Home of Cycling in the Illawarra
Two top names in cycling have entered the Illawarra Track Open on December 14-15 – World Champion Jack Edwards and Junior Worlds competitor and Oceania and national champion Josie Talbot.
Edwards, from Sydney, is best known for his gold medals in the men's omnium and team pursuit secured at the 2013 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Glasgow in October. He was also recently awarded the NSW Institute of Sport Junior Athlete of the Year and the Cycling Australia Junior Rider of the Year.
Coached by former Olympian Brad McGee, he is expected to be a tough contender during the carnival, which is being held in conjunction with the NSW Country Track Cycling Championships and hosted by Illawarra Cycle Club.
Talbot won the Under 19 national Omnium this year, won the Oceania road championship and contested the Junior Worlds in Glasgow with the Australian team, gaining bronze in the pursuit
Illawarra Cycle Club is promising two top days of track cycling, with a large number of riders from under nines through elite to masters of both sexes already having entered the events.
The Open carnival is offering $2000 prizemoney including feature men’s and women’s wheel races, while the NSW Country Championships are offering $2000 prizemoney provided by Wollongong City Council as well as Cycling NSW medals.
A highlight of the two-day cycling extravaganza will be a celebrity match sprint between the Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Cr Gordon Bradbury, and one of the club’s up and coming seven year old riders. The Mayor will officially open the carnival at 6pm on Saturday December 14 and ride his event shortly after.
Entries for licenced members of Cycling Australia are open at www.nsw.cycling.org.au and spectators are welcome. Free entry to spectators. Racing kicks off at 1pm December 14 and continues until approximately 9pm and resumes at 8am Sunday morning.
After spending the winter months putting thousands of kilometres into their legs, two Illawarra Cycle Club members will head to Grafton this weekend to contest the iconic 53rd Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic over 228km – one for the first time; the other for his 12th.
Both masters aged riders, Robert Hernandez and Jeff Gray will sign on with 300 other cyclists including some of the best Australia’s has to offer, for the longest one-day stage race in the country, leaving Grafton at 8am Saturday morning and heading to Inverell via Glen Innes and 18 km of steep climbing over the Gibraltar Range, known for its steepness and rapidly changing weather conditions.
Both will contest C grade with other club level riders- A grade being the final event in the elite National Road Series (NRS) which has launched a number of Australians into the professional peleton. The record for the route, which takes two hours and 40 minutes by car, was set in 2012 by Mark Jamieson at six hours, 21 seconds but Hernandez and Gray expect it to take them seven or more hours to complete – if they do finish at all.
Father of one Hernandez, 39, has used the `Grafton’ as it is known, as a rehabilitation focus to recover from an injury that got worse after a race fall in 2011. “The injury has only really affected my leg when i have had to push really hard on the pedals so the Grafton being a long slow endurance event inspired me to get fit and build a base to get me back into competitive cycling long term,” he said.
“I set myself the goal 10 weeks ago. Managing time around work and kids is also very difficult. Planning is very important and working through it day by day with the close people in your life has been the key. There have been a few ups and downs but with persistence and determination and a drop of luck things seemed to have panned out quite smoothly.”
For Hernandez, training has been mostly endurance based and has consisted of road riding 300-400 kma week for the first three weeks including two to three hourrides. Time in the saddle increased to 400-500km for two weeks working the rides up toward three to four hours. Then another rest week up to 300km and finally two big weeks of 550-600km including some five to six hour rides with hills.
“The good news is the muscular injury in my left thigh has only just responded to treatment allowing me to race a couple of times in Sutherland and at the ICC successfully in the last week which has pleased me greatly and given me some confidence,” he said.
“Though racing has unfortunately not been a part of my training due to the injury I have had training/guidance and frequent motor pacing sessions with Danny Hennessy who has contested the event 7 times during his career and won the King of the mountain on Mt Gibraltar in the top grade and finishing a credible 5th overall. Danny has been a great mentor and connoisseur having competed the monumental race back when it was the last big event on the calendar before the Commonwealth Bank Cycle classic which then featured many international riders who would also be contesting the stage race now known as the Tour Down Under.”
Hernandez said his main concern was how he would fair over the 17km climbing of Mt Gibraltar not having the strength training needed, “but I am looking forward to it nonetheless with the aim to successfully finish the gruelling 228km event.
Jeff Gray, 48, and married with two children, is having his 12th start at the Grafton and aiming for his ninth finish.
“I have only ever ridden C grade and have never placed at the race,” he said. “My best performance was in 2009 when I claimed the ‘points jersey’ after spending 90km on a solo breakaway and collecting most of the intermediate sprint primes, unfortunately I was caught by a large group 40km from the finish.
“My usual training is 250 – 300km (eight – 10 hours) per week but during the build- up for the Grafton (eight weeks out) this increases to an average of 400km with some weeks at 500 – 600km.
He isn’t sure how he will fair this year.
“I’m not a very winning rider at the best of times and the past three years have been even leaner than normal, but this preparation period has seen my fitness return to some form of old, so hopefully that may change in the future.
“I’m often asked by other riders about the race and there seems to be a level of wariness about attempting it, but I feel that it would be within most peoples’ capabilities to at least complete the race with the right preparation.
“In the lower grades (B and C), typically the field remains mostly intact until the 18km climb of the Gibraltar range and after this most riders will find themselves in a group of similar ability. Those groups may be riding hard to contest the win or just supporting each other to get to the finish, & sometimes it starts out as the former but ends up becoming the later. Whichever it is, it's a long sad trip home in the car if you DNF (did not finish).
The race sets off at 8am for the NRS riders and 8.15am for the B and C graders.
Illawarra Cycle Club members returned with two medals from the National Masters Road Championships held in the Goulburn area at the weekend.
Coming back from retirement, former u/19 Cyclist of the Year (1990/91)now married dad and real estate Simon Kersten took bronze in the masters three criterium after spending most of the race in the front group of riders then contesting the bunch sprint for the medals.
Greg Warwick, won the gold medal in the Masters 10 time trial, showing turn of speed others in his age group could not contest.
Twenty four Illawarra club members including two women contested some or all of the three disciplines - individual time trial, criterium, road race - with some fast and tactical racing experienced.
New rider Jules Verheyen placed sixth in women's masters three criterium and Kirsten Bennett fifth in the women's masters four. Verheyan had the previous day cut more than a minute of her previous time for the individual time trial to finish in sixth place in her division.
Club road racing this weekend is a criterium at Port Kembla (Gloucester Blvd between Gallop St and Darcy Road), starting at 8.30am on Sunday . Vehicle entry will be controlled throughout the event and a public notice will appear in the Illawarra Mercury to advise same. A grade - 20 mins plus two laps. B grade 15 minds plus two laps, C, D Women and Junior events 10 minutes plus two laps. Enter from 7.30pm on the eastern side halfway between the carpark and school oval. Riders need a gold Cycling Australia racing licence or a day licence, available on the day. Entry $10/$2.
by Paul Murray
The weekend saw the first round of the National Junior Track Series (NJTS) for U15 and U17 riders from throughout Australia. The program is based over two days with a variety of Sprint and Endurance Events with those riders making finals competing in up to eight events per day.
That creates some close racing and extremely tired riders who back up for a second day of more intense racing including Keirin Qualifier and Finals, Cyclone Sprint ( two lap - eight riders rolling start), Points Race, Elimination Qualifier, Elimination Final, Sprint Final ( 3 laps rolling start).
Illawarra Cycle Club had two teams competing and oth represented the club brilliantly placing Illawarra Black in second overall and Illawarra Orange sixth in the Team results for the first round of four of the series.
The Illawarra Teams and rider placing after Round One are:
Cameron Scott - 2nd in U17 Mens
Dylan Oaten - 23rd in U17 Mens
Lachlan Scott - 26th in U17 Mens
Natasha Mullany - 9th in U17 Womens
Chelsea Oaten - 18th in U17 Womens
Rebecca Pignatelli - 13th in U15 Womens
Chloe Heffernan - 8th in U17 Womens
Sari Mitrevski - 16th in U17 Womens
Mitchell Wright - 1st in U15 Mens
Zacary Marshall - 4th in U15 Mens
Thomas Murray - 19th in U15 Mens
Shari Heffernan - 10th in U15 Womens
- What's on track this week?
- Summer road program begins
- ICC wins interclub shield
- Track Season to Open
- Road racing for men, women and kids this Saturday
- ICC riders tackle national road series
- Illawarra to host State country track cycling titles Illawarra to host State country track cycling titles
- Medals a-plenty for Illawarra’s senior and junior cyclists
- entry level road handicap for newbie women and kids
- Vale Graeme Donnelly