Brodie celebrates heartfelt victory

HAYDEN Brodie reckons he gets more check-ups  than others who have had open-heart surgery — but that’s a good sign.

Regular trips to the doctor mean the Warrnambool cyclist, who had the aortic valve in his heart replaced in 2007, is maintaining his training schedule.

“I used to ride competitively back when I was a junior. I had to have the operation and after that I got back into it socially,” he said.

“I wasn’t satisfied with that. I wanted to race again. I just thought that I could be up there with those blokes if I did a bit more training.

“I get a lot more checks now than other people that have had the same operation, just because I’m riding competitively and putting stress on the muscle.

Brodie, 27, is this week celebrating his latest triumph on the bike, the 69th Wal Smith Memorial Casterton 50 on Saturday.

He started with the 12-minute group and edged out his rivals in a sprint, finishing the 80-kilometre handicap in two hours, two minutes and 24 seconds.

Hamilton rider Chris Kennett (off 12.00) was second, while Ricky Smedts (8.00), was third. Smedts also claimed fastest-time honours.

Geelong rider Nadine O’Connor (16.00) was the first female across the line.

Brodie earned $1000 for his win but did not keep a cent. He instead generously donated the money to the Wal Smith Cycling Foundation, which organises the time-honoured race, and the Heart Foundation.

“Open races are always good to win, especially the Wal Smith because he was very good to us growing up as juniors,” Brodie said.

“He was always there for advice at every bike race, pretty much, not just in Victoria. You’d see him in South Australia and all over.” The Wal Smith Memorial was one of two races at Casterton on the weekend.

The 50km Kelpie Country Classic, an initiative which aimed to keep riders in Casterton overnight, was held for the first time on Sunday.

Warrnambool teen Sam Lane (1.30) took the honours and also recorded the fastest time after a daring breakaway led to a convincing win.

Port Fairy’s Simon Burchell (3.30) was second and Hamilton’s Mark McLaren (13.00) was third. O’Connor (11.00) was the first female and fourth overall.

Wal Smith Cycling Foundation committee member Dean McLaren said the inaugural double-header was a success.

McLaren said 64 riders raced on Saturday, while 31 greeted the starter on Sunday, numbers he tipped to rise in the future.

“The idea was two-fold. Firstly to attract more riders to our race and secondly to get them to stay in town and put something back into the community,” he said.

“We found the second day, being the first year, numbers were down but people are talking about it, so we expect it to grow.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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