Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap: Gunnedah's Nathan Browne 'stoked' with his effort

Gunnedah cyclist Nathan Browne hit the wall twice in less than 24 hours.

Nathan Browne.

Nathan Browne.

The first time it happened was just before Werris Creek while competing in Sunday’s 105 kilometre Gunnedah to Tamworth Graded Scratch Races.

He was backing up after finishing a creditable 40th in a 116-strong field in Saturday’s  Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap Cycling Classic, a 100km race from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah.

Sydney's Rylee Field feels the burn en route to winning.

Sydney's Rylee Field feels the burn en route to winning.

In the Gunnedah to Tamworth, he finished in 22nd place in Division 3, 10min 06sec behind the winner.

The second time he hit the wall was on Monday morning – a day off the remedy. Hardly surprising, really. Browne had spent the past several months helping organise the Keegan Downes Memorial as its race coordinator, while at the time doing serious training for the events.

The race drew 116 riders from around the state and elsewhere.

The race drew 116 riders from around the state and elsewhere.

His ride in the Keegan Downes Memorial, and the success of the race, made the effort worth it.

“I’m pretty happy with my ride,” he said. “It was better than last year – less than three minutes behind the main field. So I was pretty stoked with the ride.” He added: I’d like to thank our sponsors, Whitehaven and Hitachi, for their tremendous support of cycling in Gunnedah, as well as thank our race volunteers for their support.”    

Rylee Field, of the Parramatta Cycling Club, broke away from a group of about 30 riders with some 10 kilometres to go to the finish line and stayed ahead to capture the Keegan Downes Memorial.

A latecomer to cycling after switching from triathlon at age 18, the 22-year-old crossed the finish line early in the afternoon, with the pack close behind.

Scott Reynolds (Penrith Cycling club) and Sean Whitfield (Canberra Cycling Club) finished second and third – seven seconds adrift.

Race winner Rylee Field speaks post-event

Field, who had no significant wins heading into the Cycling NSW race, hopes to use the victory as a springboard to bigger races coming up. He said he made his move following one of the race’s last climbs.

He said: “There was about six or seven of us who decided to have a crack … over the top (of the climb) everyone was hurting a bit, so I decided to go solo because I’m not much of a sprinter.”