Saturday 17th December saw the running of the first handicap road race of Albany Cycle Club’s 2022/2023 season, The Kees Glorie Memorial handicap. Dating back to 2009, the race is held in honour of ACC member Kees Glorie who was tragically struck and killed while out riding. Sadly, another former winner, Arjen Ryder and wife Yvonne were victims of the shooting down of MH17 in 2014.

Held on the lumpy Two Peoples Bay/Nanarup course over 48km, riders were greeted with a rather robust Easterly tempest, one that had been infesting this part of the coast for some time, and which threatened to turn some of the lighter riders into bike shaped kites. Given the strength of the wind, the race was always going to be a test of strength and endurance.

Di Fry, continuing her transition from the dark and dirty world of MTB to the glitter and glam of road started off ‘go’ with Lucy Wellstead for company. They were followed at 4 minutes by Brett Turbill and Paul Terry and then groups at 12, 13 and 14 minutes, with the scratch group of Brett Dal Pozzo, Brent Schoof and Vince Bascombe off 17 minutes, and a hard chase ahead of them.

With three groups setting off in close proximity some tactical decisions had to be made – go hard and try to stay away or wait for the following groups and take your chances in a bigger bunch with more people to share the load, running the risk that the pace from behind might not be sustainable.

By halfway out to Two Peoples Bay the three middle groups were together with the bulk of the work into the headwind being done by the 13 and 14 minute groups and the 12 minute bunch looking to keep the elastic from snapping.

With the turn came relief from the wind, but also a long climb back to the turn to Nanarup. On one of the steeper sections, Mark Guerin and Dave Beckwith drifted off the front and opened up a gap that had them starting to believe in miracles. However, just as they were starting to eyeball the front of the race there was an ominous whoosh from behind and Brett Dal Pozzo came steaming through at a pace that offered no chance of hopping on for the ride. With egos and hopes suffering catastrophic deflation, they drifted back through the chasing field before regrouping to finish the race strongly.

Behind Dal Pozzo, a group of four, Vince Bascombe, Colin Ashton-Graham, Mike Staude and last year’s winner, Ryan McLaren tried to limit the damage and organise a cohesive chase. However, it wasn’t long before four became two and two; McLaren and Bascombe having the stronger legs, but not strong enough to dent Dal Pozzo’s lead.

Behind the front riders, Brent Schoof, Russel Hart, Beckwith and fastest female on the day, Jessica Davison, came together and worked very efficiently to nearly close down Staude and Ashton-Graham. Behind this group the race had splintered into ones and twos with riders grateful to see the finish line (and chocolate cake) after a tough morning on the bike.

There was no doubting the winner, Brett Dal Pozzo completing the 48km course in 1.17.47 at an average speed of 37kmh. Vince Bascombe was second having started his sprint a long, way out and outlasting Ryan McLaren in third.