With threatening rain clouds hanging over the 66th annual 'Wal Smith' Casterton 50, the bunch and I set off for the 80km hilly trek. Beginning in the 28min mark, I was in a bunch of 6 riders working smoothly and strongly together however the 24 minute markers were hot on our wheels putting in a good chase.
They shortly joined forces with us after 25kms on the undulating course to Digby. With 13 riders now, the pace was high, and a few riders were beginning to feel the pressure. Coming up to a hill sprint I was feeling strong, and decided to go for it. Hoping to not use up too much energy though as it was only just over the half way mark. Taking the sprint out gave me confidence in knowing I'd be able to tackle the remaining hills with the bunch.
The 30km race home from the turn around proved to be nerve racking experience as the oncoming bunches looked as though they were gaining time quickly.
The head wind home was very taxing as we were losing time. With 15 km to go we only had a 1.30min break on the chasing group. What kept us going strong was the whole group were working evenly and strongly. This proved our savior as we held the chasing group off.
The final kilometers remaining enabled me to relax knowing we were not going to get caught. I began preparing for the sprint and in the the end earning myself 7th place and first lady home for the second year in a row.
Overall i was pretty happy with how i rode, and the impressive effort of the bunch!
Thankyou to all the sponsors involved and my coach Kim Howard.
1st - S.Pickering (Carnegie-Caulfield, 24 mins)
2nd - J.Hetherington (Stawell, 28 mins)
3rd - M.Brooksby (Mt Gambier, 28 mins)
4th - M.Wright (Mt Gambier, 24 mins)
5th - R.Braszell (Ballarat-Sebastopol, 28 mins)
6th - M. Molan (Camperdown, 24 mins)
7th - S.Hocking (Camperdown, 28 mins)*
8th - A.Lindsey (Portland, 24 mins)
9th - L.Peake (Mt Gambier, 28 mins)
10th - A.Ballantyne (Hamilton, 24 mins)
Winners Time: 2:16:01
Fastest Time: E.Bissaker (Norwood, Scr)
*First Lady: S.Hocking (Camperdown, 28 mins)
Intermediate Sprints: S.Pickering(3), B.McPhee(2), M.Brooksby(1), S.Hocking(1).