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  :-)