The sensations weren't good rolling over to Stromolo, the legs felt rubbish it was really windy and I probably should have worn arm warmers. The ride over double as a warm up which is always good, signed on for C-grade and had a cruised round staying warm. A and B were combined and there were some big hitters in the field, including local MTB star Dylan Cooper.
C-grade had 6 riders in it which proved to be good as the racing was positive from the gun. The wind played a big part, the first quarter was a head wind, second half was cross wind and you guessed it, the last quarter a tail wind. Up to the halfway point I was feeling good, I cruised up the climb and was on the right wheel when my mate Les decided to put everyone in the gutter in true rouleur style. Just after the turn around Les and I had a brief chat at the back, he was going to light it up over one of the the small rises. I saw the move coming and made sure he got a clean jump, the idea being I would bridge to him on the climb. The remaining 4 riders had it strung out trying to chase Les down but his advantage was up to around 500m with 12km remaining. From here we had about 3km of climbing up the Three Sisters. I followed wheels and there were only two of us left over the first sister. I rolled to the front, pretended to chase but backed the pass off to let Les open up an advantage on the flat. Climbing up the second sister I tried to jump across solo as we were down to less than 100m, but had an unwelcome passenger who I couldn't unhitch. Alas I backed things off again. By the top of the third sister, Les's advantage was about 200m, I knew he was a time trailing machine so I pretended to swap off to maintain my podium position. In the last few kilometres a really strong guy caught us and Les's lead was looking in doubt. I got to the front twice to block but the little guy would attack me. The second time the elastic broke :-( Les hung on for the win and I came in 4th. The support in the chase group was appreciated. It turned out to be a nice Sunday morning hit out.
I wish Les all the best for next weekend Tour of Bright (especially the TT), which is one of the biggest road races on the Australian calendar, including the 20 plus kilometre climb up to Mount Hotham.