Phew, we’re nearly there! The final stage of any stage race is always met with mixed emotion.
Words: Anthony Shippard
Photography: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Half of your tired self is very happy that this will be the final time for a while that you don’t need to force down your breakfast, worry about whether your warm-up was long enough, or taste that dry mouthed / blood that occurs just at the point you have pushed as deep as you can to hold the wheels, but can’t.
The other half of you is very sad. Riding with your mates, amazing scenery, and incredible locations – what’s not to love?
Today’s stage, from Wetherby Station to the sea, looked relatively benign on paper: 350vm over 50km which included a 5km hectic descent to the coast ‘The Bump Track’. Once down at sea level, the final 3km was to be ridden on the sandy beaches of Port Douglas.
Sounds lovely – right?
Well it turned out to be a bit tougher than anyone expected. The first 10km featured some very steep, loose climbs with some off camber sections of trail that made a banked corner in a velodrome look shallow. Some really technical riding, and super fun – but tough.
The race started with some real purpose and it became clear relatively early that today the team didn’t have the great legs. The best thing to do would be ride sensibly, stay calm and ensure we didn’t lose any positions overall or in Masters. Smooth, calm and fast.
It made a change to not have to really throw down hundreds of watts at every moment, and for once we were able to really look up and around – and what a beautiful place it was. This race has really changed my opinion of what the area and region has to offer. The terrain is varied and interesting. The trails are well looked after and a lot of fun. The weather has been ideal. Never ridiculously hot, but certainly not cold. Jersey and shorts everyday. This man was not hot.
Jon Odams and Brendan Johnston (Giant / Shimano) took the stage in under 2hours. They were followed by the excellent Masters pair of Rohin Adams and Brad Clark (Total Rush / Mornington Cycles). In 3rd today were the OCS Cycling team of Nick Morgan and John Groves.
These positions also reflected the final ‘GC’ of the race.
4th place today were Kyle Ward and Samara Sheppard – who have ridden smooth and fast all week. They comfortably took out the Mixed title.
And that bring us to 5th. That was us. Mike and I are happy to finish in 5th, and 2nd Masters team. It has been a super week of really competitive racing and we’re heading back to Sydney with some sore legs!
The Ladies overall title (and today’s stage) was won by our housemates and travel partners – Briony Mattocks and Anna Beck. If only they cleaned accommodation as effectively as they raced bikes!!
The Grand Masters category has been dominated by two old timers of the Australian road scene – Matt Bazanno and Kevin Nichols. With Comm Bank Classics, Olympic Gold medals and various other achievements gathering dust in their mothballed drawers at home, it’s nice to see them staying active as age catches up.
A final mention must go to the race and the organisers. This is an inaugural year, and often times that brings teething problems. We have seen none of that. Perhaps they occurred behind the scenes, but you would never know. Everything has been fantastically easy, clearly marked, and explained. The courses have all the things you want in a stage race, and the post ride activities have been fun.
Often when you finish a race like this you think “phew, i’ll just take a break before planning my next adventure”. Not so after the Reef to Reef. I can certainly say that I’m already planning on coming back and racing next year. I’d encourage all of you to look into it and do the same.
Reef to Reef 2018 – Final Results Team GC
|Position||Name||Time||Country||Category (POS)||Gender (POS)||Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|1||Brendan JOHNSTON (#100-1)||7:19:12||Men (1)||Male (1)||00:59:40||02:09:14||02:16:50||01:53:26|
|2||Jon ODAMS (#100-2)||7:19:12||Men (2)||Male (2)||00:59:40||02:09:14||02:16:50||01:53:26|
|3||Brad CLARKE (#144-2)||7:31:07||Masters (1)||Male (3)||01:03:14||02:14:27||02:16:49||01:56:35|
|4||Rohin ADAMS (#144-1)||7:31:08||Masters (2)||Male (4)||01:03:14||02:14:27||02:16:50||01:56:35|
|5||John GROVES (#104-1)||7:58:01||Men (3)||Male (5)||01:11:31||02:19:15||02:28:13||01:59:01|
|6||Nick MORGAN (#104-2)||7:58:02||Men (4)||Male (6)||01:11:31||02:19:15||02:28:13||01:59:01|
|7||Kyle WARD (#143-2)||8:02:48||Mixed (1)||Male (7)||01:05:31||02:27:36||02:29:12||02:00:27|
|8||Samara SHEPPARD (#143-1)||8:02:49||Mixed (1)||Female (1)||01:05:32||02:27:36||02:29:12||02:00:28|
|9||Anthony SHIPPARD (#141-2)||8:07:17||Masters (3)||Male (8)||01:16:16||02:17:15||02:30:00||02:03:46|
|10||Michael CAMERON (#141-1)||8:07:18||Masters (4)||Male (9)||01:16:15||02:17:15||02:30:01||02:03:46|
For the full results, please head to www.reeftoreefmtb.com.
Stage Four – Wetherby Station – Details
Start: Wetherby Station, Mount Molloy
Finish: Port Douglas
Time: 1:13:59 (Phew beat 1:14!)
Terrain: Singletrack and firetrail, and sandy beach finish.
Elevation climbed: 650m
Average Speed: 25.1km/h
A measly 135tss points for today (I did say that we went easier – that’s proof), but sometimes it’s not about how much you hurt – it’s about how much you smile. On the Smile Score, today ranked very high.
Strava ride from today is here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1765941524
Thanks for reading all!