Insider: Velothon – Stage 2 – Glass House Mountains

A well-deserved sleep in and a stunning route around the Glass House Mountains made for Stage 2 at Velothon Sunshine Coast. The primarily flat 88km route featured a sting in the tail which would ensure all riders arrived at the finish well and truly spent.

Words: Alex Malone

A well-deserved sleep in and a stunning route around the Glass House Mountains made for Stage 2 at Velothon Sunshine Coast. The primarily flat 88km route featured a sting in the tail which would ensure all riders arrived at the finish well and truly spent

The opening day of Velothon offered a glimpse of the Glass House Mountains, a selection of 13 volcanic hills abruptly rising from the Sunshine Coast landscape. Yesterday we spotted them from high above the hills while today, the bunch would ride alongside. However, unlike the fast-paced ride of Stage 1, the second day was set to be a more relaxed affair.

A 88km kilometre stage starting kicking off from Caloundra would take the 370-strong peloton inland. The roll out from Moffat Beach feeling like a well-oiled weekend bunch ride, with a meandering route that would pose little difficultly through Beewah, Beerburrum and Landsborough. On arrival at Eudlo, the leisurely ride would cease as a selection of short and sharp hills littered the final 25km into Woombye.

The short and punchy finale would well and truly shake things up with a new overall leader in the men’s category, some fresh faces in the stage results and an unshakeable Lucy Coldwell solidifying her position at the top of the female standings.

Glass House jaunt

Content with following the wheels and warming the tired Day 1 legs, the pace remained suitably moderate until the first spring point along Old Gympie Road at the 43km mark. The time to admire the surrounding Glass House Mountains was rapidly coming to a close as the 26 million-year-old rocks whizzed by with every passing kilometre.

It took until the 64km mark for the action to really commence, a series of short and steep climbs that immediately filtered out the bunch into numerous groups. At the front, it was yesterday’s second-place finisher Phil Taafe who seemed on a mission to capture the overall lead. Jumping out of the saddle as the gradient tipped into the double-digits, it wasn’t long before the powerful climber sent this flatlander off the back.

Joining him in the hunt for line and overall honour was the young Australian Cycling Academy (ACA) rider Alastair Mackellar and Kiwi Andrew Young, owner of iRide bike store in Wellington. Andrew, having missed his start due to a leisurely breakfast, did well just to be in the bunch, let alone at the front of affairs.

Behind the trio, many were doing their best just to make it to the finish, apart from Lucy Coldwell, who is thoroughly enjoying herself during this year’s event.

“I didn’t feel too bad because most of the race was in a bunch at fairly steady pace. There were four strong girls in our bunch and everyone was chatting and enjoying themselves. It was a good day to get everyone a bit more sociable because it wasn’t full on from the get go.”

With experience beyond his years, Alastair used the draggy uphill finish to pull away from his breakaway companions to cross the line in first, unknowingly being beaten on adjusted times soon after the finish by Andrew. The Kiwi’s extra few minutes of snooze time clearly paying off at the end.

‘Today, it was easy, until it wasn’t,’ said Andrew in a matter of fact way while waiting in the queue for his finisher’s coffee. ‘Things just happened to line up perfectly this year. I was on the Gold Coast for a few days for work and then a few of us made our way up here,’ he added.

For Alastair, today was a chance for a few of his teammates to stretch the legs ahead of goals later in the season.

‘It was fun to have more of the flat longer sections, it more fun and fast. I hadn’t ridden the roads out to Caboolture but through the Glass House Mountains was really nice and great scenery.’

‘It was mostly tempo the whole way and everyone together and pretty big field with everyone fighting for position. We were being watched a little bit but it was great fun to be involved with everyone having a crack.’

‘I knew the run to the line was uphill so I didn’t want to go too early because there would have a been a chance of being caught, so I went just after the 200m line. I just had to go. After yesterday’s hills the body felt surprisingly well and fairly fresh. It is great to see how I am feeling and how the legs are, so it is great preparation for the coming weeks.’

The final stage of Velothon Sunshine Coast and brings with it not only the longest stage but also the most challenging feature of the entire event; Obi Obi. The leaders of the mens’ team classification, the Sydney-based Cammeray Roadies and its captain David Fanjul summed up the last two days perfectly.

‘I think I would prefer not to give Obi Obi any thought at all,” he laughed. “I just want to go over it and roll into town. Then it will have been three days of extremely good cycling and great banter. It is a good group of people. I am really happy we have come to the Sunshine Coast.’

Tomorrow’s 150km route heads north along the coast and up into Noosa before sending riders up the gruelling climb set amidst the stunning Hinterland before a fast run back to the finish at Marrochydoore.

3 Day Velothon GC

Male

Pos – Cat – Name – Overall – Stage 1 – Stage 2
1 Masters Philip TAAFFE (446) 06:00:55 03:29:43 02:31:12
2 Open Alex MALONE (713) 06:01:28 03:29:23 02:32:05
3 Masters Andrew YOUNG (399) 06:07:56 03:38:48 02:29:07

Female

Pos – Cat – Name – Overall – Stage 1 – Stage 2
1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 06:15:28 03:41:21 02:34:06
2 Grand Masters Shelley NISBET (303) 06:30:13 03:53:51 02:36:22
3 Team Julie HAZLETT (696) 06:37:07 04:00:46 02:36:20

Stage 2 – Details

Strava activity: strava.com/activities/1716167247
Training Peaks file: tpks.ws/QAOP23GRQBENLE4QYZ4RLBMIV4
Distance: 88km
Time: 2:33:52 (official time 2:32:05)
Total elevation: 1,058 (corrected)
Average speed: 34.4km/h
Calories burned: 1,670
Heart rate TSS: 140 (not so many pizza slices earned today)
Maximum gradient: 22 percent (following the recommended route home)

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