Ooft, where do I start. 2020 the year that was. I would just like to say thank you. Thank you to all the organizers. To even think about starting to plan a major event was EPIC, and then being able to pull it off. I can’t start to express how thankful I am. Sure, the events were smaller, there were program changes, absolutely nothing that was planned went to plan. But you did it, you pulled off great racing. I loved this event so much. I was lucky enough to navigate restrictions, my job, travel, and still get some solid racing. This was the best way to finish 2020.
So thank you to the organizers, the cycling clubs, the officials, the communities, the sponsors, the volunteers, and the racers. We did it, it was amazing, and I can’t wait to have the full Tassie experience at the end of this year.
And for those who missed this year’s races, I have compiled all the race reports as lived by me. Warning- they may contain fact! It is how I saw it and might include side stories. It’s the view of an out of shape master’s sprinter, racing all the endurance races against the big guns, sprinting for bit of cash, or the cheers of a crowd, loving life as enthusiastic race filler!
***Tassie Christmas Carnivals***
Oh hello! here is something new. After years of Racing the Sydney carnivals, (They are still on and you can still enter. go to No Brakes Racing for details) I’ve decided to branch out into the world. I’m currently in Hobart and the weather report is cold and unpredictable.
The racing was equally unpredictable. I got to the track early to watch some newly acquired mates race the athletics. I got there just in time to get the 10 min call for the lightning handicap. ooft! change gears, get skinsuit on warm… nope race time. I lined up on the fence (after taking a wrong turn on the velodrome and getting lost trying to find my mark). Riders attention… wait how log is this race… GO! I was off to a good start, but then I saw 2 laps to go. this is going to be a long race. I manged to make my way through the field. ding ding ding. there is a group of front markers, do I sit or or go? 1 lap is a long way. GO! so I took off and just went. I thought I was in with a chance. but nope with 20m to go I got swamped. Isla Car took the win. I ended up third.
After that I then had time to chill.
The 100m gift handicaps were on for the runners. It’s kinda like watching a wheel race, expect everyone is in a lane. and there was even one race where an albatross (it was actually a pacific gul) sat down next to the starters, picked a good handicap, and when the gun went off, he joined the heat! here ends my running report.
next up with the main 2km wheel race. At this point the wind had picked up and the weather was throwing us everything Tassie could without cancelling the races. Racing went ahead according to some sort of schedule. We lined up. riders attention, GO! I had 2 X-Speed Australia Cycle Club riders infront of me by 20m. I wanted those wheels. I gassed myself trying to get on. Then I got hit by the headwind. game over for me. Isla Carr was in that bunch. The back markers of Lauren Perry, Alex Manly, and Lili Mclenen, got stranded off the back, but fought hard in the conditions. I tried to get on, but my race was over and I became a spectator. The bunch that I didn’t make the gap to, had Isla Carr in it. She took her second win of the day!
with all the serious races out of the way. the fun stuff began.
46.40 live feed time (https://fb.watch/2TyHmAX6tJ/)
Before the miss’n’out I was chatting to a bunch of the spectators. They were at the race because their brother was doing the gift. I took some time to explain the miss’n’out. I said it was musical chairs on bikes. Everyone does one lap, then each lap the last person across the line is out. They then asked me how I was going to go. I said I was a sprinter and good for one lap. We joked about me going out first. I said I would try to do a few more than that. I started at the front. but by the time the first lap happened. I found myself boxed in at the back. I hear the announcer say I was in trouble. no way I could get out the first lap. I managed to run for the line and be safe! but that is where I stayed. patrolling the back. pipping off racers one by one. then when I had enough, I let Mackenzie know she was safe. then I rolled through the line and confirmed with the comms that I was out.
I was really holding out for the derby.
55.45 (live feed time)
But I had to get through the scratch first. I wasn’t overly thrilled to do a scratch. but then we were told there was 2 primes with money on them. game on! I started the race mid to back of the pack. We rolled a few laps at a solid pace. then the whistle blew. I’m just going to say, I’m an idiot. the track was atleast 400m long I full committed sprinted that full lap. I must have had 50m on the bunch. It meant I got to do a victory lap. The crowd went wild and surprisingly I got back on. Just in time for the second prime to start. Nope, a chance. I hopped off and decided to quit while I was ahead.
I’m in trouble
1.01.40 (live feed time)
When I did get off I realized I forgot my numbers. I quickly put them on. Once the race was finished, I got called to have a chat with the comms. Proudly wearing my newly found numbers I hopped back onto the track awaiting my fate. One went to let me know, and I went ‘what these numbers’ pointing at my back. They knew, I knew that was the reason I was being called over. The prime was worth $40 and they joked it was a $45 fine, we all had a laugh.
But remember kids!
Always wear your numbers!
1.32.30 (live feed time)
Finally, the derbies. 2 laps of way too long into these sprinters legs.
I started the heat at the front and kept it slow. then Rebecca Blake decided to lead us out. It was a good draft. With one to go it was at full speed, and I couldn’t get around Lauren Perry. Top 2 qualified for the finals. I had another chance, and 2 more laps left.
1.37.19 (live feed time)
The finals consisted of me (the sprinter) and some of Australia’s best enduros. Lauren, Alex, Lili (and i’m so sorry to everyone else, I can’t find the results sheets, and I didn’t write down all the names)
The first lap was manageable. then it was another full lap mad dash to the line. I was outclassed by Lauren and Alex. my legs limped across the line for a respectable 3rd.
as the racing was wrapping up (the men’s miss’n’out was all we had left) The weather gods decided to call it a day. Mt Wellington disappeared, and we all got a post race shower.
Day 2 is up in Launceston. the bus leaves in about an hour.
few pictures of the day below.
*** Tassie Christmas Carnivals ***
When I said chillin’ in Tassie was what all the kool kidz were doing this year; I didn’t think the weather gods would take it literally. It Snowed at the top of Mt Wellington. Welcome to the Tasmanian summer.
The day started early. Bikes packed and all the athletes (cyclists and runners) were loaded onto a bus. The cyclists were on their way to the Silverdome in Launceston, the runners were on a rest day heading to camp. On the trip it was an elite game of eye spy. We had all the hitters, Connor Rowley, Sam Gallagher, Alex Manly, Matt Richardson, Me, Makka and the two gun runners Marcus Guglielmino and Danielle Shaw. It was the who’s who in Australian sport battling out who could give the most cryptic letter to spy something either inside or outside of the bus. The play of the day went to Matt with his entry of ‘Colour’. Well played Sir.
We arrived at the Silverdome unpacked our bikes and day 2 of racing was underway.
After the conditions on day 1, it felt so good to be on an indoor track out of the wind. The disk and tri spoke went on. The first race was a heart starter. 7 mad dash laps. I was running 96’ and hit just over 60km/h. hell yeah. Today is going to be a good day.
6.55 (live feed time)
Points was up next. 3 laps in Amalia Langham took off. And for some reason I was in a position to chase. Before I knew it I was sprinting for points. I crossed the line in 4th (yay got a point) then realized I was off the front with Amy Write Lili McLennan and Alex Manly. I did not want to be there. I was gassed. All I wanted to do was survive the race. From there I floated to the back trying to pick up any wheel. No dice. I was 5 laps into a 20 lap race and my legs were having none of it. But wait!
10.40 well and truly off the back
(live feed time)
There’s more! While down ½ a lap I formed a rag tag bunch with Jessie Sawyer and Amalia. Woking together we managed to work our way back to the bunch. When we got back on it was one of the highlights of my day. I let out a hell yeah and the legs decided they weren’t finished just yet.
11.35 Woo! Yeah! We’re back in!
(live feed time)
Although I cant really remember the rest of the race. I’m pretty sure Alex, Lauren, Lili and Isla Carr were battling out for points. With the big guns taking the wins.
1.11.20 (live feed time)
Keirins! The event I came here to race. I swapped out my 51 and replaced it with the 55. $h1t was getting real. Lined up in the heat in 3rdwheel. Amy, Lauren, me then Isla. I felt good. Christmas carnival rules. 4 laps behind the bike, 2 laps to fight it out. I felt even better. The gun went, we were off. And the race began. The bike pulled off and the pace was on. The first lap we all played nice. Then going into turn 3 I laid off the wheel, and ran at it in turn 4. By the time the bell went I was stomping on the 106 and I felt amazing to roll around the pack. I managed to have a bit of a celebration when I crossed.
1.55.40 (live feed time)
For the finals I drew 4th wheel. A little further back than I like but I was still feeling good. The race started, and we all kept our position. The bike pulled off and Lili was up the front pushing the pace. I still had a big gear on, fast is good. With 1 ½ laps to go I realized I hadn’t given myself a gap to run at. I laid off the wheel in turn 3, looked over my shoulder to see where Alex was. I missed the jump. Going into turn 4 Lili and Lauren took off and they had a few meters on me. I managed to catch them, but could not get around. After beating Lauren in the heats, she had a fantastic ride to convincingly take out the final. Me on the other hand, I had to throw my bike to narrowly (.0003 of a sec) take the photo finish for second with Alex ending up third.
scratch race of doom
2.41.20 (live feed time)
Final race of the day was a 25 lap scratch. At this point my legs had packed up and no amount of coffee could revive them. Then Ian (the announcer extraordinaire) informed us there would be 2 $50 primes. I was back in the game. The race started, and I sat in the bunch. The whistle blew. Go! Erm…. Legs… GO! Nope. Lilli got that. I was spent, but there was still a second one up for grabs. I’ll get the second one. Did a few runs through the pace line. I got to the front. Whistle! Go time. This time there was a puff of a kick. Alas it was not to be. Alex got me on the line. Race over for me. Alex on the other hand, decided to keep going. A few laps later she lapped the bunch, securing the A grade womens sash.
That was the racing for the day. Bikes were packed up and we jumped on the bus to head to our next location in Port Sorrel. The 28th is a rest day. I have a light ride an massage booked in. I’m planning on making my wat to the beach and just enjoying the Tasmanian countryside.
I’ll be back with the day 3 report in a few days.
Well it’s Day 4 total day 3 of cycling. Yesterday we had a rest day. I went to my first athletics carnival. It was amazing. There were juniors racing handicapped races. There were long races, short races, there was no shortage of people to cheer for! I saw a 3.50min mile get run(Aussie record), I also saw the Tassie record fall in the 100 yard. I cheered the underdogs and heckled mates. It was a good rest day.
Penguin Full Live Feed https://fb.watch/2Tz2VQocAW/
Mile record starts at 1.49.00
The next track carnival was at George Town. Looking at the map it was across the bay, but in reality, it was around the bay, over the ranges, and into a paddock. This was a proper country track. Someone will need to correct me but it was 360 ish meters? I’m loving racing all the different track shapes; I haven’t done Burine so my opinion may change.
Today was a sprinters nightmare. Wheelraces, miss’n’out, scratch. My job was to turn the legs over and have fun.
My best chance for the day was the lightning handicap. I was off 70m with Amalia Langham chasing down Jessie Sawyer and Amy Wright. The race started and the party train formed. We were working nicely together, but the front markers were also very well organized and with one lap to go. I had a lot of work to do. I ended up 4 wide in turn 2, then going into turn 3 there was a crash. Makka went down. I’m not sure how the race finished up, but Makka ended up needing a tip to hospital. She’s ok. Very bruised, missing some skin, but nothing broken (the bike is fine!) She was back playing competitive uno later in the night.
My next race was the miss’n’out. As I was chatting to Makkenzie in the first aid tent she told me not to miss the race, and not to get out first. I was on a mission. The plan was ‘the usual’ sit at the back and pick off a few people caught at the bottom. Then drop off when I feel done. I executed the plan with precision, until the getting out bit. I wasn’t done. I was racing really well, and felt like I had atleast one, maybe 2 more laps in me. I just couldn’t sprint around. Amalia was racing a great race. First she pushed me wide, and I got out, then she boxed in Alex Manly. Instead of fatiguing, she’s racing herself into top carnival form.
The race of the day! The 2 km wheelrace. I was in the sparsely populated back marker area. There were 2 scratchies (Alex and Georgia Baker) then it was Lauren (60m) Lili (80m) Isla (100m) me (140m). In theory all I had to do was make the jump and find the middle bunch. In reality I was all set, and missed the gun. It was race over. I became a spectator.
The middle markers worked well together with Jessie and Amalia battling out for the lead in the last lap. But scratchies dug deep, Georgia went around the bunch with ½ lap to go taking the win.
At this point the wind had picked up. I dropped my gear and got ready to have a roll around in the scratch. No primes on offer today, so this was an ‘easy’ roll around. The head wind sucked, but the tail wind was glorious. I did several ½ lap turns just to take advantage of the tail wind and to make it look like I was doing some work. The crowd may have noticed, but the rides would have known exactly what I was doing. With 10 laps to go, the race lit up. Gaps started to form. I did a turn to try to bring the break back, and that was me for the day… or was it.
The bunch brought the break back in, and the pace slowed. I was ½ a lap down, but decided to try to get back on. Lol. That was never going to happen. But I had fun!
racing was over for the day.
We made it. It’s New Years Eve, everyone has successfully navigated the dumpster fire that was 2020 and racing was on!
My first impressions of Burnie was OMG I have to race that. It looked like a hilly crit track. If you were trying to take a photo, I doubt you could get all of it into a panoramic. I got on the track and did a bit of a warm up. Can confirm, hilly crit track. But the weather gods bless us with beautiful blue skies and a glorious tail wind down the finishing straight.
first up was the 5km scratch race. 11 laps. Someone else need to do that maths. I didn’t manage to work out or find out the track distance. It falls under way to fricken long for one lap. There were 2 primes and I decided to do my usual, roll around, target a prime, then finish up the scratch. And that’s what I did. I was on the front for the whistle, just rolling tempo. Then at the 200 mark I put a kick in. except it was the 200 mark if I was on Hurstville. As I came out of what I thought was turn 4 I looked up this glaring hill to realize the finish like was miles away. I buried my legs, but got rolled with 100m to go. As a spatial scientist, it’s amazing how spatially unaware I am. I’m forever getting lost on velodromes.
No worries, next race was mine. 1000m handicap heats. For all the womens handicaps we were told everyone was into the final, as long as we made it look like a race. I hear that as ‘Alright ladies, lets put on a show’. YES! This is what I was born to do. We lined up, and away we went. I love all the girls I got to race with. We were told to make it look like a race, it felt like a race. No one was holding back. With 1 lap to go (2 laps of Dunc) I had a lot of work to do. The front markers of Zoe Wright, Meg Lamplugh, and Rebecca Blake were working well. This time I worked out where the 200m mark was, and I put in my final move. It was a good test run. That was the place to go if you wanted to have a go. I brought it home to take the win!
1.22.36 (on the live feed) 2000m wheelrace heat 1
Same deal as the 1000m, but with less enthusiasm from me. I know the cash was on the 2000m race, but I was after the Keirin and the 1000m handicap. I lined up with Jessie Sawyer, on the line we decided to be race buddies. The gun went and we took off. I got the lead and did the first lap turn. By this point Amalia Langham had joined the party. We swapped turns, caught the bunch in front, swapped tuns with them. I was basically pulling turns and wheel surfing. Coming into the final turn/corner/bend/front straight of death I managed to get Lauren Perry’s wheel and rode that to finish 2nd in the heat. Not bad.
2.45.55 Keirins! Lets go.
Once again I drew one of the higher numbers, #5 this time. I’m not a fan of being that far back. I prefer to race my keirin from the front. Race starts, we all hop on the bike. Game plan… erm, ya, it’s a long track, even longer if you get caught on someone’s hip. Even longer if you ride out of the sprinters lane. And here we are. About half way up the track?! What are we doing here. Can I submarine? Why are we here and what are we doing? The motorbike was that far out of the sprinters lane, I couldn’t work out the etiquette. The bike pulled off and I was boxed in. Lili Mclennan! You little brat! It was such a good move (for you)! You held me firmly on your hip and gave me absolutely nowhere to move. I hated you so much. Well played, you suck! When the pace got on I had to pop out the back and go 4 wide. I took too long to move from being boxed in, I didn’t give myself a chance. By the time I wound up my gear the race was over. I managed to squeeze through for third.
1000m Lightning Handicap Final
About 20 min after the keirin I was up again racing the 1000m final. I had enough time to hydrate, have a nervous wee, and briefly change my gear. I ran 55/14 for the keirin and decided bigger was better on Burnie. But not too big, I put on the 53/14, 102’! Before I knew it we were marshalled and ready to roll. I was paired up with Jessie Sawyer on 90m. I had planned to just go, find wheels, and then go some more. The gun went, and I, ooft, I forgot how hard you had to push to start a big gear. Eventually I started to wind it up. I found Jessie’s wheel and went with the flow. With 1 lap to go all the middle markers were together, but the front markers of Rebecca and Zoe were still going strong with a good gap on the rest of the field. With ½ to go I was still mid field, and Suzanne Strates made her move. I got caught in traffic and pushed to the fence. But by now I had my gear wound up and it was a tailwind to take me home. Boom! Made it to the front and celebrated my win. I got a wheelrace win in Tasmania at the Christmas carnivals. Another bucket list item crossed off!
except… remember the lesson I learnt earlier in the week. Always wear your numbers kids. Well I took my number off to go to the loo between the keirin and 1000m. I forgot to put it back on. I got DQ’d. I haven’t won a wheelrace in Tasmania. Hopefully better luck next year.
2000m Wheelrace Final 4.21.55
Re-set, next up is the main event. The 2000m wheelrace. This time I had 5 buddies! Me, Jessie, Suzanne (team oldies) plus the young guns of Amy Wright and Amalia. If we were to have any chance in this race, we all needed to work together and keep the scratchies from making contact. The gun went and the plan fell in line. We got together with Amy doing the first turn, Suzanne was next, then we hit traffic with 2 and a bit laps to go. By now it was Jessie burying herself. It was go time. I had Amalia on my wheel, and I was winding it up to deliver her into a good position. Except the Scratchies did a herculean effort, and they were coming ‘round the outside with a lap to go. Show time for me. I went around Jessie, managed to get Alex Manly on my hip. Georgia went to the fence, and with 400m to go she got to the front. At this point I had lost where Amalia was, and I went for it. I was racing for second! Hell yeah. I had my gear wound up, I was going to the line. Finished!… in third. Alex rolled me on the line. Urg. She’s rolled me that many times this series. I’ve got her a few times. But odds are, it’s her rolling me. Another rider I will now love to hate. This is the best racing. And I would not want to finish the year any other way.
I did the roll down lap, then hopped the fence and grabbed a beer! No need to cool down (although I have so many regrets right now) this was time to chat to the crowd and enjoy the rest of the finals.
The night finished up with fireworks, a pizza party, a bus party back to camp, and a bonfire on the beach to welcome in 2021.
Although I was promised sprints and that didn’t happen this year, I was assured next year the plan was to run a sprint series again. Get your pens out and reserve Dec 26-31, 2021. This year’s Christmas carnivals are not to be missed.
Live feed here