Peloton Cafe || 2014 Tour of Gippsland – Stage2
By Michael Hale For the Tour of Gippsland I Michael Hale will be taking part but not in the usual way, this time I will be on tour for support! Helping the Seight smurfs take on the terrain of the great Gippsland region. Days prior to stage one included bike prepping, food prepping and making sure all the boys were focused and keeping their legs in tip top shape with a few light massages. Stage one morning started with DS Peter Barnett (barnacles) at the side of my bed “oi mate it’s 6:30” he said. Straight away bikes were loaded thanks to ROLA, along with the riders. A quick warm up before the arrival in Warragul had the boys fired up and ready to roll for the 91km slog around the region to finish back in warragul. With a bike change for Wade Edwards around the 20km mark, Team Seight was on the back foot all day, an unfortunate crash forcing Mark Fagg to withdraw with a broken collar bone. After all that we finally rejoined the convoy at about 25kms to go, to take in the fast finish. Nothing really prepares you for the urgency of a support member, didn’t have to change a wheel all day and yet I still felt overwhelmingly frantic. Bring on stage 2 ! In the end the boys rode well to have Jason Lowndes, Vaughan Bowman, Matt Leonard, Ash Hawker and Zane Hunter finish on bunch time, sadly Karl Michelin-beard and Wade Edwards finished behind the bunch and are looking to capitalize on stage two tomorrow. Stage 2 Leongatha to Yinnar?
Skipped breakfast for a little longer rest in bed, not ideal but when your not the one racing there’s a lot to move around and get ready. After our stay in Inverloch we had everything packed and ready to move accommodation. Stage 2 warmup started at the Leongatha velodrome with Barnacles taking the boys out for a little pace behind the van to look at the first few kilometers of the race. That gave Linda and myself some time to sort out the team car for the day. Time seemed to be going by in a flash. Before we knew it we were chasing the bunch after the race had started. With just Barnacles and myself occupying the car it meant business but when you feel most ready for carnage nothing seems to happen especially when your first day on the job was completely bonkers. With only a feed required to tall man Jason Lowndes after the 2nd KOM our help wasn’t needed much. So it was up to the boys to finish in good position, which they did! The only mishap for the day came from Karl with an unfortunate pair of legs that didn’t seem to function as normal forcing him to withdraw from the stage. Now once we get to the accommodation it’s once again a big clean up on bikes and cars few massages and a good feed then to sleep. The boys are primed and ready to take on stage 3 and 4 tomorrow. Getting the wheels rolling for tomorrow! My swanny skills are sharpening up! Stage 3 and 4 Friday
Today started early, night before finished late. This morning I managed to get a bit of riding in with the managers bunch ride in Sale, with the great company of budget forklifts team manager Sean McCarthy giving me even more insight into what it’s like behind the scenes at one of the biggest teams in Australia, which needs the commitment of full time employees to organize the race schedule in Australia and overseas and sort out race day logistics when on tour. After the ride a quick stop off to my Aunty Kathy and Uncle Bobs place in Sale for a good catch up and telling them all about how team Seight is doing. After finding the rest of the squad in sale at the criterium circuit it was go time to get spare wheels ready and make sure the smurfs were on their way for the 35km criterium around a small circuit in Sale. With all the boys holding good position they all managed to stay upright and finish well. Stage 4 115km to Port Albert was underway, was good to know Barnacles and I were sharing the car with Karl today having an extra helping hand in the car makes things very smooth because I am able to sit in the back and be ready for anything to all of a sudden pop up. But once again the boys didn’t need the help today! It seems that when you are most prepared nothing happens. After the main climb of the day a split happened in the bunch, or more of an explosion of riders spread out across 7kms. I have never seen so much determination in Ash Hawkers face before, when he was moving through the convoy to get back to the main bunch tapping out at 90kmh at one moment he blazed a trail straight back into the main bunch and finishing in a strong 80 man field that finished the stage including Jason Lowndes, Zane Hunter and Vaughan Bowman. Unfortunately Matt Leonard suffered from a fall earlier in the stage making it uncomfortable to climb as he would normally along with Wade Edwards still suffering from back troubles forcing him to soldier on through another tough stage. These guys are giving it there all for that elusive stage win and we can almost smell it it’s that close. Bring on stage 5!!! Michael out