Renehan riding high

RETIREMENT is often considered a time when people pack up a caravan and travel Australia or spend more time on the golf course.

But, on his retirement Michael Renehan from Stratford decided it would be a good time to improve his cycling. Renehan, now in his 60s, continues to race, and be very competitive, racing in A grade with Wellington Cycling Club against riders half his age.

Having raced successfully in the early 1970s travelling to all parts of Australia to compete in big events including the Grafton to Inverell, Tasmanian cycling carnivals and the Melbourne to Colac, Renehan until last year had never raced in national championship events.

Racing in his first National Road Race event last year in Ballarat, Renehan finished a credible third and experienced the excitement of championship racing.

Now with more time to train and a fantastic “backyard” to train among the hills surrounding Stratford, Renehan began a consistent training program this year focusing on the national road race in October to be held in Goulburn, New South Wales.

First winning his Victorian country road championship in Harcourt in May, he moved onto racing the state titles, again winning his age group and beating one of the men who had relegated him to third at the national championships last year.

On arrival at Goulburn early this month, Renehan had strong fields in both his criterium and road race.

Criteriums are never easy, but set in a driver training centre, the hills and tight corners in this course tested the bike skills of everyone.

Being a 30-minute criterium means the pace is high from the start, Renehan successfully tagged the riders he saw as a threat and with laps to go managed to get himself in a small break of riders.

Unfortunately for Renehan, the NSW riders had more experience at this course, but he sprinted well for a bronze medal.

In his road race, Renehan had a field of 23 riders, and was only one of three Victorians.

An undulating circuit provided a challenge, with riders being dropped along the way unable to keep up with the pace. The 11 riders remaining at the final sprint, had to sprint hard to win the event, Renehan sprinted well, and although pipped at the post by a rider from Sydney, Renehan secured himself a national championship silver medal.