for a testing 20 minute session. With a road race to follow, spending the energy knocking out a good ride can come back to haunt you later in the afternoon.
We lost one of our best time triallers Tim Barnett in the week before the round to a virus. He was duly replaced with the solid war horse Kurtis Brent, a new rider to the C9 Intebuild stable. Matt Zaranski our other top exponent of the craft was below his best getting of a dose of the same malady. In the end it was our dynamic talisman Rupert Leigh who knocked out the best run from our team with a solid 42kph effort over the 15 kilometres. Cav (Phil Cavdarski) managed a cracking ride in his first time trial to finish just outside the points in 31st place a paltry 2 seconds from 30th. Nathan White, Hadleigh Milligan and Matt all knocked out solid 41kph+ efforts but finished also just outside the top 30. Kurtis under instruction to go easy duly belted out a 40kph on his roadie to warm his legs for the afternoon race. Seemingly, he knows only 1 gear – on the rivet.
The result was not quite the outcome we were hoping for but the consistency amongst all the riders was encouraging. Many of the boys were racing on their time trial rigs for the first time and will only get faster and stronger as the season progresses. The results were good enough for 12th for the team on the stage out of 15. Rups the highest in 19th on the individual standings.
Stage 2 Road Race 106kms
The afternoon’s road race is run over the same course as the morning’s time trial. 7 laps of the circuit with deadened legs are enough for most masochists. The new police committee had enabled a full rolling road closure for both road races and this was greatly appreciated after the carnage of last year. A huge thank you to the police and organisers of the round as it was far safer and more enjoyable round then the 2014 incarnation.
As the bunch rolled out, the initial nervousness of the first major bunch race of 2015 seeped in. Plenty of late braking, half wheeling and kerb hoping was evident in the first lap as new riders to the QRTS worked out the machinations of top level racing. Once the pace settled and a few breaks formed early, the peloton calmed and riding became more rational.
As always, our breakaway/race animators Rups and Kurtis were in the thick of it from the whistle. Both featured in early failed break away attempts. The pace ebbed and flowed as each attempt was reeled in only for another attempt to form. Eventually a break formed near the feed zone on lap 5 after some tired legs lost the impetus to chase down a few loan riders. A neat bunch of very talented riders then formed a strong unit and kept the thinning peloton at bay until the finish. On the last lap, the pace up the KOM was firm and many riders found themselves riding out the back of the bunch. All of the members of C9 Intebuild racing remained in the selection with Rups starting to feel the effects of a day spent chasing everything that moved.
Over the crest of the KOM, Kurtis almost succumbed to a rider shifting his line sliding precariously around the penultimate corner. With the rest of the boys lined up behind him, a trip to the bitumen would have ended painfully for all of us.
As the bunch gallop for minor placing approached, Nathan lead the boys to the front and increased the speed to keep it narrow into the final corner. Phil and Hads cornered in the slot ready for an assault on the top 30. Then….disaster.
Hadleigh’s rear wheel exploded under his immense wattage leaving him to roll the last 500 metres under the impetus of inertia only. Day over. Phil who was in the prime position found Gatton’s most impressive pot hole and duly dropped his chain 200 metres out and also used Newton’s law to get to the finish line. Matt who had been riding with handlebars pointing at 2 o’clock all day managed to dig deep and jump into the top 30. Matt’s efforts were even more impressive given he had chased back on after trying to in vain to sort out his faulty stem on lap 2.
Phil’s speed also ensured him of a top 30 despite depositing 0 watts in the sprint. Kurtis, Rups and Nathan all blissfully unaware of these misadventures at the tail end of the peloton headed to the team tent to be greeted by the less then euphoric countenance of the exhausted trio.
In the end, the top 30 points enabled us to finish 8th on the stage and placed Matt and Phil higher on the GC. Time to head home, hit the torture rollers and ready for stage 3. Our luck must improve on the morning.
Stage 3 Road Race 104 kms
Backing up is hard to do. We learned that round 1 in Toowoomba last year and we vowed never to make those mistakes again. Instead the focus on stretching, massage, diet, hydration and warming up has shifted to an art form. When the flag dropped for race 3, everyone was ready to punch on. And punch on we did.
Stage 3 is five laps of a more undulating course then stage 2. The south Gatton course has a series of bergs at the midway point culminating in the KOM up a steep 500 metre pitch with 7 kilometres to go. The course also features a long flat stretch out into the cabbage farms which this year was raced into a nagging headwind.
As usual, there were a flurry of attempts for an early break away on the first few laps. Rups and Kurtis again featured largely in this barrage of assaults. Kurtis featured in a quality moved that managed to distance itself from the bunch however the grouping was brought back by a focused Erdinger squad.
Eventually a group comprising some serious hitters teased itself off the front. Most of the big teams featured in the move and as a consequence, the bunch settled into a more agreeable pace. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to shoot a rider in the select six man group. Kudos to Richie Gooding from Podium Life racing for beasting his way across as the last entrant to the selection. I’d love to see some power numbers there.
With 2 laps remaining another group snuck off the front under the impetus of Rick from Altitude and the mercurial Reuben Donati from Erdinger. The eight man bunch formed on the long straight before the KOM climb and also included Adam Allen (Data3), Beej Albany (Intervelo) and the wily Stuart Cowen (Data3). Nathan (C9 Intebuild) jumped into the fray and spent the next 2 laps in the hurt locker hanging on. Rick having got the break started then departed quietly on the bergs.
With 10 kms to go, the chase group was 1 minute behind the leaders and 2:20 ahead of the shrinking peloton. The last ride over the hills was painful but once safely on the decent, the escape groups were safe from capture. Sam Volkers (McDonalds Development TDU) won with a well timed and powerful surge towards the line in front of Jayden Copp (Mainline). Nathan found some minerals and kicked to finish 12th which is the highest road race finish for our fledgling team so far.
Another break away formed off the tiring main bunch including Kurtis (C9 Intebuild), Tom Coates (Altitude) and Alan West (Balmoral Elite). The group held off the fast finished peloton and Kurtis nabbed a fantastic 20th place. Hads was in the spot for the bunch sprint but cramped to finish 31st and just outside the points. Cav was on hand to provide a first rate lead out and seemed to get stronger every lap. Rups finished safely in the bunch after again animating the early stages of the race.
Round wrap up.
We ended the round in 9th overall after improving with every stage. All the riders demonstrated plenty of strength and all rode to team directions perfectly. Our new members Kurtis and Cav rode with poise and showed plenty of class. Hads is back in tremendous form and will benefit enormously for the hard racing. Rups work on the front and in the breaks was epic and he epitomises the selflessness we love at C9 Intebuild racing. Matt improved every race and punched on despite being not fully recovered from his virus. Nathan’s early season form continued and his results are a testament to that.
The next round is only 2 weeks away. We’ll release the team details for this round next week.
Thanks to our top shelf support network. Steve from Wurkstand threading skewers, Joe from The Spin Doc switching cassettes and truing wheels, Duffs our navigator, manager and coffee procurer, Dugs our manager and rally driver, Brett from Megabake for throwing bottles and getting in the groove, the Zaranski lads for their KOM antics and vocal support and our families who come out and provide incredible encouragement.
Thanks also to our Photographers who capture the moments – Jaqueline Bailey from Wonderbox Photography and Neils from Veloshotz.