The week just gone saw some more good weather for cycling in the Central West.
Wednesday night saw the OCC Summer Series of the Airport Dash continue, again with decent numbers present filling in all the bunches. The strong bunch this week was in the guise of the block bunch with Charlie Gascoyne, Andrew Foxall, Dave Van Schaik and Mick Cain. Behind them was Mick Troy and Rod Farrell guarding his wheel.
Out of the start Mick struggled to make any decent dent in closing the 1.30 gap to block, struggling to find his legs and up against a formidable bunch to have to chase on his own.
Time was slowly being eaten out of the lead by the Huntley Farm but still about a minute. Rod pulled a couple of turns to give Mick a spell out of the wind but Mick quickly jumped back onto the front to lift the pace again.
At the last turn the gap had closed again, but in seeing each other the block bunch decided to turn the screws and dish out a bit of hurt to the scratchies. Mick Cain was the casualty of this lift in pace and went out the back of block. On the homeward straight, Troy had the block bunch in sight and decided that it was now or never if he was going to make the catch. His take no prisioners approach saw Farrell go out the back with Troy hitting high 50's heading down the straight. It was here that Cain was caught by Troy and jumped and got on his wheel, getting a fast ride to the finish.
Going into the finish, the block bunch still had the advantage and a last dig by Troy over the last rise was to no avail, with the fast finish by block happening not long after Troy crested the rise.
Saturday morning saw a new route being trialled by the bunch in an attempt to avoid some excess traffic, especially on the Cadia Road.
A steady pace was set by the boys on the front heading out of town towards the airport. The pot holes were encountered heading down Spring Terrace Road and then after the right hand turn to Forrest Reefs. It was good to see people calling holes. The only other note made by riders in the bunch was that people seemed to expect the hole to move on them at the last minute so as insurance were trying to avoid them by metres. You only have to clear a hole my centimetres!
The sprint into Forrest Reefs was a fairly non contested affair, possibly due to the new route, with Mick Troy jumping clear with 400m to go. The only other mover and shaker in the bunch was Mason Manwaring who took second.
Around the back of Tallwood some rolling turns were started which kept the bunch moving well. Unfortunately a puncture to Tom saw him go off the back with Mitch Bland for company. If you get a puncture, call it and if you hear the call when you are in the bunch telegraph it up along the bunch so that we can wait.
After the Tallwood pinch, Mason and Mick were on the front keeping the pace high. Mick's excuse was thought to be that he had to get to the shop but some others suggested that he just wanted to dish out some hurt as he kept riding a strong tempo up Spring Terrace Road to the top of the second climb, splintering much of the bunch, leaving only 8 riders left for the trip around the airport.
A couple of attacks by Mick on the way back into town saw the pace lifted again as people were scrambling for wheels. Coming into town it was Foxie driving it into the last creek, then Mick came over him at the start of the rise and at the front he stayed over the top and heading into the sprint.
Average speed from the Bakery to the finish was 34km/h, while the average from Jack Brabham park and back to the park was 36km/h
For those of you interested in the new route and its details the Garmin file can be found here: connect.garmin.com/activity/64487918
Sunday saw a strong Orange contingent head to Bathurst for their club race which headed up to the Quarry, Newbridge turn and back to St. Johns with Mick Cain, Dave Van Schaik, Mark Tobin, Mason Manwaring and Mick Troy making the trip (all but Mason also rode down).
Manwaring started in C grade. Reports say that he rode in the Mick Cain fashion, on the front of the bunch, taking the unofficial KOM at the top of the Quarry, then lead out the sprint while still managing to snare second place to back up from his win several weeks ago.
In B grade, Mick Cain was seen driving it on the front from Georges Plains halfway up Quarry hill where he went from the front of the race to the back of the race in quick succession.
A grade saw Mick pitted against Craig Hutton and Blair 'Ted' Windsor recently back from the Bay Crits and Nationals, so the pair defiantly have some race fitness. Mick and Ted went off the front up Quarry hill while the bunch behind just held the gap until finally reeling the pair in between Georges and the Newbridge turn. It was then that a non-planned counter attack by Craig Hutton went up the road, quickly joined by Dennis and established a solid gap that took some work by the bunch to close. At the St. John's hill it was down to 25m when Hutton took a flier over the top. Back in the bunch Mick tried to keep the pace high but not many other riders were interested in helping, with Ted pulling some more strong turns.
Coming into the finish Mick was leading out the bunch but managed to out kick the others, but still could not catch Hutton who held on for the win.