Recap: NSW Masters Road Championships

Venue: Orange, NSW

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NSW MASTERS ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS – RESULTS

JOHNATHAN MILLINGTON – MMAS 1

  • Road Race GOLD MEDAL
  • Criterium GOLD MEDAL
  • Time Trial SILVER MEDAL

BEN NEPPL – MMAS 3

  • Road Race GOLD MEDAL
  • Criterium 8th
  • Time Trial BRONZE MEDAL

CHRISTIAN GODYN – MMAS 3

  • Road Race 19th
  • Criterium DNF

MATT WARNER SMITH – MMAS 4

  • Road Race GOLD MEDAL
  • Criterium 5th

Gallery:

Gallery of photos from NSW Masters Road Championships

RACE RECAPS:

Johnathan Millington – MMAS1 ROAD RACE

The Saturday Road Race was 4 laps and 115km in length. It was a Masters 1 and 2 together but riding for separate medals. I planned to test out the race dynamics early and see if I could force an immediate move. When the neutral section was over I attacked to see what the peloton would do… Nobody came with me… but nobody was chasing either.

I settled into a hard pace without trying to overextend my effort. At 15km I had a 2min lead and decided that my race plan would be a solo effort. Big risks. Big rewards…but still big risks!

I spent the next three hours of the race alone except for the commissaire giving me time checks and the annoying magpie that swooped me every lap.

My lead would fluctuate from between 40s and 2min throughout the race. That was my day: dose my effort, lose some time, gain some time, keep the pedals turning.

Heading into the last lap, fatigue was taking its toll. The wind had been increasing all day and I was running low on fluids. At this point I had a 30sec lead over one rider and 1min20 over the peloton. I got told that the rider coming across was a Masters 2 rider (Chris Miller). A quick assessment and I was certain he would bridge to me so I eased slightly to recover while he joined. We worked together and with 20km to go we had 1min30 lead as we finally turned out of the headwind. The next 13km I was suffering while trying to work with Chris. Then on the main climb with 7km to go I couldn’t handle his pace and he rode off solo to take the M2 title.

Meanwhile, I had about 2min30s lead over the peloton and even with the climb, I was certain barring disaster I would make it to the finish. It got very ugly, I honestly think I lost a minute in the last km. However, the measured approach worked and I managed to get to the line with time to spare (officially 30s) and win my first state road title!

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Matt Warner-Smith – MMAS4 ROAD RACE

A recap of the M4 Road Race as told by the spectators who watched in awe.

To begin with, let us say that this ride by Matt Warner-Smith (MWS) was insane!

With one lap of the circuit to go, MWS was sitting solid in the peloton, one minute down behind a seemingly decisive break of three riders. With 20km left to go in the race, MWS attacked solo and was able to bridge to the 3 leaders at the top of the main climb with 5km to go. From there, he spent the next 4km quickly recovering and preparing for a sprint finish… and as the line approached, the man in the “road-workers lime green top” just exploded and left the other 3 riders in his wake (even having time to grab a look over his shoulder into their devastated and painful grimaces).

This was Matt’s first “title” of any kind and what an amazing way to bring it up. Chapeau to MWS. Very well done mate!!!!

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Christian Godyn (aka The Horse) and Ben Neppl – MMAS3 ROAD RACE

A brisk 1 Degree Celsius welcomed Dhuez Racing to Molong 30 minutes outside of Orange NSW. The team was racing for State Medals in the Road Race in the Age Categories of M1,M3 & M4.

What follows is a biased opinion of the M3 race consisting of myself (Christian Godyn) and Ben Neppl. It may be considered as fact or fiction depending on the reader…

A short 3km neutral roll out was punctuated by some steep gradients and country lanes before reaching the course proper. 30+ fearsomely fit M3 riders rolled nervously towards the end of the neutral zone with a strong contingent of Penrith Cycling Club riders (including P. Milostic) suggesting it would be Penrith and the Dhuez duo driving the early stages of racing… and sure enough Penrith sent the first short lived attack up the road as soon as the starter’s flag was dragged in and racing was underway.

With a predominantly downhill first 5 kms I quickly countered and led the race for the next 10km or so after attacking on the only uphill section of note. Our main man Ben could safely relax in the bunch and admire his well chiselled thighs whilst planning how he would crush the hopes and dreams of many M3 stallions that day.

After being reeled back in just prior to the decisive 7km 2-3% drag, the race temporarily was all together until Ben lit the fires bright up the steep pinch prior to the long downhill run to the finish line, stretching the bunch to almost breaking point. However, it was to be a fruitless effort as fresh legs managed to weld the race back together momentarily.

As the race reached the end of the first lap our Penrith friends sent Mr Milostic up the road and I duly covered his attack but being the competitor he is, he kicked again and I had to double down on my chase to real him back in. Once again, the bunch came together only for Peter Wakefield to come over the top and forge a small lead at which point I settled into a long chase as the Penrith rider continued to grind out a gap on both myself and the field behind me. At the turn to the false flat climb Peter’s lead was back to around 100m and Ben Neppl attacked the bunch and quickly crossed the gap. The bunch momentarily sat up and Penrith Cycling Club took control at the head of the peloton, riding a false tempo as both Ben & Peter improved their gap.

With just on a lap to go Ben & Peter had about 40 seconds advantage on the peloton which was being controlled to ensure no-one else escaped off the front as both Penrith CC and Dhuez Racing each had an excellent chance of gaining a result with either Ben or Peter. As the the bunch reached the false flat climb for the final time, the leading duo were still going away and the peloton faltered in its chase. The gap suddenly blew out to over 90 seconds in under a kilometre. Ben & Peter had the decisive break and they were away for good now to decide the top-step of the podium between themselves.

I crossed the line in a bunch kick and was greeted with the news Ben had cleverly out-smarted and out-sprinted Peter Wakefield for the win in M3. YEEESSSSSSS!!!

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Johnathan Millington – MMAS1 CRITERIUM

The morning of the criterium I was feeling the effects of the day before. The course wasn’t technically challenging but with a strong breeze there was opportunity for all types of riders. After discussion with riders who had raced earlier it seemed that small bunches which could escape before mid-race would stay clear.

The race was 40min + laps and I made the decision that I would only go on the attack selectively. With the effects still lingering from the day before I felt more confident in my sprint finish.

There had been three or four quite solid attacks in the opening laps but nothing had managed to stick. I had been sitting in the bunch when an attack came back and the pace went down. I decided to attack on a part of the course that I thought would be hard to follow – downhill, long right hand turn into a headwind. I made my move and Mathieu Bremaud was following my wheel with a gap to the bunch. Immediately we had a 10sec gap and spent the next 10min scrimping and making a few seconds here and there. With 20min to go the elastic snapped and the gap was over 30secs and we were going to stay out in front as long as we kept working well.

When we got to the final minutes of the race, the gap was nearly 1min. On the main finishing straight with 3laps to go I made an attack and managed to pull away from Mathieu. I got the win, Mathieu got second, Dwaine Hesp in 3rd and my Hunter District clubmate Dane Crawford won the bunch sprint for fourth.

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Christian Godyn and Ben Neppl – MMAS3 CRITERIUM

A windy Sunday afternoon greeted the M3 riders again with a short technical criterium circuit around an industrial estate consisting of a longish drag up the finish straight and a winding downhill section exposed to a solid headwind with a good tailwind up the finish climb.

As the race got underway I attacked hard off the line and stretched the bunch out immediately for the long winding downhill run. Crits are horrible if you’re a full sized human with the full gas nature of short course racing…

Crafty called me as losing the wheel when we crossed the line on lap 1 and Ben took over from my initial effort at breaking up the bunch. The fast pace kept up for several laps with Penrith CC, Dhuez Racing and Manly CC all looking to get a break established. After about 10 minutes of frantic racing, Peter Wakefield made a hard acceleration after a short pause and forged a small gap with Manning River rider Glen Matiske. I quickly covered it expecting to have the group follow but after a quick look back we had 20-30m on a disinterested peloton. The break had been established.

What followed was a masterclass in riding to the conditions by Peter Wakefield. He craftily managed his efforts and put both myself and Glen on the front into the stiff headwind at any chance he could. He would then hit us hard with blistering efforts in the tailwind sections. We both pleaded for him to “go easy”; we had after all made a decisive gap that would stay away the entire race but he continued to work us over in both race-craft and effort. I eventually exploded with 10 minutes remaining and had to sit up and let them go… so deep had I been digging the hole I couldn’t even get onto the back of the reduced bunch and eventually pulled out as the clock ticked over to the remaining 3 laps.

Peter convincingly won a short sprint to the line and deservedly was crowned State Crit Champ.

Ben Neppl was marked out of the race by Penrith Cycling Club as they covered any move he made. They obviously knew he was the man to not let into the break and rightfully covered his every move.

Johnathan Millington – MMAS1 INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL

The 23km time trial should have been my “go to” event. Spending the previous two days trying not to be caught saw myself start with some very heavy legs. The course was undulating on poor road surfaces and I just could not get into a rhythm or hold the power I was wanting to ride. My ride was best described as “suffering, trying to make myself aero, followed by more suffering”. In the end, it wasn’t to be on this day and I finished second to Dwaine Hesp, 9 secs behind.

Ben Neppl – MMAS3 INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL

5,4,3,2,1 go… rolling off I immediately realised my legs hurt. I turned right into a cross wind… my legs still hurt… and now my lungs start to burn as well.

Up, down, a long bumpy uphill drag and it is all still hurting.

A left turn past the Aerodrome and I’m suddenly in a direct headwind. I exit the 1st hairpin and momentarily experience a little less hurt as the tail breeze helps me get back up to speed. Another left turn and I’m back into a cross wind heading for a 2nd hairpin. As I approach it I am struck by confusion… loose gravel and a moment of hesitation  with witches hats in two directions but I manage to navigate the obstacle incident free apart from a short palpitation.

Back into the headwind and everything is really hurting now but I am going a lot faster on the slight decent, driving the 55/11 as best I can. Out of the saddle as I hit the little pinch not twice but thrice, and all I can think….this is madness.

I turn left for a final time and wind it up for the last km, a little bit of vomit features, but I punch it to the line ….. 31:11. Done and busted.

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