Horsham iron-woman Susie Ellis kept her vice-like grip on the Lois Trimble Queen of the Mountain title when she out-gunned many potential Kings in the gruelling three-kilometre hill climb at Halls Gap on Saturday.
Skimming over the jagged rocks and loose stones as if they were pebbles on the treacherous rise above Tandara Road, “Super” Susie toughed out the slippery slope and was first lady home to be crowned Queen for the sixth time in as many attempts.
On adjusted handicaps, Susie was also outright race winner, 13 seconds ahead of Daryl Scollary, and earned extra bragging rights by relegating her husband, Patrick, into third place.
Fastest time for the day and King of the Mountain went to Col Barnett, recording a time of 14 minutes and 18 seconds.
Horsham runners completely dominated the event by filling all of the first five placings, with veteran Bob Freeland the first Stawell runner to salute.
Susie’s winning time of 15.45 minutes was about a minute down on her previous best, but that was due to course marker Charlie Jones choosing a course that was much more forbidding than the previously used Mount Rosea track, which was damaged in the Grampians floods.
Susie, who thrives on rigorous training and hard racing already has her sights set on 2012 with a gut-busting program ahead.
With the Great Ocean Marathon and the Taupo (New Zealand) Ironman behind her this year, Susie is aiming for the Canberra Half-Marathon in December, the South African Ironman at Port Elizabeth next April and the Hawaii Ironman in October next year.
“I finished seventh in my age group at Taupo and will need to knock off about an hour from my time to qualify for Hawaii, but I think I can do it,” the resolute supergirl said.
The South African Ironman comprises a 3.8 kilometre swim, a 180 kilometre bike ride and a 42 kilometre run.
“I’m happy with my running, and I can’t see myself getting very much better at swimming, but I think I can improve at least half an hour on my bike ride,” she said.
To achieve that end she includes at least four riding sessions in her training week and, after competing in triathlons at Echuca and Bridgewater in the past 12 months, has pedalled up to 100 kilometres on the way home.
She is an inspiration for the club’s young athletes who tackled the King of the Mountain for the first time. Luca O’Flynn beat his dad, Sven, home to capture the Junior division of the race while Chanal Scollary toppled her sister, Armani, to win the Sub-Juniors race.
Promising youngsters Raine Mackley and Elly Barnett were named Prince and Princess of the Mountain for recording fastest times in the Juniors.
The devil might have made Charlie do it, but the venue he chose was a real treat, peaceful and picturesque, with sightings of kangaroos (in huge numbers!), emus, deer and a huge stag reported.
By Keith Lofthouse