Monday, June 28, 2010

Preston Mountain Classic

Arriving in Strath Creek for the Preston Mountain Classic, it was 2 degrees and 'Frosty' according to the Car! We drove in via the finish hill, and it I had thoughts of wanting to turn around and go home! Wow it looked steep.
Nevertheless, we kitted up, warmed up (as best as possible!) and headed for the start line.

The womens race was combined with the Mens Masters. A 69km Handicap from Strath Creek, through Yea, around a loop and then straight through Strath Creek finishing up the monster climb. The profile had it at 1800m @ 8.5%, but there were 13% sections and it didn't look fun at all..

The limit bunch rolled out 28 minutes in front of Scratch, with a few strong girls in the bunch, and that was the last we saw of them. We rolled out at 15 Minutes, with a good portion of the womens field in our bunch. We all worked well together rolling turns until the base of the first real climb, where we all started popping one by one. 3 or 4 guys from our bunch stayed away, and the rest of us regrouped and rolled turns until the 11 minute bunch came along. After that it was pretty much all over, rolled turns when I could, we copped some abuse from the old guys for not pulling enough turns, even though we were from the bunch in front... but it was clear we weren't going to catch the leaders and everyone was pretty stuffed.. Made it through town and headed to the final climb just to finish.. 8 minutes caught us just after the base with Jenny Mac powering on past, Scratch also caught not long after and went past us, but the race had been won 15 minutes earlier.
In the end, the last hill was no where near as scary as first though. It wasn't 'fun', but it wasn't the vicious beast we'd been worried about! Although I guess that might have been a bit different had we been really racing up it!

So a good, if disappointing, hit out for my last race in Aus for 3 months.. The last race I'll do before Krasna Lipa 2.2..

Wow! This time next week I'll be in Europe!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Northern Combine - 3DT

Melbourne is turning on it's first real winter in a long time. It's freezing cold, often wet, and very windy. Not the kind of weather that's conducive to getting in the k's! I've taken the HTFU pill a few times and whilst I was glad I did, I was also thinking I was crazy when some of the bunches have had as few as 6 show up!

But when the race numbers go on, everyone just gets the job done.

For the first time ever, there was to be seperate Womens Grades. Both A & B. There were 13 registered for A, and 23 for B! An amazing turn out for B grade women.

11 started our race, so there weren't too many to do any work, and there was no where to hide!

Saturday was Freezing, it was wet, and yep, a bit windy. I just couldn't get going, rolled turns the first 20 or so k and started struggling a bit. The head was wondering WTF was going on, and the legs weren't being very helpful..

In the end, Jo and Jenny got away and stayed away.. Kendall and Nic were away, we brought them back.. I got away on Kendalls wheel but couldn't hold it and ended up back in the bunch so exhausted I couldn't even pull a turn.. Kendall stayed away solo, and the rest of us rolled in as a bunch, me at the back as promised after not being able to work the last 15k.

Went to the hotel to check in and rest, and ended up depressing myself thinking of how bad I went. I was ready to pack it in and head home. Thankfully Blair was at the same Motel and knocked on the door to tell me we were all going to the pub for dinner. Crappy TV movies followed, then putting the TT bars on the bike for the ITT in the morning.. Time to sleep and forget about the bad day!

Day 2 - double day. 8k ITT (Mostly uphill), again. legs felt shit, did a crap time, but was in a better headspace after a visit to the local bakery in Lancefield for a Pink Iced Jam Donut and an Apple Cake! Too much? probably.. But I think it's part of what saved me for the next day!

The afternoon road race was cold again. It was 3 laps of the same course we'd done 2 times yesterday, so we knew it well..
I started with the deadest legs I think I've had since the week after Canberra. They just wouldn't wake up and I was skipping my fair share of turns which was getting some head shaking from the girls.. after about an hour they started to come alive a bit, but not enough, as yet again the attack on the KOM went over out front and this time due to some dubious team tactics, Kendall was off the front solo and stayed there. Jen and Jo were next to go, and the top 3 were sorted again.

Another pub dinner, this time a bag ass rissotto another crappy TV movie, and off to bed.

Day 3 - decided it was time to bring out the big guns, 4 x crumpets with PB&J.. Feeling rather full I packed up the car and melted the ice off the windscreen (it was 1!!!!! degree!!).. The temp dropped to -2 on the way to the race start, but it was a clear and sunny day which was a plus. I decided to overdo it on the clothes and be warmer and not risk being cold.

Jumped on the rollers for the last time this weekend for a quick warm up, and was surprised that I felt better on the bike than off it. The aches went away and my legs seemed to be turning in circles rather than squares!

Didn't want to get too excited, as it was likely as soon as the pace went up they'd die again.. but the whole first 60-70 minutes I didn't skip a turn and was feeling comfortable.

Jo punctured along the way, and Jen was having dilemas over being nice, and trying to race, in the end not doing too much to make it harder for Jo to get back on.

The first QOM sign came up with 1000m to go, and I knew this is where the move would happen. I tried to stay up the front on Jo and Kendalls wheels, and when they went I tried, but I just didn't quite have enough. Added to the fact my quad was violently letting me know it was about to cramp at any second

So it was the same 6 left again in the bunch, we all worked at getting to the finish as quickly and nicely as we could..

In the end, I had a miserable first 2 days, wanting to quit, not wanting to be there, and just generally questioning why I thought I was any good at this cycling thing, and the 3rd day turning that around and making me remember that it's going to take patience. I've only been doing this for a few months, compared to others being in the sport for years.

It'll just take some time.


How time flies! It's been 6 weeks since my first NRS and so much has happened..

First off, Canberra.

Beautiful weather, great hilly courses and some tough competition.

It was a great weekend of racing and learning and I had a fantastic time! I finished mid pack both the first 2 days, and then on the 3rd day I was managing to hang on to the pack until a dropped chain on the last QOM 15k from home ended my bunch finish dreams.

After Canberra I had a couple of lackluster weeks.. It took a bit longer to recover than I thought, and the whole first week after I could do barely anything. Raced the Saturday after down in Phillip Island, finishing 6th in the womens Kermesse and first female in the B Grade mens race.. But possibly should have just had the weekend off racing as the next week I was as flat as a tack again!

The next race I did resulted in my first ever REAL bike stack.. the Teschner/SKCC Crit at Albert Park.. I was having a fun race, it was lively, there were attacks, there were chases, there were girls off the front and we wanted them back! I managed to get a couple of metres gap heading out of one of the hot dog corners and got excited.. I hit the next corner hard and in a blonde moment I pedalled. BANG. Hit the deck hard. The Garmin reads 42 -> 0. The whole force was stopped by my poor little chin. A few stitches and I was good as new.. Sore jaw, still, but I finally have some battle scars  :)
So the next couple of weeks was pretty flat for me after that, and then headed to Creswick 133k Handicap! I managed to get a start in the Limit bunch, which meant I was in for a bit of an easier first lap warm up, and screamingly fast/hard lap once we were caught by those behind us, and then I got dropped up the climb on the 3rd lap. Managed to get half way through the last lap with a small bunch before Limit/6mins came through and picked us up for a nice ride back in to town in the freezing cold and pouring rain!!

I was the 2nd chick to finish, Jo Hogan stormed around in the 22min bunch and beat most of the guys to the line coming in 9th overall. Turns out no other girls finished the race either, so pretty pleased with my efforts.. Turns out that out of the initial Limit bunch I was 1 of only 2 to finish as well..

That leads us to the weekend just gone.. The Northern Combine 3 Day Tour, ran out of Newham/Lancefield up near Woodend. That's next!