Perfect weather for winter road racing, welcomed entrants in the Skinny Lattes Women's Cycling Club's Road Race on Sunday when they tackled the challenging 10km loop course around Mt Torrens and Springhead Road.
Club President Felicity Laing explained that the aim of the series was to provide quality club level racing for women and junior girls of all levels of ability and that the club was committed to providing multiple grades which accommodated this. These events should be challenging, fun and social said Laing and part of the strategy to deliver this has been to incorporate the "mass start" format to their graded road racing which allowed riders to work together even if in different grades. "We want to provide as many opportunities as we can for riders to improve their fitness and skills whilst testing themselves in a friendly and safe environment."
The enthusiastic group of women ranged in age from 13 to 59 yrs, and were competing in grades based on ability, with distances varying on the grades. Whilst on paper the 10 km loop course should not have posed too many problems, the continuous climbing over repeated laps took its toll and provided the ideal opportunity for the hill climbers to come to the fore.
A Grade (5 laps) provided an unexpected victory to track sprinter Madeline Steele after the hot favourite Christina Teniswood punctured mid-way through the race. Steele and masters powerhouse Janine Mckinnon, seized the opportunity to grasp as big a lead as they could on Teniswood. Teniswood was seen stomping around the course trying to regain the lost ground but Steele and Mckinnon's combined efforts prevented this. The hill top finish saw Steele and Mckinnon battling it out with Steele's experience giving her the edge over Mckinnon.
B Grade (4 laps) riders made the most of the opportunity to work and stay with the A Grade women through the opening laps, however once the pressure of the climbs came on, a spilt occurred with only Tash Davies and Sandra Ladyman surviving the selection. Davies and Ladyman took it right up to the line with a determined effort by both riders on the final climb to see Davies take the win from Ladyman, with Margaret Boylan coming in for 3rd.
C Grade (4 laps) saw first time racer but experienced triathlete Maya Brookes take the win as she broke away from her group to take a solo victory over Tracy Johnson 2nd, who is in final preparation for the Police and Fireman's World Games in the USA in June from Christine Meijborg 3rd.
D Grade (3 laps) again saw the toll of the climbing result in a solo victory to Michelle Shepherd 1st from Racheal Goud 2nd. Both Shepherd and Goud have used the Cycling South Australia 3 race permit for new members to test the waters of competition and have taken the opportunity to experience different styles of racing.
Junior Grade (2 laps) again provided the opportunity for newcomers to experience social competition in a supportive environment with champion Master Rider, Vicki Birks acting as on road mentor to Chelsea Symonds who had made the trip down from Mildura and first time racer Shelby Johnson. Both girls had the benefit of Birks experience providing valuable tips and advice during the neutral first lap, then Symonds experience saw her take the lead on the final lap and the win.
Thank you to the volunteers who supported this event: Robert Faulkner (cheif commissaire), David Birks (timing results), Sharee Faulkner, Lesley Snell, Russell Johnstone, Belinda Bramley, Vicki Birks, Lynette Collins and Dennis Crisp (medical).
A Grade - Madeleine Steele 1st, Janine Mckinnon 2nd, Christina Teniswood 3rd.
B Grade - Tash Davies 1st, Sandra Ladyman 2nd, Margaret Boylan 3rd.
C Grade - Maya Brookes 1st, Tracy Johnson 2nd, Christine Meijborg 3rd.
D Grade - Michelle Shepherd 1st, Rachael Goud 2nd.
Missing from photo Michelle Shepherd
Junior Grade - Chelsea Symonds 1st, Shelby Johnson 2nd.