The Mansfield Tour is a big one on the Vic Road Series calendar. It culminates in a climb up Buller on the Sunday.http://vic.cycling.org.au/Racing/Events/mansfield-tour-2017-vrs
Get in early to reserve a spot and a good accommodation option in Mansfield.
YOUR GUIDE TO (deciding to) RACING MANSFIELD TOUR
I’ve spoken to a couple of people who’ve expressed interest in racing the Mansfield Tour, who haven’t tried their hand at (VRS) road racing yet. Here are some tips – primarily from a men’s (my) perspective.
1. Am I fast enough?
VRS (Vic Road Series) races are state open races, so they’re competitive at the pointy end. They are graded, but the podium contenders in even Open and Masters C grade are essentially club A graders. However, there’s a big spread in ability and a number of people who just ride for fun and are genuine club C graders.
2. Is it a good introduction into road racing?
There’s 2 things you need to answer Yes here:
a. Some degree of fitness. You don’t need to be Chris Froome but it is a race and if you’re not competitive (able to hold on) in lower grades at club level, you may not enjoy VRS racing. You don’t need to be an A grader.
b. Bunch skills. This is the more important one. Most of the competitors are competent, seasoned racers. They are used to riding in close formation. Even some of the slower guys on the wrong side of 50 (and they’re not all slow) are usually pretty experienced. They won’t give you a lot of room and if that freaks you out, maybe consider building up to entering this type of race – e.g. start with club racing.
3. I don’t own a TT bike
This is not an excuse or reason not to enter. Fit some clip-on bars to your roadie. Or just ride your roadie. You may not finish 1, but who cares. You’ll see some Elite A graders riding road bikes in the ITT stage. They aren’t targeting a General Classification position so they aren’t fussed.
4. What are the hills like?
The race comprises 3 stages. Stage 3 on Sunday ascends Mt Buller. It’s a big hill. But there is no bunch on the hill – everyone rides at their own pace.
Stage 2 has a few bumps. The bunch mostly stays together and then splits a bit near the end of the stage on a short but sharp hill.
So for the most part, if you are likely to get dropped by the fast guys (and that’s most of us), that will only happen later in the stages.
5. Should I start with club racing before trying VRS?
Maybe. It’s probably a good idea. Doing some criteriums is a great way to build confidence in the bunch. Be honest with yourself. If you’re nervous and want to give it a go, consider entering but staying at the rear of the bunch.
6. Where do I stay?
You can’t commute from Melbourne. You’ll need to stay in or around Mansfield. Why not leave a message here and see if anyone else from HCC is looking to share accommodation? The best accommodation options go early so don’t leave it too late.