Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: a volunteer’s perspective

Thanks to Joy Barnett for sending in this report.

CADEL EVANS GREAT OCEAN BIKE RIDE – what an exciting day on Sunday 1st February, 2015. I volunteered on the workforce and was placed at Eastern Beach where the Race started and finished. Many people from around Australia came to see Cadel ride his last race on his home ground, and one couple flew in Saturday from Perth, WA to see Cadel ride, and they caught the plane home Sunday night after the Race. Hence the excitement, buzz and anticipation of this race in Geelong and the Great Ocean Road to see and support Cadel in his retirement from racing.  Approximately there where 75,000 spectators, all very excited. The viewing of the large screen as we watched every part of the ride helped make us feel part of their journey 174 kls in drizzling rain.  I am so looking forward to this ride becoming an annual event and God willing would like to ride in the People’s short ride 65 ks next year!

Thank you Cadel, you gifted Geelong a World Class Event……………

Geelong, Melbourne? The race start of the Geelong waterfront

Joy Barnett

Thanks Joy for your report, and your support of this ride.  Without volunteers, it would be impossible to run major cycling events like this.

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – Spectator/s Ride

After a splendid afternoon taking photos of the women cyclist’s race on Hyland Street on Saturday, I was looking forward to a great turn up of riders for the Cycling Geelong Spectator’s Ride and Picnic to celebrate Cadel’s final road racing competition on Sunday.

Early morning rain – usually means it will stop by 11, doesn’t it?  Not the day of the race!  I set off in cold rain, discovered my expensive rain top wasn’t even beginning to cope, and returned for the heavy duty winter affair.  At 11:30 Zillah Crawcour Park was deserted!  A couple of cars in the car park – not a soul in sight.  Two cyclists appeared.  Trish and Shane were there for the ‘picnic’ but had decided not to partake of the ride to Barrabool Road.  There was wisdom in that.  We parted company at Fyansford, they to rive the river circuit – beautiful in any conditions – I to ride to Barrabool Road. The wind was a strong southerly with a hint of westerly.  Concerned about missing the cyclists, and with heavy camera gear (and picnic) in the pannier, the route was modified to leave out Pollocksford Road.  It was mainly dryish!  Merrawarp Road (a gentle incline) seemed to go on for ever, and it was with relief that I finally turned right onto the steeper hill up Barrabool Road.

Finding a comfortable patch of grass (pretty dry considering), I parked Rosie the Bike Friday against a tree, and sat down to wait.  Time for a snack and drink.  There was no one to share the brownies – who’s sorry now?  A couple of recreational riders came up the hill strongly.  An SUV parked a bit further down the road.  Another, much less fit cyclist sighed as he reached the top.  Finally, a few official looking vehicles arrived, and the first of the motor bikes.  So did the rain.  Some locals from the farm opposite drove down in their ute and set up bunting, a hand-made sign and decorated the roadside posts with helmets.  A couple more cars pulled up to watch.  The rain continued as more official vehicles passed – lights flashing.  A helicopter could be heard, but not seen in the rain.  Finally, it became visible as the Commissaire’s car heralded the first cyclists.

After the cyclists had gone, I packed up the wet Canon, jumped back on the bike and cycled back down the wet road to Merrawarp Road.  Merrawarp was a doddle with a very strong tail wind – Rosie wound up to 40kph!

Back on the almost deserted river path at Fyansford (lots of spectators on the turn into Hyland Street) I made my way to Zillah Crawcour Park.  At 2:30 Zillah Crawcour Park was deserted!  Plenty of people on the bridge, and spectators all along the Aphrasia and up the extra steep pinch of Melville Avenue.  I decided to take up a position to take a few more photos before going home to watch the end on TV.  It was too crowded to ride (that’s my story anyway) so I started pushing Rosie up the footpath – only to hear calls from the picnickers of Cycling Geelong – strategically placed next to the Bridge.  It was wonderful to see such friendly faces!  The racers had completed two crossings of the bridge and were just about to ascent Scenic Road for the third time.  I took up position with the camera – in what was almost sunlight.  Cadel came through in a bunch near the front.

These riders are phenomenal – 180km with 1679 metres of climbing – on 11 categorised hills.  Challambra – 22%, Melville -20+% and all the rest!

Congratulations to all riders – it’s an extraordinary effort just to finish.  Thanks and congratulations to Cadel for making this ride possible and for sharing a truly amazing career.  His ride in the Cadel Evans Classic goes down in history with the rides that made him famous.

The Cadel Evans ride picnic – the real story

Peter & Swee Smith

David & Nancy in the rainwebThe photo is a wonderful symbol of the picnic.

When we suggested this picnic at Queens Park bridge we had in mind what it was like in the UCI – lot’s of people, lot’s of excitement, great sunshine and a great day.

This time wasn’t totally like that.

We made our way down from our house to the Zillah Crawcour Park in wintery conditions and wearing our ski coats. We dithered about looking fr a sheltered place for the picnic – all on our ownsome!!! Then other people like ourselves, of fabulous enthusiasm but doubtful sanity turned up. Finally there was Shane and Trish Balkin, Nancy and David Jones, and Linda Chitham. We huddled together for warmth and had our picnic in the drizzle. After lunch wiser souls appeared, such as Karen A, Colleen B, Geoff & Caroline – and then Helen Lyth returned from her ride that shadowed the race for a part of it.

We got value from the picnic through watching the race but there were philistines among us who muttered about television and warm lounge rooms.

But in the great spirit of all outdoor activity – we had a fun day and came home feeling virtuous.


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Trailed by cameras on both sides – riders tackle Aphrasia Street.


The Cadel Evans Road Race in Barwon Heads

Report by Geoff Andrews

Stephanie & I were very grateful to be asked by Cycling Australia to work the Sprint Finish Line, Hitchcock Ave ( the main street ) in Barwon Heads yesterday.150201 CEGORR men's Barwon Headsweb01

We arrived early at The Workforce Tent is drizzling rain & mist, there were very few people around, it looked such a grey & miserable  “Send Off ” for such a wonderfully dedicated, disciplined & modest  World Class Cyclist. He NEVER deserved to be sent off in miserable conditions !!

By  11am there was only a small number of dedicated, enthusiastic followers who had taken up their favourite position on the portable wire barricades lining either side of the main street. The southerly wind was strong & cold  & the drizzle continued to the extent that it looked as if the weather was going to totally RUIN Cadel’s last UCI Ride !

Twenty minutes later the crowds appeared from nowhere with lots of young children on their bikes, dogs on leashes, ( Stephanie &  I can’t work out why  people bring their dogs to the bike races  !!!  ) avid cyclists arrived in bunches on carbon fibre bikes in lycra, lots of shopping & mountain bikes & I spoke to a lot of spectators who came from Melbourne & locals who wanted to know what time the cyclists were expected.

We were only too happy to ask the kids to ring their bells for Cadel & most adults got a laugh when I asked  them to yell  “Farewell to Cadel ” The atmosphere was electric, & full of excitement as the sun came out, which was wonderful & very appropriate.

At 11.30 am Hitchcock Ave was packed from top to the  bottom corner with spectators 3-5 people deep along the whole street !

A few minutes to 12 MD the Peloton turned right into Hitchcock Ave & there on the front row was his entire BMC team &  with Cadel riding in the middle taking in the enthusiastic atmosphere with all the applause & appreciating how many people  came out to show their loyal support for him.

As he passed over the Sprint Finish Line he shook his head  gently from side to side in amazement of the huge crowd who yelled out “Go Cadel ” “Go Cadel”. I am sure it was a very exciting yet- sad moment for him. Watching this put a lump in my throat & I for one shed a small tear as many other spectators did.. !150201 CEGORR men's Barwon Headsweb02 150201 CEGORR men's Barwon Headsweb03

What a momentous occasion for Geelong.

Geoff Andrews