No sooner had we unpacked from returning back from Tassie for HellFire cup we were packing again ready to go back. This time though it was with the skinny wheels for a long overdue hit out to race the Stan Siejka Launceston Classic. Once again It was a show of cycling over the weekend in the Northern Tasmanian Cycling hub. The city and surrounds coming alive with two wheels, with the Stan Siejka Launceston Classic, the Longford Kermesse, the national junior track series, and Sally’s Ride (started in 2002 when Sally Fletcher rode around the state to raise funds for mental health, and now run as a mass participation community bike ride through the Tamar Valley), combining to make up the Launceston cycling festival.
There was a course change to this years classic, in more recent years it has been run around the relative flat and fast streets in the heart of the CBD, this year we headed to a new course lapping around the beautiful city park that included climbing up Lawrence St each lap, where the gradient reaches 15-16%, and then exiting out of the appropriately named peanut corner ( it was this shape ) for the dash to the line. Its fair to say the climb had lot feeling a bit nervous before the start!
The Womens Elite race had attracted some strong teams, including the Orica AIS, High five, including defending champion Kimberly Wells, and NSWIS teams, all set to make for good racing, and that it was. There was a lot of attacking and many moves made throughout the course of the race, the hill playing a big roll being a favourite place to make a move. By the end though it came down to the final time up it, everyones legs screaming with Larry Lactate, Kimberly Wells went on to defend her title in a strong sprint to the line over Sarah Roy and Kendelle Hodges. We had a good race keeping ourselves in the front of the race, Ren picked up the first sprint and rolled over the line in 7th, unfortunately Bec sitting in 5th for the final sprint went in a little to fast to peanut corner and lost it on the exit, lucky though no major damage done! Both of us happy to blow some of the cobwebs off the roadies!
The mens race was hotly contested and had everyone on the edge of their seats coming right down to the line, Anthony Giacoppo the victor.
The racing was not just for the Elite men and women with racing right through from Junior grades to Masters grades also held, and there was some awesome riding all round! The atmosphere was pumping on the hill, in the finish straight, and well generally just around the whole circuit. Early in the day Launceston locales had been encouraged to come down and chalk the hill, and that they did making it a sea of colour and good luck messages, this combined with the large crowd making you feel a bit like you were out there racing in a European classic! Thanks for another awesome event Tassie we look forward to next year!