They were gathered in the plaza, by the clock tower in the Square,
With their double shot espressos from the car,
While the Chief Comm gave the briefing, “Keep it safe and keep it fair,
For the first inaugural running of The Gravel and The Tar.”
As they headed out to Ashhurst, there was action from the gun,
With the young bloods ever keen to test their strength
But every move was risky, there was money to be won,
No one keen to leave a gap of any length.
The Aussie’s thought they’d own it, being more suited to the heat1,
For a scorcher had been forecast for the race.
But despite the soaring temps, their plan was incomplete,
They clearly hadn’t counted on the pace.
In fact, the final move went early, far too early some would say,
With 90 k of racing stretched ahead.
The peleton was lazy, it would never stay away,
“They’re dreamin’” was the sentiment oft said.
But the group were damn determined, and began to build a lead,
Five minutes up the road at Highland Home.
For once they hit the gravel, every second they would need,
With the hard and toughest racing still to come.
And the spares were sorely tested, as the gravel sectors bit.
Sam Horgan went through three back wheels alone.
And many of the riders saw their efforts come to zip,
All hopes of glory dashed against a stone.
And Romans wheel was golden, for the riders in the pack,
And they fought to follow closely on his Crux,
For his gravel lines were perfect, and he flew along the track,
Leaving lines of stragglers strung out in his dust.
The lead group was in tatters by the final KoM,
With only two still upright and untouched.
But 30 k’s of racing still lay long ahead of them,
And another stretch of gravel, to truly test their luck.
When Josh went through the barbed wire, and Robert lost his chain2,
It seemed their luck was holding out so far,
But Alex Ray was chasing through a lonely world of pain3,
And might still steal the money for The Gravel and The Tar.
‘Twas the final stoney sector, in flew the leading pair,
Towards the Higgins fearsome gravel pit.
And Westy nearly lost it on a corner, somewhere there,
So Logan put his head down, but Alex wouldn’t quit.
Into to the finish straight now, the racing was for real,
Logan jumped, and Alex knew he’d lost.
His strength of leg was failing, he couldn’t hold the wheel,
He could only see the dollars, that those long last k’s had cost.
And the riders straggled in, in groups of two or three,
With bikes that told a story, and knees that bore a scar.
But faces that were grinning, as everyone could see,
The battle weary veterans of The Gravel and The Tar.
1. Sorry Aussies, I know you didn’t really think that!
2. Actually, rear derailleur jockey wheel, but that wouldn’t fit across the page
3. Actually, with Sam Phipps, but Sam doesn’t rhyme with either chain or rear derailleur jockey wheel. Apologies, Sam.