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Race Report by Nick Cowie

Saturday saw the running of the Peel District Cycling Club’s North Dandalup Handicap. It is a unique race on the club’s race calendar as it is a handicap, with riders starting at different times based on their abilities. The handicap begins with a five-kilometre climb, which has a big impact on tactics, strong climbers can leave their starting group on the climb and try to catch the group in front. As the 40 undulating kilometres to Dwellingup and back is faster as a group of riders than solo. 

The challenge to riders in the early groups to is there is often nobody up the road who can help and it is an individual effort unless you are caught. Luba Kovalenko did just that from the first group which start 35 minutes before the last group and was alone at the front of the race. Until the final climb into Dwellingup, she was passed by twelve-year-old Sam Washington who had left the 30-minute group at the base of the climb.

Travis Lord returning from a five-year break from racing left the fourth group the 20 minutes group on the climb and proceeded to chase down the remnants of the groups ahead. While further back down the climb three riders left the 10-minute group and started catching the groups in front. 

The final group referred to as scratch, had seven riders having to chase down almost 60 riders in 9 groups with up to 35-minute head start. 

Washington did not falter on the return to North Dandalup and took the win by more two minutes from Kovalenko, who had cut over 12 minutes off her time from last year. Travis Lord held on for third, finishing just ahead of a group of riders from the 10, 12, 15 and 20-minute group.

The Scratch group can home less than a minute later, only failing to catch 12 of the 60 riders that started in front of them, with Conor Leahy taking the honours of the fastest race time. Leahy who is an Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy member and based in Adelaide was on a brief stop over on his way to Europe.

The full results and details of the next race at Casuarina on 29 June can be found at pdcc.asn.au