6.4 June 23 Bleat

Post date: Jun 24, 2014 7:56:14 AM

Hello Vets,

In this week's Bleat;

• A Tale of the Unexpected - Richard Gorrell

• Interstate Events

• Racing this Week

• Race Report

Please send me your contributions at: TheBleat@actvets.cc

Ian Morton.

ps A reminder that if your EMail address is not correct please go to the IMG system, login and update your contact details. Use this link. Same login details when you renewed your membership

A Tale of the Unexpected

"The site was close enough to Canberra for staff to commute and isolated enough to be shielded from man-made radio noise. Being surrounded by bushland and native fauna, Honeysuckle was arguably the most peaceful setting for any NASA tracking station."(ref:www.honeysucklecreek.net/early_days/location.html)

My old ACT survey map provides no name for the peak that crowns Apollo Road above the course of Honeysuckle Creek. It tops 1360m, higher than the old tracking station site where we rest and recover at around 1100m. The lowest point in the road, where we cross the creek, is at approximately 750m.

Any hill has to be climbed and I thought I was hot to trot for this year's ritual assault, having prepared myself for the sacrifice with a goodly number of Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain repeats. I had also decided to measure out my effort rather than race that steepest middle section of Apollo Road, rehearsing this with my companion Tony Beasley four times during the week before. Ironically, at sign-on, I joked with Graham Hendrie that I now feared the descent more than that tortuous, punishing climb.

Riding to this plan, I lost any chance of winning my grade after letting David Stewart-Thompson and Craig Kentwell get away before the grid, but I thrived on the final undulating run to the finish. My rewards were a PB and my best placing from 3 attempts, but I must have looked a bit crook when Brad, our well-equipped first aid man, offered me an option on his oxygen.

This seeded another irony into the story, but I soon felt well and enjoyed a conversation with Pat MacNamara and a cup of milo before packing up and changing clothes for the journey home. In chilling air, almost everyone had done the same. A sharp chest pain prompted me to get out of the car before we could depart. It was a good decision.

I was then entirely dependent on my clubmates: Tony Beasley, Clinton Porteus, Owain Tilley, and James Jordan, who responded quickly and decisively to my collapse. Certainly, we would all attend to another in distress during or after a race without any hesitation, but given the circumstances that attendance forced my pals to endure a long and traumatic ordeal. Their nerve and composure under extreme stress must have been sorely tested, and I am sure I suffered the least.

So I am eternally grateful for their cool-headed intelligence and coordination, in keeping me calm, warm and safe in that long, anxious wait for assistance and by directing the ambulances precisely to the right place. I was so reassured by their presence and actions that I never really comprehended the danger, and my amazing recovery is due to their efforts as much as the expertise of the ambos.

If this was my last race, it was a good one, but it was irreverent and unwise of me to sometimes refer to its course as 'The Stairway to Heaven'. I promise to refrain from such flippancy in future.


I very much regret this catastrophic episode. Quite apart from the distress and trauma it generated, it has robbed me of my fitness and a winter season I had eagerly anticipated. Nonetheless, it has also prompted some purposeful reflection:

(a) It is one of the contingencies of life that I should be caught out at such a time and in such a place, but this and some other races end in remote locations where our telephones can barely make contact with emergency services. We learn something from every unwanted incident, and the Committee is now looking into more reliable devices and procedures.

(b) I have been aerobically fit for a long time, and prior to this event I had no obvious risk factors, but perhaps that high level of fitness was my enemy at the doorstep. The cardiologist is adamant that extreme exertion combined with dehydration caused damage to my right coronary artery (perhaps a tear or two), and thus the blood clots that produced a 'massive' heart attack. In short, endurance athletes are at risk regardless of their fitness and diet.

(c) The treatment I received not only saved my life, but considerably reduced the damage that might have resulted. My recovery has been extraordinary and I can still barely believe that my life was in the balance, but I know for certain that my pals on site, the ACT ambulance Service and the doctors and nurses at Canberra Hospital combined seamlessly to achieve the best possible outcome.

(d) I am now idle and happy to receive advice form anyone who has survived the dreaded cardiac event with plans to ride another day - and for many days hereafter !


Richard Gorrell

Interstate Events

• Bike SA’s Annual Tour - 20 to 28 September 2014

more information at http://www.bikesa.asn.au/annualtour

• NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge - 3 August 2014

Go to http://coffscoastcyclechallenge.com/clubs/ to complete the entry form.


Saturday, 28th June – Gunning Handicap

Where: Races start and finish at summit of hill about 1.5 km NE of Gunning.

When: 1:30pm

Sign on: 15 mins before scheduled start time wearing your registered number.

Race Description:

Gunning - Breadalbane - ABCD Gunning/Breadalbane/Finish. EFG Gunning/Poplars/Finish.

Race Director: James Meredith

Contact: Email JamesMeredith5@bigpond.com Ph 0427 477 521 or 61617586

Assigned Marshals

The nominated marshals for this event are;

• Ed Garnett

• Brendan Byatt

James will need a couple of additional Marshals as well as lead and trail car drivers. Please let James know if you are able to assist.


Orroral Rd – 21st June

On a wet and cold (some would say miserable) afternoon we had 42 brave souls turned up for the Orroral Valley Graded Scratch. The course an undulating tough two laps for grades A,B,C & D (total distance 37.2kms) whiles grades E,F&G completed one and a half laps for a distance of 30.2kms. The terrain was great if you loved steep hills and climbing was your strength and in fact some riders did enjoy the Orroral Valley course.

A grade was a small group of five that maintained a solid pace, with the exception of Steve Crispin who cleared out from the start and was never headed finishing well in front of the other riders. In second place was Tom Hartley while David Rae was a distant third. B grade for once was a small group of just three riders, so I guess noting they would all place it was just a matter of the order. Michael Carr held a slim lead early in the race but was eventually passed in the sprint by David Dickson who took the win. While coming home in third was Toby Driscoll. In C grade equal largest group of riders (9) we had Owain Tilley take the win from a fast finishing Simon Milnes and in third was Ian Cutmore. D grade another large group of riders (9) stayed as a group for the most part, however, in the end it was Des Brown in first place from Trent Wiseman who just edged out Craig Kentwell filling the second and third places.

In E grade the contest was close with the first three riders separated by small margins. First place went to Bob Miller, while second and third places went to Cameron Ermert and John Ignatius. F grade was a small group where the lead changed a number of times, however, in the end it was Mary Lovett who took the win from Barbara Bayliss with Mick Donaldson in third. With G grade there were just three riders at the start and only one that finished and that was Leon Horsnell who won took the line honours.

Many thanks to the marshals, Henry Beaverstock (the master of timing and organisation), Bruce Jones, Dale Kleeman, Polly Templeton, Brian McGlynn and Luke McGowan. Also a big thank you to the first aid officer Brad McDonald.

Thanks to Peter Klein for race refereeing.