Monday, December 19, 2011

New Team, New Race Series, it's all very exciting!

Well the first round of the Cykelevents Women’s GP has been run and won and the newly formed Total Rush Women’s team were proud to be on the start line!

3/4 of the team with one of the new Bikes - Kelly will be back on deck for the next race!

With the forecast for the day Hot and Windy, it was always guaranteed to be a good days racing, starting with a 1.4km Prologue which then determined the grading for the afternoon Criterium. Best placed from the team was a stomping 3rd from Tanya, with both Carly and Amy finishing in the top 8 of the field, securing all of the team a start in the Div 1 crit later that day. Nicole Whitburn (LIV/Giant) proved it’s not just sprinting she’s a gun at, taking out the prologue win.

The Div 2 race was ran not long after the conclusion of the prologue, so we had the chance to recover from our all out effort and chat with some of the other girls. It made the day great fun being able to set up shop nearby to all our friends and the friendly rivalry was being bantered around!

Cheering on the Div 2 race passed the time quickly, and before we knew it, it was time for us to line up to race on the flat fast course. Only 700m in length with some not too technical corners, and a headwind up the home straight, it was always going to be a tough course to establish a breakaway on, which was demonstrated by the earlier race.

Lining up for the start of the Criterium

The team worked brilliantly together, with a pink jersey being represented in every move off the front, however the other teams were working well too, with everything being brought back together. At the 35 min mark the intermediate sprint lap was called, and the Hawthorn teams World/Aus pursuit champ Meg Marsh jumped on the front for their lead-out to keep the pace high. The sprint was taken by The Goddess of Thunder, without much contest, with Total Rush just finishing out of the points in 5th. Unfortunately there was a crash on the final corner coming in to the sprint, taking out one of the SKCC & RACE team members and neutralizing the race briefly while the peloton regrouped.

The team in action
Most aggressive for the day was definitely Karen Hill in her last race with the SKCC/Giant Women’s team, pinging off the front of the bunch multiple times & proving that not all triathletes have just one gear! In the end however it was apparent the race would be determined by a bunch sprint and after 40 laps of the course, the 3 to go was shown. The teams all started rallying and fighting for position, with Meg Marsh again taking the lead at the start of the Bell Lap and almost succeeding in splitting the peloton down the back straight with the tail wind! Sensing the dropped wheels, Amy tried to get a head start on the bunch in to the final straight, however was overtaken by the sprinters with Nicole taking out a comfortable win ahead of Kate Finegan (RACE) and Madelaine Pape (SKCC/Giant) just getting over the top of Tanya, Amy & Carly who finished 4/5/6 respectively. This puts the team in good stead for the Team Series win, bringing us in 3rd position. With a full team of 5 planned for the remaining 3 races, we should be able to improve the teams standing by the end of the series.

What's a race with a bunch of women and a camera without some shenanigans?
All up a great day out for the first race as a team. Having only picked up the new Specialized Amira Pro’s from Total Rush 24 hours before and ridden about 20km each on them prior to the race, it was a great result, and one that we plan on improving upon over the rest of the series! The bikes ride like a dream, and we all can’t wait to put in some serious km’s on them over the coming summer months.

First race winner, and series leader - Nicole "The Goddess of Thunder" Whitburn (LIV/Giant)

The next race in the series is the 29th January at Casey Fields, hosted by the Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, I hope to see you there – racing of course!

For my results and info go to -

Friday, December 9, 2011

Things don't always go to plan.

So this weekend just gone was the annual trek to the Victorian High Country for the Tour of Bright.

The car was packed -
 The (very cool) numbers were picked up and pinned on -

The bike's were all dressed and ready to rumble -

And then I woke up on Race Morning and the illness I'd been trying to hold off all week had completely taken hold.

It's fair to say that I was miserable. I'd been looking forward to racing for weeks, and to end up barely able to roll up to the start of the race to see the girls off was devastating.
I ended up spending the weekend trying not to pass on my germs, and helping out those that were still racing. Along with trying to sleep as much as possible to get better.

It's now almost a week later, and I'm still sick. I've hardly ridden my bike and I'm just trying to stay positive with only 4 weeks left until Nationals.. Fingers crossed I get better soon!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Honda Tour - We did it!

The Honda Hybrid Tour 2011.

10 days before the tour started, I was seriously questioning why on earth I was even racing.

Crits? I’m not a crit rider!

Arthurs Seat? I can’t climb!

TTT – I definitely can’t Time Trial!

So why bother?

Well, a kick up the pants from a good friend, followed by a week of training where everything seemed to click, and 2 days before the tour I was all of a sudden envisioning a decent result.

And what a tour it was! The biggest Tour of the NRS for all the girls who’d been training and racing all winter. 5 days, and whilst they were all short stages, it made for fast and furious racing.

I’m not going to give blow by blows or results, they’re on cycling news & cycling central for you to read about.. Although I will brag about my team a bit, seeing as though we WON!

Stage 1 – 60 sets of fresh legs, nerves & enthusiasm to go well on the first day resulted in silly crashes, followed by poor decisions to let riders take a lap out on a 6k course! I felt good, I had a little air time off the front, unfortunately no one wanted to go with me and they just brought me back, and I finished safely in the bunch.. That was a win in itself! Loren got 3rd and set herself up nicely for the rest of the tour.

Stage 2 – Tight, Twisty, Windy crit in Belmont. Stuffed up the bottom sweeping corner EVERY single time. Expected lots of crashes, but due to the pace the field size was reduced early on. One big ugly crash in the main straight, but everyone mostly ok. Again, managed to keep it upright and finish with the front bunch which was another win for me, and Loren sprinted her way to a win and in to the Red Leaders Jersey! Very happy day. Started me thinking that maybe I’m not as bad at crits as I once thought!

Stage 3 – Team Time Trial. Dreading this day. We were all to give it everything to keep Loren in Red. I was 2nd in the formation, on a Road Bike with no clip ons or Aero gear, with everyone else in my team either on TT bikes with Disks, or at least having clip ons and TT Helmet. I was intimidated, I was scared, I was nervous.. Pulled my first turn and BOOM. Dangling off the back just giving it everything I could to even get on. Tried to recover, couldn’t, these girls are seriously FAST. After a few k, things started to get better, and I knew I had it to start helping out. This was just before the descent to the turn around, so when we hit the hill after the turn around and a wheel was dropped, I went around, felt ok, and knowing I hadn’t helped at all yet, I knew I had to do a turn. Rookie mistake was going around far too fast and hurting the other girls who’d been working their guts out all the way out. In the end, that resulted in there only being 3 of us for the ride back, which meant I could NOT get dropped. We needed 3 for the time. Fair to say I’ve never come closer to puking on a bike as in the final 3k of that TT.

We came 4th by a few seconds. Probably my fault.

We lost the Red Jersey. Probably my fault.

But in the end, these things do happen, it’s a learning experience for me, I didn’t do it on purpose, and we had to move on.

Stage 4 – The Queen Stage - Arthurs Seat. 35k of Tailwind, ripping along, then a couple of k of headwind followed by THAT climb. I felt good again. I didn’t understand it, but I went with it. The first hill – Red Hill – it hadn’t seemed so bad in the car when we pre drove the course. Well, when they’re drilling it on the front up the climb, it’s friggin hard. Managed to just hang on to the back of the front bunch, and after that I knew I’d make it to the climb with them. The attacks went at the bottom, and I waved byebye.. Just wanting to get up as quick as possible. Cheer squads calling out my name at every look out point, and team manager Dave on the SRAM bike at various points on the climb helped a lot! Turns out it was my quickest time up there! 4 days in to a Tour! Happy days. Loren climbed Awesome and rode herself back in to 2nd place.. Only 4 seconds off the lead. The tour was ours for the taking.

Stage 5 – Lygon St Crit. Arriving to rain wasn’t pleasant, but after one last big downpour the sky cleared and things looked good. No pre ride of the course because they were fixing stuff up, and then straight on to the quickest/Hardest Neutral Lap in history. But BOOM. Confidence was up and I made it on the front row.

The last 4 days were forgotten, and I felt fresh. But I was shaking like a leaf. Getting this race right was crucial. And we did. We almost didn’t, but almost doesn’t matter. I repeatedly buried myself beyond where I thought I could go, for the end goal of the team, and I even clung on to finish with the bunch.

Then it was on to the big cup of Gelati that I’d been hanging out for all week, and a big catch up with everyone who’d come out to watch! Tour done and dusted and looking forward to a couple of bike free days!

Thanks to Jarrod from for most of the photo's!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Loren Rowney has won the Honda Hybrid Womens Tour for Team Bundaberg Sugar..

Proper report/post to come, but for now - Happy Girls!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Diiiiiirty!

Over the past few week’s, I’ve done 2 more Cyclocross (CX) Races. Each time I do one, whilst racing I wonder why on earth I’m putting myself through this again, but afterwards the pain is forgotten, and the fun and atmosphere of the race is all the remains!

First up was the last round of the Dirty Deeds Urban CX Series. After the first race I did, both Nadine and I made the decision that it was time to race with the big boys. This meant we started with A Grade Mens, which were last to go off, and the course had been chopped up by 3 other races previously! This made things super tough, with the parts of the course through the middle of the velodrome unrideable by all except for the lead males, and things were super stinky!

Tips from those coming off from the B grade race were to run the middle, which was where we were starting, so instead of getting ready to pedal off, I had my bike in hand (like that ex triathlete I am), and succeeded in getting a great start, running past several guys who’d gotten themselves bogged straight away! This course was a massive slog.. Running through ankle deep mud, lifting the bike up the biggest run up/embankment of all of the courses, and skidding through the stench of the mudpit out the back, all whilst being heckled by the ‘Hell Krew’. The girls all came out to support, with Domange beating her bongo, and complaints that I was too clean from everyone else. The sun was shining and the spectators had come out in force to make it a great day!
My shoulder took a week to recover from lifting the bike up this damn run up!

After 45 agonizing minutes it was over. Crossed the line first female with fellow SKCC chick Nadine coming in 2nd. Having come in to the series half way through, my 2 wins gave me 3rd in the Aggregate too, so pretty happy with the results!

Got to say, the Brunswick guys put on a great show, and I already can’t wait until next year! This time I might get my own bike, and possible even practice a bit.. Coz it’s fair to say I suck at the technical parts.. Some gym time to work on actually being able to lift the bike might help too!

Links to all the photo’s and race reports from the day can be found here - Dirty Deeds CX

As that was the last DDCX race, and I wasn’t ready for the fun to be over just yet, I decided to push the friendship and keep Steno’s bike just a little bit longer and race the Vic CX Open race yesterday. With just myself and Nadine lining up in A grade again, this time with Nadine not sporting a post SKCC Ball Hangover, things were set to be on. She led through the first couple of laps, clearly outdoing me on the technical parts, until I managed to start getting the hang of things again and with a little tip from the coach on the sidelines, managed to get a gap and pull away.

All smiles (and clean!) before the race!

This was to be the longest I’d raced, 60 minutes on a fairly flat fast, slightly twisty course, with a couple of barriers and only one real mud bath section. I was getting away with not getting too dirty, until a surprise bucket of mud came shooting my way, courtesy of Whitburn. She didn’t get me too bad, although it was cold and icky! Next time round I couldn’t see her, until she stepped out from behind someone on the other side and got me good. She’ll keep.

Before the mud bath
 After racing the Northern Combine Road Race the previous day and spending a fair amount of time chasing the break with Ingrid, my legs were feeling the burn by the 2nd lap and dismounting and remounting were taking their toll. By the half way point I wanted my mummy, by 45 minutes I was just focused on not falling over every time I had to stop for a barrier, but when the bell rang for the final lap everything was ok and I knew I’d done it!

Photo’s from yesterday can be found here - JXP Photography I think all the pain and mud was captured brilliantly!

A big thank you to the guys from DDCX for helping run and commentate the race, and to Cycling Victoria for putting the event on! There’s already a few girls I know of who are planning on getting CX bikes to give me a run for my money next year. Bring it on I say!

** Most photo's stolen from facebook.. thanks! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Procrastination Over - Tour of Geelong!

So I’ve been seriously procrastinating on the blogging front.. Got a couple to do, so we’ll start with the Tour of Geelong.

Doubling as an NRS Tour and the Vic State Championships for TT, Road & Crit, it was set to be a big weekend.

The first stage was a 28km TT with no flat bits. TTing not really being my strong point, I wanted to just get through it with my head in a good place! The weather was fantastic with the sun shining, I was riding a shiny fast looking P4 borrowed from a friend, and all was going well until the final climb when I went to hit the small chain ring and dropped my chain! Ouch. Coming to a rapid stop I had to get off to fix it and then get myself going again, in the end basically doing a nice SE effort up the final climb! Not that I was going to challenge the winners, but it’s disappointing to lose over 30 seconds for a silly thing like that. That’ll teach me for riding a bike I’ve only done 30k on before!

Photo thanks to Jules from XOSize

The team did awesome, with 3 in the top 12, so we were set for a big couple of days trying to move up GC.

An amazing, delicious steak and veggies was cooked for me by Dean T, and then his awesome fiancé Jen gave my hair some much needed styling, before heading back to the team base for an early night before Saturdays road stage.

Having pre rode the course the week before, I knew what was in store, and knew where I needed to be and when, and yet I still stuffed it up. Finding myself at the back of the bunch recovering from bridging across to an unsuccessful break, I saw the sign signalling the first descent and knew I was in trouble. Trying to get around dodgy descenders on the tight corners proved impossible, and I found myself gapped off the back of the bunch with another couple of girls. We chased for a while but knew the pace would be on in the bunch, so we decided to save our legs for the next day and just get to the finish. Rolling in I found out that Loren had taken out the stage, best news I’d had all day!

Bit of a failure on my part, but it’s only one if I don’t learn from it! Will be doing my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Photo from jxphotography

Out for dinner with the rest of the team, we ended up fuelling up on the best pre race food going around, Pizza! After 10 weeks of no Pizza, it was pretty amazing too. Yum.

The next day’s Crit was a nice leisurely lunch time start, so we went for a bit of a coffee cruise in the morning and then enjoyed some couch time! It went too quick though, and before we knew it, it was time to kit up and hit the road.

With a sprint prime with bonus seconds every second lap, the pace was on from the start. The game plan was to get as much time bonuses as we could for the girls up on GC, so Maddi, Trish and I did as much work leading out and chasing down attacks as we could. End result, another win for Loren! Zoe came in 4th, and Whitburn rounded out our top 3 in 7th. A super successful race!

Photo from jxphotography

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Long time no blog

I’ve not had much to write about lately! Just trying to get fit again, been a bit sick, done some racing. Had a meltdown at one, and a heap of fun at another! It’s the way things go when you’re trying to get back in to form.

This last weekend however, was the best weekend I’ve had on the bike in a long time. Had a great day out on Saturday with a great bunch of people, and ticked off my first ever Sorrento return trip.

It was a stunning day (as good as it can get for the coldest month of the year..) and a heap of fun.

There was even some horsing around…

Then I backed that up on Sunday with my first off road adventure. The Dirty Deeds Urban CX Series has been building up a following in Melbourne, and I went along to watch last month. It looked like a tonne of fun, so I set about finding myself a ‘cross bike to borrow so I could get muddy at the next one!

Photo Stolen from Facebook

There was a lot of mud, there were several ‘OH CRAP’ moments thinking I was going to stack it, and there was 40 minutes of PAIN! All for 9.9kms of racing! Running up muddy hills, flying mounts and dismounts, jumping barriers, trying to figure out how the hell to use MTB pedals, it’s all a part of the CX fun.

I’m happy to report I came away with the Womens CX Category Win, but it was a hard fight and I couldn’t let up for a minute. Well done to the other girls racing! Especially SKCC Dev Squad Member Nadine Le Mescam for pushing the pace right from the start, but unfortunately she stacked on the last lap to get overtaken, still got 3rd though which is awesome! We’re definitely in the minority, but hopefully some more will be encouraged to come out and play in the mud.

I’m already keen for the next one, and am hoping I can work on my appalling technical skills to help me go that bit faster. That, plus starting up the front instead of the 2nd back row, I hope will give me a chance at finishing on the same lap as the Men’s B winners. Maybe even try for a top 10!

Big big ups to all of the sponsors, organisors, and everyone involved in putting the race together. A lot of work goes in to the race, the reports, the course!! If it weren't for all these guys the almost 200 strong field couldn't have competed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's that time of year again!

The Queens Birthday Long Weekend in June has long held host to a number of clubs around Victoria hosting the ‘3 Day Tour’. Historically, the weather is always freezing cold, the wind is always blowing, and regardless of how fit you are, it’s a suffer fest only endured by the ‘Hard Men’.
This year the Northern Combine are again hosting women’s specific grades, both A & B, with 12 women lining up to contest the A Grade title.

My memories of last years Tour are of creeping, but it was done with the knowledge that 3 weeks later I would be heading to the warm sunny skies of Europe! With May being spent off the bike consuming far too many family blocks of Nestle Crunch, and the first couple of weeks back on the bike being interupted with the bug that’s been going around, I’m envisaging a similar experience, without the pay off a month later :(

None the less, not having raced since the start of May, it’ll be good to get back into it, and to catch up with all the cool chicks that are racing. If I can recognise anyone under all the layers we’ll be wearing in the single digit forecasted weather…

Last years tour, the only time I think I’ve raced almost covered from head to toe!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Canberra - The Road Trip & A Pictorial

First, there's the most essential part of both a long Journey, and a multi day race - my new 2XU Compression Leggings! Full leg compression without the restriciveness when you want to sleep in them.

The first part of my journey to Canberra involved a detour through Bairnsdale for my Dad's 60th Birthday. The obligitory Whopper was purchased in Traralgon on the way through, always one of the things he looks forward to most when I drive down! A meal at the local RSL, followed by a night of his favourite past time Poker, where the locals treated him to a yum choccy cake!

The next morning I set off in sunny skies, then the weather started turning south and I spent a lot of the journey ticking off the signs to Canberra with the wipers on. Crossed 2 borders to get to the land of Porn and Fireworks!

Once there it was time to put the race faces on. We spent a fair chunk of time like this, warming up, cooling down, focusing on the task ahead.

And right from the start, SUCCESS! Loren took out the Sprint and Leaders Jersey in the stage 1 Criterium.

The VIS were intent on making us jealous with their AIS Dining Hall & 'Reco' Centre access, but we think we improvised just fine!
(Check out the VIS's adventures over here - Lisa Jacobs - Ride Happy )


There were many happy smiling faces after the tour was over!

I'd put up some pictures of the trip home, however I didn't think photographic evidence of the amount of Maccas I consumed was a wise move.

I have mixed feelings about the weekend. I couldn't seem to get my head switched on. The legs just weren't there and I was 'head cracked' for a good portion of the weekend. I improved on last years Canberra Tour, but I feel I didn't do as well as I did in Mersey Valley. I had a great weekend with the Bundy chicks though, and can't wait to race with them again when I head back up the Hume for the Winter Canberra Tour!

If you want a see a blow by blow of the race, there's one coming out in the SKCC Newsletter which will be available on their website - SKCC
Or our Team Leader for the Tour Loren Rowney's account here - Bundaberg Sugar
Local Canberrian and all round cool chick Miffy's take on it here - Miffy G

For now, I'm on to a break. 3 weeks off! Although I AM doing the Phillip Island Womens Kermesse tomorrow. Not expecting much after starting back running and feeling like an 80 year old from the DOMs! But I like to support the races that put on Womens Grades. If we don't race them, they won't have them!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So THIS is what it feels like... be fit again!?

Fitness and Form are such fickle creatures. Sometimes it seems as if they come and go as they please. When you’ve got them, you don’t want to let them go, but know that you must do so sometimes so that you can get even fitter. You might be in form, but still have off days. You might not be fit, but can pull a blinder out without knowing how you did it.

It’s been a tough season for me. I felt like I was going pretty well when I was racing the last month in Holland & Belgium. So trying to get going again after the accident and surgery, when everyone said i'd be going great and wasn't, was hard. I don’t have the base for that to work yet. That’s what this winter will be about. So this past summer I’ve trained and raced my way back to that feeling, a long slow 5 months. Starting out with doing the Tour of Bright to purely get the k’s in my legs, trying get through Bay Crits in the hope that it would give me a chance of at least making it half way through Nationals. Unfortunately it didn’t work, however that’s what my first few years in this sport is about. Trying things out, changing them if they don’t work, remembering them when they do.

Things finally started to click after the Tour of NZ. Oceania’s went great apart from crashing, and I’ve been having days on the bike where you just don’t want to get off. Like I belong on the bike. The pain in my legs as I cling to the wheel in front is something I had forgotten that I love. Last time I loved that feeling it was when the bunch was strung out, 150 riders single file along the cobbles of Central Holland.
That brings me to last weekends first NRS Tour. The Tour of Mersey Valley. Hilly and hard, I loved every minute of the pain, which made me think back to those times. The first day was a little flat, but the second day if I hadn’t been gritting my teeth so hard, I’d have been grinning from ear to ear. Pushing beyond where I’ve ever pushed since I’ve had the ability to track the numbers, it was a good day. Coming 15th I just scrape in to get some points for NRS, hopefully something I can build upon during the winter season.
Now it’s one final training block as we push towards the 2nd Round of NRS in Canberra in just over 1 weeks time. After that I’ll do the Phillip Island Kermesse and then have a little bit of a break to celebrate my BirthMonth! (Why just limit it to one day….?)
And in preparation for Winter, I’ve started to stockpile gloves, arms, undershirts, jackets and beanies in preparation for a big winter. Because regardless of the weather, I’ll be out there! Feel free to join me  :-)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

SKCC Club Champs

Only 3 more sleeps until the highly anticipated St Kilda Cycling Club Criterium Championships!

As Defending Champion, I wouldn't miss if for the world, but the who else enters remain to be seen..

Who will take out the 2011 Crown?
Can I go back to back?
One of the new SKCC Womens Race Team?
One of the team from XOSize Active?
2009 Champ and New Amy Gillett Scholarship holder, Euro bound Jo Hogan?
Or will it be the newly transferred Sprint Queen Jenny Mac?
Plus it could be one of the other fabulous women that form a part of the SKCC Womens contingent!

Who will win, we don't know, but we do know that it'll be a cracker of a race!

If you come down to watch the action on Sunday, there will be a free BBQ provided and the schedule is as follows -

Race Schedule for the 2011 Club Championships.

8:00am: Men Masters 4/5 including Masters 6+ (50 mins + 3 laps)
8:00am: Handcyclist Championship (35 mins + 3 laps)
8:00am: Junior Club Championship (35 mins + 3 laps)
9:00am: Women's Club Championship including Masters 2/3 (45 mins + 3 laps)
9:00am: Women Masters 4/5 including Masters 6+ (40 mins + 3 laps)
10:00am: Men's Club Championship including Masters 2/3 (60 mins + 3 laps)

Hope to see you down there!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What a big weekend!

So 2 weeks ago it was the Oceania Champs in Dookie, near Shepparton. You can read my race wrap up and see a couple of great shots from here -

Some more pics from after the race thanks to Juzzy!

Me, Ingrid and Juzzy with the Oceania's Cow!

SKCC Chicks - Ingrid, Jo, me & Juzzy!
After I had the Ambo's patch up my elbow from my fall in the morning's race, and I waved goodbye to Nikki who was off back to Melbourne to catch a flight home, I hot footed it to the car and down to Mansfield.

In my infinite wisdom I thought a double race day would be perfect training for stage races, and had entered the Tour de Flavour Mansfield Criterium that afternoon, then followed by the Mansfield to Mount Buller Road Race the following day (48, 90% uphill!)

So to the Crit. There was a small womens field, with only 8 starters. One of the girls had also raced Oci's that morning, but in the JR19 Race which was 40k shorter than mine! I rolled around the course to warm up, and the legs didn't feel toooooo bad. No real effort though, so I wasnt sure how I'd go if the pace was on. A technical course, in a T shape, with a long finishing straight with a roundabout in the middle. With 30 Mins + 3 Laps to race, and in intermediate sprint at some point, the goal was to test the legs, and not do too much work. In the end there were 2 of us that were the stronger ones setting the pace, with Lauretta taking out the sprint. I tried to get away on the last lap, but it wasn't to be and Lauretta ended up sprinting past me and I got 2nd.

The next morning was a crisp mountain air morning, all set to be a cracker of a day for the race from Mansfield to the top of Mt Buller. Having never ridden the climb before, I was looking forward to ticking it off the list of Aus climbs to do, and if the legs felt ok, have a dig at trying to stay with Jo Hogan and Emma Mackie on the climb for as long as possible. Well, the previous day took it's toll, with not enough food, not enough water, not enough sleep & possibly starting to come down with some bug, and I was instantly in the box. As soon as we hit the base of the climb I felt awful. Dropping off the bunch, I just wanted to make it to the top. Despite all the food I'd downed that morning, I felt like I was hunger flatting the whole way. I felt sick. But, proud to say that I stuck it out and made it to the top, and then just about fell off my bike! Thank goodness for everyone up top helping me out and then getting a lift off the mountain.

Having just read that, it sounds like a bunch of excuses, and yeah, it is. Having said that, I've NEVER felt that bad before, and don't ever want to experience it again!

The following week I was in a bit of a hole. Stuffy nose and not feeling good on the bike at all, so I tried to take it easy for a few days before another weekend of racing!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tour of NZ Wrap Up

After finally finding my camera cables, it's time for a bit of a race report on the NZCT Womens Tour of NZ..

Wow, what an experience. After a Meltdown in Krasna Lipa & a Broken Collarbone in Holland, I was hoping for 3rd time lucky in my attempt at finishing a UCI Stage race, and I finally did it. The experiences from those first 2 attempts help me get through my first 5 day stage race in one piece and I came home from Wellington extremely tired, but super super happy.

Waiting for Take Off!! Super Excited about the week ahead

After the bestest Ex (flatmate) in the world picked us up from the Airport, we ventured for our first view of this foreign land.. A quick trip to Penny Farthing Cycles in Wellington resulted in many laughs and a few 'essential' purchases. Coudn't believe my luck when I found a pink front light that matches my bike's colour scheme perfectly! The challenge of attending the next morning's bunch ride through the Hills surrounding Wellington was thrown down, but with the bunch meeting at 0615 and 5 days of racing looming, we opted for a sleep in and had to turn down the chance to show up the Kiwi boys and promised to come back another time to do so.

Then it was on to sample the New World supermarket for some food to get us through the week. This supermarket was one of the highlights of the whole trip!! With a massive wall of Pick N Mix called Alisons Pantry with Nuts, Fruits, Cereals and Lollies, we were in heaven and provided a good half an hours worth of entertainment to Bender with all of our 'OH MY GOD!' 'I've GOT to try that!!'

The Mega Licorice Allsorts were AMAZING! Regular sized on the left, Jumbo on the right..

The next day dawned drizzly and cool, but we set off for an easy roll around the Bay with some amazing scenery. We made the most of being able to cruise, knowing there wouldn't be much sight seeing in the next 5 days of racing other than the wheel in front, and our own bar tape.

 Travelling to Lower Hutt on the morning of the start of the Tour, we met up with our respective teams (Ingrid - Prime Estate, me TDT RACE) and then got down to business. The RACE girls, Kim and Murray had all had a horror trip over, with a 10 hour flight delay, Rental Car not being there, and then arriving at the hotel at 4am.. Starting the Tour on 3 hours sleep each wasn't exactly what was planned, but these girls are amazing and just did what they had to do to get through Day 1.

Pink Bits is Race Ready!

After only 3 hours sleep, Clare figured the best wake up would be to hit the rollers in the sunshine!

Basically the Tour was set to be 6 Stages over 5 days, including 2 Crits.. But UCI rules state no Crits in Tours, so these were still required to be raced, but didn't count for overall standings. There were quite a few sighs of relief when this was found out, as the final crit stage is rather selective and only 20 girls finished last year resulting in many DNF's for the Tour.

Throughout each stage of the Tour I learnt more and more. There are a couple of mistakes I keep making, that I really need to work on, but that will all come with time and practice. The girls we were racing have been doing this for years and things like positioning etc are second nature to them. One day I hope for that to be me.

Day 3 would have been the biggest learning curve, more so in what I can do. Having never punctured before in a race, when my front tire exploded as the peloton got in to chase mode to bring back a break, I could have easily panicked and given up. But at only 30k into a 90k stage, I wasn't keen on spending the last 2/3rds of the race out the back. So without fuss, I got a quick neutral wheel change, and set about the task of getting myself some wheel to suck! 6k later, I made contact, unfortunately at the base of the climb, so - back out the arse for another 2k until I was safely ensconsed in the bunch feeling rather chuffed with myself, but pretty stuffed too!

That evening was the first crit that didn't count, and I was surprised to find my legs didn't feel as bad as expected. Whilst most said it was 'Easy' etc, my power numbers said it was a reasonably solid race, with 4 away in a break for the last half of the race. At 3 to go I thought I'd try my luck at getting the final paying spot and had a crack off the front, but the legs weren't THAT good and I blew and was brought back in a lap later. Finished somewhere up nearish the front.

Day 4 was a lesson in how much pain I can get through. Facing a 115k stage into a rather stiff head/cross wind, the goal was to hide, but that was shattered at the 15k mark on the 4k climb when attack after attack had the bunch strung out and me losing contact. After the descent the Prime Estate Train came by and we tried to get back, but it wasn't to be and as we gathered more girls a bunch of 20 of us worked at getting to the end. Everyone worked well together when they could, there were some - myself included - that had bad patches and couldn't work, but we all put in what we could and rolled in well within time cut at 10mins down. An epic day in the saddle, but it meant that we'd finished the Tour.

The Crit in Downtown Wellington - Well, 5 girls finished. 2 of them HTC. A hotdog corner made for a strung out peloton, an early crash meant things got split a bit, and the race was pretty much over for 80% of the field within the first 2 laps. Some valiant efforts were made by all, I tried to hang in there for as long as possible too, but when the lead car toots its horn behind your group, it's time to vacate the course. Watching the Team Tactics in play over the final half of the race though was great! A well deserved win to HTC.. And time to celebrate!

                         My new favourite chocolate!

That night there were many 2nd helpings witnessed from the Dessert Buffet, and through the help of Bob the VIS Mechanic and all who challenged him to a Pav eating contest, we managed to clear out the kitchen of Pavlova. The poor 5year old son of one of the officials wanted to race Bob too, but there was none left.. I estimate Bob had to have consumed roughly 3kgs of Sugar by the end of the night.. The Kiwi's thought we were insane, the Italians didn't know what to think, and the Japanese loved it so much they later got some more Pav from the supermarket so they could try beating him!

Neutral Lap of the Wellington Crit - Position Position Position!
A couple of Ciders & many laughs before hitting the hay before an 0330 wake up to get to our flight on time. Monday was a looooooong day!

This week was made so much easier by getting to race with some Awesome awesome chicks. Chloe, Clare, Sarah, Delphine - All did amazingly, it was the first UCI Tour for all and barring Sarah's throat infection stopping her from starting day 4, all finished rather respectably! Miffy unfortunatly was injured and couldn't start, but having her there helping out and doing the little things that if we had to do them might freak us out (like getting me a new battery for my powermeter after mine died in stage 2!) Her experience from a few Euro seasons of racing helped too.

Kim was amazing as Team Manager/Mum/Washer/Massage Therapist. Many late nights and early mornings and sorting everything for us so we knew where to be and when. Kim runs the TDT Race Team like clockwork.
Check out their latest exploits at The TDT RACE Blog. I'm sure the NZ report will be up soon!

And to Shaggy the Team Mechanic.. Even though he refused to waste time and water to do a full wash of our bikes after every stage, our machines were running smoothly and we never had any issues other than a couple of unavoidable punctures! Thanks Muzza!

Next stop - Oceania's in 2 weeks! The party never stops  :-)