History was in the making today as 4 grades of women lined up to contest 3 laps of a 15km undulating road circuit in the Barossa Valley. This was Round Two of the Skinny Lattes Cycling Club's Women's Challenge Series. Great racing was experienced across all grades with riders relishing the challenge of an all-female field.
In keeping with the theme of this year's series the weather turned at the last minute and the fog refused to lift providing challenging conditions for all of the 38 riders on the course. Visibility was so low that at one point Chief Commissaire Kimberley Conte was considering her options and at her post race address she called for all competitors to bring front and rear lights to all future events. Although this is not a UCI requirement, she stated the need to keep all riders safe whilst racing on open roads.
A record breaking 13 women lined up for the Red Group race with many of SA's top masters women in the mix as well as a number of up and coming younger elite riders. There was much prerace speculation as to whether this grouping would stay together and would come down to a bunch sprint. Whilst multiple attacks were attempted these were quickly closed down by those riders who fancied their changes if it come to an all-out sprint. Meriel Custance tried an all-out attack to get away on the last lap, which split the group for a short time, but the combined power of the group brought her back and they rounded the final corner together. Seasoned racer and veteran sprinter Sue Anne Woodwiss 1st took out line honours from Leanne Davies 2nd, Christine Page 3rd and a well thrown bike gave last year's series winner Annabel Cox 4th , over Alissa Byron
Veteran track sprinter Vicki-Lynne Birks proved that whilst the course was not flat, it did provide enough downhill for the fast finishers to burry themselves and bridge back across to the mountain goats. Yellow Group again had a good mix of experienced racers and a few up and coming new competitors who are making their mark. In a race which had numerous attacks coming from PACC riders Michelle Crick and Carla Scragg, these were contained by the sheer climbing ability of new rider Janine McKinnon, and seasoned racer Wendy Gordon. The pressure forced riders off the back in lap two and a break of four came into the finish line. Vicki-Lynne's experience as a sprinter gave her the edge 1st, over Michelle Crick 2nd, Janine McKinnon 3rd, and Wendy Gordon 4th.
An air of anticipation surrounded the 10 starters in Blue Group as for many of these women this was their first real graded scratch race. All grades travelled the first 2kms under race neutral conditions which allowed all to settle into the pace before turning into Pimpala Road and starting the climb through to Lyndoch. Here riding experience came to the fore and an early split came about which was held through to the finish with a three way sprint between Diane Tattersall 1st, Ilona Double 2nd and Georgie Deally 3rd. Hot on their heels was Sandra Ladyman 4th who narrowly edged out Heather Barclay from the placing's.
The weather conditions took their toll on the Black Group with early withdrawal by three of the six competitors. New racer Caroline Wilsch was heard to declare as she came into Lyndoch on the last lap that maybe she had went too early. Caroline 1st, maintained her advantage over Margaret Warner 2nd. Tracey Pearce who was seen to be storming into Lyndoch required medical treatment and was unable to complete the race.
Series Points Black Group
The Skinny Lattes Cycling Club would like to thank the following people who volunteered their time and expertise.
Kimberley Conte, David Birks, Graeme Zucker, Rob Faulkner, Sharee Faulkner, Carrol Morgan, David Pratt, Russell Johnstone, Mark Robinson, John Murray, Gareth Davies, Philip Deverell, Wal Conte, Nathalie Johnstone, Felicity Laing and Michelle Spiel.
Medical - Denis Crispe.
Club Sponsor: CIBO Espresso.
Series Sponsors: Shimano, Pearl Izumi, Continental, Nick Wood Fitness, Hammer Nutrition, SRS Agencies, and the support of Cycling South Australia.