Bec’s AOC race report.
The Amy’s Gran Fondo (AGF) has traditionally been a weekend where Ren has the opportunity to catch up with some past Australian teammates who rode, raced & lived with Amy Gillett to celebrate Amy’s life and support the legacy that has come out of her tragedy through the creation of the foundation by her husband Simon Gillett & parents Margaret & Denis. I am lucky that I am able to tag along and have the chance to get to know them all as well as hear some great stories from their past racing days.
The AGF weekend is one of the biggest mass participation events held during the year with over 5000 people taking part, helping to bring awareness of cycling safety to both riders & cars a like so that we can hopefully one day share the roads in a safe environment.
This year saw a new addition to the weekend with the Women’s Amy’s Otway Classic (AOC), a National Road Series (NRS) round, a one day Classic leaving an hour before the start of the AGF.
We were greeted with a beautiful day & the opportunity to race with a full road closure this very rare, and to add to this along the Great Ocean Road, one of the most amazing coastal roads in the world. A group of 51 women started the race with the pace along the coastal road being high from the start as attacks where going off the front in the hope to get a bit of a lead before we hit a 10km climb. My idea that I might get to do a bit of site seeing went out the door.
My teammate Nicole Whitburn picked up the first sprint preme on the road which was a great effort as the points where being highly contested. Although the race was quiet aggressive no one was able to get away before the start of the climb.
Looking back the race was won on the climb when Ellen Skerritt & Ruth Corset from Holden Cycling team showed there climbing legs riding away from a group of about 10. I attacked a few kms later but was unable to ride across to those girls who were absolutely stomping. I creased the hill with over minute on the group behind me but 1.20 behind the 2 in front, so I decided to sit up a bit to see if someone would come across & lucky for me it happened to be Bridie O’Donnell. If I was going to have a chance to get across an ex Australian TT champ was the one I had the best chance. Even though we worked well with together the group behind got themselves organised & chased us down after around 20km. Unfortunately when they caught us they sat up which meant that we now racing for 3rd.
So the bunch pedalled along for the next 20km till we got within the last few kms when the attacks started. My teammate Nicole Moerig was having a great ride & lined the bunch out coming into the last km which gave me a launching pad to get away from the bunch. It all went to plan even though I got caught with 500m to go by 2 girls I was able to regroup & win in the kick taking 3rd place for the day.
I feel honoured to have stood on the podium receiving flowers from Mary Safe, Amy’s mum, proud to be a part of women’s cycling and also proud to support the AGF and the Amy Gillett Foundation, as it’s a large driving force behind trying to keep every one of us safe on the road while out enjoying our bikes.
Please support the Amy Gillett Foundation head over and take a look at all the great thing they do ……. www.amygillett.org.au