Laharum Handicap -
Sunday 4th November 2007
Following a wild night of storms and
heavy rain across the Wimmera, it will be no surprise
to anybody that only four die hard (one could think
of other terms!) cyclists turned up for the Laharum
65km event. Gale force winds continued to blow skiffy
showers across the region, keeping conditions damp.
So .... who were the crazy ones? Well, Allan Barnett
- of course. Allan placed second at a Camperdown club
race last week and is planning to race in Bendigo next
week, so training is high on his agenda.
Training is also a priority for Frank Kean who is
competing in the Ararat Club's Mt William Classic,
raced over 130km this year, to be held next week. This
is a torturous course starting at Halls Gap, heading
down towards Dunkeld, then turning over the Mirranatwa
Gap and on to Dunkeld before returning to finish at
the top of Mt. William.
Meg Parnaby and Tania Walter turned up too. They have
both entered the AVCC National Age Group Time Trial
and Road Race Championships mid November. They will
be up against the best in the land and needed to toughen
Now that we have provided some dubious
justifications for the attendance of this hollow headed
foursome (the average wind speed between 10 and 11.30am
in Stawell was about 36kph with gusts above 60kph),
we can get on with the exciting details of what became
a race of pride more than anything.
When your pride is at stake
you certainly don't want to get lost. None of the
riders where familiar with the course but fortunately
Police Officer Power turned up at 09:15am precisely
in his divvy van (minus his bike) and conducted a
pre-raid briefing (ie verbally took us through the
circuit). The riders then asked for a Police escort
but he left in a hurry telling us to ring 000 if we
got into trouble.
Parnaby, still not confident with
the directions, took some rags in her back pocket to
tie on corner posts. Walter considered leaving a trail
of bread crumbs (tut-tut! – she
learn anything from Hansel and Gretal!).
The gals left
full of chat with a 10 minute advantage on Kean and
Parnaby stopped to place her rag on the post at the
Wonwondah turn off. The gals continued to discuss their
accommodation requirements for the Nationals. By the
time they got to the Henty Highway they were in a good
rhythm, silent and over the rag thing. They meant business;
but the wind took them down as low as 22km per hour
The guys were having a tough time
in the furious wind too. They had expected to catch
the gals along the Henty Highway but they were no where
in sight. They decided that they were probably lost
because they hadn't located any rags for some time.
The wind changed to an easterly gale just before the
Brimpain corner resulting in an unexpected nasty cross
wind that annoyed the riders to no end. It was time
to hold onto your handlebars real tight and dodge the
stray sticks all over the road. As the road veered
around life became more manageable but the two groups
were still well separated. The girls thought maybe
the guys had got a flat tyre.
Walter, Meg Parnaby, Alan Barnett, and Frank Kean
To avoid embarrassment Kean and
Barnett put the foot down at Wartook and chased down
the gals catching them 3 kms from the finish line.
was satisfied with their performance and full of excuses
why the guys and gals hadn't met up sooner. Barnett
kept up well with the younger Kean thanks to Frank
doing 80kms in the hills the day before. Parnaby is
riding stronger than ever and held on well to the younger
Better still, the race was great fun
and Gayle's Choc Chip Muesli Slice was tasty afterwards!