CYCLING: ‘Chunky’ to the fore again
ANOTHER week down and another fine performance by Grafton's Craig Evers to take out the silver medal at the Oceania Time Trial Championships in Toowoomba.
The 23-year-old finished on a podium surrounded by current World Tour riders with only mere seconds separating them. I don't think it will be long before Chunky joins them on the world stage.
Also featuring in Toowoomba this past weekend was Yamba local Aaron Watts. Watts is the pilot for Bryce Lindores, with the two completing in the first round of the National Para-cycling Series which was run in conjunction with the Oceania Road Championships.
Friday was the Individual Time Trial which they won in 27 minutes. Saturday was the 70km Road Race, again taking first.
"There were plenty of hills and crosswinds which made for a tough day out but we rode well," Watts told Within The Peloton. "We found ourselves into first place again, which means we're now leading the series."
Watts then mounted his own race machine, representing his team AMR Renault Racing, for the Elite Men's Road Race and after 150km of tough racing finished 62nd out of 107 starters.
Watts is now focusing on something a little closer to home. "I'm giving the Grafton to Inverell Sportiff a go next weekend," he said.
"It also gives me the opportunity to ride with the people that have been supporting me since the day I started cycling."
Local racing at Trenayr was on the cards, with many a chance to spend Valentine's Day with their true love.
Eighteen starters greeted the pistol, with a colossal eight minutes separating 'go' to 'scratch'. Fastest time went to Jye Reardon in 27 minutes 53 seconds - many suggested he was in a hurry to get to the florist before his Valentine realised he was missing.
Taking the win and holding on from the 'Go' was Stu McPherson prevailing over his 'Go' partner, Dave Rowe, followed by Reardon.
This Saturday, February 21, sees the running of the Grafton to Inverell Cyclo Sportif, with the variants of 228km, 110km and 70km to choose from.
Seven local riders have accepted the challenge to take on the full distance from Grafton to Inverell, which departs South Grafton at 6.30am.
Rumour has it there might be a few more yet to be announced on the registration sheet. Within The Peloton's own Berty Bellringa managed to catch up with a couple of these riders this past weekend over an 'orange sherbet', namely Greg Coombes and Pete Hughes, both normally used to being on opposing sides.
"Coombsey, what's the motivation for you?" Berty asked.
To which Coombes replied: "This will be my 11th attempt at the Inverell across both races and sportifs. My motivation is to help my mate John out, and as I slowly regain my fitness with the inspiration to get back into more triathlons, it will only be a slow ascent of the range. But we want to finish and finish with a respectful time."
For Pete, it will be his first attempt.
"What are you expecting?" Berty asked.
"Berty, it's hard to say," Hughes said. "I've been putting down the ks and want to give it a red-hot go. 228ks is a long way, 8hrs plus in the saddle. But on any given day it can blow up, so my game plan is simple, sit on the Prez's wheel the whole way and outsprint him in the final 400 metres, that'll make him happy."
Bertie then probed a little deeper.
"Word on the tarmac is there has been a Secret Serbian Training Camp this past weekend. Can you shed any light on that?"
"I've heard that too," a grinning Hughes indicated.
Another four locals riders are completing in the 110km version, but from all accounts it's not going to be a holiday - there are sheep stations up for grabs.
Pete Grainger is rumoured to be planning on time-trialling his way to Inverell once he's 'tagged' in.
Wishing all those competing in this year's Cyclo Sportif all the best.