Today was another first for us…we went to an official cycling event!
Held over four stages, the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic is now in it’s 27th year!
The stages started in Geelong over two days, before heading to Portarlington and then finishes up today in the Melbourne seaside suburb of Williamstown.
An event such as this is called a Criterium…the stage winner is the first rider past the gantry for each stage, and the first 10 riders in each stage are awarded points from 12 down to 1.
The points are added together and the rider with the most points after the final race wins the whole Classic.
The elite men and women who we saw compete today, also have a Sprint Ace competition…so there is a lot going on!
Today’s distance was 900m, and the course was in a square, which included a rather hair raising turn around a roundabout that claimed riders in both the women’s and men’s races.
My husband is a keen cyclist…me, I am lucky to stay on a bike for five minutes without falling off!
But I can tell you, after seeing what these athletes put on the line for an event such as this, I am in awe of their strength and daring.
There is not much between them and the road, and believe me, when they fall, they fall hard.
We arrived in time to see the last half of the women’s Criterium, and I loved being able to get up close to the action…I can assure you that these women are not going slowly into the corner…
Here is the winner of the stage just after she crossed the line…her name is Lizzie Williams from the Orica-AIS team…
Once the women had completed their race, there was a bit of a break and then the men hit the course.
And my gosh, do they seriously fly…made us dizzy watching them go past…
There was no room for error as they flew around the roundabout…and it did claim quite a few riders in one of the last laps, including almost a whole team…
It was an experience to get so close while still being very careful not to get in their way…unlike that car you can just see in the photo below.
The driver was not happy about having to wait a whole minute or two as the cyclists went past…
We did see the finish of the race, but as luck would have it all the official photographers got in the way!
The winner is the one in yellow, just beside the TV guy…his name is Caleb Ewan from the Orica GreenEDGE team…
And I have to make special mention of that TV guy…he spent both races on the back of the motorbike, often facing backwards while ahead of the riders like this and not at a slow speed either…I was seriously impressed!
I should mention that I took all these images on my fixed lens Fuji X100s, and I was rather looked down upon by the others around me with their huge telephoto lenses, but I was actually quite impressed with what my little camera actually captured.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing…to see the cyclists in action is really something!
You don’t get just how powerful they are and just how fast hey are going at when watching on TV.
The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic is over for the year, but all the teams pack up and move onto the next event…the joy of being involved in the Australian cycling season!