Friday, February 17, 2012

Cykel Womens GP - Round 3 - Bendigo

The Total Rush team set off on the road trip to Bendigo for Round 3 of the Cykel Events Womens GP with 2 goals in mind. Take over the Cycle Cover Leaders Jersey with one of the 2 team members in striking distance, and improve the team’s overall standings. Both goals were achieved and we even managed to sneak a rider on to the podium in the process.. This is how it went down…

Tanya, Carly, Chloe, Bec & Amy - Ready to race!

For the first time in the series, we were fielding a full team of 5. Regulars Tanya Matthewson, Carly Williams and myself, along with guest riders Bec Domange and U17 superstar Chloe Baggs. Starting with the prologue, the aim was to go hard or go home. With the margins between making Div 1 and Div 2 so small, you had to give it your all. A reccy of the course showed it was fast but hard with the wind direction along the uphill drag and the back straight making things tough, and the downhill run in to the first corner was going to be crucial to get right.

Bec set off first so she could get back to the microphone to provide commentary for the day, and she proved she’s still got it, despite her retired racer status. Bec held the hot seat for the first 2/3rds of the day, until fellow TR rider Tanya knocked her off the top spot by the smallest of margins. From there the quick times came in thick and fast, with Masters Champ Meg Marsh taking out the final standings. All Total Rush riders made it comfortably into the top half of the field, so it was time to talk tactics and recover for the afternoon’s Crit whilst Div 2 took to the course.

Soon enough it was time to race again, and with the team plan in mind we set about the task at hand. Due to the wind on the course, things were reasonably subdued, with not too many wanting to set the pace into the wind. Cait Fraser Jones from the local BCS Building Team was active trying to get a breakaway started, but everyone was keen to keep things together for the time being. Tony Abbisigoni was away solo for a couple of laps, however was unable to maintain it into the wind. Things heated up a few laps before the sprint was called, when Tanya went to the front to control the race. Vic Luxton-Bain of Torq/BSS did her best to drop in on the train and mess things up after the whistle was blown, however Amy managed to bring Carly back up to Bec’s wheel for the final corner and the 3 of them took 2/3/4 in the sprint, getting some valuable points for the individual and team standings.

New Series Leader - Carly Williams!

Another attack after the sprint from Cait resulted in the race winning move, with Amy, Lauretta Hansen (Kosdown), Heidi Buntrock (SKCC/Giant) and the sprint winner Chloe McIntosh (Torq/BSS) the ones who were able to go with her. Hawthorn CC had missed the move, and tried to close it down, but after a little organisation, and with the help of team mates back in the bunch, the break worked hard to make it stick. Soon enough, the break had 20+ seconds on the bunch and the 3 laps to go sign was being shown. The break stayed working until the bell lap, where a few attacks started, however it was all still together coming in to the final corner. Chloe McIntosh took the quick inside line and sprinted down the hill to victory, narrowly edging out Cait and Amy to complete the podium.
All smiles with 3rd place

The 4th and Final round is on the 3rd March in Campbellfield. We'll have all 4 team riders on board for this one, our first race all together! Can't wait to get out there and finish the series off on a high!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Starting the year off right.

I’ve left this so long it’ll take a few updates I think.. Part 1.

So this year I decided to tackle things a little different to last, and skipped the Bay Crits in favour of a training camp in Falls Creek with Tribal and my Coach Stu. It was one of the best weeks. Great company, great food, great weather and some really great riding. I do love riding around Bright, although it sometimes might not seem like it when I'm complaining about all the hills!

We did a few big days, but didn’t overdo it with Nationals only a week away. The focus for me was on recovering properly. Ice Baths, food, stretching etc. All those things that get neglected when you have to get to work straight after your training sessions!

Coming home was a bit sad, as the holiday was over, but I was keen to race. Nationals started on Thursday with the Criterium.. Being a hot dog with one side up hill, I’d heard that the race was going to be tough. For me the goal was to just hang in there and finish the race and use it as a hit out before the Road Race on Saturday. First goal of the year - Achieved. I finished the race, felt good, and was feeling confident for the Road Race.

Beautiful Falls Creek

Friday was spent in Ballarat, an easy spin with the girls and Stu around the lake, a big breakfast and plenty of cafe time. There was an afternoon filled with lazing on the couch, and I even took myself off to a local Hairdresser and got my hair done! Much needed as well as being good to occupy the time and cause a distraction. Plus I think anything that makes you feel good about yourself is going to help with the confidence!
A race isn't complete without the appropriate Race Jewellry

Soon enough, Saturday rolled around, but the waiting game was still on with our race not until 1.30pm. The U23 boys were on in the morning, so following the race via twitter was fun with the feet up on the couch trying to eat the right amount of food. Enough to fuel, but not so much you feel like a slug! It's harder than it sounds when you're the sort of person who eats when they're bored.. I contained myself though, and eventually it was time to roll out to the course. Super swanny Daphne had taken out our race wheels and drinks, so Carly and I pedalled out to the course to get the day underway.

Before we knew it, it was time to sign on and line up on the start line. A few minutes of anxiousness and we were away. We turned onto the highway and things were lit up from the start! The pace was being driven by a rider from the Spencers/RACE team, and looking back at the data, it was the hardest of the first 6 laps. I felt ok though, and knew I'd warm in to the race. The descent was FAST, and I was losing my position in the bunch each time as I just didn't feel comfortable. I trust myself going downhill, but I don't trust others. Something I really need to get out of my head for future races. It meant that each lap I had to regain my position in the top half of the pack on the hill which caused unnecessary effort.

I even made it in the Herald Sun......
Things progressed like this for the next 5 laps, until a real attack went at the top of the climb the 6th time. This hurt a few people, including myself, but I stayed in contact and all was ok. Rounding the first corner to hit the hill for the 7th time, I was moving up the outside of the bunch when the girl in front of me veered suddenly. Suffering a bit of fatigue, my reflexes weren’t all there and I went straight into a ‘safety’ cone. Stunned and a bit sore, I was helped up and my bike given the once over, and I was back on the course. I wanted to finish. With my hip hurting I tried to just focus on the bunch up the road until they were out of sight around the corner, and teamed up with a couple of girls who had unfortunately had a crash just a few hundred metres further up in the feed zone. The race winning attacks had started further up though, and with me limping on the bike and losing most of the power from my right leg, the chase was fruitless. Stopping wasn’t an option though, and thankfully I was caught by Melina who helped to motivate/drag me to the finish line.

Whilst in pain, I was happy. I’d achieved my goal. Regardless of what ‘might have been’, I just have to remember that. And also remember… There’s always next year.