The 2013 Cape to Cape race kicked off today at 12.30pm with stage one from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse up to Hamelin Bay. The start was a 50km from Margaret River itself, so a short drive down to the start was needed.
Midday starts are always fun – when to eat, what to eat challenges are easily out weighed by ‘no stress’ mornings.
Getting to Leuuwin couldn’t be easier – just go south until the road stops!
1200 eager riders, all with their best, first day, legs were warming up – ready for the fast bitumen start.
Self seeding for the first stage is always a polite show-down, but the reality is that after 4 days of racing, the difference between 1st or 2nd row of the grid is irrelevant. The elite wave was individually called up, and it’s when you hear things like “current world champion” and “World Cup winner and 2nd overall in World Cup series” you realise you are in good company!
The gun goes and off we head. 1km of bitumen and then a dusty fire road climb. Things soon got serious. The pace was taken up by mark tupalski and he drove it up the climb. Behind a line soon formed with all of the contenders. Some of the lead elite women were there too – Jenny Fay and Peta Mullens in particular keen to mix it with the men. Then the race began.
Dropping down a steep sandy descent and into a series of very steep loose climbs, I realised I had brought the wrong gears. Too big! Still, I pushed on.
Ahead, a small group had formed: Blair, Jackson, Ward, Lewis, Brendan and Tupac. They cleared off and the race was to be decided from that group. In the women’s race, Fay had pushed hard early to build a lead.
Tracking up and down the race eventually hit the beach. Via some sand dunes. Yes – deep sand, running with the bike only to reach more deep sand and waves. I actually think I head my bearings screaming as I rode them in sea water and sand. Water over the hubs, sand everywhere. Nice.
According to Adrian Jackson, this was the decisive point in the men’s race. “Blair attacked hard here, and got his gap, I was dropped by him and Brendan.”
Leaving the beach, the race then hit some paddocks and a few steep pinch climbs. Here AJ was able to get over Brendan. The final 5km saw no change in position. Men’s race was Blair, Jackson, Johnston.
In the women’s race, Jenny Fay had given her all, but it wasn’t enough. A fast finishing Jo Bennett caught her on the final climbs and really stuck it into her – getting a minute clear by the finish. 3rd place was Jenni King, with Tori Thomas in 4th. Expect the women’s race to bet tight and go right to the wire. An exhausted Fay at the finish said “I gave it everything, blew both doors off, and emptied the tank, Jo was just so strong at the end”.
Jo Bennett was delighted with her ride “I saw Jenny, and was surprised, as I had a really bad time of it on the beach, I attacked hard as I went past, and it was enough”.
That’s all for today, I need to try and make peace with my bearings – as they need to be smooth for tomorrow’s stage. Time for me to sample Margaret Rivers finest product (other than sand) a nice glass of red…..