Photography Jacqueline Bailey and Niels Juel
Words Nathan White
Round 2 of the Queensland Road Team Series at the Scenic Rim was a new event for C9 Intebuild Racing on a course not previously ridden by our cohort of riders. The less ‘lumpy’ day 1 course was abandoned after a huge deluge of rain on the race eve made conditions unpredictable and treacherous. Day 2 comprising a 32 kilometre Team Time Trial and a 96 kilometre road race covering the same course 3 times remained.
Stage 1 Team Time Trial 32 kms
Our intention to scout the course after the completion of day 1 was scuttled when the first stage was cancelled. We had an idea that the parcours would be suited to time trial bikes initially, then the last 10 kilometres over undulating terrain would be more suited to lighter road bikes. Consequently, we lined up with 3 of each hoping to make up time on the flats while sacrificing our time trial members, Rupert, Nathan and Matt on the lumpy run home. As only 3 riders needed to finish to qualify our time, a burden of responsibility hung over Hadleigh, Adam and Phil on the lighter road machines.
As soon as we set off, disaster struck with Rupert’s seat post disappearing into his rig. His time trial prowess was suitably compromised and after 10 awkward kilometres, he was forced to stop and fix his machine. The remaining 5 riders powered on.
Towards the halfway point of the time trial, the inability of the time trial machines to tempo climb up the rises started to hamper our overall speed. Continual calls of ‘steady boys’ from the Nathan and Matt tempered the pure speed of the lighter weight lads. No one likes to utter those words in a team time trial, especially when you have so far left to ride.
After the last of the longer downhill sections was complete, Matt and Nathan peeled off and let the lads storm home up the steep bergs back to the finish line. All three guys hung tough with Phil crying uncontrollably by the finish. Our time was good for 12th on the stage which was disappointing as we pride ourselves on our overall team strength. In retrospect, we would have ridden the course with only 1 or 2 time trial bikes and kept the rest of the team on lightweight climbing machines to tackle to sharply undulating course. A great experience for us and another example of the importance of doing a decent course reconnaissance.
Stage 2 96km Road Race
Oooh, this was a toughie. Backing up after a sapping TTT is always soul destroying. Knowing how undulating the course was didn’t help. Knowing everyone else was about to face the same challenge is often forgotten at those moments.
The road race started nervously as always with the smell of hot brakes and musings of the anxious bunch permeating the peloton. Once the speed had increased and the bunch had strung out, the mood quietened somewhat. Everyone was sitting in waiting for the first ascension of the ‘wall of Kalbar’ which would appear towards the end of each lap. Situating yourself towards the front of the bunch would be critical to avoid dropping wheels behind those suffering up the berg.
On the first lap, the wall was attacked with fervour. A select group of around 35 riders appeared over the top strung out in ones and twos. Hadleigh and Adam were safely in this selection with the remainder hot on their heels. The sole missing C9 rider was Phil who had performed one of his impressive photo op moments earlier in the race only to be dropped mercilessly later on the climb. His mission accomplished though as the photos now testify.
The remaining 3 lads punched on with a small collection of dropped riders and rejoined the main bunch halfway through the race. Rupert chose to return to the team car for a bottle and was informed he was outside the allotted feeding times then suffered the cruel blow of failing to rejoin the main bunch. A little helpful motor pacing from the team cars wouldn’t have gone astray!
The 2nd climb of the wall was slower but far more painful as the lactic acid bit home. Hads and Adam hung in with a small group just off the tail of the main selection. A few of these riders rejoined the main bunch but Adam and Hads just missed the cut and were the last riders to miss the crucial selection. They joined Nathan who had fallen a little further behind and began the chase again in earnest. Hadleigh would succumb to cramping and make his way home solo just behind Adam and Nathan. With the finish line in sight, Nathan drifted off the front of his chasing to grab 35th in an ultimately futile attempt to get top 30 points. Adam came home soon after.
In the end, more then half the field failed to complete the race. This was an accurate reflection of what was one of the toughest races we had been involved in. Our team rode well but again were not rewarded for an underlying consistency. We have managed an astounding record of placings between 30 and 40 this year. The hard racing will however be of enormous benefit as the season travels along.
Next race on the calender is Battle in May. This will be one of our key races for the season and we hope the form that we have been generating will help us move higher in the overall standings.
Thanks to our amazing support crew including Adrian our driver/manager, Joe our mechanic and the ubiquitous Brett our Megabake Soignuer.
Thanks also to our awesome sponsors who help us race and give us the best looking gear in the QRTS – Cobra9, Intebuild, Attaquer, 4Shaw, Megabake, Wurkstand, Docs Workshop, The Powerstation Cafe, GC Bikefit, Land Partners and POC – who pimped us in the trendy Octal Aeros for the TTT!!