And so the regular racing starts ...
An eventful Saturday at Blackburn, and a flaying up Hurt Hill
After another poorly attended Race Skills session on Saturday morning (thankyou to Vanders and Dino for coming, I hope what we did was useful), it was time to load up the tow bike with the T1 and bits and do the first of the regular Blackburn track rounds.
It was a bit windy, but although threatening rain, it didn't actually fall, and after a warmup the regular races started. Blackburn decided to interleave the grades, so it was F,A,E,B,D,C. The program for the day, scratch, points, elimination. About 40 riders for the day, so quite a healthy field. C grade in particular was pretty large.
I didn't pay much attention to F grade, but A grade was good to watch, Rowan Geddes was a bit off the boil, but Steve 'the Master' Martin was boiling, attacking and making the race very interesting, and winning in the end.
E raced, next, then it was our turn in B grade. 20 laps. I'm not one to let a race stagnate, and I attacked a few times, let a few gaps open up etc, generally trying to shake the field up. With 10 to go, I'd just been caught and was on the front at the clubrooms end, and I swung up the bank, the woman behind me (I'm sorry, I don't know her name) swung up with me(!), but in the process young Peter Vlahos must have been overlapping her wheel, and he went down (we were moving pretty quickly at the time), and Dino (again!) and Alan Doran had nowhere to go. I heard the first impact and had time to look around to see Alan flying through the air (I think it was Alan!), before we wound down as Doug Reith blew the whistle to stop the race. All three of them were lying on the duckboards or in the mud beside the track. My first concern was Dino, he seemed ok and there was a crowd of helpers making sure everyone was being looked after, so I rolled around to cool down for a lap before pulling off the track.
My mum had made the effort to come along and watch, and I had to assure her that this was an unusual thing to happen (at least at Blackburn, not DISC ...).
Peter had a ride in an ambulance, but we're since informed that he's ok, just a bit shaken up (being winded is a pretty scary experience the first time it happens) and I dare say he'll be a bit further off wheels in future. Dino's trashed another helmet, but apart from jokes about the colour of the inside of his knicks matching the mud on the outside, he's ok. Alan lost a bit of bark but was basically ok also.
After that Dino's daughter Emily was a bit spooked, but managed to gather her wits and go on to win her next two races, and show her dad that not all the Apolito's are crash magnets! Rob Monteath also rode well in C grade, half of C was lifted to B as there was only two of us left after the crash, and Rob dominated the reduced C grade points race, attacking after the first sprint and riding away from the field and staying clear for the remainder. I had a bit of a case of CFB after the crash, and took the points race way too easily, basically letting the main contenders who'd come up from C grade get gaps and then I'd try and chase them down. Not a good race winning strategy at all. Our final race was converted into a mystery distance due to there only being three of us (it was supposed to be an elimination), I think it ended up about a 5 or 6 lap race. Again, I wasn't that interested, I did contest the sprint, but a bit half heartedly, and when the big C grade lad came through with 80m to go I didn't bother to chase. A pretty feeble effort at the end of the day and one that might cost me in aggregate points later on. Not much of a show for the cheer squad I'm afraid, sorry Bev and Mum.
Emily and Rob rode really well though, and that was good to see. Nath'll be back racing in a week or two once his collarbone is healed and I don't expect to see Dino out for long either.
After the show was over I packed up the tow bike and tootled home, before packing to go to Bonnie Doon for the rest of the weekend.
At Bonnie Doon Lucie and I planted some more trees in Trev's paddock, set fire to a nasty weed (a lot of fun!) and then I did a lap up 'Hurt Hill Loop' on the old MTB, which goes from Trev's house on Peppin Point Road, up Sonnberg Drive (Hurt Hill ... 2.63km, 265m gain, and the first 800 is gentle ... It's steep!) and then follow Sonnberg Dve to the crossways on Skyline road and back to Bonnie Doon. It's mostly gravel, and I was pretty slow up the hill (22 mins .. my PB is about 19.30 I think) but it's always good to just get up the damn thing. The loop all up is about 17km and generally takes about an hour.