Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!

Nice cruise through the Eastern Suburbs of Melbs with the SKCC, then a delish breakfast at Batch with some of the Nacional Boys.. Afternoon nap and some food, and it's been exactly the day i've needed!

Tour Down Under - RAdelaide..

Wow. Just spent 4 days in Adelaide to watch the last few days of the Tour Down Under and had an awesome time.

Friday - Arrived in the morning, but everyone was either out riding the stage or had ridden to the KOM to watch the race go by.. Chilled out of the day before riding in to Norwood to have a crack at the Elite Womens Crit that was on.. Big prize money on offer meant all the top names were racing, and because of bay crits putting me in a hole with my glandular and having not ridden much for a few weeks, but I decided to still start. Pre race prediction - I'd last 10 minutes MAX! And that's what happened.. It was on from the start, and I just couldn't get my legs going. The Nacional Boys were on one of the corners and had beers waiting, so I pulled off and went for the recovery drink :)
Had some pizza with Jen and Titch and then headed back to Marg's for an early night. Pity I had a red bull before the race and was pretty wired! Struggled to get to sleep..

Saturday - Stage 5, Aldinga to Willunga via Willunga Hill x 2. This morning we rode to the start of the stage to see the riders take off, as it was a course with several flattish loops before heading to willunga for a couple of times up the hill. Saw the start, WOW they start fast! Headed out towards Willunga on the road that the race came down so got to see them on the way out there, then a stop at the Bakery in Willunga for a Sausage roll and a boston bun finger, another sighting of the race, then time to climb The Hill! It was amazing climbing up the hill. Thousands of riders and walkers and just people everywhere! It's a 3km Climb at an avg of 7.6%, which is much steeper than 1:20 and Kinglake, but with all the people there to keep you distracted it seemed like a reasonably easy climb! We just tapped up, quickly dropped most of the others as they'd done some big k's in the few days before it, however Fishy just couldn't be shaked off my wheel, until about 100m to go i shifted up and decided to hit it and beat him to the KOM :) Apparently there was some complaining about how stuffed he was!
Seeing the riders coming up the hill the first time was awesome, but an absolute highlight of the day was the second time up the hill, the first rider to come around the corner to where we were at about 400m to go, was Cadel. In the World Champs colours, attacking up the hill! Everyone went MENTAL. It was so exciting to watch!!! After it was all done we headed back down the hill as quickly as we could to go see the finish which was awesome as well.
Rode back to Adelaide in the heat and wind.. and got home about 8 hours after we'd left!
Then it was time to get showered and changed to go to the Legends Dinner where Lance and Cadel spoke. It was an amazing night, Lance is such a great public speaker.. Although I was dissapointed that he left straight away and I couldn't get a photo with him :(

Sunday - just rolled up to Glenelg for a coffee with the Nacional Boys. Was a stunning morning, sunshine, blue skies, beautiful beach.. We hung out for a while because Hollywood had heard Valverde was on his way to glenelg. He didn't show though, so we all decided to head off and get ready to watch the last stage.
I managed to get in to the VIP area thanks to George and John, so had a great view of the race each time it came past the start/finish line, and on the big screens opposite for the rest of the race. Was a great race on a great day, but not quite as fun as the day before of course..
Again headed home to get changed to go out and celebrate.. back in to the city and went for beers with the Nacional Boys and Kerry Anne which was a very very funny night.. Quick trip to Hungry Jacks as we were all starving, and then the others decided to call it a night.. I was heading for a cab and saw Gossy about to go in to 'Apple', and figured, why not?? Headed in with them and it ended up a messy night.. Lots of Drinking, lots of dancing, some more hungry jacks and home in bed @ about 4am.. Ouch.

Monday - this was a suffer day. Didn't sleep great, but dozed all morning, then headed to Glenelg again for lunch with the guys. Fish and Chips by the beach - Perfect for a hangover. Some time sitting in the sun and then it was time for all of us to head off to get ready to get to the airport. Packed up and another quick lay down/nap then Marg drove me to the Airport to go home.
Had heaps of time, luckily Bensley was on a flight at the same time so we just chatted till we had to go to our gates for take off. Made it home safe and sound and happy to be back in my own house.

I had the best weekend in Adelaide. I can't wait until next year, going to do the whole week/10 days. Saturday to Monday. Going to be an epic week of training and race watching!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things don't always go the way you want them to..

Well, it's been almost 2 weeks since the Bay Crits, and things haven't gone the way I would have liked.

Post Bay Crits I've been back to being tired, having a high resting HR, and clearly proven that I'm not quite over this glandular fever business yet. Which sucks! Because The Year of Me started on Monday! I've started working for Degani, which is already awesome. Learning lots of new things and it's going to be a big challenge having gone from being in the same company and job for almost 5 years, to doing something completely different. It's a challenge I'm totally looking forward to though because I was bored at PMP. I was stale and over it and needed something new.

The problem is I've had soooo much more spare time to ride my bike, and I haven't been able to. And it's frustrating me. The thing I have to keep focusing on though, is that it will get better, and having this extra time to rest is probably a good thing for me. In the mean time i've regoogled Glandular Fever and the Athlete, Infectious Mononucleosis and the Athlete and anything else I could come up with AGAIN, and not really learnt anything new. I have to Rest.
I saw Rosi for a massage this week, she told me to rest too. Actually, she told me to pull my head in because I need to rest and stop overdoing it. So I kind of listened to her, and waited an extra day after my resting HR got back to normal before I got back on the bike again... It wasn't the 5 days she told me I needed, but it was better than what I would have done before!!

Going to see another Doctor on Monday, just for an extra opinion. I figure the more people I speak to about this, the more chance i've got of getting to where I need to be.. Healthy. So for now the plan is just to take things easy. All going well I'll get in a race at Sandown tomorrow night, then if I pull up ok from that I'll get to start in the Elite Womens Crit which is a part of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. Even if I don't get to race, i'm looking forward to getting to see the Tour!! YAY!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bay Crits 2010

Well, the Jayco Bay Classic has been and gone for 2010, and what a way to start the year!

This was my first race on a 'Team', and whilst we were kind of pieced together and didn't know each other beforehand, I had a ball! The girls on the team - Rowena, Niki, Naomi and Maddie - made the whole weekend a great experience. So glad I met these girls and got to ride with them! Niki and Rowena are gun MTB riders, and they're pretty shit hot on the road too.. Naomi has years and years of racing experience and is a gun without even trying, she was great to get some handy tips off, and Maddie is 16 and has come from starting as a triathlete and has been doing cycling for about a year, and wowee she can ride a bike! The sick puppy likes hills too!

Day 1

So the first day was in Geelong's Eastern Gardens. It's a course I've done before, about 2.3k and reasonably flowing. A few gradual uphills to sap the legs, but no real sharp corners etc.
I knew I'd have a reasonable chance of hanging on for this one, and I did. I think pretty much everyone finished this race, except for those that were caught up in random accidents that just shouldn't have happened. I think this was possibly the scariest race i've done! We were on the brakes the whole time, slowing, speeding up, slowing again, it was all over the place. I was trying to keep out of trouble and move up the pack, but it was hard to hold position, especially when you weren't confident of the skills of the riders around you..
Basically I got caught behind a really bad stack out the back on the last lap and got seperated from the bunch.. Some girls chased, but I figured I wouldn't waste my legs with another 3 days of racing still to go, and just rolled across the line with a couple of other girls.. My roomy Rowena managed a top 10 place for the team, which was awesome!

Cool down on the trainer with Maddie, watched the boys race which was shortened because of the ambulance being used for the girls race. Saw Gossy sprint to the line for 2nd for Team Degani and then headed back to the hotel we were all staying at, before heading to dinner with the whole team (Support, Womens & Mens, and everyone who was down to help out). Went for coffee and cakes after Dinner, then tried to get to bed for an earlyish night, but was pretty wired and went to sleep about 11 I guess.

Day 2

Amy's Ride was this morning, and we were asked to be a part of it for at least some of it. So we all headed out as a group to the start point, along with lots of other teams. Pretty uneventful except for someone from the AIS team going head on in to a Bollard and almost stacking it! Did about 40k all up, stupidly had a turn on the front, which had I not done that, I may have stayed in that afternoon's race for a another lap!

This race was in Eastern Gardens again, this time a new course that no one had raced before. Start went straight into a corner, followed by a slight downhill into a hairpin bend, then a nice sweeping straight to get to the base of an approx 100m climb with a real kick at the end, round the corner to the finishing straight which was a slight uphill too..
The hill proved to be my issue - no surprises there! - and with some gearing issues making my gears slip, and forgetting that you're allowed to take a lap out to get mechanical issues fixed, i lasted until pretty much the first sprint lap about 15 minutes into the race before detonating up the climb and slipping off the course to get back to the team tent.

Did my cool down on a set of rollers this time, which i've never used before, and managed to stay on them for a full 20 minutes with no crashes! I held on to something for a good half of it, but by the end I was riding properly without leaning on stuff. Was VERY proud of my efforts and look forward to using the rollers I got for Xmas when it's wet outside!

Again watched the boys race and Braunsteins going on the attack time after time! Finally he got one that stuck, was almost caught on the line, but he managed to hang on for 3rd by the smallest of margins.

Back to the hotel again for a bit of rest and to freshen up before heading to tonights team Dinner - Thai!! A funny night ensued from here, me having a 'stalker' keep calling me, 'how clean can you get your plate' competitions and various immature but fun games.. This was followed by Pankcakes at Panaches.. omg YUM! and then time to hit the hay for another pretty bad nights sleep for me..

Day 3

Everyone except me rolled out for a cruisy 50k ride in the morning. I was feeling very tired and lethargic and I think my Glandular was rearing it's ugly head a bit. I'm so over Glandular Fever it's not funny, I just want it to go away! But I'm learning to listen to my body, and my body was telling me rest. So after breakfast I headed back to the room for a lie down and managed to get at least another hours sleep. I felt so much better afterwards!
Today's race was the dreaded hot dog crit. But the good thing was that we were racing in the evening! So once everyone was back from their ride, Nikki, Chronis, Maddie & Braunsteins piles in to my car to head to Torquay.. We had some lunch there, and then decided Jan Juc was a better beach option and so headed off there. Some misdirection later, and we made it to the beach, and it was worth it! Perfect beach conditions. warm but not over hot, slight breeze, and awesome surf! The other girls thought the water was too cold and didn't get in, but the rest of us had a blast catching waves, getting dunked, and stuffing around. I don't get the opportunity to go to a surf beach much these days, but I defs want to make more of an effort. It was so much more fun than the Bay! Bit of sunbaking and drying off, and it was time to head back unfortunately. I think every one of us would have been happy to stay there all day..

So, on to the race. The Hot Dog Crit. 600m circuit, up and down 2 300m straights, with a U turn at each end. Stop, up to full speed, stop, up to full speed - timesed by as many laps as you can make it around... Basically if you're not up in the front 20 in this race, you're in for an excruitiating time, followed by popping off the back of the pack. I'm actually very happy with how I did, made it just over 1/2 way, and there were already several girls off the course by the time I stopped. Last year there were lots of crashes and opportunities to take laps out.. This year there weren't any whilst I was still on the course! Oh well. Having never done a circuit like this, it's hard to realise exactly how hard it is. It sucks! But great training and great experience.
Another Roller Cool Down, this time practicing having a go with no hands and stuff. Still no falling off! Yay!

Maddie and I managed to score the photo we were after with Robbie Mcewen which was nice!

So we went home happy and ready to go out for dinner again, this time the 4 points Sheraton! We were really being spoilt this weekend and loving it! After such a late race, dinner at 11pm was kind of weird though! That was mainly because the food took so long to bring out... Which was a problem because I decided to have a couple of wines with dinner, then with the delayed food, and the taste for wine, I had another.. And then I had a couple of Vodka's at the bar with some friends, and I was a little bit tipsy. Oh well, it's a new strategy I thought I'd try for the next days race. Have to say that I gave everything a go!
Another night with not enough sleep and I was pretty tired come the next day...

Day 4

The final day. Today we had to pack up and head up to Williamstown for the final days racing. This was set to be another tough stage, and I knew I would struggle.
Snagged the 2nd photo of the weekend that I was after, one with Phil Liggett, and he was even wearing Degani Kit! Very happy with that one!!

So, got kitted up, warmed up, caffeined up and ready to go for the last race and it was on from the start. Tried so hard to get my arse up near the front to make life easier, but with the Roundabout being straight away and then headwind and slight up hill out of it, I just couldn't get up there and it was a sufferfest from then on. I lasted about 16 minutes apparently, and again I wasn't the first to pop thankfully! But gee it was hard and fast. Those girls can really ride a bike.

Needless to say, Rochelle Gilmore came away with the GC win and the Honda Team overall in Teams.. But I was so happy to be able to have raced with the girls I raced with, Rowena had some bad luck on a couple of the races which stopped her getting more top 10's, Naomi was out there kicking it to the girls off the front in a couple of the races, Niki was so strong and solid throughout the whole event, Maddie, for a 16 year old did amazingly well! And me, well I'm happy with how I did considering the circumstances.
Having basically had Glandular Fever since I started focusing on bike riding/racing has put a real dampener on my training and performance, but I'm confident that once I shake that and get in some solid training, I'll be mixing it up with these girls sooner rather than later.
I just have to remember Patience. Bike racing takes years of learning experience in tactics etc before you get good, so I plan to race as many different races as I can and as my body will allow, that way I can learn as much as possible.

I want to again thank George from Degani for giving us girls the opportunity to race at Bay Crits where we normally wouldn't have had, and for looking after us so well! I put on weight coming back from there because i'd eaten so well!!

Things to learn, I was dehydrated by the end of the weekend, drink more water!
I needed to rest more as well. As much as it was fun to watch the boys races, I probably should have gone back to the hotel for a lay down, especially in my condition.
I think I would have coped much better with the weekend without glandular, but I didn't give it the respect it deserves and didn't rest enough.