FanPost

A lap of the World Championship RR course

 37173_434042689004_605724004_5321794_3457437_n_medium

via sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net



There's a few things you guys know pretty well about me. One...I love my cycling, especially racing. Two...I'm extremely patriotic when it comes to supporting my nation's sporting teams. In an earlier thread where we were discussing the make-up of the Australian team for the World Championship I posted that in this country we don't choose teams on form or fame...we choose teams, or to rearrange the letters a little...mates.

That was more than perfectly demonstrated during the men's U23 Road Race yesterday and as I saw each of the Aussie team doing their jobs as I ventured around the course for the best vantage points, and then saw Michael 'Bling' Matthews tucked in behind Phinney's wheel as they approached the final turn for the finishing straight I didn't need to look up at the big screen to know who'd won.

The best way to feel a bike race is to be in it yourself....the cameraderie, the pleasure and pain, the unique noises of wheels whirring and gears clicking into place. If you're not really fast enough to sit in the middle of the peleton and enjoy such heavenly surroundings then the second best way to watch a race is on the TV...that way you get to see everything, every crash in slow motion several times, every break, every lap, all the way.

But, there's also nothing like being at the race itself, that way you get to feel the emotion of the fans, soak up a bit of outside (and sun if you're lucky) and get to breathe the same air as some pretty amazing athletes. There are several ways to watch a bike race such as this from out on the course, and Geelong has catering for all of them. Some are lucky enough to be able to sit on their front lawns and watch the race pass by where they normally only venture out to place their rubbish bins every week. There are those that bring the fold up chairs, find their favourite vantage point and cement themselves to that spot for the duration of the race, cheering intently as the peleton passes by then going back to reading the Sunday paper in the twenty five or so minutes until they pass by again. Some even sit in the middle of a big field and watch an even bigger TV than the one they've got at home and drink beer or coffee and either head to the barriers when the cyclists pass or pass out. I do it my way.

Yesterday I jumped on the Madone and did a loop of the course, bunny hopping kerbs, weaving through crowds without clipping out, catching up with mates (most of whom had chosen to find a vantage point in close proximity to where they sell beer) and sussing out the best short cuts, photo spots, coffee stalls and chickie babes.

This is the starting line.

 62108_434037954004_605724004_5321755_1377731_n_medium

I only made it a short distance down the road for lap one as a bike shop was having a big sale but 'Burger' Ben King had already played the ace

62520_434038109004_605724004_5321760_6914885_n_medium

...I knew the Aussies would have to play a trump card and there can only ever be check-mate with two Kings up the road. "Vegemite' Ben King did his job to perfection, forced a couple of others to give chase and got to enjoy the downhill on his own for a couple of laps.

62520_434038114004_605724004_5321761_3633189_n_medium

By lap two I was in the Barwon Valley so I watched a few laps from there as I concentrated on how the race was panning out. The peleton was relaxed through here allowing the protagonists to joust it out up front.

62520_434038119004_605724004_5321762_3512558_n_medium

The top of the climb is where you find the most people in lycra and the best spot for pictures for reasons explained during yesterday's TT.

39455_434039229004_605724004_5321777_5872288_n_medium

62520_434038124004_605724004_5321763_7915229_n_medium

 

 

The descent of the climb is amazing but 90km/hr is a bit quick for my Kodak Brownie to pick up detail.

62520_434038129004_605724004_5321764_7956300_n_medium

The bottom of the climb is probably where I will spend the most time during the men's race on Sunday, hard on the brakes, the wooden bridge and the little steep climb up the other side is surely where the race will be won and lost. The atmosphere is true cycling fan down there and the food and drink is just what's needed to quench the needs.

62520_434038134004_605724004_5321765_463480_n_medium

33739_434038329004_605724004_5321766_839167_n_medium

The next couple of laps I got stuck in a pub on Pakington street and watched as the Aussie team controlled the pace of the race and each reeled of as they busted their collective asses for their designated leader. This is probably the most social place to watch the race and being the 'fashion store' street in Geelong it's thick with chicks :-)

33739_434038339004_605724004_5321768_3218477_n_medium

On the last lap I made my way to my usual 1 K to go spot. I tend to avoid the finishing straight as it tends to be full of the kind of people who make my viewing unenjoyable.....I usually know who's going to win from 1 K out anyway.

33739_434038344004_605724004_5321769_4854392_n_medium

 

33739_434038349004_605724004_5321770_8069305_n_medium

I'm going to have a similar day for today's women's race and hopefully the result will be the same.

But first....a couple of hours along the Great Ocean Road to soak up a bit of sun and sea mist.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.