THE WEST HEAD ROAD RACE - The Best Race in Sydney
West Head Road Race (WHRR) is a race that goes right back to the beginning of my cycling career, and a race I have grown quite attached to. I have plenty of memories here, with different race situations playing out, many a lesson being learned and many times being put to the sword. When I was a junior u19 starting out racing here, I used to look up to those racing B grade and above as the best riders in Sydney. I essentially ranked people in my mind based of their WHRR palmares, something that seems laughable today.
One thing that almost nobody knows is that from the first race I did, almost 4 years ago, I have never placed worse than I did the month before. Whether that be from 2nd in D grade to 1st, or from 15th in C grade to 6th, I’ve always placed higher than the race before. This is something that I’m proud of as it shows a consistent improvement month to month and year to year.
There were a few times I’ve been shown just how good the top dogs were. Such as, at the NSW u19 RR champs, I was ridden off the wheel up Akuna (that’s right, the race used to start at the bottom of Akuna!) within 1km of the startline. I toughed it out through the rain to finish the race, ending up 13th after many in front of me pulled the pin at some stage throughout the day. I’ve seen many of those at the front of the race that day move on and pull off some pretty impressive performances, with WHRR living up to the status in my mind of showcasing the best in Sydney.
More than races and results alone, WHRR has given and taken away many opportunities for me. It was a race where myself as a skinny kid could actually compete with the stronger riders, rather than being punished on the flat courses of Beauie and Heffron. It has benchmarked performances of myself and others, led to me missing out on riding for teams, yet also giving me the opportunity to ride for a different squad.
As it was here in December of 2016 that Chris came to know who I was after I made the early breakaway with himself, Jesse Coyle, Marcus Culey and Chris Barlin. I did my turns, and chopped off ’til I dropped off, and this put me on the radar for him as he was in the process of finding riders for the new NRS team on the block, Nero Racing Team Edition.
To put my name on the list of winners of the A Elite WHRR is something I have wanted to do since I lined up for the one lap D Grade event years ago. To make it there after many a kilometre being ridden, and many races completed is something I’m proud of, and I’m glad to tick that off the bucket list.
I actually started writing this last week as a long shoutout to Manly Warringah CC for putting so much time and effort into this race, and show what it means to me; winning on the weekend was a nice bonus to add to the story.
Check Out the VLOG from Juniors West Head A Elite Win