No cigar yet but, as a team, KRD shone at the Baw Baw Classic on Sunday April 10. Two of our guys finished in the top 10! First, here are the key results.

Riding for KRD:

  • Suleiman Kangangi - 7th +4:55
  • Geoffrey Langat - 8th +5:30
  • Samwel Mwangi - 11th +7:31
  • Joseph Gichora Kamau - 14th +8:03
  • Nathan Elliott - dnf

Nathan Elliott was in the lead pack when his chain snapped 70 km into the 104 km forcing him out of the race.

Everybody's hurtin'. Image by Simon Blake

Everybody's hurtin'. Image by Simon Blake

 

The rules of the Baw Baw Classic allow only 5 riders per team but allow other team members to ride as independents.

So just back from a few weeks in Asia, Nick Miller and Morgan Smith rode as independents.

  • Nick Miller - 29th +23:56
  • Morgan Smith - 40th +37:50

Our guys are hungry for a podium finish but it was not to be this time.

This is about the right juncture to highlight the significance of the Baw Baw Classic.

“The Baw Baw climb is 6km from the gatehouse to the summit with an elevation gain of 680m.  This means that the average gradient is 11.3% for the whole climb (680/6000 x 100).

“As a comparison, L’Alpe d’Huez, the most famous climb in the Tour de France is 13.8km at 7.9%. The Col du Tourmalet is 18.3km at 7.7% and the Col de la Madelaine is 19.4km at 7.7%.

“Last year’s Tour of Spain (2009) had a climb up L’Angliru which was billed as the toughest climb in the world (details here).  It is 13km at an average of 9.6% with the last 6 km averaging 13%.”

From the Baw Baw Classic Course Information.

Some cycling commentators regard the Baw Baw classic as the "only Hors Catégorie climb in Australia".

Sports Director, Garry Elliott is happy with the outcome, and this race as a learning opportunity - an opportunity to develop specific skills in our cyclists.

"The race was a good race for me to see how the guys are riding as a team, I was happy that we had two riders Nick Miller and Nathan Elliott in the breakaway. The Kenyans then just had to follow as the Pats veg team had to chase the breakaway. 

"We had a little bad luck with Nathans bike braking a chain and then Nick getting isolated. It was then up to the Kenyan boys to climb solid and put the pressure on the climb. They did this 100% and held their own to get the finishes they deserve. In bike races you need a little luck, I understand the Kenyans wanted to be in the break but this isn’t always possible. It is a team sport and they rode well as a team.

"Aggression also plays a huge factor at this high level of racing, some of the Kenyans are a little shy and need to believe they deserve to be there. Once they realize this then they will dictate the race and how the race will pan out for them.

"With Peter Richards there our new coach it was good for us to work on their strengths and weakness, Power is a big factor in short bursts which they will need to work on and also increasing their pedal cadence while climbing. Once we get this down then they will be the best climbers in the world.

"Overall for the team, we were the strongest there at Baw Baw, just a little bad luck plagued our results."

Kenyan cyclist, Suleiman Kangangi said, thoughtfully, that the outcome was good for the team as whole.

New coach, Peter Richards. Image by Simon Blake.

New coach, Peter Richards. Image by Simon Blake.

I’ve been reflecting on the Victorian Racing Series (VRS) 2016. This is a series of 10 monthly races organized by Cycling Victoria and sponsored by Singapore Airlines. VRS races provide a platform for young teams like KRD to fine tune their racing skills, test strategies and tactics. Our Kenyan riders, in particular, have learned so much from their participation in VRS events.

Just last week Melbourne won the SportBusiness Ultimate Sport City at 10 Anniversary Award in Switzerland. When we think of sport and Melbourne, mega events like the Australian Open, the Australian Grand Prix, and the Bells Beach Surfing Classic come to mind. But the culture of sport is really part of Melbourne’s DNA at all levels. It’s the VRS and the club-level the criteriums which take place across the city most weekends that help us understand why Melbourne so richly deserves that award.

So what’s next? KRD hard at work preparing to race in Indonesia - the Tour de Ijen and the Tour de Flores. NZ Road Champion, Jason Christie will be leading Joseph Gichora Kamau, Suleiman Kangangi, Geoffrey Langat, and Samwel Mwangi in our Indonesian campaign.

Finally, we’d like to welcome our new coach, Peter Richards, and another 2 Kenyan riders to Melbourne - Samwel Ekiru and Ayub Kathurima.